Tower of London 'Superbloom' project for Queen's platinum jubilee was developed on Sheffield estates

Green fingered Sheffield gardens expert Nigel Dunnett is helping transform the Tower of London, for the Queen.

Thursday, 25th November 2021, 11:02 am
Updated Thursday, 25th November 2021, 11:07 am

If it looks familiar, that’s because he is using a special mix of seeds that he has already trialled in parks and on housing estates across Sheffield.

Nigel, who is a professor at the University of Sheffield’s Department of Landscape Architecture, designed the seed mix for a project called ‘Superbloom’, which is being run to celebrate the platinum jubilee next year.

It will see millions of flowers encircle the tower next summer, and has seen Nigel work with Historic Royal Palaces.

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Undated handout photo issued by Historic Royal Palaces of blooms at the Tower of London. The Tower of London will be surrounded by a vibrant field of millions of colourful flowers in celebration of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee next year. Historic Royal Palaces said the "Superbloom" floral display will fill and transform the moat around the tourist attraction in central London. In spring 2022, more than 20 million seeds will be sown from carefully designed seed mixes. Issue date: Tuesday November 23, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story ROYAL Tower . Photo credit should read: Richard Lea-Hair/Historic Royal Palaces/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.

A total of 20 million carefully selected seeds are being sown in the tower’s moat, to create a sea of continuously evolving flowers from June to September 2022.

Nigel, who has met the Queen in the past, said: “We hope that the effect of being surrounded by a sea of colourful, sparkling and vibrant flowers will release feelings of pure joy in visitors – it will be such a powerful, emotional and celebratory experience.”

“We’ve undertaken a lot of testing and trials to ensure that we deliver dramatic, beautiful impressionistic blends of colours, a long and continuous sequence of flowering and a wonderful place for pollinating insects.”

In summer 2021, Nigel led extensive tests at Sheffield-based social enterprise Green Estate, to ensure the planting delivers a long and continuous sequence of flowering for visitors to enjoy.

Queen Elizabeth II with Robertson Family Roof Garden designer Professor Nigel Dunnett, during a visit to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to open the roof garden and meet patients and staff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday September 29, 2017. The Royal Bank of Canada offered their entire gold medal-winning Chelsea Flower Show garden to NHS Grampian and it was adapted by designer Professor Nigel Dunnett so that wheelchairs and intensive care unit patients could make use of the area. See PA story ROYAL Queen. Photo credit should read: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Nigel added: “the Tower of London ‘Superbloom’ has its roots in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield and very strong Sheffield connections. It's the latest in a long succession of 'designed superblooms' arising out of research in the Department.”

“This research, which developed reliable designed meadow seed mixes, was originally applied in parks and housing areas as well as along highways in Sheffield.

“Demand for these seed mixes grew to be so high, that I formed the University of Sheffield company 'Pictorial Meadows'. It’s exciting that Pictorial Meadows and Green Estate will be closely involved in the delivery of the moat project.”

“The event has been in the planning and design stages for over a year, but it is only now that we are able to talk about it. Suddenly it has become real, with the first works already starting in the moat.”

Nigel Dunnett's seed combinations which have been developed around Sheffield are to be used as a major attraction at the Tower of London for the Queen's platinim jubilee. Picture by Gerard Binks.