The Crossrail Place Roof Garden was a totally new environment for 13 Art in the Park sketchers last Tuesday. An up-to-the-minute architectural structure with the partially glazed roofing, no doubt having won various awards, and a very smart garden design below. We were particularly taken by a number of structural plants, including huge black spidery plants (unfortunately your editor was unable to identify these from home), tree ferns and a very fine japanese maple in stunning autumn colour. "The geographic location of the site – directly north of Greenwich – places the docks virtually on the Prime Meridian, dividing the western and eastern hemispheres. This positioning inspired the planting division of the gardens into two geographic zones. Plants from the Western hemisphere such as ferns and Sweet Gum are on the west side of the Meridian line, with Asian plants such as bamboos, magnolias and maples on the east side. The semi-permeable canopy structure enclosing the garden helped to create a localised microclimate allowing the use of more sensitive and rare species of plants." A list of the most prominent plants can be found here: http://www.landscapethejournal.org/Above-its-station We were pleased to see a blackbird and an empty nest, indicating that some wildlife had found its way across the acres of Canary Wharf's tower blocks and general concrete into a new safe environment.
Apart from the plants, we found other subjects of interest: one of us sketched the extraordinary design of the Crossrail station from outside, others some of the people visiting the garden (a surprising number of young mothers with buggies), and there was a dressed up piano, a WW1 remembrance art installation, and various pieces of statuary.
There was also a very satisfactory lunch facility, known as the Food Robot, a vast hanger with various street food stalls, including a far eastern one, to go with the theme of the garden. The Food Robot not only had large empty tables (with unfortunately screwed down stools) but was interesting artistically itself, and makes the whole place a viable winter venue for us at another time.