(Photo: Lynne Eva)
The Phoenix Garden is the best-kept secret of London’s West End. Open daily, it provides a peaceful green retreat for local residents, workers and tourists all year round, and is a haven for a wide range of urban wildlife.
Created by local volunteers in 1984 on the site of a former car park, this is the last of the Covent Garden community gardens. The location can be challenging, yet the Phoenix Garden demonstrates what can be achieved with ingenuity upon a bedrock of West End rubble.
Plants are chosen to suit the difficult growing conditions and to support as wide a range of wildlife species as possible. This creates an attractive year-round display with echiums towering over vibrant red salvias, clematis scrambling through bramble and golden nettles thrusting through purple elders.
A stone’s throw from the West End’s theatres, a surprising range of wildlife makes its home here: five species of bee, various butterflies, many birds (blue and great tit, wren, robin, blackbird, greenfinch, house sparrow, woodpecker, kestrel, sparrowhawk) and the West End’s only frogs.
Our award-winning community gardener, Chris Raeburn, continues to introduce innovative methods to create new habitats and improve the garden. Reclaimed bomb rubble from deep below the garden has been used to build gabion dry-stone walls, and recycled bricks have been used to build new paths around the garden.
We have recently completed a brand new garden building, replacing our 30 year old breeze block shed. This beautiful architect-designed building enables us to carry out our work and host community events, as well generate revenue through hires to keep the garden running. OGSW visitors can view his welcome addition to our garden, as well as the extensive relandscaping around the building that followed its completion. In 2017 the new building, designed by architects Office Sian, won a Camden Design Award, one of seven winners out of over 100 entrants throughout the borough.
The Phoenix Garden is a registered charity managed by an enthusiastic team of volunteers and funded through donations and grants. The garden has received many awards, including the European Award for Ecological Gardening in 2015 and Natur Im Garten ecological garden accreditation 2016. Our community gardener was also a judge for the European Ecological Gardening Awards in 2017.