A renovated pocket park recently opened near St. Paul’s Cathedral and now features a large, polished reflection pond that allows photographers to see the cathedral reflected in the still water.
That’s the theory at least, but what about during a heatwave when all the water features are off?
Well, you have an odd structure in the middle of the park that looks not dissimilar to a huge stone wall with a dark void in the middle. It might as well be modern art instead of a dried up reflecting pool.
Before the park’s renovation and the arrival of the (non)reflection pond, the pocket park was primarily a large open lawn surrounded by bushes and trees. The bushes and trees remain, but the lawn has been removed and replaced with bedding plants and the waterless pond in the middle. The ground is now gravel instead of grass. But seasonal planting — in response to changing climate conditions — as well as flowering species, bird and bat boxes, and insect hotels will improve biodiversity.
In normal times, the reflecting pool should also cool down the city, but not in times of drought.
More seating has been added around the edges to compensate for the loss of turf, with the new benches matching the older design’s slightly sculpted wings.
Overall, the loss of turf to sit on is a shame, but wide slabs of monoculture turf are rightfully out of style in our biodiversity-conscious times, and installing an “Insta-friendly” water feature means many more people will likely be looking for it Park out than just casually walk past it.
The new design was a collaboration between the City of London, international property company Pembroke and landscape design firm Tom Stuart-Smith. The Reflection Garden is part of a refurbishment of 25 Cannon Street by Pembroke, alongside new retail and hospitality space, approved in 2020. Thanks to the public garden and the new roof terrace, the urban greening factor has increased from 0.29 to 0.49.