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As London fills with flowers, pockets of nature and community come into bloom


As London fills with flowers, pockets of nature and community come into bloom

20 May 2024
A woman walks into a community garden in London

Kate Daudy and UNHCR launched The Seeds of Hope across London, bringing flowers and messages of hope and solidarity to iconic locations.

The Seeds of Hope has filled London with felt flowers, inviting people to think about the oneness of humanity, connection with nature and what we can all do to create a more harmonious world. Each unique art-piece is accompanied by a wooden QR code, leading visitors to stories of hope and humanity, through the words and images of refugees.  

To install the artwork, UNHCR and artist Kate Daudy travelled through bustling London, in search of communal spaces, ethical enterprises, creative hubs and places of knowledge and learning. 

different colour felt is cut up

Kate Daudy says this project 'is amongst other things a love letter to London-  it is an invitation to consider the fact that we are all one. Each of us take part in building a more harmonious future - if we choose to do so.'

Together, they discovered an outpouring of solidarity, a wealth of community, and a host of new things to do and visit in and across the city.  

St James’ Church, a stones’ throw from one of London’s most iconic and light-filled spaces, Piccadilly Circus, was designed by Christopher Wren and has stood in the same place since 1684. Revered Ayla says that the Church is a centre for social justice, earth justice and a sense of belonging.  

‘No matter what brings people here,’ she says, ‘they know this can be a place of peace, hope and comfort. There are people who come here from all over the world, because they seek sanctuary.’  

a woman sits crafting felt flowers at a table in front of a garden

At St James' Church in Piccadilly artist Kate Daudy created a bespoke artwork for visitors

The Church runs programmes to support refugees and asylum-seekers as they navigate their new lives in the UK. The felt flower crafted by Daudy will hang in the entrance to the church, and can be viewed by everyone who comes to visit, for whatever reason that may be.  

A flower made of red and green felt

At St James' Church, Daudy chose to make a bespoke vertical piece which will hang in the entrance.

Round the corner in Phoenix Garden in Central London’s Soho, the first thing people now see when they walk from the street into the haven of plants and wildlife is a tall felt flower attached to a tree.  

As site specific art installations, Daudy’s flowers are inspired by the space, and designed to be in harmony with them. Using the vines from the trees, she has created a piece of art that stands out and simultaneously feels like part of the garden.  

Staying in Central London, shoppers at UNIQLO 311 Oxford Street will also have a chance to view Daudy's artwork, near the elevator and upstairs near the Hope Away From Home kiosk. As a partner of UNHCR, UNIQLO is supporting the global campaign for solidarity with those forced to flee. 

South of the river Thames, both Vauxhall City Farm and The Garden Museum offered perfect places these hopeful art installations.

A sign saying Vauxhall marks the entrance to a community farm

Vauxhall City Farm in London prides itself on being a welcoming space for everyone who visits from the diverse community just south of the river Thames.

The City Farm, which hosts a range of animals and offers a number of community programmes, found the perfect place for Daudy’s flower - next to the plant stand at its entrance.  

A felt flower on a wall next to a plant stand

Vauxhall City Farm found the perfect place for Daudy's flower, next to plant stand near the entrance where visitors can buy plants to take home.

At The Garden Museum, a greenhouse in the courtyard inspired Daudy to create a dandelion, growing from the cracks in the cobbled floor and up the glass walls.  ‘A weed is just a flower growing in the wrong place,’ she says. 

a felt dandelion attached to a greenhouse

Kate Daudy chose a dandelion for The Garden Museum, next to the Thames, growing from the cracks.

Travelling east to the trendy borough of Hackney, the Dalston Curve Garden greets you immediately as you step out of the station. Framed by a mural celebrating the diverse community, the garden was co-founded in 2010 by Marie Murray. She reclaimed a disused railway to offer a space for people in a built-up area of London where few have their own gardens.  

A garden with a path in the middle and a sign saying 'keep cities wild' on the left

Dalston Curve Garden is a haven for people and nature in the heart of busy East London.

The Garden runs extensive community and education programmes, as well as hosting inspiring music events. Every autumn, it is filled with bulbs, meaning that each spring a spectacular show of tulips - whose native habitats include Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan – bloom. 

Orange and yellow felt being cut to make a sunflower

Daudy creates bespoke pieces for each of the locations she visits. At The Dalston Curve Garden she crafted a sunflower to grow from the vines at the entrance.

Slightly further to the north, in community minded Walthamstow, Haven Coffee, a café and social enterprise set up by Usman Khalid, also hosts an installation. Inspired by the mural adjacent to the café, Daudy created an eye-catching blue flower which crosses the entrance.  

A man cycles past a cafe

Haven Coffee is a business serving the local community and a social enterprise which helps refugees gain employment skills.

At Haven, commuters can find ethical coffee on their way to the station, and refugees are supported through barista training to gain employment skills. Usman also took part in The Seeds of Hope himself, and you can find out more about him and Haven here. 

To the west of the city, the Lindsay Ingram Gallery proudly hosts a black flower by its entrance. Visitors are offered the chance not only to engage with The Seeds of Hope, but, until 14 June 2024, Superbloom, Daudy’s current exhibition, is also on display.  

Over a dozen London organizations have volunteered to take part in The Seeds of Hope, and all the locations are displayed on Daudy’s unique map that you can follow.  

Can you find them all? 

Just as the flowers have appeared organically across London, the felt will naturally biodegrade until eventually they will disappear, just as naturally as they arrived.  

A map with different colour lines and locations in London listed

Across all parts of London Kate Daudy's flowers are blooming.