‘What are Gardens For?’ Join OGSW at the Coutts Skyline Garden this May for a Chelsea Fringe expert panel debate

Beech Gardens, the Barbican Estate © Graham Willson 5
Beech Gardens at the Barbican, designed by Nigel Dunnett (© Graham Willson)

Tickets go on sale on 21 March for ‘What are Gardens For?’ – a far-reaching debate and discussion exploring the value and purpose of gardens and planted spaces.

Buy tickets online from 21 March at 10am – limited numbers available 

Open Garden Squares Weekend celebrates gardens of every kind and shape, and the impact they have on the lives of those who live, work and travel in London.

Our expert panellists will discuss the value of all kinds of gardens – roofs, wildflower meadows, hospital and therapeutic gardens, allotments and produce gardens and historic and commemorative gardens.  They will consider the collective impact of all these spaces, as well as the individual joy to be found in each one.

Event details

Date: Tuesday 21 May 2019, 6pm for 6.30pm
Location: Coutts, 440 Strand, London WC2R 0QS
Tickets: £28 per person (includes complimentary drink and canapés prepared by the Coutts kitchen)

Guests will have a chance to explore the Coutts Skyline Garden and hear about its creation with executive chef Peter Fiori. The garden lies on each side of a narrow walkway around the roof of the building, and includes a flourishing south-facing fruit garden, a kitchen garden and cottage garden.

The Coutts Skyline Garden is participating in Open Garden Squares Weekend with tours allocated via public ballot. The ballot opens on 3 April at 10am via the OGSW website.

Buy OGSW advance tickets online now 


Nigel DunnettProfessor of Planting Design and Urban Horticulture in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield. Lead planting consultant for the London 2012 Olympic Park. Created the John Lewis Rain Garden, Beech Gardens on the Barbican Estate and The Diamond Garden to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth’s accession to the British throne.

Kathryn Rossiter: Chief Executive of Thrive, the nationwide charity which uses gardening to bring about positive changes in the lives of people with disabilities or ill-health, or who are isolated, disadvantaged or vulnerable.

Pilar Medrano Dell: horticultural consultant, formerly Head Gardener at Kensington Roof Gardens and now Horticulture Technical Manager for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission inspecting sites and giving support to garden managers and 850 staff based all over the world.

Claire Ratinon: urban organic growing advocate who currently works as a Patchwork Farmer growing salad for the Hackney-based social enterprise Growing Communities and as a Kitchen Gardener at former Wolves Lane Centre in Haringey. Alongside these growing endeavours, Claire has delivered educational sessions and growing workshops throughout London to audiences including East London primary schools, community centres and for corporate clients.

The panel will be chaired by Ruth Holmes, Chair of the London Parks & Gardens Trust which organises Open Garden Squares Weekend. She commented: “The London Parks & Gardens Trust is committed to celebrating horticulture, cultivating knowledge and championing green spaces across London for the benefit of all. In that role, we are very excited to be bringing together such a high-profile panel of speakers to explore the value and impact of well designed and maintained gardens and planted spaces. In sharing their breadth of experience and knowledge we hope to inspire a vision for the kind of London we want to live in where high quality green infrastructure is right at the heart of making our cities more liveable.