kensington roofGardening is, for the most part, about digging down into the soil, stooping low to weed, and generally pottering about getting under the skin of the earth. So how refreshing might it be to visit a garden that’s all about being high-up, above the hurly-burly of life below?

risc roofRoof gardens provide just such a perspective – perched on a humble domestic roof terrace, like the RISC garden in Reading, or spread lavishly over 1.5 acres like the Kensington Roof Gardens. Both of these horticultural creations are well worth a visit for those looking to expand their own outside spaces beyond terra firma.

riscThe RISC garden is all about growing food to eat, recycling and biodiversity (www.risc.org.uk/gardens) and is a great place to gain inspiration for those looking to garden sustainably or with an interest in ‘forest gardening‘.

Open days 12 noon – 4 pm on 21st May, 2nd July, 6th August and 10th/11th September 2016.

kensington_roof_wisteriaThe Kensington Roof Gardens couldn’t be more different – the space is all about imagination, escape, luxury and spectacle. There are fountains and ponds, mature trees, tudor archways and tiled walkways. The planting is by turns exotic and colourful (dahlias, phormiums and palms), then wistful and familiar (wisteria, hazel, oak and box).

flamingoesAnd then there’s the flamingoes… real ones.

This astonishing garden is full of ideas for those wanting to undertake more theatrical garden projects, or who simply want to inject a touch of luxurious planting into their back yard.

Open daily to the public¬† – please call in advance to check that the venue isn’t closed for events. (www.virginlimitededition.com/en/the-roof-gardens) 0207 937 7994.

jellicoeSomewhere between the gardening philosophy of the RISC garden and the Kensington Roof Gardens lies the Jellicoe Roof Garden in Guildford. This hidden (and little known) gem is situated on top of what is now the House of Fraser Department store. Opened in 1958, it was designed by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe to symbolize and celebrate the launch of the first earth satellite – Sputnik. The garden reflects the sky in its mirrored gravel ponds and there are grasses, iris and corkscew hazel and willows to enjoy.

Open daily via House of Fraser during normal store opening times.

So if you’re looking for a fresh perspective on gardening head out to one of these unique gardens… just mind you don’t come down to earth with a bump once you’ve had your head in the clouds.