The Plantation Garden
A Wandering Words commission by performance poet and A&E nurse Piers Harrison-Reid

Discover Norwich of the past, present and future through newly commissioned poems from five brilliant writers with ties to the city. Wandering Words is a literary walk, created to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of Norwich becoming England’s first UNESCO City of Literature.

You can download a Wandering Words map here and embark on the walk yourself, or follow along online by listening to the poem and soundscape below. Explore Wandering Words in full here →

The Plantation Garden

Location one: 4 Earlham Rd, Norwich NR2 3DB

Start your journey at The Plantation Garden; a beautiful, three-acre Victorian Garden built within an abandoned chalk quarry.

The Garden was created by successful furniture maker and Baptist minister, Henry Trevor, between 1857 and the 1870s. Featuring a stunning gothic fountain, Italianate features, woodland walks, vast flower beds, and a Victorian-style greenhouse, it’s the ideal location for a spot of reading, writing or picnicking.

‘Plantation Garden’ is written and performed by Piers Harrison-Reid, a performance poet and A&E nurse.


Plantation Gardens

Listen to the poem with soundscape


Listen to the poem


Listen to the soundscape


Sound design and production by Access Creative College (Bill Skipp).

Read ‘Plantation Gardens’

When I lose myself

To the inner trembling

Feel again

The loose threads

Snagged on some branch or thought

Become unravelled


I stumble

Through iron gates blooming, woven

Begin to weave myself

Whole again


In the shadow of cathedral

A gothic-flint fountain


Ringed by Rothko colours


A secret sanctuary

near silent

in the centre of the city

Formed of a former quarry

Full of folly

40 years’ work

80 years of decay

and growth

Hidden away

Its garden reached wide-eyed at the sun

As this city grew and changed

The sounds of lace and shoe work echoed

over the trees,

Chocolate and mustard filled the air,

then all ebbed away.


What is it to be rediscovered?

The foxes and butterflies

Relaxing in shafts of golden light

Never forgot

The hidden signs and signatures

The faces in the rock


And with sinkholes swallowing buses,

Perhaps it tried to keep its secrets

Behind its empty windows and doorways

Did it know it was lost?


A Preservation Trust

Is an ill-fitting name

For those that made a perfect space

Surrounded by walkways

Which hold echoes of all of us unwoven ones

Who too have beamed and basked

In those shafts of golden light

Bloom again


These spaces hold our history

Hold our hands

Hold our hope

How do we shape them?

What will we be remembered by?


Though none can fistfight time

Perhaps there is some trust for us

Who will hear our echoes

See our follies and flaws

Rothko ringed and beaming

Restore us

Our tired walls

Our battered bones

And bring us back

Make us home

Piers Harrison-Reid is a performance poet primarily inspired by his real-life big boy job as an Accident and Emergency Nurse, and the stories of life and loss from the people he meets there. Now perhaps best known for his viral love poem to the NHS ‘Love is for the brave’, he has supported the likes of Buddy Wakefield and Scroobius Pip, performed internationally and toured Scotland and England. He has featured on BBC Look East, is a weekly guest on BBC Radio Norfolk, has performed at a multitude of summer festivals including stages at Bestival and Latitude, and given keynote speeches to conferences including the Chief Nursing Officer of the NHS. Headshot is from Visit Norwich brand launch 2019, photo credit Simon Finlay Photography.

A Norfolk & Norwich Festival and National Centre for Writing presentation, programmed by the National Centre for Writing.

A special thank you to our sound production partners Access Creative College: Harry Love, Jamie Lovett, William Plane, Mia Rodwell and Bill Skipp, supported by Matt Munford, Jonny Cole and Dylan Barber.

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