Tower of London Superbloom: Jubilee wildflower garden marks ‘rebirth’ for palace

“You rarely have the chance to change history. Superbloom is our rebirth - or recovery - as an organisation.”

A stunning wildflower garden planted in the moat of the historic Tower of London to coincide with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations is set to mark a “rebirth” for the palace

The moat, which has been home to a flood of poppies to mark the World War One centenary - is now set for a permanent change with the opening of the Superbloom to the public.

Tom O’Leary, public engagement director says the project is the start of “a new landscape for the moat and biodiverse habitat for London” and a new “legacy” for the Tower of London.

Public engagement director, Tom O’Leary, right, and chief landscape architect Andrew Grant. Photo: LondonWorld

He adds: “You rarely have the chance to change history. The last big change when the moat was drained was in 1845. It’s a privilege to be involved

“Superbloom is our rebirth - or recovery - as an organisation.”

Lit by a specially installed light scheme, and featuring dangling metal insects, and a woven willow nest, it will be permanently open to visitors, with an accessible ramp into the garden.

The Tower of London Superbloom slide. Photo: LondonWorld

Every zone has a different atmosphere, from a Queen’s sculpture garden, musical accompaniment, to the much-advertised giant metal entryway slide.

Of the fairground-worthy attraction, Tom says: “It sets the tone for a fun and creative experience.

“The drop is just right for the moat so the public can arrive via slide, and it delivers you into the moat in quite a spectacular way.”

The moat is not yet in full bloom. Photo: LondonWorld

However, the project has faced serious challenges, from damaging winds blowing in off the river and slowing down growth, to a severe lack of rainfall during “the driest April on record”.

So far, blooms on show are limited, giving a tantalising taste of the colour and life to come.

Tom said: “We’re essentially collaborating with nature. She’s going to do brilliant things but right now she’s reminding us she’s in charge.”

Gardeners have planted a range of blooms in the moat. Photo: LondonWorld

Professor Nigel Dunnett, chief planter at the Superbloom, said: “Creating a whole landscape from seed isn’t without risks.

“It’s been stressful with the spring we’ve had, but we’ve now got the first flowers coming up like jewels in the fresh green foliage.

“The colour will change so you’re not walking though the same thing; it’s a journey of experience.”

Flowers will fill the moat of the Tower of London. Photo: LondonWorld

Once the flowers bloom, gardeners won’t be able to walk into the moat to deadhead them, so the project requires a seed mix for three-and-a-half months of “continuous flowering”.

The moat was divided into 350 rectangles, split between 15 seed mixes and 25 varieties of plant, before being seeded eight weeks ago, at the end of March, with a total of 20m seeds.

From toadflax and cornflowers to cosmos and sunflowers, some of the blooms will be as tall as head height.

Metal insect sculptures in the Superbloom. Photo: LondonWorld

“You’ll be engulfed by them and walking through them,” Prof Dunnett adds.

While he hopes the project will inspire others to create their own slices of wildlife paradise.

“It was a short mown lawn that people couldn’t use - we hope this might inspire people to do something similar,” he said.

An education project, sending thousands of seeds to schools up and down the UK, is aiming to do just this, promoting wellbeing and education as pupils garden along with the Tower.

Composer Erland Cooper. Photo: LondonWorld

Composer Erland Cooper said the Celtic-flavoured melody, titled Music for Growing Flowers, was inspired by the growth cycles of nature, and is meant to be a form of “audio fertiliser”.

“There’s this repeated motif passed around between harp, violin and cello,” he said.

“It’s the simplest feather of a thing - an ambient score of 20 minutes.

“It loops and is supposed to tip the hat to the life cycle of a plant, with a nod to Brian Eno and brings a wee bit of Scotland to the moat.”

While glass artist Max Jaquard explained how the delicate crystal floral sculptures - inspired by the colours of the Queen’s coronation gown - were created.

They feature blossoms from commonwealth nations including India, South Africa, Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand - while the sparkles embody the glitter of the crown jewels.

“We couldn’t plant live flowers from these countries due to the climate,” he said.

Glass artist Max Jaquard. Photo: LondonWorld

“Our flowers are made with materials including glass, upholstery cord, raw silk, plastic diamante and supersized beads.

“It’s a collage of materials to create texture - an aerial ballet.”

Superbloom is open from Wednesday, June 1 to Sunday, September 18. Tickets are from £12 for an adult, and £6.60 for a child, with concession and family prices available.