Special Tours

10 Downing Street

Ballot for places now closed.

PhotoThe garden at No.10 Downing Street has been enjoyed by Prime Ministers and their families, as well as visitors to the building, for over 280 years. The terrace and garden were constructed in 1736, shortly after Sir Robert Walpole moved into No.10.

The garden is dominated by an open lawn of half an acre that wraps around the building in an L-shape. There is a central flowerbed with flower urns, a bench and an arch. Tubs of flowers line the terrace and roses line the main pathway through the garden.

The garden also features an attractive bronze sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, a pond and some lovely trees.

A small vegetable garden produces radishes, spring onions, beetroot, cress, carrots and leeks. There are bird-feeding tables where birds as exotic as a parakeet have been seen feeding.

The garden has provided an informal setting for a number of significant gatherings, including the press launch for the announcement of the coalition government in May 2010, and in 2011 a barbecue for military personnel hosted by the Camerons and Obamas. The London 2012 School Games competitors also used the space for activities.

In April 2014 a group of schoolchildren aged 10-11 years planted poppy seeds for the Royal British Legion’s Centenary Poppy Campaign, and in July of that year a reception with Joey the War Horse was held to commemorate WW1.

The garden also hosted the 100th anniversary birthday party for the Brownies, attended by 112 girls from across the country and in 2016 commemorated 400 years since the death of Shakespeare with leading actors spending the day coaching children for a performance in the garden.

Day:
Sunday 18 June
Times:
11.30am and 1.30pm

Barbican Station Pop-up Garden

Booking

Barbican Station

This is the first community garden on the Underground, created by a partnership between Friends of City Gardens and Transport for London.

The garden was designed by Gensler, the international landscape architect practice, with a strong, linear scheme of planters that fill the 100-metre-long disused platform.

Planters feature a scheme of red vertical posts rising in the form of a wave. The design mimics the acceleration and braking of trains arriving and leaving the station. The planting complements the wave pattern with multi-stemmed trees, climbers and substantial shrubs providing height. Colourful plants and vegetables contribute a pollen- and nectar-rich mix to boost biodiversity in this challenging environment.

The garden is sponsored by local businesses Hamptons International, Kingston Smith and Redrow London. The planting was designed, installed and is maintained by Friends of City Gardens volunteers and will remain in place until the adjacent track becomes a siding for trains.

Tours Date:
Saturday 17 June
Times:
11.00-14.30
Meeting point.
By the ticket barrier at Barbican Underground Station, Aldersgate St. EC1A 4JA

All visitors will be escorted on and off the platform by a Friends of City Gardens volunteer.

Baring Asset Management

Booking

Now fully booked.

PhotoThe development of the two roof gardens was initiated in 2010, with three principal aims: to improve the immediate views from the meeting rooms, increase the flexibility of Barings' hospitality facilities and make a positive environmental impact.

The two gardens have their own characteristics, the northern terrace being inspired by Asia and the southern terrace by Europe. Feature plants include a 70-year-old cork oak (Quercus suber) and arches made from Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi).

On the Asian terrace there is a Quercus dentata (commonly known as the Daimyo Oak) which has been grown as a miniature form yet retains the leaf size of a fully grown tree. Other species found on the terraces include yew, Gingko, a Judas Tree (Cercis siliquastrum), camellia and acer.

The gardens are now part of life at Barings, enhancing both staff events and client hospitality, and include herbs and fruit trees which are used in the food produced by our kitchens. Charles Funke, who designed the gardens, remains involved in the development of the terraces.

Day:
Saturday 17 June
Times:
9.30, 10.30, 11.30

Caledonian Park Clock Tower

Caledonian Park clock tower

Booking

Guided tours of the magnificent grade 2*-listed clock tower to see the original working clock mechanism and experience the best panoramic views in North London from the 40m-high viewing platform.

Day
Sunday June 18th
Times
10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm

A visit and tour of Cannon Bridge Roof Gardens

Now fully booked.

Booking

This award-winning rooftop garden has been developed and enhanced over the past three years by Paul Burnage of Grasshopper Displays. Paul and his team maintain this wonderful garden with its spectacular views and lush planting.

Paul will take groups of visitors up to the garden and lead them through some highlights in the garden including his most ambitious project - a planting of tropical plants - the most recent acquisitions to the rooftop. Visitors will have time on their own to explore the garden and also chat with Paul about his passion for plants and how to bring biodiversity into gardens.

Day
Sunday June 18th
Times
11.00 , noon, 13.00 and 14.00
Duration
45-50 minutes

Highbury Stadium Square

Now fully booked.

Booking

photoHighbury Stadium Square, known locally as Highbury Square, is a new garden at the centre of the former Arsenal football stadium, which was based in Avenell Road from 1913 until 2006. The stadium was designed by Archibald Leitch and built in the Art Deco style.

The football pitch is now a modern minimalist garden, comprising hedges and grassy spaces, intersected by Perspex walls with integrated lighting and water features. This large garden now comprises the inner courtyard of the apartment blocks formed from the Arsenal stadium building.

The garden is not normally open to the public and opened for the first time in 2014.

Day:
Saturday 17 June
Times:
11am, 12pm, 1pm 2pm and 3pm.

Kew Gardens' Tropical Nursery

Titan arum at Kew

Enter ballot for places

The ballot for places has now closed.

Beyond a pair of wrought iron gates near Kew Palace lies the Tropical Nursery, the hidden gem of Kew Gardens. This is where Kew holds its reserve scientific collections and cultivates plants for use in displays within the Palm, Temperate, Waterlily and Princess of Wales conservatories. The nursery provides facilities for propagating, establishing and growing-on plants from various habitats within the world's tropical and subtropical regions. There are over 45,000 plants held here at any one time and approximately 10,000. The plants are produced to support the public conservatories for educational purposes and may be used for scientific purposes by visiting and Kew scientists.

The nursery covers an area of 6,500m2 and is divided into 21 climatic environments that are separately controlled and monitored by a 'climatic computer'. These zones are collected under four units: Cacti and Succulents, Moist Tropics, Orchids, plus Temperate and Conservation Collections. The large wide-span complex is heated by nine gas-fired boilers, although not all are used together. The nursery is supplied with water filtered by a process called 'reverse osmosis' for irrigation and misting. The water is stored in a large tank potentially holding 60,000 gallons. It passes through an ultra-violet filter before being used.

Fifteen permanent staff work in the Tropical Nursery, supported by up to ten students, apprentices, trainees and 28 horticultural volunteers. Daily maintenance of the collections involves watering, feeding, re-potting plants, and monitoring plant health throughout the year. Then there are regular seasonal jobs. The giant waterlilies start their life here, before being planted out in the Waterlily House for the public to see. And Kew's specimens of Titan arum (Amorphophallustitanum) rest dormant in the Nursery until they flower and are put on display for visitors to see and smell.

The tour will be led by the Kew's Nurseries Manager Lara Jewitt. She has worked at Kew for 14 years and been in horticulture for many more. Her area of expertise lays with all tender and tropical plants but she has a real passion for orchids.

Day
Sunday 18 June
Time:
11am
Duration
Approx. 90 minutes

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

QE Olympic Park --

Now fully booked.

Booking

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park was created to host the highly successful London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Since the Games, the park has been transformed to become the centrepiece of five new residential neighbourhoods, bringing new homes, schools, jobs and recreational facilities to the east end of London.

The park opened to the public in April 2014, since when over four million visitors have experienced and enjoyed its gardens and landscaping. Many of the venues which became world-famous during the Games are now open for all to use. Entry to the park is free and it is open around the clock every day of the year.

To celebrate Open Garden Squares Weekend, special walking tours will be provided by the team responsible for the design and maintenance of the park.

Day
Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 June
Times
11am, 12 and 1pm
Duration
Approx 90 minutes

The River Cafe Garden

Now fully booked.

Booking 

The River Cafe Fresh, seasonal produce has been a cornerstone of The River Cafe since it opened in 1987. Situated beside the Thames, its garden is a natural extension of this approach to food.

A variety of Italian salad leaves, vegetables and herbs are grown, which make their way onto the daily changing menus. In fine weather, the restaurant extends throughout the garden among the long planters and fruit trees.

For gardener Simon Hewitt, there are many challenges - from growing everything in containers to the exposed riverside conditions. These are balanced with all the rewards - a freshly picked and podded broad bean, or some intensely flavoured quince paste served with a cheese plate.

Day
Saturday June 17th
Times
9.15am and 10.15am
Duration
Approx 60 minutes