Artist Creates a Floating Garden Habitat for Wildlife

other view photo

Photo: B. Alter

In the heart of the east end of London, a floating habitat for wildlife has appeared. It's drifting in a stretch of the Regent's Canal, in a peaceful, newly designed park for City workers.

For the next year this floating park/nest/shelter will meander around the basin, gathering residents. One duck has moved in already.

city basin photo

Photo: B. Alter

Called Habitat, it's the work of Tania Kovats, an environmental artist who has an affinity for the canal. In 2006 she created a floating meadow on a butty boat and towed it by a tugboat, through the canals from Bath to London. It was deeply satisfying piece of work. She called it "both an idea of a landscape and a floating miniature landscape itself". She has said that "my main area of interest as an artist is with landscape" and this work is an example of that thesis.

The City Road Basin site is a beautiful watery haven, connected to the busy waterway system of the Regents Canal. The structure, which is almost sculptural, has been planted with various botanical species that are sympathetic to the watery environment.

resi dent photo

Photo: B. Alter

The island 'garden' will also include several sculptural 'nests' based on the nests of birds that might be found in the Basin; Moorhens, Herons, and Blackbirds. These nests are larger than normal, elevated and held on steel structures to give the garden a strong visual focus even when the plants are in a dormant winter phase. They look like little straw-roofed cabanas which will attract wildlife to the island and give them shelter. One duck has already found this to be a cozy spot

duck basin photo

Photo: B. Alter

Launched last month, the floating garden will remain in situ for several years to allow it to establish and encourage local birdlife to inhabit this micro environment.

It's all part of our favourite arts group, UP project, featured often on these pages. They have developed public art projects with artists including the Portavillion, the floating cinema, Laid to Rest, the bricks made out of dust, and the Secret Garden Project with its wonderful bird houses.

More on Tania Kovats

It's a Moving Meadow
Darwin's Bicentenary Celebrated with TREE Artwork
"Tree" Artwork Celebrates Darwin's 200th Birthday

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