We arrived at the foot of a cliff face of white fins that surge up into the sky… and so began our visit to the Sky Garden at the top of 20 Fenchurch Street, the public park that just happens to be 35 storeys above the ground.
Like walking from below the deck of a ship, the blue sky rolls around you as the elevator doors open. The feeling of being the figurehead at the prow of a ship is undeniable: below the murky waters writhe below you, but in focus become the twisting grey streets of old London… you see birds darting across the sky and then you realise they are planes headed for Heathrow.
London and its brilliant sky are all you can see. But beyond that first impression, the Shard is the first thing you are able to fully focus on, centred in your eye-line, a literal splinter of crystal forcing its way out of the depths of London. If you are able to look back from the watching summer light glint of the curving Thames below you what emerges is the City cluster, with the Cheesegrater, Gherkin and NatWest Tower dutifully lined up like chess pieces in a row.
Once you take your eyes off the skyscape, the glade of full-height trees, planted slopes dotted with steel watering columns seems like a Babylonian futuristic garden come into view. Designed by landscape practice Gillespies, it appears as if you’re coming across a mountain slope and it certainly feels like that. It’s a world of ferns and succulents, punctuated by African lilies, red hot pokers and bird of paradise plants.
This was a modern pleasure garden we can get excited about and we hope you do too.
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