We found ourselves in London recently, and took advantage of a spare afternoon to visit the Superbloom at the Tower of London.
What a feast for the senses!
Created in celebration of Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June, the installation has transformed the moat at the Tower of London into a sea of wildflowers.
In the early months of the year, after landscaping the ground, the team behind the Superbloom sowed an astonishing 20 million seeds, creating a haven for pollinators in this previously sterile urban environment. May’s cold and wet weather meant things got off to a slow start, but since then the Superbloom has exploded into life, and at the moment it’s positively buzzing.
The display has been cleverly designed so that as the summer passes, swathes of colour ripple through the installation, different every week as the flowers respond to the conditions. In early August the moat was filling with the yellows and golds of high summer, with areas of blue and white blooms lingering on from spring’s fresher colour palette.
The opportunity to walk around in the moat is very special. This area, first laid out in the 13th century to keep people out of the Tower, is now open to all. It felt very poignant that this place of incarceration, fear and turmoil has become a place of such tranquility. A place to wander freely, to watch bees bumble through the millions of flowers and to listen to the rustling of the grasses. A restful ambient soundscape plays and the scents of the blooms wash over you. The noise of the city fades away. It’s a wonderfully immersive, almost meditative experience.
The project was conceived by Historic Royal Palaces, the charity which cares for the Tower of London, and was several years in the planning. The landscape architects are Grant Associates and the University of Sheffield’s Professor of Planting Design and Urban Horticulture, Nigel Dunnett – one of the creators of the spectacular Olympic Park planting for the 2012 London Olympics.
The new landscape at the Tower will remain, ready to bloom again next year, as a new natural legacy. If you get the chance to visit, do go, it’s a truly memorable experience.
The Superbloom is open until 18 September 2022.