First investment into the community
Chiswick Flower Market was created in September 2020, the first new flower market in London for 150 years. Established as a Community Interest Company (CIC), the founders are local residents who work without pay to create a market that is sustainable, joyous and commercially valuable, bringing footfall and business to a struggling High Road.
One year on and the Flower Market is well on its way to achieving many of these aims. The market has not only survived lockdown, but is now expanding from 30 stalls to around 60 on special occasions (such as Christmas, spring planting) and now includes music, entertainment and special events. Having established the market on a stable organisational and financial footing, the CIC is now looking at ways to fulfil its constitutional aims – to improve the High Road area.
As a first step, following overwhelming support from a survey, the decision was taken to redesign and replant the flower beds that run along the High Road, bordering the Old Market Place. These had become neglected and weed-ridden. Chiswick has a long and proud horticultural history; it was the site of the Horticultural Society’s early flower shows (before it became the RHS and moved to Wisley and Chelsea), the training bed for many great gardeners including Joseph Paxton and William Kent. Many plants, including the earliest Camelias, were first bred in the area.
Chiswick High Road, and the Chiswick Flower Market, deserve an appropriate horticultural setting.
The Flower Market commissioned Jutta Wagner, a German designer and gardening author who lived in Chiswick for many years and had successfully designed local gardens including an outstanding public perennial meadow and the walled gardens at Chiswick House, as well as specialist gardens in Berlin, to produce a planting plan that would be sustainable, bio-diverse, beautiful and tough. The council contractors, Hounslow Highways, worked in partnership with the Chiswick Flower Market team, and prepared the beds for replanting, as well as supplying some of the new planting. The bulk of the planting was paid for by the Flower Market CIC and was supplied by Rochfords Nursery, with bulbs from Chelsea gold medal winners Jacques Amand and Eurogarden. Planting was carried out over two days in late October, by the Flower Market team and other volunteers.
The planting focussed around a structure of Hydrangea arborescens (smooth hydrangea), Phormium ‘Sundowner’ (New Zealand flax), and Sarcococca confusa (sweet box), interplanted with grasses, Hebes and Persicaria. White narcissi varieties, Chionodoxa (glory-of-the-snow) and alliums made up the 3000 interplanted bulbs.
We hope you take the opportunity to visit the Old Market Place on Chiswick High Road to enjoy the new plants and flower beds and you will continue to enjoy the flowering changes that would be appearing during spring and summer 2022.