Kensington Roof Gardens (Derry & Toms)
   
Project Name: Kensington Roof Gardens (Derry & Toms)
Year: 1938
Owner: Derry & Toms Department Store
Location: London, England, UK
Building Type: Commercial
Type: Intensive
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 65340 sq.ft.
Slope: 1%
Access: Accessible, Private
Submitted by: Greenroofs.com

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:
Landscape Architect: Ralph Hancock
The Roof Gardens in Kensington is an exotic urban oasis six floors above the clothes shop Gap. In 1936, businessman Trevor Bowen commissioned landscape architect Ralph Hancock to design and build the currently named Kensington Roof Gardens. Over a two-year period Hancock planted more than 500 species of plants and shrubs in the one and a half acre site situated 100 feet above street level previously occupied and made famous by the Derry & Toms Department Store.

Owned by Richard Branson since 1982, the gardens are now part of Virgin Limited Edition. They host a members' club, a private function venue and, on the seventh floor overlooking the gardens, the Babylon Restaurant.
There are three themed gardens: the Spanish Garden, Tudor Courtyard and English Woodland Garden, with over 70 full-size trees and a flowing stream, with fish, ducks and our two resident flamingos. The website states, see below, "The average depth of the soil is 18-inch drainage made of bricks and clinker over a waterproof membrane. Ralph Hancock brought in some 500 species of plants and shrubs and even imported rock from Pennsylvania for his alpine planting on the assumption that it would withstand London's polluted atmosphere." David Lewis, the head gardener has said that despite the wind they are able to grow jasmine and wistaria. They mulch regularly to keep the 18 inch-deep growing media fertile.

Additional thumbnail photos:

Learn about the history of the Kensington Roof Gardens on their website. Read Greenroofs.com's publisher, Linda Velazquez's January - April 2004 Sky Gardens ~ Travels in Landscape Architecture column about other London area greenroofs here.
 
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