A few weeks ago a new pocket park opened in London, and this one floats on the water. It’s a floating garden that’s been created in the Royal Docks, next to the Dangleway as a “green haven for people and nature alike”.
The floating garden is roughly half decking and half planting, and the plating is designed to create a micro-wilderness of submerged roots that create a new habitat for microorganisms that feed off the mix of carbon and nutrients in the water, purifying it.
A range of over 20 plants have been chosen for the floating garden, and while at the moment it looks a bit threadbare, that’s because it’s new. Over a couple of years, much of the planting will rise upwards for the humans and downwards for the microorganisms, creating a proper nature reserve.
The main problem I find though with the floating garden is the lack of seating.
As a result, while you can walk down the ramp to get a few feet closer to the water than had you stayed on the pavement, the issue is why would you? If it had seating at least a person could enjoy the park, but as it is, you walk down, wander around and wander off.
It could be argued that the park is more about improving biodiversity in the area, in which case why bother with the ramp and decking? Much more could have been done to improve the area by spending the money on even more planting floating along the dockside
Removing humans from the floating garden might have also had a secondary benefit, as it has already become a dumping ground for rubbish from visitors too lazy to take their rubbish home with them.
As a floating garden, it has a slight air of design by committee about it, with a good idea to improve the environment being combined with a floating deck that then fails to be appealing to visit because of the lack of seating to make it a place to enjoy.