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“Inspired by the timeless stories of Beatrix Potter, we have been able to create a space that allows children to play in nature and therefore the freedom to imagine,” said Grow2Know’s Tayshan Hayden-Smith.
Last week saw the opening of a brand new Peter Rabbit-inspired community garden, to mark the 120th anniversary of The Tale of Peter Rabbit.
The Peter Rabbit Garden in North Kensington – housed at a previously disused plot attached to St Clement & St James CE Primary School – is the first of three community gardens to be designed as part of the Grow With Peter Rabbit initiative. The scheme comes from non-profit garden designers Grow2Know and Penguin Random House.
The garden includes interactive areas for children to read, play, grow and learn, with visual references from The Tale of Peter Rabbit throughout, including vegetable beds, a scarecrow with Peter Rabbit’s blue jacket and Mr McGregor’s potting shed.
“It takes a village to raise a child, and a community to create a garden like this,” said Tayshan Hayden-Smith, founder of Grow2Know.
“From the seeds of an idea — a tale about a mischievous bunny in a blue jacket, and a desire to raise awareness of the benefits of gardening and nature — this garden has evolved into a truly unique community space, shaped by a shared creative vision and the generosity of all those who have donated their time and their money.
“Inspired by the timeless stories of Beatrix Potter, we have been able to create a space that allows children to play in nature and therefore the freedom to imagine.”
Ellie Dowthwaite, Head of School at Kensington’s St Clement & St James CE Primary School, added: “Many of the children in this area do not have gardens at home, so to be a part of the development of this green space — and to fully immerse ourselves in Beatrix Potter’s world, especially the story of Peter Rabbit — over the past few months has been a unique and transformative experience for teachers and children alike.
“We are so grateful to Grow2Know and Penguin Random House Children’s for creating this gift for our local community. We know this garden will offer hope and sanctuary to the residents of North Kensington, who have endured so much in recent years, for years to come.”
Izzy Richardson, Global Owned Brands Director at Penguin Random House Children’s, continued: “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.
“Grow2Know’s attention to detail – and understanding of what is needed to create a nurturing, safe space – is incredibly impressive and exciting; we could not have asked for a better partner to help us bring the legacy of Beatrix Potter and The World of Peter Rabbit to life for a new generation of children and families.”
As well as serving the school, the Peter Rabbit Garden will be used by the local community to host workshops and events from this summer onwards.
Families across the UK can also take part in the Grow With Peter Rabbit initiative by gardening at home with help from a series a how-to videos, led by Tayshan Hayden-Smith, which are available to watch at www.peterrabbit.com.
The site of the next Peter Rabbit Garden will be announced next year.
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