A new landscaped garden commemorating and celebrating the history of Black Britons is to open in London.


The Anchor, The Drum and The Ship is a landscaped garden made up of three flower beds in the shape of an anchor, an African drum and a ship. A variety of plant species will be used in the garden, many of which are native to Britain, the Mediterranean and Africa and which will evoke themes of Black migration, belonging, communication and collective renewal.

The garden is created by Brent-based garden designer Antonia Couling alongside artist Harun Morrison. Couling has planted many perennials, which will survive in the dry, sunny site as well as offering interest throughout the year. The plants will mostly be left over winter, so that the seedheads and stems will provide a 'ghostly' beauty.

Plants included in the garden are sedums, blue grass, Gaura, Centaurea, Salvia africana, Crocosmia, Gazania (or African Daisy), Fennel, Melianthus and Verbena.

Planting for the garden will happen on the 10 October with the garden opening on 14 October.

The new garden is within Gladstone Park, named after former Prime Minister William Gladstone, whose family owned plantations in the Caribbean and received the largest of all compensation payments made by the Slave Compensation Commission.

Digital Render of The Anchor The Drum The Ship (2022) Gladstone Park
Digital Render of The Anchor The Drum The Ship (2022) Gladstone Park © Credit Harun Morrison Azul De Monte

The layout of the artwork offers a set of triangulation points to create conversation around Victorian aesthetics, plantations, horticulture, colonialism, migration, botany and storytelling.

Morrison, said: “I hope the artwork can contribute to a valuable discussion around how representation takes place in public space. Gladstone Park is a microcosm and container of many contested histories, the artwork can be a compass point to navigate this.”

Planting designer Couling, said: “It has been very moving to be involved in creating this innovative way of interacting with contested history. A public park belongs to everyone, and I hope that this artwork will become a meeting place for recognition, dialogue and understanding.”

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Other contributors on the project include Azul De Mont, Black Community Action Plan Members, Crest Academy, Errol Fernandes, Francine Lawrence - Vice Chair Friends of Gladstone Park, Halime Ozdimir - Creative Producer - Art Producer 360, Mary Vetisse and Samantha Haines - LB Brent Parks Service.


Daisy Bowie-Sell is digital editor of Gardens Illustrated. She has previously worked as a journalist for publications including the Daily Telegraph, WhatsOnStage and Time Out London