For the second year in a row, the Poetry School has teamed up with Open Garden Squares Weekend to offer mini residencies in London parks and gardens to emerging poets. Last year, my residency never quite got off the ground, so I’m delighted that this year I’ve been matched up with Thrive in Battersea Park.
I already have a connection with Thrive, as they partnered with the Doddington & Rollo Community Roof Garden to provide a horticultural therapist for the weekly gardening club we set up last year. Thrive is a social enterprise that uses horticulture to improve the lives of people living with disabilities. In Battersea Park, Thrive manages four gardens, including the Herb Garden and Old English Garden, which will be the main focuses for the Open Garden Squares Weekend.
Thrive is also running a number of events during the week 23rd to 29th May as part of Chelsea Fringe Festival. I’ll be spending time in all four Thrive gardens that week, observing and gathering material for new poems. I’m also pencilled in to give a short poetry reading at 3pm in the Old English Garden on both Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th May. It’s a beautiful setting and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good weather.
The Open Garden Squares Weekend is 18th and 19th June, when gardens are at their peak, according to my Thrive horticulturalist. And for some reason I’m thinking about biennial plants, which put on leaves and store food in their first year, and wait until the second year to send up a flower stem and bloom. Roll on June.