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Ras Prince's Garden of Transformation: a Sanctuary in South London

Because you come into it from the main entrance to the Lewisham Sport Consortium ground with its perfectly manicured lawn, the garden I'm being led to by its creator seems unimaginable. It has taken many years for me to finally get there, though I had heard, what seemed like fantastic tales about its development. So when I bank the corner, literally at the back of the sportsground it's as if I had stepped into the serene realm of dreams. The flowers, some of them towering toward the blue, sunny summer sky in some kind of awesome and familiar praise, display their full glory. I recognised foxgloves, pinks and whites. I didn't expect this kind of tranquillity; the smell of those flowers and herbs, like lemon balm and black mint was superb.

Elderflower and her berries, reached skyward for raindrops, and more sunshine blessings, while strawberries, close to the ground tempted grisly slugs. Red currents and black, yet unripened tomatoes, with varieties of lettuce and rhubarb were just a few of the regulars at this urban paradise. Closer still to the ground, sweet potato crops, readying for their moment of harvest – Irish ones too, but being blissed out by what’s possible in the process of transformation and even hybridity (from Africa/Caribbean to UK) I love that soon we’ll be reaping sweet potatoes there.

Ras Prince, on a modest tour of the splendour he has created told us that he aims to continue planting vegetables and plants that have healing properties. I was delighted with my purchase (for this visit was for the plant sale on 12th June, the second of which takes place on Sunday, the 19th) of a soursop plant. This plant is colloquially well known for successfully treating cancer; though ‘experts’ (so called) say there is insufficient proof of this (just as once there was no ‘proof’ of the medicinal benefits of cannabis, the market of which now booms as 'CBD oil' – with corporations – not the Rastafarian communities/organisations benefitting, despite this being their age-old overstanding of its properties).

I actually can't recall the names of the many plants and herbs he was reeling off, mostly because I was bedazzled that this Field of Dreams, designed and cultivated by the humble Ras Prince was truly enchanting. It is a haven, the kind of sanctuary I've been looking for where we can go to find some peace and serenity and work towards our healing and transformation; this is a wonderful space to practice mindfullness and wellbeing. As with all such initiatives, birthed by a single visionary it needs support. Volunteers help Ras Prince with its upkeep, but more is needed to see its fullest bloom and sustainability.

I didn't want to leave and he explained that it's the same for him when he goes there as he does daily. Inspired by the wisdom to ‘build it and they will come’ he has indeed created something sacred that can surely help us with our healing and transformation in a way that fits our culture-specific needs.

If you want to volunteer do contact him: to arrange.

The next plant sale will take place on Sunday 19th June – from 11-00am – 4.00pm

@ Lewisham Sport Consortium Ground

140A Firhill Road, London, SE6 3SQ

Where you can grab some plants, delicious elderflower and strawberry cordial and jam too!

Michelle Yaa Asantewa


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