Adding plants to the Dock Office

When I started working for Global Generation in 2015, I spent every Tuesday looking after the restaurant terrace gardens in Granary Square, King’s Cross. This month in Canada Water, we built and planted our first public facing garden, outside the historic Dock Offices in Canada Water. According to historical sources, the Dock Office Manager longed for the Dock Offices Gardens to be filled with the plants that were brought in on the ships that docked on the local waters. Next year marks the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower to America, and is being marked in the local community through various activities. We feel that it is important to identify the plants that moved across the world in these times, what it meant for them to come to London, and what the age of colonialism did to the communities from which they came. We will be incorporating this theme of the migration of plants, and consequently food, into primary school workshops over the next year.

Here are some of the herbs and spices that were brought to London on ships and where they came from:

  • Lemon Verbena - South America

  • Tarragon -Russia

  • Mint -Italy

  • Coriander -Egypt

  • Rosemary -Native to England!

  • Cloves - Tanzania

  • Black Pepper - India

  • Pink Pepper - Brazil

  • Allspice - Jamaica

  • Cinnamon -Sri Lanka

  • Oregano - Greece

  • Thyme - South Mediterranean

  • Lavender - Mediterranean, Middle East, India

  • Lemon Balm - Mediterranean

Emma blog.jpg

The Paper Garden team decided to create a planter filled with herbs, to counter the large amounts of ivy in the gardens. The Generators planted up the planter with Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme, Chamomile, Sage, Tarragon, Marjarium, and Lemon Balm. With time, as the plants grow, we hope that the people who work in the Dock Offices will come out and pick the herbs for their cooking and cups of tea.

When I began my journey with Global Generation, I never would have imagined we would be starting to create parts of the public realm in Canada Water - alongside the young people who live in the place that is soon to change so much. It feels good to go back to my roots in the charity, which involves caring for the plants, and them caring for me.