As a result of our hard work, our Rainforest Courtyard Garden at the Chelsea Flower Show received a gold medal. Sponsored by Green and Black’s and designed in collaboration with Jane Owen, subsequently our design came to life. Simultaneously, it was also and constructed alongside indigenous Cameroonian Baka women. Unquestionably, the whole team were ecstatic to discover that Her Majesty the Queen requested that the garden be part of her tour route at RHS Chelsea that year.

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Echoes of Cameroon: A Chelsea Garden Highlighting Rainforest Conservation and Indigenous Lives

Predominantly, our award-winning garden was created to raise awareness of the destruction of rainforests beyond those of the Amazon basin. Alongside the monumental impact on global warming, the effects of the logging and mining industries have created a huge pressure on the livelihood of indigenous Baka and Bagyeli people in Cameroon.

Without a doubt we are honoured that Four Baka women joined us onsite at Chelsea. They assisted us in the construction of the garden, which represents a clearing in the forest floor. They built a traditional Mongulu leaf house from interwoven hazel twigs and banana leaves which are used provide shelter for forest dwellers.

Undoubtedly, the lush, tropical planting, including the fiddle leaf fig Ficus lyrate, frames the central Mongulgu shelter and is indeed reminiscent of the rainforest canopy. Comparatively, another key point was the AK-47 assault rifle propped up against a log. Along with felled branches and leaf litter, this acts as a stark reminder of the dramatic impact that illegal trade has had on the lives of the indigenous Cameroonians.

Overall, the road to delivering the garden was circuitous, difficult, and fraught with highs and lows both emotionally and financially. However, the unswerving support of Green and Black’s founders Craig Sams and Jo Fairley kept us all going in our goal in delivering our important combined message.