‘The Gardeners Go To War tells the story of the black gardeners who fought for King and Country in the First World War and are the inspiration for ‘The Gardeners Have All Gone’, Pennard Plants’ 2014 RHS Chelsea Flower Show exhibit, which is being presented together with London education and environment charity Roots and Shoots.
Roots and Shoots students made this newsreel to show in the potting shed on the Chelsea garden. It imagines how the gardeners at the ‘Big House’ might have swapped their spades and rakes for rifles and bayonets, donned the khaki uniform, learned to march and fight and then sailed for France. Many of this year’s students have an Afro Caribbean heritage and took the parts of the gardeners-turned-soldiers, while the household staff left behind were played by Roots and Shoots’ young female trainees.
The Gardeners Have All Gone’ by Pennard Plants, in association with Roots and Shoots, will be in the Grand Pavilion on stand GPD14 at 2014 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Thanks to Tanner Trust, Headley Foundation, Cockayne – Grants for the Arts, London Gardens Network, Sarah Wilson, Angels the Costumiers, Alistair Cooke