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Lily Jencks Studio will install a pop-up garden ‘The Quintessential English Garden: what does it mean to be native?’ at Cabot Square in Canary Wharf. Based on the garden of Stourhead and experienced in the surroundings of our most man-made ‘wharf’, we use this installation to test the long-standing question which drives identity politics around the globe. What does it mean to be local, rooted and originating in a place - like an indigenous plant that has always belonged – or global, transient and non-native? It will challenge people to reassess the boundaries around the history and language of the terms native/exotic, and natural/man-made, with a playful garden rich with reference and meaning.
Stourhead typifies the English Picturesque, allowing nature to flow naturally, and people to wander from one idea to the next. Similarly, our garden uses leaf-shaped landform seats, arranged around a large printed image of Stourhead planted with trees, perennials and graphic ideas, that bring this scene to life. But which of these plants are non-native like the conker tree? Which are man-made or real? Lily Jencks Studio’s miniature Stourhead will provide a communal space to gather and question the heritage of these political, and environmental terms.