Bath firm honoured to bring flower power to the Tower of London to mark Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

June 10, 2022

The boss of the Bath landscape architecture practice behind a special ‘Queen’s Garden’ at the Tower of London marking Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee has spoken of his pride at masterminding the project.

Grant Associates led on the ‘Superbloom’ visitor experience for Historic Royal Palaces, which owns the Tower.

The project, pictured, involved sowing 20m seeds in the fortress’s moat to create a floral display and haven for wildlife and biodiversity. 

The nature-focused attraction, which opened on 1 June, celebrates the value and importance of nature to the nations collective wellbeing.

New paths, walkways and viewing points offer a fresh perspective on the Tower’s ancient walls, while a 17.5m four-lane slide offers a unique way for people to enter the moat. 

Grant Associates founder and director Andrew Grant RDI, pictured, said “We’re proud and honoured to have been given the chance to transform this historic site into a wonderful new visitor experience.

“It’s a brilliant example of how we can repurpose urban green spaces in ways that we hope will bring wonder and joy to millions of people, whilst creating rich new habitats for wildlife and biodiversity.”

The planting scheme for the Superbloom has been selected to provide visitors with a different experience whenever they visit and is bolstered by an evocative soundscape and sculptures. 

Familiar wildflowers will appear in the moat throughout the summer – from red poppies, to yellow corn marigolds and blue cornflowers. 

In addition to the wildflowers, a range of garden plants will heighten the colour effects and extend the season of flowering. 

The snapdragon-like fairy toadflax and baby’s breath will bloom at the very beginning of the summer while sunflowers, cosmos and rudbeckias will flower into early autumn.

The crowning glory of the display is the ‘Queen’s Garden’, installed in the Tower’s historic Bowling Green.

Inspired by HM The Queen’s Coronation gown by Sir Norman Hartnell, the elegant garden features a combination of meadow flowers, topiary and summer-flowering perennials, bulbs and ornamental grasses.

Designed by Andrew Grant along with Grant Associates senior associate James Clarke, the garden draws on the colours, shapes and motifs deployed by Hartnell in his 1953 gown.

Rising above it are 12 cast glass forms by artist Max Jacquard, representing the national emblems featured in Hartnell’s design.

A glass crown in the centre of these motifs acts as a reminder of the Tower’s role as home of the Crown Jewels. The layout of the space – with its concentric scalloped hedging – is intended to evoke the scalloped tiers of embroidery which feature on the gown’s silk skirt.

Historic Royal Palaces public engagement director Tom O’Leary said: “The Tower’s moat was designed in the 13th century to keep people out – now we’re thrilled to be welcoming people, and nature, into this amazing new green space.

“The weather might have set back our blooms, but they’re gradually beginning to appear, and the moat is beginning to buzz with wildlife.

“We hope that we’ve created something joyful, celebratory and fun, with a lasting environmental legacy and we look forward to sharing it with visitors to the Tower this summer.”

Superbloom runs until 18 September.

Grant Associates, which also has an office in Singapore – where it helped create the city-state’s spectacular Gardens by the Bay – has also worked on major projects in the Far East, Australia and the UK, including supporting Bath’s Forest of Imagination community arts event. It also won the Best Show Garden at last year’s Chelsea Flower Show.


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