Grenfell charity debuts smallest ever show garden

Company: Grow to Know

Grow to Know, a grassroots non-profit born in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy that aims to empower young people through horticulture, is returning to RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2023. Here, it will exhibit The Green Gap garden, the smallest show garden ever seen at the event, to raise awareness of the lack of green space available to the most deprived households in one of the wealthiest but unequal boroughs in the UK.

Despite the success of Grow to Know’s ‘Hands Off Mangrove’ show garden at the 2022 RHS Chelsea Flower Show and the appointment of founder Tayshan Hayden-Smith as an RHS Ambassador for Young People and Communities, the unique social enterprise will debut its garden in a plot which is a fraction of the size of last year’s exhibit space. In response to this, the Grenfell-born social enterprise is using the space, or lack thereof, as a reason to debut the smallest ever show garden at the event to highlight The Green Gap, a term coined to describe the stark disparity in access to green space between privileged and underprivileged Londoners.

The community driven charity has partnered with urban design and planning practice, Prior + Partners, to unveil the truth of the disparity between the amount of public parks and gardens available to those living near Grenfell vs. the wealthiest living nearby ‐ revealing that public parks and gardens are reserved for the privileged.

The data reveals that of the worst served residents in Notting Dale, the ward where Grenfell is situated and Grow2Know was born, have access to only 42m2 of total public parks and gardens per person within a 1km radius (12min walk) equivalent to just 3 parking bays. In comparison, their neighbours in the best served area in Queen's Gate, less than two miles away, have access to 2,149m2, the equivalent to two 5‐a‐side football pitches.

In addition to the lack of green space, the data unveils that residents living in Notting Dale are amongst the most deprived in the country, with more than 80% of the population living in the most deprived conditions in England.This compares to the population of Queen’s Gate who represent some of the most affluent in the UK – among the 10% least deprived in England. That’s not all. The difference in life expectancy between those living in the north vs. the south of the borough is a shocking 9 years and there are other significant health inequalities being driven by a range of factors, including access to green spaces1.

Speaking on the research, Jason Prior, Founding Director at Prior + Partners has said: “We are pleased to have been able to support Grow to Know in this great initiative. Our team used open source, publicly available data to provide an evidence base and to help illustratethe issues that the ‘Green Dive’ represents. This is a complex social-spatial issue that we will be continuing to explore through our professional practice work and research.”

The importance of having access to green space and contact with nature is imperative to improved public health, childhood development and general wellbeing outcomes.1 The Green Gap is also having a crucial effect on our public health systems as research reveals that frequent personal use of parks or green space is estimated to save the NHS at least £100m a year from fewer visits to the GP2.

Constructed to make a big statement, The Green Gap garden  is 4.2m2, a 1:10 scale representation of green space available to the worst served, most deprived residents living in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The concrete build signifies the harsh truth of inequality within the borough, while hardy native plants emerge through a large open crack representing The Green Gap.

Speaking about the garden, Tayshan Hayden-Smith, Founder of Grow2Know said: “Making the most of the small exhibit space at RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year, we’re using the opportunity to raise awareness of The Green Gap by unveiling the smallest show garden ever seen at the event. The meagre 4.2m 2 build signifies the amount of green space available to one of the most deprived wards in RBKC – a visual representation of the stark reality of inequality within the borough.

“As an organisation that strongly believes everyone should have equal access to green space, we are dedicated to driving and inspiring change, and we’ll make it our mission to makegardening more inclusive and naturally accessible to all through ongoing community driven gardening projects and education.”

While visitors may expect to see some of the world’s most exotic and sought after plants at RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Grow2Know’s The Green Gap garden features local plants and weeds, including Dandelion, Thyme and Chamomile that residents would expect to find in the streets of the local community, just a stone's throw away from the grounds of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

As a community-inspired organisation that believes everyone should have equal access to green space, Grow2Know is on a mission to close the green divide by continuing to improve greenspace in local communities through its partnerships and projects with Penguin, the Natural History Museum and Nike, to name a few.

Grow to Know’s garden will be exhibited at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show from 22nd - 26th May 2023. To find out more and to help Grow2Know in its mission to close the green divide, visit:


  1. Evidence base and data: see appendix 1. 
  2. Analysis: by Prior + Partners, 2023 
  3. Graphics: Prior + Partners 2023
  4. The Green Gap garden production: Rule One Productions
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