Saturday, 10 September 2016

Oxford City centre gardens to Woodstock Road the green way

I took the long way up to Woodstock Road, because it was a nice day, and hey, Pokémon, which involves going up the canal, across the footbridge into Jericho, an area which used to be canal slums, then a boho area where lots of my friends lived in dilapidated, chaotic house-shares, but which is now a fantastically expensive area full of cleverly renovated miniature terraced back-to-backs and overpriced new-build flats which vibrate to the sound of the passing trains, then take the university (Blavatnik School of Government)  architectural (Radcliffe Observatory) fireworks (Andrew Wiles Building) cut-through, before finally emerging at the bottom of Woodstock Road opposite the Royal Oak.

This takes you past some very different garden approaches. At the start, you're walking past the oldest permanent narrowboat moorings in Oxford. The moorings are fully serviced and the boats have gardens, hedges, terraces, and a happy population of friendly, well-fed cats (as above). There are always good plants growing. Then you move through the warm streets of Jericho, where houses open directly onto the roads and many houses have no gardens; a world of small municipal trees and bare-rock invaders like Valerian, Stonecrop, and Buddleia, which sprouts from every unattended crevice, blown over from the railways. Then the emerging architectural innovation display area which is the ROQ - the Radcliffe Observatory Quarter -  where empty spaces are steadily being appropriated for astonishing buildings and green spaces punctuated with learning-appropriate artpieces, like the shiny silver tree in a freshly-planted Silver Birch grove shown above.

I wonder if the gardeners will wash the Silver Birches to match to art?

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