Cambridge Central Mosque
This garden grew from a collaboration with Emma Clark, Islamic Garden Specialist. The new Cambridge City eco-Mosque has won multiple awards for Community build and for its environmental credentials.
Being a public garden, this project received an incredible amount of love from passers-by. They would stop to offer help with sowing seeds and planting and people travelled from far and wide hoping to get a glimpse of the mosque prior to opening. This sense of shared ownership within the community evolved into a volunteer group of gardeners, who planted hundreds of bulbs in the Autumn of 2019 lead by the head gardener, Helen Seal. We are grateful for the warmest of welcomes from all at the Mosque, who supported our work by going beyond their roles and getting involved with looking after the plants, keeping them safe from construction and watering them in the heat of spring.
A guiding design principal was to combine Islamic design with a contemporary British plant palette incorporating perennials, scented flowering shrubs and a succession of bulbs.
In the Islamic Garden we created a jewel palette of perennial planting underneath and around the crab-apple trees and outside the perimeter fence in a small Community public garden we planted a plethora of Mediterranean shrubs full of scent and year-round colour which set off the columnar silver Birch trees.
We have undergone extensive research into the flora of various parts of the Islamic world including Turkey, the Middle East and the Mediterranean, selecting a beautiful combination of perennial plants and bulbs. Some of the most interesting and unusual species include Geranium ibericum ‘Ushguli Grijis’, Trifolium rubens (Noble clover), Cyclamen persicum (Persian cyclamen), Nectaroscordum siculum (honey garlic or honey lily), Dianthus carthusianorum (Carthusian Pink), Verbascum phoeniceum ‘Violetta’ (Pheonician purple mullein), as well as the better known Viola odorata (violet), Primula (primrose), Eryngium (mountain eryngo) and Phlomis (Middle Eastern Sage).
We have a special addition to the scheme in honour of the genius loci of the mosque: an Iris sibirica named ‘Cambridge’!
Photos by Howard Rice
CDM Principal Designer
Marks Barfield Architects
Price & Myers (construction)
Skelly & Couch
Emma Clark with Urquhart & Hunt
Professor Keith Critchlow
Faithful & Gould
Smith & Wallwork Engineers
Faithful & Gould