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How to Make a Bomb: a public workshop on rose propagation & political plant biographies

As part of Gabriella Hirst’s project How to Make a Bomb the Old Waterworks is hosting a rose cutting workshop. Throughout the day Hirst will discuss her durational gardening project How to Make a Bomb and we will learn about roses and the various techniques of propagation from Simon White of Peter Beales Roses, after which we will attempt our own cuttings. Local permaculture practitioner Graham Burnett will also introduce us to the principles of permaculture as well as the project he has led in TOW’s garden. We encourage you to bring your own cutting material and we are on hand to answer questions about what may be suitable. Cutting material can be provided if you are unable to bring your own. Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

How To Make A Bomb is centred on the propagation and redistribution of a nearly-extinct species of garden rose which was created and registered under the name ‘Rosa Atom Bomb’ in 1953. The project charts the various attempts by Hirst to produce new specimens of the Atom Bomb rose through grafting and cuttings. Propagated plants are distributed throughout gardens in the UK parallel to the resurgence of cold-war-era narratives and fear mongering in the media and political rhetoric.

The Atom Bomb rose is the protagonist of a larger research project by Hirst, unpacking various links and associations embodied by this species and the processes of manipulation and care which are wrapped up in it’s dwindling existence. The Rose is a vessel to explore ideas of historical global power structures enacted through gardening, a means to approach the ungraspable time scales of Nuclear materials, and the coexistence of tenderness and violence within relationships between humans and plants.

From August 2019, the How To Make a Bomb project is hosted by The Old Waterworks, funded by Arts Council England. Roses will be propagated at TOW, which is poignantly in close proximity to Foulness Island, a key Nuclear Weaponry development site, where test weapons bound for Maralinga and the Monte Bello Islands, Australia, were developed in the 1940s-50s.

Book your place HERE

The venue is accessible via a ramp. Toilets aren't currently wheelchair yet, please email if you have any questions