The Greenwich Garden

The Greenwich Garden is a temporary space created for play, debate, gardening and social interaction that will spring into life between 25 July and 12 August 2012 when we will be offering a wide range of interactions and workshops ranging from kite making to seed ball production, gardening workshops to lantern making, fanzine production to natural dye workshops. We will also be hosting informal debates and salons in the garden and inviting local people to propose their manifesto for public spaces and a greener Greenwich. 
Located in an almost forgotten urban oasis and against a facade of Greenwich’s iconic buildings, designed and built by award-winning designer Hilary Blackburn, we invite you to join us and to become an integral part of the design and development of the space. As the residency progresses The Greenwich Garden will fill with colour as more community groups and local residents plant their miniature gardens which will be a repository of their hopes and aspirations for the future. The gardens created will, at the end of the residency, be donated to local community groups to enhance their green spaces and carry the wishes of the participants back into the community to create a legacy for the future
The Avant-Gardeners are currently planning a wide-ranging programme of activities and a full timetable will be available online shortly.

To keep up to date with all the latest news please keep an eye on the following websites

The Greenwich Garden is a collaboration between Avant-Gardening and Stream Arts and is made possible through funding from Awards For All and Arts Council, England. The work will be exhibited as part of City Noises, an EU funded exhibition that will be resident at  Area 12, Greenwich Peninsula between 25 July and 12 August 2012

Google Map link to site for The Greenwich Garden


Topics: [architecture] [community engagement] [environment] [Greenwich] [regeneration]

Avant Gardening at the City of London Festival

Polly dispensing wild flower seed prescriptions at City of London Festival
Polly dispensing wild flower seed prescriptions at City of London Festival

The Avant-Gardeners are delighted to have been asked back to the City of London Festival this year following on from our residency with the Mobile Allotment at Moorgate in 2010

Go Wild with Avant-Gardening

This year the Avant Gardeners will be offering you the chance to refresh your garden or green space of choice with its wild flower prescription service. We will be working with our clients to prescribe a mix of seeds to bring some flower power to your garden

Wednesday 4 July 11am to 6pm: Devonshire Square, EC2M 4WQ


Pickle Prescription Parlour at the Gherkin

Enter the weird and wonderful world of pickling in this lively, interactive mobile garden. Learn a range of delicious cucumber reciples, create your own spice mix and even print your own seed packet. Discover the basics of pickle at the base of the biggest pickle of all, the Gherkin!

Wednesday 18 July 11am to 6pm: 30 St Mary Axe (The Gherkin)

Check out the full programme of activities and events at this years City of London Festival 

Topics: [City of London festival] [urban gardening]

River Paths

Avant-Gardening is delighted to be collaborating with Stream on River Paths a programme of creative interventions and projects that aim to investigate the historically rich riverside area of East Greenwich. As the area enters a period of regeneration we aim to develop projects that document the area and respond to the changes.
The first such project The Greenwich Garden will create a temporary community space, a place for conversation and engagement. 

As part of River Paths curator Paul Geen has been hosting a number of strolls along the historic wharves of East Greenwich, looking at the history of the area and the potential for community engagement in the future.

The next walk will take place on Saturday 30th June at 1pm. Meet outside the Cutty Sark Tavern to join this free walk along the river path

In Every Dream Home, a Heartache

Mertle Merman
Mertle Merman

As part of Wide Open School at the Hayward Gallery, in Fritz Haeg’s Sundown Schoolhouse of Queer Home Economics at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre. SE1

Advance tickets available from Southbank Centre website

In Every Dream Home, a Heartache

a day of events and activities co-curated by Paul Green of Avant Gardening

Sunday 17 June 11.00 - 20.30

The received images of housekeeping in contemporary Western society are generally based on mid-century concepts of domestic havens; a nuclear family with clearly defined gender roles and power structures. Any deviations from this norm were given short shrift in the post-war world of the mid-20th century, so where did the queer voice fit into this seemingly perfect construct and how have perceptions altered in recent times? During the day Avant Gardening will be looking at the tensions between the role of the gay person as 'the other' and the juxtapositions between the concepts of domestic bliss, the outsider and the concept of a queer home economics.
Drawing on the high camp imagery of both mid-century domestic bliss and even camper negative stereotypes of gay 'outsiders' from popular culture we will be creating a fanzine that explores the role of home economics in the popular imagination. As part of the creation of a fanzine we will be looking at alternatives to the traditional perceptions of domestic bliss, considering the pressures of conformity and the contemporary view of a gay household. We will also be considering the rituals of domesticity employed to keep the spectres of dirt and disorder from the home and will be joined by Mertle (performance artist, Caroline Smith) for her Butoh inspired cleansing rituals. As Mertle herself explains:
Now, you might have a question about cleaning an aspect of your gorgeous homes-and-garden. Perhaps your nautical theme has left your carpet dripping wet. Your pedigree partner puked up and stain busters refused to bust. Or you may – dirty blighters that some of you are- have a question about cleaning your actual selves. Who knows.All questions will be answered by Mertle. The best will win a Prize. At the very least you can scrub off that perma-stain. To ask Mertle your question visit
We will also be joined by Radical Faeries; White Rose and Faerie Query who will be on hand to talk about the international community of Radical Faeries.
Artist Paul Harfleet will be talking about his work and his interests in the implications of identity, citizenship and its influence on the navigation and memory of the urban environment. He augments and re-contextualises various sites and objects by allocating them with new meaning or significance often through drawing, photography and intervention, from his on-going Pansy Project which involves the artist planting pansies at the site of homophobic abuse to his current focus on masculinity, cultural homophobia and the iconography of punishment and execution.
Overseeing the day’s activities will be artist Paul Elwick and Avant-Gardeners Paul Green and Polly Brannan who will be facilitating the production of the fanzine - an old school, lo-fi, cut and paste publication to be created by the participants at the day. The Avant-Gardeners will also be offering wild flower seed prescriptions and hosting a potluck lunch - so bring your delicious delights to share with everyone! Throughout the day we will be intermittently relaxing to a specially compiled playlist of music that ricochets from the fuzzy sounds of vintage rock to sensual classics ripped from the soundtracks of the annals of exploitation sinema.


Topics: [collaboration] [fanzine] [film and video] [Hayward] [performance]

Picnic in the Pleasaunce

Diamond Jubilee Weekend is undoubtedly THE weekend to shake out the picnic blanket and head to the local park. In Greenwich on Saturday 2 June 12.00 - 17.00 the place to be is the East Greenwich Pleasaunce where Avant-Gardening will be joining the party and collecting more stories for the Cabinet of Curiosities and launching our new community focussed summer project

For more details about Picnic in the Pleasaunce click here

Topics: [Diamond Jubilee] [East Greenwich] [Greenwich] [picnic]

In the news again..

Avant-Gardening's ongoing partnership with Welcare in Greenwich has been spotlighted in the Royal Greenwich Time newspaper again this week. We began our partnership with Welcare in Greenwich in 2009 and since then have delivered a programme of activities including the creation of the Mobile Allotment and the piloting of the Place Where the Plums Grow project. The Big Dig is a Capital Growth initiative to encourage participation in the rapidly increasing numbers of community gardens and allotments across London

The Place Where Plums Grow

The first stages of our project, The Place Where Plums Grow, which aims to bring a selection of fruiting trees back to the Woolwich Common and Plumstead Common areas of south London is featured in this weeks edition of Royal Greenwich Time

In the coming months we are looking for more community groups, businesses or schools that may be interested in being involved when we roll the project out in the autumn. We are shortly going to be inviting local business to sponsor a tree and get involved with their local community by supporting the planting of trees and the development of a rich community education programme that will look at the history and folklore of orchards. We will also be developing an education strand looking at the role of trees in supporting bio-diversity, caring for your orchard and collecting delicious recipes to enjoy the fruits of the community's work 

More information about The Place Where Plums Grow can be found on the project page



Topics: [community engagement] [food] [Greenwich] [orchard] [urban farmers] [Woolwich]

Greenwich Cabinet of Curiosities Workshops

Time to take another look at the Royal Borough of Greenwich! We are running a programme of workshops across Greenwich to explore the local area to create materials for the Greenwich Cabinet of Curiosities. The workshops will be informal explorations of the borough where participants can join in mapping the borough, creating pages for the first of our fanzines celebrating the borough, have their tales recorded or just share a story or anecdote about the area. We would also love to see any photographs that people may have of the area or other artefacts that we could document for inclusion in the Greenwich Cabinet of Curiosities and the exhibition at the end of the year. All workshops are free and open to all

Greenwich Heritage Centre, Woolwich - Thursday 5 April 1pm - 4pm

Charlton House Cafe - Thursday  12th April 3pm - 5pm

West Greenwich Library Sat 14th April 1pm - 3pm

Greenwich Heritage Centre, Woolwich - Saturday 21 April 1pm - 4pm

Plumstead Library - Friday 27th April 3pm - 5pm

West Greenwich Library (as part of Adult Learners Week) - Thursday 17 May 3.45pm - 5pm

Topics: [Charlton] [fanzines] [Greenwich] [mapping] [Plumstead] [psycho-geography] [Woolwich] [workshops]

Avant Gardening workshops in Soho

Poster Zine workshop with Avant Gardening - Wednesday March 28th 5.30pm - 7pm, £5

2 Newburgh Street  London, W1F 7RD

Book your place here
Ever wondered who was here before? What the shops were, who has lived and worked in this area? are there any clues we can find by looking and exploring the architecture and the street itself?
We will research, discover, unravel the stories behind Newburgh St and share the findings through a poster fanzine. Tracking the changing landscape of Newburgh Quarter, we'll create a timeline of the area using archival imagery and interviews with local residents.
We'll ask participants in the workshop to look at what has come before and then to imagine future possibilities, what do you see this land being in the future?
The finished fanzine will be online at and as part of their ever growing collection on fanzines made all around London and beyond and will be accessible for anyone to download and print and distribute themselves.
If your interested in illustration, fanzines, history, art, mapping, collage, journalism, editing, photography and design then come buy and help us create a DIY publication in a...DAY! Also if you are local or know the area well please do drop in and see Polly and the team or email her directly and share your stories, photos and objects with them - they would love to hear all about it.
Polly Brannan is an artist and co-founder of London based artist collective Avant Gardening.

Polly On the Edgware Road

Our lead artist, Polly Brannan, will be contributing to the up-coming exhibition 'On the Edgware Road' which makes public three years of research generated by the Serpentine's Edgware Road Project. The exhibition includes installations, films and performances, both at the Serpentine Gallery and at the Centre for Possible Studies, the project's home. The exhibition allows visitors to experience the findings of the artists and local partners involved in the Project and highlights future programmes that will unfold throughout the next year.

Polly has worked with the Serpentine as an artist, educator and curator for the last 8 years and has been heavily involved with the ambitious Edgware Road Project at the Serpentine Gallery and Centre for Possible Studies since it first launched. Polly will be collaborating with Jackson Lam, an independent London based designer and co-founder of Hato Press on the production of several publications, archives, active discussions and presentations with various Edgware Road users as well as the general public. This artist led project by Polly and Jackson has been derived from CAMP'S software project 'edgwareroad com', an open publishing platform and archive for self organised local research which features in the exhibition.

'On the Edgware Road' 6-28 March 2012

Join Polly and Jackson at the free public drop in events: Possibility Archives

artwork by polly brannan
website by the useful arts organisation