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Talk | Sowing Roots: The Stories of Plants

This talk is part of the Sowing Roots: Caribbean Garden Heritage exhibition and project

Sowing Roots explores the relationship that south Londoners of Caribbean heritage have with gardening and plants, shared through conversations, memories and traditions.

The movement of plants by humans is an opportunity to tell many more stories.

Join broadcaster Wesley Kerr, writer Zakiya Mackenzie (author of Testimonies on The History of Jamaica Volume 1, published by Rough Trade in partnership with the Garden Museum) and David Goyder, Botanical Research Director, National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project, in a discussion exploring the movement of plants within the context of the movement of people, looking at how plants themselves have stories and how their stories are lost, found, told and retold.

The evening will conclude with canapes by Keshia Sakarah from Caribe:

  • Geera Pork
  • Souse + Pickled Breadfruit
  • Bujol on Coconut Bake
  • Ackee and Callaloo Dumplings
  • Black cake


  • Wesley Kerr (chair)

    Wesley Kerr (chair)

    Wesley Kerr is a broadcaster, journalist, historian and horticulturist. He holds an MA from Trinity College, Cambridge. He served on the advisory board of the Royal Parks from 2013 to 2016 when it was a DCMS executive agency, and was a Trustee at the foundation of the Royal Parks charity. He was closely involved in restoring Brompton Cemetery and sits on the Greenwich Park Revealed Programme Board. He is a vice-president of the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association and was a member of the RHS Show Gardens panel. Chaired the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Committee for London 2007-2014. Awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2015 for services to heritage.

  • Zakiya Mackenzie

    Zakiya Mackenzie

    Zakiya Mckenzie was born in South London, raised in Kingston and now lives in the southwest of England. In 2019 she was Writer in Residence for Forestry England and, at Ujima 98FM in Bristol, she was a Black and Green Ambassador in 2017. Zakiya is a PhD candidate at the University of Exeter with the Caribbean Literary Heritage project researching Black British journalism in the post-war period.

  • David Goyder

    David Goyder

    My interests include taxonomy and floristics of the milkweed family Apocynaceae, particularly in tropical Africa and in South America. I have written or coordinated Flora treatments of this diverse family for Ethiopia and Eritrea, Somalia, Tropical East Africa (Kenya, Uganda & Tanzania) and the Flora Zambesiaca region (Mozambique, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and the Caprivi Strip of Namibia), and Checklists for countries including Angola and Bolivia.

    I am Botanical Research Director for the National Geographic Okavango Wilderness Project which aims to raise the conservation profile of the Angolan headwaters of the Okavango, Zambezi, Congo and Kwanza river systems, and to lobby for formal protection of this watertower. I have contributed to biodiversity assessments of several other areas of conservation concern in Angola, highlighting regions of exceptional plant diversity and endemism.

    The Kew Herbarium houses many collections of historic interest and importance, and I plan to bring these to a wider audience, starting with the many herbarium collections and related artefacts and field drawings from David Livingstone’s Zambesi Expedition.