Named Seeds of Change, the garden commemorates the fact that until the early 1900s, trade boats traveling to Bristol from all across the world used earth, stones and gravel as ballast, unloading these into Bristol’s rivers and quayside along with seeds from wherever the ship had sailed.
The garden was created by artist Maria Thereza Alves and designer Gitta Gschwendtner in collaboration with the Univeristy of Bristol Botanic Gardens, Arnolfini and Bristol City Council, utilising a derelict concrete barge donated by Bristol Harbour Authority. It’s re-seeded every year with non-native plants to create “a living history of the city’s trade and maritime past.”
To me it sounds like the perfect ingredients for a story, making the WE ARE FAMILY BOAT TOUR on Saturday 30 August particularly enticing.
Okay, it’s aimed at kids, but I’m whole-heartedly planning to borrow one as an excuse for coming along! Events start with free drop-in sessions from 1-4pm at the gallery’s light and dark studios where you can “explore the world of ballast seed plants, craft your own plant pots, be transformed into a plant by our fabulous face painter and help UnCanny Creations to make a giant fuzzy felt garden picture.”
Then from 2pm-3:30pm you can continue your journey on the water as storyteller Michael Loader invites you on voyage full of adventure to the Ballast Seed Garden. This bit costs £7/£5 concs, £3 for under 12’s (free for under threes), but sounds well worth it!
Stories, boats and a bit of horticultural history – what’s not to like?