Open Garden Squares Weekend 2016

Posted on June 22, 2016 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

inner temple garden

inner temple garden  inner temple garden

inner temple garden  inner temple garden  inner temple garden

Inner Temple Garden


According to a report commissioned by the City of London Corporation in 2013, London is the greenest city in Europe, with over 47% green space in the city. There are also countless of private and communal gardens in the city, and they are usually out of bounds to the general public. The only opportunity to visit these gardens are usually through special events or the annual Open Garden Squares weekend. After seeing a 2 for 1 offer on Timeout, I decided that it was time to explore the hidden gardens in London.

With over 200 gardens across 25 boroughs, it was hard to know where to start. Unfortunately, I was traveling extensively before the event and I didn't manage to do much preparation beforehand. At the last minute, my friend suggested visiting the historical Inner Temple Garden, which is usually open for a few hours during weekdays.

The three-acre garden's history can be traced back to 1591; it has wide rectangular lawns and a rare and unusual collection of trees. The garden is extremely tranquil, and it is easy to forget that you are in central London when you are strolling inside.


barbican beech garden

barbican beech garden

fann street wildlife garden  fann street wildlife garden

Top 2 rows: Beech garden at Barbican; Bottom: Fann Street Wildlife Garden


Our next stop was the Barbican Estate as there are 3 gardens in the vicinity. The Beech garden is open to the public, and so visitors and residents can all enjoy the colourful mixed of perennials, grasses and bulbs.

Aside of the public garden, the residents can also enjoy the 2000 square metres Fann Street Wildlife Garden within the estate. The Garden was created over the basements of buildings that were bombed during WW2 when the Barbican Estate was built in the 1970s. Run by the Barbican residents, the wildlife garden has a pond, pollinator bed, shrubbery, wildflower border, meadow and wooded area. We also met some friendly residents/volunteers who were happy to chat to us about the history of the site, and their efforts to run this special garden.


The Golden Baggers  The Golden Baggers

The Golden Baggers

The Golden Baggers at the Golden Lane Estate


The last garden of the day was The Golden Baggers at The Golden Lane Estate nearby. Started in 2010, the community allotment was set up by residents of the Golden Lane Estate, and now 40 individual boxes of fruits, vegetables, salad crops are grown on the site of the former nursery playground. A small wildlife garden and a communal herb garden are recently to the thriving site.


ashworth mansion  ashworth mansions garden

ashworth mansions garden  ashworth mansions garden

Ashworth Mansions Garden


The next day, I decided to explore the wealthy residential neighbourhood in West London: Maida Vale. Maida Vale is renowned for the mansion blocks that line its broad avenues and give the area a very distinctive, and European feel. I was curious to see the communal inner gardens that are hidden from street views, and it was quite pleasantly surprised to see these private and well-maintained gardens.

Ashworth Mansions is area’s leading estate of mansion flats. Built 1899-1900, the Mansions was designed by Bohmer and Gibbs (architects of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel), and it comprises 105 flats in two imposing Queen Anne revival blocks facing each other across extensive communal gardens.

The garden is not huge, but it is well designed and is separated by a variety of trees and a pergola in the middle. Aside from herb and wild flower gardens, it also has lovely knot garden at the back.


formosa garden  formosa garden

formosa garden

Formosa Garden


Formosa Garden is hidden behind a narrow alleyway between 2 buildings, and so I was quite startled to see a vast open triangular green space surrounded by rows of houses. It is not as cosy as the previous garden, but the space is great for kids to enjoy nature and many outdoor activities.


crescent garden

crescent garden  crescent garden   crescent garden

formosa garden

crescent garden rose  crescent garden  crescent garden

Crescent Garden


The stucco-fronted houses around the Crescent Garden were built between 1860 – 1880, including some grade II-listed balconied terrace. In the 1970s local residents defeated plans by the Church Commissioners to turn the garden into communal car parking.

Now the three-acre communal garden has lawns, interesting trees, island beds and many unusual plants and shrubs. There is also a children’s play area in the middle. The garden was recently given an award as London's best large private garden square, and I especially love the variety of flowers at this garden.


Triangle Garden  Triangle Garden 

triangle garden

triangle garden  triangle garden

Triangle Garden  Triangle Garden  Triangle Garden

Triangle garden, Randolph Crescent


My last garden in the area was the garden Triangle Garden in Randolph Crescent. The perfectly proportioned and triangular garden is surrounded by original white stucco houses, dating from the 1860s. There is a central island of London plane trees that are over 100 years old, and some black iron benches, which I believe are original.

Across London, there are many small and unusual gardens run by charities and local communities, and one of my favourite is The World Peace Garden next to Hampstead Heath Overground station.

I believe these gardens are important to local residents and even passerby as they can nourish us and provide tranquil spaces for all busy Londoners.


The World Peace Garden

The World Peace Garden

The World Peace Garden


flowers  flower

burgh house  flowers


London in bloom



This post was posted in London, Nature, Gardens & parks and was tagged with London, nature, gardens, Barbican, allotments, Open Garden Squares