Right from the earliest plans for Tate Modern, Tate wanted to support the creation of a resource for the local community. This took the form of a dedicated community garden. In 2001 Magic Me, a creative organisation, consulted with the local community to capture ideas about the project. A garden designer, Lucy Williams, was commissioned to begin work on the design.
The creation of the garden was also a participatory art project. Visual artist Michelle Fuirer worked with the local steering group, and activities and events were organised to get the local community involved. These included marking maps with places of significance, making links between plants in the garden and artworks in the Tate collection, paper boat making and engaging people in discussion about the meaning of the garden in their lives. Over 150 people attended the opening of the garden on 20 June 2007.
The garden has a pond, an orchard, herb and flower beds, and a pergola. The garden furniture was made by local designers, entirely from trees that have died naturally or recyclable material. There are also compost boxes in the garden for recycling waste. A wildlife log book was started to record the wildlife in the garden.
The garden has an active events programme from planting days, volunteering opportunities to regular parents and children workshops. There is also a Friends of the Garden programme, which is free for local residents to join.
The steering group, made up of local residents, meets regularly to discuss the progress of the garden.