Summer in the City

20. September 2015 Artist in residence 0

img_4712When I was first thinking about the Showgarden and what it might be, I immediately thought about all the empty gardens being taken over by the new residents of the Clay and Glebe Farm developments. I thought about making a space for trying out ideas and demonstrating possibilities. I wanted the Showgarden to be a space where people could come and be inspired. There are loads of books and TV programmes that budding gardeners and veterans alike can turn to for information and advice, but they tend to illustrate what can be done with a pile of cash and bags of time. For those who have recently moved house, finding the money to create a garden might not be a priority – or even an option. I decided that I would try to find some low cost/no cost solutions. I know a thing or two about being thrifty in the garden – I’ve never spent much on mine – and the best way to save money is to grow your own plants from seed, and to share plants with your friends and neighbours.

So earlier in the year, I started sowing as many seeds as possible. Many of those seeds were kindly donated by SE Marshalls, Kings, Suttons and Chiltern Seeds. Others were acquired at Trumpington’s very own annual Seed Swap, organised by Ceri Galloway and a team of tireless volunteers from Trumpington Allotment Society (TAS) and, more recently, Transition Cambridge. I planned to give away as many plants as possible and organise a big plant givaway, so that everyone could get their hands on some free plants.

But what I didn’t plan – or expect – was the generosity of the residents of Trumpington, who have presented me with so many plants from their own gardens and greenhouses, for me to give away. Despite there having been quite a bit of disquiet in the past, among the existing community, objecting to the greenbelt location and the sheer size of the planned developments, people have been so willing to welcome the new residents with loads of lovely living gifts.

I would like to thank everyone who has donated the plants and seeds that have kept me gifting all summer. I hope the growing and gifting of plants will become a new Trumpington tradition, that helps the empty gardens in the new part of the village grow to rival the established gardens that have helped to propagate them, in no time at all.

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