Sunday, 21 June 2015

Mixed Borders (4): The London Open Garden Squares Weekend

On Saturday 13 June I gave two readings of my four poems for Red Cross Garden, at the little bandstand in the garden. There were about ten people at each reading - a few friends, and other members of the public, and everyone's attendance was much appreciated. The weather wasn't amazing (a bit cool, cloudy and breezy, though fortunately the few drops of rain cleared up) but we all know it could have been a lot worse...and the sun came out later in the afternoon.

My four poems were 'The Octavia Hill Rose', 'Bobby', 'Restoration' and 'Sherlock Holmes in Red Cross Garden'. I'm not going to post any of them on the blog for now, but watch this space, as one or two of them will be appearing elsewhere in future and I will link to them then.

I was happy that I was able to write about the garden from a few different angles, and the poems all had somewhat different styles, which seemed to fit. 'The Octavia Hill Rose', about the garden's founder, went into sonnet form, perhaps a nod to the more formal Victorian times she belonged to. The other poems all varied in style, but a poet friend who came to one of the readings told me that at the same time they were all quite recognisably from the same voice, which was lovely to hear.

I hope to continue my relationship with Red Cross Garden to a certain extent - they have asked me if I can read the poems again at their Vegetable and Flower Show later this year, which makes me feel like a real poet in residence. They may also be using the poems in other interesting ways, but these are TBC for now.

Here are a couple of photos from the two readings:

On Sunday a friend and I managed to visit some other gardens in Bloomsbury and the City. Near Barbican, I went to Fann Street Wildlife Garden, where Stephanie Norgate was in residence, and Postman's Park, where Ann Perrin was the resident poet. Later I also made it to Nomura - resident poet Julia Bird had gone home after a long weekend in the manicured rooftop garden, but I certainly loved the views.

Resident poet Ann Perrin in Postman's Park

Resident poet Stephanie Norgate in Fann Street Wildlife Garden


  1. I wish I could have been there! That's a lovely picture of you reading at the top. Very pre-raphaelite somehow, and perfect for the setting and the day. I look forward to reading those poems.

    1. Thanks, Mark - it turned out to be a lovely event. And watch this space for poems!