I’ve long been fascinated by people’s need to make gardens, sometimes in the most unlikely places. I’ve got this theme in mind for yet another personal project, although I’ve got so many of these on the go now that I’m losing track. It’s probably just as well that summer’s over and there won’t be much opportunity to follow this one up for a while. I do have a few shots that I hope are worth sharing, though.
The first few are of an amazing community garden on a rooftop right in the centre of London. I wrote here about my visit to the South Bank Centre, but I had loads of images in that post already and had to leave something out. It was quite surreal to go up the steps onto the rooftop and discover a thriving and abundant vegetable garden, complete with a meadow and a grassy area. The rain came down in those big heavy drops that wet you right through just after we got up there – I don’t have many shots and they’re not as good as I’d like them to be and they really don’t do the place justice. The sheer lushness of containers overflowing with fruit, vegetables and flowers just doesn’t come across. (But as you can see from the raindrops on the lens, I didn’t get a lot of time before running for cover.) In the one at the top, and the next one, you can see the London Eye in the background.
The next garden is much closer to home – just a few minutes walk from where I live. This house had a garage extension which provided it with a flat roof that was just begging to be turned into a garden. It went up for sale a while ago and the new owners did just that. It looks so out of place in among the rather austere Victorian terraces and all the brick and concrete around it. What I really love is how they used the adjacent telegraph pole as a hanging basket support.
There’s a part of me that really likes doing this kind of social documentary stuff, but it fights with the part that likes to produce a beautiful image. When I was taking the ones above, my normal instinct would have been to go in close and exclude anything ugly or unnecessary, and to turn it into something that was different from how it appeared in ‘real’ life. (The last image is getting much closer to my normal style) The whole point here, though, was to show the roof garden in context so that you could see how it was a little oasis of flowers in the midst of an area where few people bother to grow anything. The resulting pictures aren’t nearly as aesthetically pleasing as I like my images to be and I’m finding I have a real problem with that………..