Learn how Groundwork, a nonprofit, plans to repurpose this year’s Morgan Stanley Chelsea Flower Show Garden in three community projects across London.
Ben Coles, Director of Communities and Environmental Services at Groundwork, explains how the nonprofit will use the garden to educate primary school children about air quality and provide training in landscaping for youth in London:
For this year’s Chelsea Flower Show, our charity Groundwork, which specializes in strengthening and improving communities through the creation of green spaces, is teaming up with Morgan Stanley to plan a reallocation of the firm’s third Chelsea garden.
Needless to say, it’s an exciting opportunity to partner again with garden designer Chris Beardshaw, who we have worked with over a number of years.
As it has with its previous Chelsea Flower Show gardens, the firm wants to extend the life of the project by giving it back to the community in some way. That’s where we come in.
We’ll be dismantling and replanting the garden after the Show across three Groundwork community projects in east London. The first location is Stebon Primary School in Tower Hamlets. This part of the project will be an exciting reconnection with the children who decorated Morgan Stanley’s 2015 Healthy Cities garden with hand-painted tiles. This year, we will work with the school to create a learning program involving the Loggia of this year’s garden, whose roof will be decorated by artwork based on fractal patterns painted by the children.
After the show, the trees, hedging, paving and planting will be transported to Stebon Primary School to live in the school’s garden. We’ll also install a monitoring system to track the quality of the air before and after the green makeover. This will not only give us some interesting data, but also provide an educational opportunity for the children about the importance of air quality.
A second portion of the Garden is going to Newham, St John’s Green, where we’ve been working with local residents to develop a cafe kiosk next to an existing community garden. Being able to offer an extra 40 square meters of gorgeous Chelsea Flower Show plants to this project will add a huge amount of value to the scheme.
A third portion of the garden will be given to Stamford Hill, where we’ve been working on building a community-run Peace Garden.
The sites will be maintained by our Groundwork Green Teams, which provide local, long-term unemployed young people with training in horticulture, landscaping and grounds maintenance. It’s about building their confidence and self esteem.
Morgan Stanley volunteers will be helping with planting and other activities across the three sites. Morgan Stanley staff all know that we support the garden, but this will help them see how their investment is not only going to be benefitting the people at Chelsea, who are there to enjoy the gardens, but also these communities, who will enjoy the plants forever more.