Planting Performance at MERL happened on 5 March 2010 11am-1pm. Weather conditions for the Planting were good; frost overnight, sun bright and warm, slight breeze, last rainfall a few days before, specifics for planting were appropriate.
Grounds men had recently deposited a large pile of compost that was available for usage. The compost was derived from recycled green waste at the University. Some of the compost was shoveled into three wheelbarrow loads and delivered to the Allotment Plot, then shoveled out and spread with the use of an historic rake. The rake was purchased at a car boot sale four years ago and handed to the artist, (who is now known as the subject Ella Montt).
Seed planting began including conversation. Ella Montt as a subject is not a gardener, but Ella Montt as an artist is performing planting and gardening. Ella Montt is planting performance within the arena of MERL, the museum’s garden. The Allotment Plot is a performance area. Performance and growing is Ella Montt’s medium, for Ella Montt this is the same as painting or sculpture. Ella Montt’s intention is to encourage critical debate with persons that may come into direct or indirect contact with Ella Montt. The aesthetic surrounds ethics and political motivation or material. The viewer may or may not wonder what other impulses are hidden within or behind the Allotment Plot.
Organic vegetable seeds planted were as follows: 2 rows of Brussels Sprouts Darkmar 21, 1 row of Cauliflower Snowball, 2 rows of Parsnip Halblange White, 1 row of Carrots Amsterdam Forcing, 1 row of Kale Pentland Brig. Other organic herb and flower seeds were also planted; Dill, Coriander Santos, Flat Leaved Parsley, Borage, Nasturium, Pot Marigold Calendula Officinalis and Cosmos Cosmea.
What seeds germinate and what will survive to grow to maturity is a hidden mystery, unpredictable from the start. Harvest is the intention. Weather acts as an agent. Wild life that is present in the garden can harvest at will unless blocked by human interference. Biodiversity acts out its role as assistant in promotion and deterrent in the organic state, with no need for chemical warfare.