Avant Gardening the Barbican

Avant Gardening the Barbican

The Barbican Gallery invited Avant Gardener Polly Brannan to host a project as part of the 'Do Something Different Weekend' in July 2009.

Polly decided to create a series of walks, talks and tours with participants, local residents, gardeners and wildlife experts around the Barbican Estate. Over the weekend there were three events, during each of which a fanzine was made to document local knowledge which was collected and then distributed to each participant and in the Radical Nature exhibition

Over the weekend Polly encouraged participants to explore the Barbican; looking between the cracks of concrete onto hidden green spaces and discovering the nature that lives around the site.

The group explored the green spaces, did some bird spotting and counting and then compared their findings to those of a survey made in the 1980's. We also did some drawing and discovered various species of flowers and plants as well as collecting advice and tips on gardening and growing!

The participants had the chance to meet Francis Pugh; local resident, Fann Street Wildlife Volunteer and City of London Green badge holder. Francis ran his own tour around the estate sharing his amazing inside knowledge of the Barbican estate and it's ecology with the group.

Polly invited Neil Anderson, the in-house gardener from the Barbican Conservatory to share his unusual stories about the Conservatory with the group and giving them a very special tour.

Polly also invited Fellow Avant Gardener Lisa Cheung and the Mobile Allotment to the event. Whilst Lisa and her group where planting up the allotment Polly gathered people to share stories, memories, recipes from home grown foods that you can grow in your backyards, tips and advice about growing as well as doing some observational and imaginative drawings and collages-all of which was compiled into Sunday's issue of the fanzine!



artwork by polly brannan
website by the useful arts organisation