The Abundance Garden Trail – Somerset Art Weeks 2013

Fiona Campbell's progress on Abundance Garden
Fiona Campbell’s progress on Abundance Garden

Eight new dynamic SAW commissions within the great gardens of Somerset  Seven of Somerset’s most magnificent gardens will be the locations for eight dramatic new artworks and installations during the Somerset Art Weeks festival, running September 21 – October 6 2013.

Devised by Somerset Art Works in association with the National Garden Scheme, and funded by Arts Council England, the Abundance Garden Trail will comprise a series of site specific contemporary commissions, placing the new and challenging works within the cultivated garden landscapes of Somerset.

The eight artists (Megan Calver, Fiona Campbell, Alison Cockcroft, Kitty Hiller, Leah Hislop, Sue Palmer, Bryony Tidball and Gillian Widden) will respond to the theme of abundance in their own way, whether in social, cultural, political or historical terms. Working closely with the garden owners they will look to use locally sourced materials to compliment (or contrast) the landscape, culture and history of each site.

Fiona Campbell intends to recreate a Garden of Eden at the Esotera Garden at Foddington.

“Eden is almost tangible at Esotera,” she says, “made more so by the impact of the proposed vibrant, exotic installation – a product of intricate labour and love created from abundant mixed media reclaimed materials on a large scale, suggesting also that Eden is everywhere in the fantastical microscopic world – if we look hard enough. A garden of earthly delights awaits.”

Artist Sue Palmer will create a new screen based work with accompanying artist’s booklet, created in response to the Pope’s Hadspen Garden, near Castle Cary which closed in 2005. Through researching the ‘dispersal’ of Hadspen via the plants and seeds people bought there and planted in their own gardens, and conversations with plantswomen and visitors, the work studies the relationship between time, the garden and the gardener. The finished work showing at Tintinhull, where Penelope Hobhouse, who was so influential to Hadspen, went on to garden.

From an audience perspective, the Abundance Garden Trail programme will aim to connect the public with the abundant creativity evident within the cultivation of gardens and art-making in the county.

Alongside the new commission, the Abundance theme continues with Abundance X at East Lambrook Manor Gardens: an exhibition featuring limited-edition art works and multiples. Artists include Laura Pearcy, Chris Dunseath, Judy Willoughby, Emma Riley, Nadja Mcdevitt, Jan Ollis, Rachel Waldock, Sue Lowe, Margaret Wall and Linda Bristow.

Abundance Pop-up Meadow: a sea of blooms, butterflies, bumblebees and assorted pollinators magically appear at many different locations throughout the Taunton area. Created by schoolchildren working with artist Freya Morgan and supported by Taunton Deane Borough Council.

Abundance Feast: September 20 2013. An evening of food and drink that can only be found in Somerset! A special taster menu and presentation created by artist Tasha Stevens working with a professional chef and exploring sustainable food supply from the garden environment.

Gardens in the trail are: The Walled Gardens of Cannington (nr Bridgwater, Sedgemoor), Little Yarford Farmhouse (Kingston St Mary, nr Taunton), Stoke St. Mary Gardens (Stoke St. Mary, near Taunton), Aller Farmhouse (Williton, West Somerset), Tintinhull Garden (Tintinhull), Esotera (Foddington, nr Babcary) and Henley Mill (Wookey, Mendip).

For and more information see

See the Abundance Garden Train blog at


Images: Fiona Campbell ‘Garden or Eden’, Freya Morgan ‘Pop up Meadow’, Sue Palmer ‘Flowers, where is’.