Mangrove Nine inspired garden by Grenfell CIC debuts at Chelsea

Company: Grow2Know

Grow2Know, a non-profit CIC born in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire, is making its debut at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2022 with a garden design that provokes a much-needed debate about social injustice and the escalating climate crisis.

Inspired by the events of Notting Hill’s Mangrove Nine in the 1970s and the global deforestation of mangroves, a keystone species that harbour entire estuarine communities, Hands Off Mangrove by Grow2Know aims to drive awareness of the severe impacts that racial and environmental injustices are having on our planet.

A symbol of coexistence, (bio)diversity, and resilience, the garden is reflective of the community of Notting Hill, where the Mangrove Nine stood up in the face of adversity for the Mangrove restaurant, inspiring positive change for future generations.

Constructed to make a statement, at the centre of the garden sits a four-metre tall, deforested Mangrove sculpture with nine deliberately bare roots - each one honouring a Mangrove Nine defendant and symbolising a stark reminder of the impact humans are having on the planet’s most important ecosystems. Immersed in abundant and beautiful plant species, a crushed concrete path runs through the centre of the garden, representing the harsh challenges and threats of racism, poverty, and violence in 1960/70s Notting Hill and today.

As an organisation that grew from the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, Grow2Know’s work is deep rooted in giving back to the local community, and the Hands Off Mangrove by Grow2Know garden is no different. After making an appearance at RHS Chelsea, the garden will be relocated to its true home in the community of North Kensington, just roads away from the original Mangrove restaurant and the birthplace of Grow2Know.

Featuring edible plants - including beetroot, peppers, rocket and tomatoes - the garden provides a means of growing fresh produce and encouraging horticulture within the community, whilst creating access to fresh, locally grown food. The strong central sculpture will act as a protective sanctuary, under which the community can reconnect with each other and nature. The plants within the garden have been carefully selected to thrive in the garden’s second life in the North Kensington community in inner city London* - a short journey from the flower show’s grounds in Chelsea.

Tayshan Hayden-Smith, Founder of Grow2Know, shared: “Our presence at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show is a monumental opportunity to promote non-profitable, grassroots community gardening, as well as Grow2Know as a place-making organisation that is dedicated to improving the way communities influence the outcome of common, shared spaces.’’

“Touching on topics that hit home hard, Hands Off Mangrove by Grow2Know will celebrate the culturally rich and diverse community of North Kensington, as well as demonstrating that gardening has the capacity to heal and unify irrespective of culture, race, ethnicity, religion or age. As a young man born and raised in North Kensington, I’m keen to explore and embrace my roots both culturally and historically - inspiring stories and celebrating pivotal milestones in my community.’’

Danny Clarke, co-director of Grow2Know, said: ‘’Hands Off Mangrove by Grow2Know garden represents two relevant and powerful messages - one of social injustice and the other of climate injustice - of which both shine a light on the harsh realities of our past, present and future, to evoke urgent action to create a better world for future generations’’

“As an organisation, we are dedicated to driving and inspiring change. Through our garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, we aspire to break down barriers and encourage diversity across the gardening world by planting a seed of change in the minds of visitors.’’

The garden is supported by Project Giving Back, a new and unique grant-making organisation that funds gardens for good causes at RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Hands off Mangrove by Grow2Know will be presented at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show from 24th - 28th May 2022, further details and tickets available from rhs.org.uk

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