Music, art, readings and gardening as Margate Now festival kicks off at Westbrook’s Sunken Garden

Artists Dominic Rose (left) Lucy Lyons (centre) and Charlie Evaristo-Boyce (right) at the Sunken Ecologies launch Photo Carl Hudson

By Fiona Sielski Waters

Photos by Carl Hudson

The sun shone as the Margate NOW’s Sunken Ecologies festival kicked off in the Sunken Garden, Westbrook on Saturday (September 25).

Sunken Garden Society volunteers held their regular monthly gardening day, while festival guest curator Anna Colin led a tour of the garden with the commissions on view and went onto an accompanying exhibition at the Nayland Rock Hotel.

The garden unveiled a beautiful new entrance sign designed by Ramsgate artist Molly Pickle.

Photo Carl Hudson

All ages took part when Open School East associates held a very popular terrazzo tile  making workshop and a Cliftonville Cultural Space project saw a sukkah built as a creative interpretation of the Jewish festival of Sukkot.

There was live music as the sun set over the gardens and Ama Josephine Budge gave a reading asking what arises from a sunken garden as a finale.

Photo Carl Hudson

The artist group Thread and Word offered an interactive walk from Margate on the Sunday, inspired by Tom Stoppard’s ‘Arcadia’, Kim Conway led a workshop on plant-based filmmaking and some of the terrazzo tiles were laid amongst the stone work in the sunken grass pools of the garden.

Commissions in the garden included Nicolas Deshayes’s gate, Lindsey Mendick’s compost bin, Sonia Overall’s reinterpretation of plant labels, Christina Peake’s sculptures and Francesca Ter-Berg’s sound pieces.

The Sunken Garden Society is excited about hosting its own Eco Gathering day on Sunday October 3) from 10am – 4pm with a whole array of talks, workshops, stalls and refreshments at the Sunken Garden.

Photo Carl Hudson

There will be activities with magnificent moths, a bee walk, and both Sunken and a seashore scavenger hunt and sand art, and talks from Kent Plan Bee, Enchanted Garden’s Donna Richardson, Dusty Gedge on green roofs and living walls, and wildlife conservation in Thanet from Nik Mitchell.

Sunken Garden Society creator and garden reviver, Peter Hasted, will lead the Sunken Safari talking about the garden’s history, the rewards of community gardening and the diverse species managing to flourish in these sometimes harsh coastal conditions.

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Stall holders will include Kent Wildlife Trust, Kent Plan Bee, RSPB, Molly Pickles, the Enchanted Garden, Kent Fungus Group, the Woodland Trust, the Windmill Community Gardens, Kent Tree and Pond warden, Edibleculture with their electric van, Kent Bat Trust, KEKMPA, Margate Rotary,  permaculture with Helen Smith and, of course, the Sunken Garden Society.

There will also be a mysterious rock formation – ‘All that Glistens’ by Sadie Hennessy – providing added mystery and enigma!

The festival continues Friday 1st, Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd October with the schedule of events at the link here:


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