The Lost Garden is a site-specific installation and performance by artist Martha McDonald at The Woodlands exploring impermanence and the fragile nature of memory. In the 18th century, The Woodlands was William Hamilton’s spectacular botanic garden and greenhouse of exotic plants, but it nearly disappeared in the rapid urbanization of the early 19th century. The garden was saved from extinction by being transformed into a cemetery, or “memory garden.”
Drawing on the language of Victorian handcrafts like jewelry made from human hair and wax flowers under domes, McDonald's installation of knitted flowers memorializes the lost plants from Hamilton’s garden. The performance takes audiences on an intimate song tour of the Victorian cemetery and into McDonald’s installation inside Hamilton’s 18th century mansion to conjure the dream of the lost garden.
The Lost Garden features multiple performances over two weekends.