Cityscapes – mid term review. The Pommery EyeGarden by Andy Sturgeon

Now the first half of the summer’s has passed by, it’s perhaps a good moment to review how Cityscapes 2012 , which Horticulture Week has been reporting on, has progressed since preparations began last August, starting with Andy Sturgeon’s garden at the EDF London Eye.

Before then a brief recap- Cityscapes is a garden design festival on London’s South Bank that was initiated by myself and co-director, garden designer and critical theorist Darryl Moore. For it’s first year the partnership with the South Bank and Bankside Cultural Quarter proved instrumental in not only setting the geographical location but getting things moving at such illustrious venues in the short period of time that we were afforded.

We hoped Cityscapes would help promote gardens as equals in the same cultural forums as other more accepted creative mediums as well as illustrating inventive solutions to designing the urban environment. We haven’t been disappointed, with the designers invited (Andy SturgeonTony Heywood, Alison CondieTom Stuart-SmithSarah EberleAndrew Fisher Tomlin and Todd Longstaffe-Gowan) each coming up with outstanding proposals that enchanted all 6 venues. Sadly two of these have been put off this year because of planning issues, but the respect that these venue directors now have for practitioners of our art form was plainly evident.

A wonderful example was our first garden the EDF London Eye, the venue for our festival launch, which was a far harder brief than you might first imagine. Andy Sturgeon managed to introduce a concept that belied it’s tourist attraction environment into a unique urban garden that evolved throughout the 30 minute journey. What also stood out was the professionalism and grit of Andy and the team at Landform, who heroically installed the garden overnight right in the middle of their respective builds at RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

From early the next morning till nighttime the champagne flowed courtesy of the sponsors Pommery, and proved a potent mix when aded to the child like excitement that everyone brought with them on board. The garden felt like an experience that was to be shared, and this was particularly evident  during the last rotation of the day as they all peered through the quince trees to the sun setting down over London’s western half.

And with that Cityscapes had begun.