Discover the Floating Garden

A very special boat-garden comes to King's Cross

A new project introduces green space and a brilliant education programme to a converted boat, now moored on Regent’s Canal at Granary Square. We caught up with Global Generation’s joint-Director Nicole Van de Eijnde, and Senior Project Coordinator Laura Price to find out more about taking their famous moveable urban gardening spaces onto the water…

How did the Floating Garden come about? 

Global Generation has had community gardens on the King’s Cross development site since 2009. The ‘Skip Garden’ was a moveable installation, which occupied temporary land and was able to be transported to a new location when the land was built on. It moved four times, and when we got to the end of the last site in 2018, the development had moved along so much that there was no more land on the estate for us to move to. This is when we started to explore the idea of a Floating Garden on the canal. It has taken us four years to make it happen!

What are some of the unique opportunities particular to this space?

The fact that the space is on the water. This provides a completely new environment for local young people and residents to experience nature and a sense of stillness. We are currently running a project called Voices of the Water in which we are supporting local people on a journey of exploration of personal, cultural, scientific and mythical aspects of water with a particular focus on its healing power for people and planet. It is also unique as it is so centrally located and provides opportunities for local young people from the neighbouring areas to be part of building a new and innovative community resource. Young people have been involved from the very beginning in the design and build of the Floating Garden.

What do you like about being based on the water?

You see the world from a different perspective. It brings a sense of tranquility and peace. Being on the canal is also an opportunity to reflect on the history of these particular waters: the canal system that was built on top of the hidden river Fleet that flows underneath. We have been exploring hidden rivers, hidden stories, hidden histories as a result and empowering those less heard voices to come to the surface. We have also been exploring the meaning of water in our climate changed world.

What do you hope to achieve with the Floating Garden? 

We want to provide an immersive green space where local people can come for education, wellbeing, inspiration and exploration. We’re excited to offer young people, schools, families, businesses and boaters the opportunity to connect with and learn from nature on the unique setting of the canal through hands-on and reflective experiences, from gardening and making to storytelling and performance. The Floating Garden has also been created as a space for other ecological communities to flourish- waterways are valuable habitats and provide crucial green corridors for wildlife to thrive. By being involved in growing this new green space, we hope that local young people and residents will cultivate a stronger connection and sense of belonging to the canal and the King’s Cross area.

How can locals get involved?

We are currently open to the public on Thursdays when we also run ‘Crafty Lunch Breaks’- drop in sessions for anyone to pop by and get involved in making and creating towards the barge in our cosy indoor classroom. In the new year we will be running regular volunteering sessions for locals to help plant and maintain the space and in the early spring we will have a community launch with lots of activities planned. Watch this space!  

Are you now more or less likely to want to live on a boat?

That’s a tough question! There is definitely something idyllic about being in and amongst the wildlife on the water and watching the boats and ducks float by… it’s a pretty magical way of life. There’s also a strong sense of camaraderie in the boating community which I love.  But I have to be honest, I think I’d struggle getting through the cold and damp of winter if I lived on a boat! 

Find out more about the Floating Garden, the Story Garden and the work of Global Generation here.



This article is part of Camdenist Presents: JOURNEYS, an ongoing digital series and special print magazine, coming soon across the borough and Central London.

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