(2018 - Ongoing)
Soft landscape design
Client: The American Garden in Peckham charity & Southwark Council

JCLA were appointed to revitalise the American Garden in Peckham Rye Park. The design is inspired by the once popular 19th century ‘American Garden’ style: informal and naturalistic gardens where American species, recently introduced to Britain, played the most important role. JCLA’s design is also referencing the work of Peter Collinson, an 18th century Peckham based merchant and plantsman, who was key in importing and popularising North American plants, sparking the interest in ‘American Gardens’. The species used are based on garden history researcher Nancy Coleman-Frank's research and are primarily ones Collinson traded with, as well as ones he grew in his Peckham garden.

Working around a set of valuable existing trees, including a Holm Oak dating back to the original farmstead that occupied the site prior to the park’s creation, the new organically shaped planting beds create a carefully choreographed series of experiences, inviting people to move around, into and through the garden, as well as sheltered spaces in which to linger. A sense of musical composition and rhythm is also reflected in the shape of the garden, inspired by musical notation. The planting is designed to be seasonally changing and multilayered, with trees and shrubs forming the main structure of the beds, with an understorey of perennials.