Just as our insect friends metamorphize, so too has Sydenham Garden’s Young Person’s Project evolved into… ⓜ.ⓤ.ⓓ.
We brainstormed a few name options in the group and put them to an Instagram poll – ⓜ.ⓤ.ⓓ coming out on top! We hope to live up to our new title by getting stuck into the garden at De Frene more over the coming months.
Throughout the month of March, our ⓜ.ⓤ.ⓓ group has spent time with the Garden Museum collections and archive to ponder further how we have connected to the natural world at Sydenham Garden together, and how that might relate to the experience and work of gardeners from the past.
Group member Tilly came up with the Postcard Project as a means to explore those connections and to house them permanently in the Garden Museum archive for generations of gardeners to come.
Our first session saw us delving into books, garden designs, slides, conservation ephemera, and so on, with the wonderfully supportive archivist, Alice. We had access to Sylvia Landsberg’s oeuvre of medieval gardening obsession, learning more about food crops relevant to that period through her scaled garden designs and paintings. There were endless maximalist arrangements on slide film from a florist ahead of her time. And a butterfly conservationist produced Studio Ghibli-style designs for wildlife gardens.
Taking this material back to De Frene, we collaged postcards that expressed our green interests, drawing upon the Garden Museum material, as well as our relationships to the land at Sydenham Garden. The group has always felt a connection to the flower farm side of SG, so floral imagery featured heavily; there were also poems linking to our previous collaborative writing exercises at ⓜ.ⓤ.ⓓ .
These artefacts then travelled through the post and eventually landed in a display case at the museum ! They will be viewed by visitors for the next couple of months before moving into their forever home at the archive. A zine will also be produced by us so that we can hold onto these memories for years to come.