This talk will take place both in person at the Garden Museum and live streamed online.
The second of two in-conversation events with Rough Trade is with authors Susanna Grant and Nat Mady, chaired by Matt Collins, our Head Gardener here at the Garden Museum. This in-conversation explores our urban surroundings, how we engage with nature within urban spaces and what the future of these urban gardens hold.
The idea of ‘the garden’ is a complicated, curious thing. They loom large in the imagination—a locus of desire, aspiration, colonisation, care, effort, property, land and ownership, loss and literature. Roughtrade have created a set of pamphlets that examine all of these ideas and more, with a group of writers and gardeners generating new work inspired in some way by our notions of all things green and pleasant, or perhaps less so. Has there ever been so much rich thought around the radical potential of gardening, with so much urgency surrounding how we maintain our little bits of earth, of the meaning that plants carry.
Enjoying Wild Herbs: A Seasonal Guide brings Hackney Herbal’s Nat Mady and illustrator Catmouse together to introduce the wonderful world of herbs. Asking important questions about the nature of public and private space, of how we live alongside plants, how we use them, how we gather them, this is a treatise on how foraging and the knowledge that underpins it can be a radical act—an act that informs much of our attitude to the natural world, to the food we eat and to how we value the multitudinous life that surrounds us
From Gardens Where We Feel Secure is gardener and writer Susanna Grant’s exploration of her thinking on history, value and meaning of nature in the city. Examining the premise that naming species allows us to expand our understanding, our interest, our ways of looking at the world around us, and the idea of plant-blindness—our tendency not to see what we can’t name in the nature that surrounds us—she throws a spotlight on five of her favourite wildflowers with accompanying images by photographer Rowan Spray. These stories are interspersed with reflections on Grant’s own countryside childhood and her work in London’s community gardens: why we can’t walk where we want to, planting as an act of resistance and, above all, the necessity of weeds and their beauty.
Susanna Grant is a writer, gardener and sound artist. She is co-founder of Linda—an outdoor shade-loving plant specialist and garden-design business in east London. Susanna is also a volunteer gardener at the Boundary gardens in Arnold Circus.
Nat Mady is a Hackney-based permaculturist with a passion for connecting people with nature. In 2015, she founded Hackney Herbal, a social enterprise promoting wellbeing using herbs as a way to share knowledge about plants and their many creative uses. As a self-taught gardener she is happiest with her hands in the soil, playing with plants, talking to birds or chatting to others about the wonders of the natural world.
Matt is a garden & landscape writer, and Head Gardener at the Garden Museum in London.
Trained at the Botanic Garden of Wales, Matt contributes articles on horticulture, nature and travel for publications including The Guardian, Spectator, RHS's The Garden and Hortus Journal. He writes a monthly column for the Daily Telegraph and book reviews for Gardens Illustrated. Matt has several books published internationally by Pavilion Books.
Matt’s interests lie at the intersection between cultivated and natural environments; his latest book, Forest, Walking Among Trees traces an intercontinental pathway between British trees and their wild-wooded counterparts, and was shortlisted for an Edward Stanford Travel Writing award.
Matt is a member of the Garden Media Guild