The Gardens, weeds & words podcast, Series 1 Episode 6

To stand and stare

with Laura Ellen Bacon

Looking at the garden in January, it’s easy to feel you really should dive out there and get stuck in, but there’s a lot to be said for taking a considered approach. In this episode I talk to British sculptor Laura Ellen Bacon about how she’s borrowing techniques from her artwork to create intimate spaces in her garden, and just how much time she spends standing about and staring at nothing much.
Photograph: Alun Callender

Photograph: Alun Callender

I was in that state of contented flow you sometimes hit when weeding, kneeling on my board in the veg pach and making good progress with the wood avens and couch grass, when a piece on the BBC Woman’s Hour Craft Prize came on the radio. It describing the work of sculptor Laura Ellen Bacon and, intrigued, I pulled off a gardening glove to get my phone out, finding a signal and jabbing a muddy finger at the screen (how does the soil get inside the gloves?), till the display was filled with images of the most fantastic, organic, tactile forms, folding in and billowing out like some fluid and magical moment captured and given substance. I was fascinated. ⁣

And so, when the opportunity to get Laura on the podcast came up, I leapt at the chance. We talked how she adapts her creative process for her own garden, making intimate garden spaces, and how much time she spends just standing about and thinking, as well as how becoming a mother has impacted what she’s making. ⁣

I hope you enjoy this episode – please continue to share the podcast on social media, and if you’d really like to brighten my day, leave a review on iTunes or your podcast app of choice. Or drop me a note in the comments section below, having listened on the embedded player on this page.

Gardens, weeds and words podcast, S01E06 show notes

A blend of slow radio, gardening advice and conversation, and readings from the best garden and wildlife writing.

These notes may contain affiliate links. 

Garden soundtrack

January, and standing about in the cold.

Winter readings.

Lines from Alexander Pope’s Epistle IV, to Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington,

Leisure, by William Henry Davies

Interview with Laura Ellen Bacon

05:39  Plant memories

10:00  Laura’s materials

12:05  Describing Laura’s work

14:08  Creative process

15:10  Finding a sense of place

18:10  Characteristics of a space

18:46  Laura’s own garden

22:38  Working with a softer, more organic backdrop of the garden

31:05  Movement in Laura’s work

33:16  How being a mother has changed things

38:52  Creating intimate garden spaces

Laura’s website is

You can find her on on Twitter at and Instagram 

You can read details about the Woman’s Hour Craft Prize here 

With thanks to Laura for being my guest this episode, and again to Beth Pinkerton for providing her smooth tones for the reading, once more at absurdly short notice. You can find Beth here: Twitter Instagram 





You can hear find the podcast trailer and the first four episodes here, either on iTunes or on Switcher.

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Hello! I’m Andrew, gardener, writer, photographer, and owner of a too-loud laugh, and I’m so pleased you’ve found your way to Gardens, weeds & words. You can read a more in-depth profile of me on the About page, or by clicking this image.