Thursday, 18 April 2013

A garden in the rain & visitors from Finland

This afternoon, Andrew Riseman and I talked with a delegation of Finnish university campus planners about Learning Landscapes on campus. Our visitors also heard from a number of people from Campus and Community Planning about the planning, building and maintenance of other projects at UBC ranging from new wood-framed buildings and sustainable energy and greywater systems to the design of the large new multi-use Hubs.

This group showed tremendous interest in the Orchard Garden, the UBC Farm and other student-led, grassroots initiatives at UBC and their integration into the life of the university. They said that school gardens are rare nowadays in Finland, although they were a regular part of rural elementary schools up till about WWII. However they did say that students on their campuses (at Aalto University, The University of Helsinki, the University of Oulu and others) were now requesting spaces to grow vegetables on campus. They promised to put us in touch with students there who are also engaged in university garden projects.

We mentioned 'flax', and there was a flurry of activity with electronic translators as people looked for the Finnish term ('pellava', if you're interested). Our visitors told us that in the old days most people used to grow pellava to make their own clothing. One said that pellava was very stiff and scratchy at first, but then got better and better as the years went on -- "just like us!" He had a 30-year-old linen suit that was just beautiful, he said.

I took some pictures of the garden this morning to add to our slide show. Here's a link to my slides (I'll add Andrew's when he sends them), and here are a few pictures of our beautiful garden in the spring rain.

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