We are delighted to be taking place in this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show – May 22nd to 27th 2023 with the Silver Medal-winning Doorstep Library – Words Take You Places garden.
Gini Denison-Pender, founder of landscape and design company Beautiful Wild contacted us with the wonderful idea of creating a balcony garden for this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show using Doorstep Library’s aims and ethos as inspiration. The garden, which brings together a number of collaborators, aims to highlight the power of reading and the imagination, as well as the exotic journeys that books can take you on. It also aims to reflect the rainforest, highlighting the importance of nature and encouraging us to educate young people about the value of these spaces. The balcony garden (so designed as if sitting on a balcony outside a flat or home) – is titled: Doorstep Library – Words Take You Places
The garden illustrates the power of stories to help us learn about our world and feel inspired to protect it. Inside the timber-framed garden is a cushioned window seat, just large enough for two, surrounded by gentle and delicately textured planting in shades of green with occasional moments of colour, books about nature and hand-drawn maps. Our reader has left behind on the window seat the rainforest tales she was reading to her young child, and we look through the window into the richly planted world of their imagination.
The garden supports Doorstep Library’s work, reflecting our journey into the homes of children who need our support. Through reading we open young people’s eyes to the wonder and magic of books, inspiring them to love reading for themselves and giving those children a better chance in life and a greater awareness of the world around them.
“This garden is about the joy of reading because storytelling is the best way of learning and education is essential in our race to protect the natural world. And the theme of the stories in the ‘Doorstep Library – Words Take You Places’ garden is the rainforests of the world, because they are so vital to life on earth.”
Gini Denison-Pender, Beautiful Wild
When the Show has finished the garden will be relocated to the Loughborough Community Centre in Brixton where families can continue to enjoy reading and experience many more journeys of imagination. Where plants cannot grow we will fill the window seat space with a wonderfully colourful mural painted by the fabulous artist – Holly Thomas. Holly has worked with Doorstep Library before and her illustrations are fun, child-like and perfect for bridging the space between the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and a longer term installation for everyone to enjoy.
“We are delighted to be part of this wonderful collaboration and for our work to be the inspiration for such a beautiful space. We always encourage the families we visit to create reading time and reading spaces and this amazing balcony garden brings both of those concepts together. We hope that the garden will inspire both visitors at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, and later at the Max Roach LLC, to create plant-filled reading nooks on their own balconies or gardens where they too can retreat to read and dream.
Katie Bareham, CEO Doorstep Library
Throughout the week a number of authors will be present on the garden, to talk about their books and share thoughts about how books can help children to learn more about the natural world. The books have been curated by Ultimate Library, especially for the Show and we will be featuring one a day. Each of the non-fiction children’s books has a connection to the garden with themes which cover the exploration of plants through to sustainability. We are also delighted to welcome Thomas Mogfurd author of the historical novel The Plant Hunter (a story of plants) to the garden.