Bernie Spain Gardens

Like an oasis at the heart of the neighbourhood, Bernie Spain Gardens is enjoyed by local residents, local employees as well as the thousands of visitors to the area.

Named after Bernadette Spain, a local campaigner on health and housing provisions for the area’s residents in the 1980s, the gardens are owned, managed and maintained by Coin Street Community Builders.

Planned upgrade

The gardens have not had a major upgrade since they were created in 1988. To maintain this important, well-used and loved local amenity, improvements are taking place.

Consultation and design competition

Our Bernie Spain Gardens consultation in 2016 told us that the south Garden (south of Upper Ground) was well-liked but that the much more heavily trafficked north Garden next to the river seemed worn and in need of upgrading. Some planting improvements in the south Garden are already underway (see below) but for the north Garden we launched a design competition inviting proposals for a full re-landscaping. Headlines of the brief, informed by the 2016 consultation, include

  • A robust, high quality garden that is as natural and green as possible
  • Much enhanced planting, with year-round horticultural interest, including biodiverse and sensory planting where possible
  • Facilities for garden staff and horticulture training programmes
  • New irrigation and drainage, paths, seating, lighting, and CCTV

Design competition winner: West 8

West 8’s ‘pollinator garden’ was selected the winner of the design competition, announced on 10 May 2018. West 8 was one of five shortlisted competition entrants, the others being Bradley-Hole Schoenaich Landscape, J & L Gibbons, Kinnear Landscape Architects (KLA), and Reynolds Design – see all the proposals below.

The winning design

West 8’s design features two illustrious pollinator gardens at its heart enclosed by an intimate garden-like setting complete with a custom-designed gardener’s pavilion. The ‘pollinator gardens’ feature an abundance of nectar and pollen-rich flowers. Creating the ideal habitat for foraging, shelter and nesting for birds, bees, butterflies and moths throughout the seasons. With spectacular colourful and scented floral displays, the garden features native floral diversity and provides a valuable resource for declining pollinator populations, currently at risk due to habitat loss, introduced diseases, pesticide poisoning, and pollution. It will be here that residents, workers and visitors can spend time and interact with nature.

Read more here.

Competition and consultation

West 8 was one of five landscape architect teams shortlisted.  All five teams presented their design proposals at a public meeting and exhibition in March. Thank you to everyone who provided comment and feedback by attending, or via our online feedback form. Feedback and comments gathered were supplied to the selection panel.  See all five proposals on the links below.

Bradley-Hole Schoenaich

J & L Gibbons

Kinnear Landscape Architects (KLA)

Reynolds Design

West 8

For more information please email Louise King.

Makeover of south part of gardens

The southern part of the gardens is also getting a mini-makeover. We have been working with Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST) and Idverde to replant the flower bed on the eastern edge of the gardens with hundreds of bulbs and plants. The new planting provides seasonal colour throughout the year and the plants have been selected to attract pollinators (eg butterflies) and other wildlife.

Get gardening

Love the gardens and fancy some gardening? We run gardening activities at Bernie Spain Gardens and elsewhere locally. To get involved in our Gorgeous Gardens gardening sessions please get in touch with Laura on 020 7021 1600 or for further information. Open to all regardless of age or ability.

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