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Grow with Peter Rabbit garden officially unveiled

Wednesday 13 July saw the opening of a brand new community garden inspired by children’s classic, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, to mark the 120th anniversary of the story which was first published in 1902.

The community garden is the first of three to be designed and built as part of the Grow With Peter Rabbit initiative – a partnership between non-profit garden designers Grow2Know CIC and publisher Penguin Random House, on behalf of Frederick Warne & Co.

The Peter Rabbit Garden in North Kensington will bring life and purpose to a previously disused plot attached to St Clement & St James CE Primary School: a school in the heart of the community where Grow2Know was founded by semi-professional footballer and local resident Tayshan Hayden-Smith in response to the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in 2017.

It was also the borough in which Peter Rabbit’s creator, the writer and conservationist Beatrix Potter, was born on 28th July 1866.

Taking its inspiration from the adventures of Peter Rabbit and his friends, the garden aims to be a celebration of the mischievous bunny. It includes interactive areas for children to read, play, grow and learn, with visual references from The Tale of Peter Rabbit throughout. These include vegetable beds, a scarecrow with Peter Rabbit’s blue jacket and Mr McGregor’s potting shed.

Raised beds at the entrance to the garden will encourage children to learn about growing vegetables, filled with lettuce, beetroot, chard, carrots, curly and flat leaf parsley and strawberries, as well as giant sunflowers and oriental greens.

In addition to an established fig tree to the back of the garden, trees including pine, magnolia, silver birch and pear and climbers including grape vine and wisteria will offer shade and height. At ground level, ferns and grasses provide movement, while pollinator-friendly plants such as salvia, verbena, delphiniums and alchemilla mollis and lemon balm bring colour and scent.

In addition, a Bugzone pond with a specially commissioned safety cover is filled with pond plants and wildlife, and will provide an opportunity for pond dipping. Benches carved from the trunk of a eucalyptus tree that previously stood in the garden are dotted about the path.

As well as serving the school, the Peter Rabbit Garden will be used by the local community to host workshops and events from the summer onwards.

“As custodians of The World of Peter Rabbit and publisher of Beatrix Potter’s tales, we’re delighted to be able to continue Beatrix Potter’s extraordinary contribution to conservation through this 120th anniversary initiative,” commented Izzy Richardson, global owned brands director at Penguin Random House Children’s. “This garden brings the story of Peter Rabbit to life in such an imaginative and thoughtful way; from its playful hopping stones, burrow and shed, to its use of natural materials and spaces for quiet time, as well as play.

“The thoughtful, playful crafting of the space and its stunning planting is sure to enthuse and inspire green fingers, in young and old alike.”

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