Slide into the Tower of London’s ‘Superbloom’ this Summer

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Superbloom at Tower of London May 22 © Historic Royal Palaces
Superbloom at Tower of London May 22 © Historic Royal Palaces

Slide into the Tower of London’s ‘Superbloom’ this Summer

Superbloom opens to the public on 1 June 2022

Lead sponsor Burberry

The Tower of London is set to be encircled by a thriving new natural landscape this Summer, and from 1 June, visitors will be able to walk through it for the first time.  In celebration of HM The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year, 20 million seeds have been sown in the Tower’s moat, to create ‘Superbloom’ – a floral display and haven for wildlife, surrounding the famous fortress.  The display marks the beginning of a long-term transformation of the moat by the charity that runs the Tower, Historic Royal Palaces.  In a Tower first, a unique entrance has been installed to mark the occasion: a four-lane slide, to deliver visitors into the moat in style! 

Superbloom at Tower of London May 22 Historic Royal Palaces
Superbloom at Tower of London May 22 © Historic Royal Palaces

Upon arrival in the moat – either by slide or on foot – visitors will discover a transformed landscape.  Paths, walkways and viewing points have been installed throughout, offering a new perspective on the Tower’s ancient walls.  A score by Scottish composer Erland Cooper, ‘Music for Growing Flowers’ provides the perfect backdrop to watch the blooms as they begin to flourish.  A willow sculpture, by artist Spencer Jenkins, offers a beautiful vantage point to enjoy views of the display and Tower Bridge, and a swarm of intricate copper insects by sculptor Mehrdad Tafreshi, flies above the East moat.  Meanwhile, the Tower Wharf, with views over the Thames, has been transformed into a vibrant food and drinks venue, with street food and bars from KERB and fine dining available riverside in ‘The Glass Rooms’.

Superbloom at Tower of London May 22 Historic Royal Palaces
Superbloom at Tower of London May 22 © Historic Royal Palaces

Throughout June, flowers will gradually begin to flourish throughout the display, which will change colours and patterns until September.  Selected by Sheffield University Planting Professor Nigel Dunnett, the flowers will provide a rich source of food and nectar for pollinators, bringing more biodiversity to the Tower’s urban surroundings.  Familiar wildflowers will appear in the moat throughout the Summer, from red Poppies, to yellow Corn Marigolds and blue Cornflowers.  In addition to the wildflowers, a range of garden plants will heighten the colour effects and extend the season of flowering.  Sunflowers, Cosmos and Rudbeckias will flower into early autumn, and the snapdragon-like Fairy Toadflax, and Baby’s Breath will bloom at the very beginning of the summer. 

The crowning glory of the display is the ‘Queen’s Garden’, installed in the Tower’s historic Bowling Green.  Inspired by HM The Queen’s Coronation gown by Norman Hartnell, this elegant garden features a combination of meadow flowers, topiary and summer-flowering perennials, bulbs and ornamental grasses.   Developed by Grant Associates, the lead designers for the Superbloom project, the garden draws on the colours, shapes and motifs deployed by Hartnell in the 1953 gown.  Rising above it are 12 cast glass forms by glass artist Max Jacquard, representing the national emblems featured in Hartnell’s design. In the centre of these motifs sits a glass crown, a reminder of the Tower’s role as home of the Crown Jewels.

Superbloom at Tower of London May 22 Historic Royal Palaces
Superbloom at Tower of London May 22 © Historic Royal Palaces

The Tower’s ‘Superbloom’ is already spreading across the country.  As part of the initiative, almost 1,500 schools have been growing their own gardens, using a similar mix of seeds provided by Historic Royal Palaces, who have sent out 17,112 packets of seeds, all over the country, from the Shetlands to Guernsey.  The schools involved have created some amazing new spaces in the heart of their communities, supporting local wildlife and learning about how gardening is good for health and wellbeing along the way.  Many of the schools involved will be visiting the Tower during the Summer, to see the large scale display in bloom.

Superbloom at Tower of London May 22 Historic Royal Palaces
Superbloom at Tower of London May 22 © Historic Royal Palaces

Tom O’Leary, Public Engagement Director, Historic Royal Palaces, said:

‘The Tower’s moat was designed in the 13th century to keep people out – now we’re thrilled to be welcoming people, and nature, into this amazing new green space.  The weather might have set back our blooms, but they’re gradually beginning to appear, and the moat is beginning to buzz with wildlife.  We hope that we’ve created something joyful, celebratory and fun, with a lasting environmental legacy and we look forward to sharing it with visitors to the Tower this Summer.’

The Superbloom and its accompanying schools initiative are generously supported by Lead Sponsor Burberry, Coronation Crown Platinum Partners Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Rothschild & Co and Schroders, State Crown Platinum Partner Bloomberg and Diadem Platinum Partner Marsh; generous donors including The American Friends of Historic Royal Palaces Inc, The City of London Corporation, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Charles Wolfson Charitable Trust, the Hiscox Foundation and others who wish to remain anonymous; as well as a number of City of London livery companies: The Grocers’, Drapers’, Fishmongers’, Goldsmiths’, Merchant Taylors’, Clothworkers’, Wax Chandlers’, Tallow Chandlers’, Saddlers’, Airpilots’, Builders’ Merchants’, Actuaries’ and Engineers’ Companies.

Superbloom at Tower of London May 22 Historic Royal Palaces
Superbloom at Tower of London May 22 © Historic Royal Palaces