WRITING RESIDENCY WITH GLOBAL GARDENS
This year, from May to October, I had the wonderful opportunity to write about the Global Gardens Project, producing a piece of work each month – some flash fictions (very short stories) and some prose poems. What I found out in the process was that it is hard to put into words what this project does for all the people involved – but I tried to capture it anyway, and in fact I enjoyed the challenge.
From natural dye workshops to sharing suppers, from gardening to just plain sitting on the bench under the apple tree, I was able to reflect on what makes Global Gardens important. It is the new windows it opens up for everyone who visits, a chance to see another side of life, different from our everyday city routines. Here you can meet a community of people you may not have otherwise met, and learn more about gardening and the natural world. One of the main themes which appeared in my writing over the residency (you can find all my pieces here) was this idea of escape, finding somewhere where time can slow and we suddenly realise we’re living a little differently.
Another big theme that emerged is best shown in ‘Beer Traps’, my poem about slugs at the end of their life, where I explored the idea of looking closer, appreciating small things that can often be dismissed as unpleasant. Finding beauty in the ‘ugly’ was a theme of one of my writing workshops I lead during the residency in the Global Gardens greenhouse and I feel it’s a skill that all of us can use to feel happier with the world around us.
Mindfulness and the garden’s role in this was certainly a focus for me; it appeared in my writing and ultimately reflects what I see as the project’s core values – if you’re in need of company, new experiences, or peace, you’ve come to the right place.
My recent writing workshop in November centred around the themes I explore in my final poem, ‘Closing’ – the idea of slowing down and noticing what’s around us, with the hope we will live fuller lives as a result. Below is a piece from one of the writers in the workshop, Hannah, who was kind enough to share some of her writing from the day.
Top of the hill, past the laundrette
Falmouth never gets too cold, not really. This enables her visits, standing at the top of the hill, above the houses and away from any protection from the wind would hardly be as romantic if she were shivering. If she stood at the highest point she could pretend the lines that made up the goal posts and benches weren’t there. She could focus on the lights of the harbour, watching the quiet spread of boats.
It was quiet there, the carefully cut grass was quiet, the slanted pitch was quiet and even the houses ringing the grass were quiet now. It could all fade back in the face of those lights and she could feel small in a peaceful way.
The workshop that day was a joy to host, everyone delving into precious moments, and exploring how they escape from daily routine. I’m so grateful to Poppy and the Global Gardens team for the opportunity to write about the project over these months – I got so much out of it, and I hope my writing and workshops inspired others in some small way. This is not the end of my writing about the natural world and all it does for us, and it is certainly not the end of my involvement with this wonderful project. I look forward to seeing what future artists in residence make of it!
Lucy (centre) with participants in the winter creative writing workshop