Gardens Illustrated
An artist render of PoliNations
© Credit THISS, Carl Robertshaw

A forest garden is coming to the heart of Birmingham

Published: August 23, 2022 at 1:08 pm
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An urban oasis in Birmingham city centre will celebrate the diversity in Britain's gardens and culture

A "super garden of magical proportions" will be taking over Birmingham city centre from 2 to 18 September, celebrating the UK's cultural diversity through horticulture.

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PoliNations' garden will feature 11-metre (36ft) architectural trees among thousands of plants and flowers planted by Birmingham residents, and host a 17-day programme of free events, including live music, dance, poetry, workshops and illuminating origin stories about plants we're very familiar with in our gardens, including daisies, lavender, apple trees and roses.

An artist render of PoliNations
An artist render of PoliNations © THISS, Carl Robertshaw, Bronia Housman

Hosted by Trigger Collective, PoliNations takes its inspiration from the fact the majority of plants in our city gardens originate from overseas, and celebrates "the cross-pollination that has shaped British culture".

Angie Bual, Creative Director of Trigger Collective, says, "The idea behind PoliNations derived from the wave of Black Lives Matter protests that happened at the same time as the coronavirus lockdowns, when more and more people were reconnecting with nature. These phenomena made me think about my own identity and place in the UK, and at Trigger Collective we began exploring the relationship between plants, cultural identity and civic activism.

"We were surprised to find out that most of the plant life in our city gardens has travelled in from outside of the UK and wanted to use the vibrancy of plant life as a metaphor to understand why we're multi-cultural."

During the opening weekend of PoliNation, visitors are invited to plant one of the 600 pot-marigolds in the 'super garden', alongside community groups from around Birmingham.

Every morning there'll be a daily sound- and light-scape marking the awakening of the forest, plus an an immersive, multi-sensory tour of the garden. There'll also be talks by stellar speakers such as food grower and writer Claire Ratinon, author Jon Drori, and activist and gardener Sui Searle, spanning topics, such as freedom of expression, decolonising the garden, and sustainability.

The festival will culminate in a grand finale, where the trees' canopies will burst into a cloud of confetti and colour.

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After the event, plants from the PoliNations garden will go back out to re-green the city.

PoliNations take place 2-18 September 2022. For more information visit polinations.com

Authors

Abigail is a freelance writer and editor based in Hereford.

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