From the Superintendent's desk

A team of University Parks gardeners has transformed the Ashmolean Museum's rooftop garden restaurant.
The roof terrace restaurant is always popular with visitors, but the Ashmolean’s commercial team knew it needed refreshing after nearly 15 years. They spoke to one of our Gardening Supervisors, and, working closely with Museum staff, he has created a tranquil and stylish backdrop for diners to enjoy as well as a source of fresh herbs for the restaurant kitchen.
Sustainability is important to us, so the new scheme makes use of the planters that were already on site, filling them with a mix of vegetables and ornamental plants, including roses, pollen-rich plants for insects, and climbers that will eventually cover the perimeter railings. There are also new, handmade sleeper planters for herbs. The plants are chosen to be tough as well as attractive, and we hope that they will stand up well to hot, dry summers on the roof without depending on daily watering. 

Herb Planter on Roof Garden

Planters filled with a mix of vegetables and ornamental plants

Herb Planter on Roof Garden

Handmade sleeper planters for herbs


The new garden also has a smart new gravel surface, extending the restaurant's outdoor seating area considerably. 

The design was the easy bit! This was a challenging location for a landscaping project. The team had to remove all of the old turf, soil and plants down a small lift to the service entrance, and bring all the new materials to the top of the building via the same route, including tonnes of compost for the planters, more tonnes of stone chips for the floor, and treated timber for the new planters.

Herb Planter on Roof Garden

Parks team removing all of the old turf, soil, plants and building new planters

Herb Planter on Roof Garden

The smart new gravel surface waiting to replace the old flooring


But the effort was worth it. We are so pleased to have a happy customer, with the Head Chef Steven Tuchscherer telling the Oxford Mail that his team are ‘delighted with the result’. We all hope that the space will now provide Museum visitors with a beautiful, relaxing dining environment for years to come. 

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