Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Juicy Views From The Sky Garden
John Lewis Roof Terrace
You've just emerged from Oxford Circus underground station; now you're on the crowded streets ready to do some serious shopping. But as you skip in and out of River Island, Aldo, and Uniqlo, little do you know that you're being watched. Someone is spying on you from way up high. No, it isn't God, and it isn't CCTV. In fact it is, little old me.
I'm on the fifth floor of John Lewis taking in the spectacular views from their garden roof terrace. Newly opened this year to celebrate the department store's hundred and fiftieth anniversary, it was designed by RHS Young Garden Designer of the Year 2013, Tony Woods, and is one of the largest roof terraces in the capital.
The terrace is open up to 4pm everyday until the end of August and can be accessed via The Place to Eat cafe. It is also where John Lewis hold a great deal of their summer events, such as the launch party for On Blackheath Festival.
With an artificially turfed lawn that grows into green benches, it creates a lovely spot to sit out on a sunny day. Not everything is artificial though. Most of the greenery you see is very much alive.
Their pioneering living walls not only create boundaries, - and a screen for the outdoor loos - but also act as insulation. The walls are built using a series of shelves set at an angle that contain individual pockets of plants and compost. The layer of air in between the plants help keep the building cool in summer and warm in winter. The walls also reflects and absorbs acoustic energy, meaning the noise of traffic is reduced, while the plants metabolise harmful toxins and release oxygen.
Forty-two species of plants have been used to create the garden, from ivy, cowslip, ragged robin, daisies, and wild flowers, all of which have been specifically selected for being colourful and nectar-rich.
John Lewis support Bernardo's children charity, and are using the terrace to help teach school children gardening skill. There is an allotment patch bordering the terrace, where local children have been growing tomatoes, strawberries, and a pumpkin to raise money.
Although there is a cafe inside, the garden roof terrace has its own snack bar. Joe and the Juice offers healthy snacks and refreshments, with drinks such as 'Go Away Doc' (carrot, apple, and ginger), 'Hell of a Nerve' (strawberry, elderflower, and banana), and 'Fibre Active' (spinach, lemon, and apple). A Choice of sandwiches include 'Avocado', 'Spicy Tuna', 'Tunacado', and others.
If the day does happen to be a bit overcast or chilly, then you can take shelter under the wooded deck, which has ambient lighting behind the panelled walls.