Chelsea Fringe – London Garden No 14

Five Minutes Peace: a garden to sit in, a poem to read, and a prompt to write to … No 14. (Find out more about what this is all about here.)

SALTERS’ COMPANY GARDEN, FORE STREET, EC4

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It’s amazing to think this is the fourteenth garden in this series, and I wondered if I would find enough!

Anyway, this one was such a find, although to be honest, even though I had the address, I walked past it several times! Perhaps it’s not surprising … But be bold – it’s open, free and they welcome visitors!

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The garden, designed by the late David Hicks, is tucked away behind this rather unpromising entrance of the Salters Livery Company. Once you are in it though, it really is an oasis of lush green.

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It has been created in a series of rooms so every bench could be occupied, and you would still feel you had some privacy.

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And I was very conscious how much is waiting to burst forth, so I imagine it becoming rather like a fairy tale garden right in the centre of the city. I could see my favourite flowers, peonies, lying in wait too. I love how the blossom here looks as if it is trying to cover the office building behind!

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If you follow the garden round, you come to another gem, St Alphage Gardens, right under the walls of the Barbican. It really does feel like a secret, and I wasn’t surprised when the only other person there came up to tell me how pleased they were to have found it too. Apparently, he has been walking every day to work along a parallel busy street for some years, and for some reason took a diversion to explore that day. It was the first time he’d found the garden.

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When I visited, the blossom was carpeting the floor, so I offer you today a piece from a very unLondon poem, Shropshire Lad by A E Housman

*

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now

Is hung with bloom along the bough,

And stands about the woodland ride

Wearing white for Eastertide.

*

Now, of my threescore years and ten,

Twenty will not come again,

And take from seventy springs a score,

it only leaves me fifty more.

*

And since to look at things in bloom

Fifty springs are little room,

About the woodlands I will go

To see the cherry hung with snow.

*

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And I invite you to write about what might be hiding in your garden….

(ps I do know this isn’t a cherry, but wouldn’t that be fab? Imagine having your office lunch here with a bunch of cherries for after…)

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