Back in February we reported that construction had started on the Jubilee Gardens, this week the new Jubilee Garden opened to the public as part of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.
The Gardens were first created in 1977 to celebrate The Queen’s Silver Jubilee, and it is particularly fitting that 35 years on, the new Jubilee Gardens will open to the public in the landmark year 2012, for the Diamond Jubilee. The South Bank will be an important viewing point for this weekend’s Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and the new Gardens will become one of the most visited green spaces in the country, appreciated not just by the millions who visit the South Bank, but also by local employees and residents.
The re-landscaping of Jubilee Gardens transforms what was a flat and featureless patch of grass into a lush, green landscape of the highest quality. The brief was to create a space which would be as soft and green as is sustainable, and the outcome is a wonderful new landscaped area, worthy of its Royal Jubilee associations and reflecting the quality of the South Bank’s cultural organisations, tourist attractions and high profile businesses.
Jubilee Gardens includes many appealing new features. 10,700m2 of high quality turf has been laid, and flowerbeds of the highest quality have been planted with Geraniums. Lilies will be planted in summer and Asters in October. There are elegant granite edges, formed from 1,169 granite pieces, providing extensive seating alongside a generous new granite path network. 27 lighting columns have been installed, together with a brand new playground including a ‘timber tangle’, ‘jungle arena’,'spider web’ and a flock of wooden sheep. In addition, the International Brigades Memorial, a tribute to British volunteers serving with republican forces in the Spanish Civil War, has been restored and re-located in a more accessible position, with adjacent seating areas.
69 mature new trees have been planted including English and Pin Oaks, Common Beeches, Red Beeches, Sweetgums, Bald Cypresses and Small Leaved Limes. Particularly elegant examples of the Common Beech may earn the name ‘Queen Beech’, which befits the Royal associations of the Gardens.
The transformation of Jubilee Gardens has been made possible by the partnership of neighbouring landowners, local business and community organisations, who now make up the Jubilee Gardens Trust. The new Jubilee Gardens has been supported by Kate Hoey, MP for Vauxhall, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and the Shirayama Corporation, owner of the adjacent County Hall.
IMAGES Courtesy of West 8 urban design & landscape architecture