I was contacted in the summer by the Project Manager of this year’s Turbine Hall installation at Tate Modern - who lives in Forest Hill. He explained the basic premise of obtaining soil samples across London and seeing what grows from them. It all sounded very interesting and the Horniman Gardens team were really keen on helping out.
We have over 16 acres of gardens, perfect for soil harvesting
Empty Lot features a grid of 240 wooden planters filled with compost and over 23 tonnes of soil collected from parks and gardens all across London from Peckham Rye to Regent’s Park, and of course the Horniman Gardens.
By the end of the summer we had supplied over two tonnes of the Horniman’s finest soil. Spread across the site it was easy to supply that quantity without leaving gaping holes in our shrub borders. In September the artist Abraham Cruzvillegas visited the Horniman Gardens to see first-hand where the soil came from. It was great to meet him and get more of an idea of what he was planning.
Our celebrity soil being used by seedlings in our nursery
Last night (12.10.15.) members of the Horniman Gardens team were invited to the opening at the Tate and were blown away by the installation, which fills almost all of the Hall. The first seedlings could already be seen germinating and it will be fascinating to see what grows over the next few months - growing conditions have been artificially created using grow lights and hand watering the soil.
Sacks of Horniman soil packed up for the exhibition
Despite a few aching backs in the team from bagging up over two tonnes of soil it has been great to contribute to such an iconic art installation at Tate Modern.
For more information on the exhibition click here