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From the 1750s to late 1800s, the Veitch family were very influential in British gardening. They were responsible for commissioning “plant hunters” who scoured the world for rare and exotic plants for Victorian gardens and conservatories.
When the 19th century plant hunters returned to Britain, many of the plants, cuttings and seeds were unloaded at Topsham quay before being transported to gardens across England. The Topsham Museum Garden is home to a number of these gathered plants.
I’m interested in the idea that European settlers have not only occupied traditional lands, but have stolen land materials, to occupy British gardens for the benefit and privilege of Europeans, who are mostly unaware or misinformed about their own colonial history.
I’ve used the Topsham Museum garden along with a powerful poem by Harryette Mullen titled ‘We Are Not Responsible’, to explore this idea.
Video: © Amy Romer
Voiceover: Patrick Romer
Poem: © Harryette Mullen
We Are Not Responsible
Exploring land narratives through botany and colonial histories.