Over the period of a few day’s I watched a garden grow high up and a top the concrete canopy overhanging a local independent supermarket in Archway.
This once rather plain and typically 1960’ tees building opposite the corner of St. John’s Church on Holloway Road has in the course of one week transformed into an elevated green oasis. Bees and birds can rest amongst wild flowers and watch the busy traffic of the Holloway Road roar by as usual while customers popping in for small necessities and sticky honeyed halva and cakes will be in the knowledge that above is as below with happy bees collecting pollen for making honey and birds doing what birds do in a surprise pleasure garden
Supposedly the architect had intended for this concrete ledge to provide shelter from rain and if there had been omissions to the original plans for the building that included a garden, could this recent planting be a rather belated attempt at implementation and afterthought by Islington Council?
Bemused and surprised at the mountains of earth that suddenly appeared and then were raked into place to form a generous bed on the wide ledge overhanging the neon sign of Super Persia. I was intrigued to find out if the owner of the shop had decided on cutting the carbon footprint and was set on growing his own peaches and olives, but no, he just laughed and pointed at the sign outside the shop advertising the ‘Secret Garden Project’, and the Bus Stop For Bees created by Margot Bannerman who is a practising artist and senior lecturer at Byam Shaw School of Art in Archway. This is one of the three Bus Stops for Bees that will be presented on roofs around the Archway area. http://www.upprojects.com/secretgarden/projects/margot-bannerman–bee-stop-a-raised-greenspace-/7
Young and established artists with the idea of Greening the High Street launched the “Secret Garden Project” earlier this year as part of a new programme of temporary commissions and pop up art events. Islington Council commissioned it with the aim to create a trail of London’s secret gardens, lesser known green spaces and urban corners.
Emma Underhill and Sarah B Davies curate the Secret Garden Project. The project will evolve across different London Boroughs over the next 18 month beginning with the London Borough of Islington as part of their ‘Greening the Grey Strategy. For more information: http://www.upprojects.com/secretgarden