Wow. Over the last two days myself, Linda France and our wonderful volunteers Rob Haughton, Sherezade Garcia-Rangel and Susan Giles have managed to gather over 350 memories about gardens: written on luggage tags by visitors to our Memory Garden and tied onto our two saplings, birch and larch. The memories will now be anonymised and turned into a piece of public art by myself and Linda. It was lovely to see so many people at our little Gateshead-gazebo by the Swing Bridge and we were proud to be a part of the Bridges Festival, especially when we saw the pyrotechnics extravaganza on Saturday night and the finished version of Lord Armstrong’s Lost Garden on the Swing Bridge on Sunday.
Over the weekend we were proper chuffed that so many people of all ages came and shared memories of gardens they’ve known and loved, gardeners who have inspired them, things that happened to them in gardens, and about pushing each other in frog ponds. Some of you cried when you told us your memories, some of you made us cry, some of you laughed, and a lot of you told us how much you enjoyed being given time to stop and think about your garden memories and be given a chance to tell someone else about them too. You also enjoyed getting to read strangers’ memories tied on the two saplings and the idea of an art-work tying everyone’s memories together. Thank you all: I’ll be updating this blog regularly with the progress of the piece of public art myself and Linda France will be producing from the memories collected, and you can also keep informed about it by subscribing to the NCLA mailing list. Thank you also to NCLA, Beacon NE (especially Anna & Kate), and everyone involved in organising the Newcastle-Gateshead Bridges Festival (especially Carol and Vicki) and to the volunteers and site security who helped us out and kept us entertained.
Here’s a selection of photos from Saturday and Sunday showing how our two saplings – birch and larch – turned white with words. Those of you who emailled me your memories, we wrote them up for you and added them to the trees so you could feel a part of the festival too and not just a part of the exciting commission we’ll be taking forward. Incidentally, birch beat larch in the ‘most memories tied to me’ competition on BOTH Saturday and Sunday much to Rob and Shere’s disappointment (we had a bet going) and my, Linda and Susan’s delight.