The Francis Crick Institute

I was very excited to get the green light to plant up this scheme that I designed recently for The Francis Crick Institute, which is a new, cutting edge scientific research centre coming close to completion in Kings Cross, London.

I worked with London Wildlife Trust (LWT), the Crick Institute community engagement team and the local community to come up with a dynamic garden design in the front of the main building that will eventually be open 24/7 for the local community and institute staff and visitors to enjoy. 

The Concept Masterplan with broad planting themes indicated

The Concept Masterplan with broad planting themes indicated

The garden has a series of rounded spaces that are slightly offset from one another in a linked chain of themed planting with different textures, forms and scents. These are positioned along a gently pathway together softening the dramatic geometry of the surrounding space.

Moving along the path the visitor will experience a series of changing views of form and planting to excite and sooth the senses and inspire the mind. The planting will vary from a predominantly denser, dramatic outside edge, a softer, lighter sensory path core and a flowering ground cover. The plants will be wildlife friendly with a long seasonal interest for all to enjoy.

It is quite a complex planting scheme so I split it into several drawings by their planting theme. We were aiming to plant the garden by the end of June to get a good display going this season and to give the plants plenty of time to bed in before winter.

One of the Planting Plans with the Denser Edge planting indicated

One of the Planting Plans with the Denser Edge planting indicated

There were around 2000 plants specified in the design,  which can take some time and organisation to source and coordinate their transport, storage and delivery and to co-ordinate this with the construction team as well as the site development infrastructure in general.

Hundreds and hundreds of gorgeous plants really to go in the soil

Hundreds and hundreds of gorgeous plants at the nursery and ready to go in the soil

Hundreds and hundreds of gorgeous plants really to go in the soil

Hundreds and hundreds of gorgeous plants at the nursery ready to go in the soil

The planting team on site worked very hard to get the plants into the soil in despite some of the hard works of the garden not being completed and the surrounding site still being under intense construction.  The freak heatwave did not help either and we had to work extra hard to keep the plants moist and stress free.  But is was worth it as the planted scheme has pulled together very nicely.  It is full of colour and texture and form and should develop nicely over the coming months and seasons to provide year round interest and lots of nectar and shelter for wildlife too. The last of the hardworks such as the path in the garden still need to be completed and the beds mulched but so far it is shaping up very well indeed.  It has been a real pleasure to get the bulk of the planting in and underway.

Colour texture and form

Colour texture and form soften the hard landscape – which is still being built

Colour texture and form soften the hard landscape

Colour texture and form soften the surrounding hard landscape – which is still being built

Curvy rounded form - although the path still needs to be laid.

Curvy rounded form – although the path still needs to be laid

The clover lawn will soon fill up

The clover lawn will soon fill up