Chelsea Fringe – London Garden No 9

Five Minutes Peace: a garden to sit in, a poem to read, and a prompt to write to … No 9. (Find out more about what this is all about here.)



This little public park sandwiches the Tate Britain with the Thames. I was walking round it thinking how it felt like a sanctuary for residents and nearby workers, each bench was occupied by individuals enjoying a break. This man, for example, works for a nearby pizza restaurant and says he comes here as often as he can for the peace.


And the planting felt like a picture in itself…


… appropriate with the Tate Britain so near, and the statue of Millais watching with interest.


Interestingly, the area used to be the site of the old Millbank Prison, and if you walk along the riverbank you can see the memorial to where prisoners were shipped to Australia.


And if you walk just one hundred metres from the park, you will find one of my favourite jewellery shops, @Work, which had an appropriate garden display in its windows!


So my poem for Millbank Gardens is this lovely three-liner from David Ignatow, which seems to sum up the gardens for me, the feeling of peace and the underlying layer of the prison. As well of course as the Chelsea Fringe!

If Flowers Want to Grow

David Ignatow

If flowers want to grow

right out of concrete sidewalk cracks

I’m going to bend down to smell them.

And I invite you today to write about your favourite lunchtime sanctuary. Here’s one of the bench memorial plaques from Millbank Garden to give you some inspiration!


6 thoughts on “Chelsea Fringe – London Garden No 9

  1. HI Sarah
    Thank you for such a wonderful cyber visit around London’s Gardens. These are amongst my favourite places in London and I used to seek them out when working in London (and still do). I remember meeting my dad at Millbank for lunch, he in his painting overalls (he was working on the London office of Jarrolds and Sons..a Norwich book printers..sadly no more) and I was at art college. Sat chatting, sketching and whiling the time away. A peaceful sanctuary. Sadly, dad is no longer with me but the memory and his spirit is..

    (I hope I have not entered a variation of this twice pc glitch)

  2. Pingback: Chelsea Fringe – London Garden No 10 | Writer In The Garden

  3. Pingback: Chelsea Fringe – London Garden No 12 | Writer In The Garden

  4. Hi sarah. Love the idea of your blog. Thank you. I’m an author, finishing my second novel, a sequel to the first. I’m so glad I stumbled across this, as my book, ‘If Everyone Knew Every Plant And Tree’ has similar themes: horticulture, art, poetry…

    I’m writing a passage where my plant-obsessed protagonist has run away and after a visit to Tate Britain and a moment with Millais, escapes to Milbank Gardens. I’ve never been there myself (though will be visiting it in a few weeks time!) and needed to see it to be able to describe it and, well, I discovered your lovely blog and book.

    Perhaps our paths will cross some day…

    All the best,
    Julia Johnston

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