In the garden

Read about the work of Farmer’s Pride project partners to conserve plant genetic resources in gardens.

Farmer’s Pride networks: Finnish allotment Gardens, Summer 2019

As many allotment gardens in Finland have decades-long histories, they are natural sites for landraces and other heritage plants. The Farmers’ Pride project has promoted awareness of in situ preservation in two pilot gardens, one in the city of Helsinki and the other in the city of Turku. The project has identified especially old apple trees in the allotment garden society in Turku city center, which it has helped promote as the city’s common recreation and eco-learning area – including on a national TV show ‘Egenland’, filmed in July 2019 and broadcasted on 7th January 2020.  Learn more about Egenland.

Over 300 apple trees of dozens cultivars grow in the two hectare allotment garden in Kupittaa, Turku. It is an urban hotspot for cultivated heritage apples. Photo: Maarit Heinonen / Luke

Establish a network for Finnish parsonage gardens

Parsonages were important pioneers in the development of horticulture and agriculture in Finland, especially from the mid 1700’s to the early 1900s. Pehr Kalm (1716-1779) was a pupil of the Swede’s botanist Carl von Linné who studied plants which could benefit Finnish gardening, farming and forestry.

The Maaria parsonage dates from 1600s and is where Pehr Kalm lived from 1763 until his death  in 1779. Photo: Tuomas Santa

The Farmers’ Pride project was involved in establishing the Pehr Kalm Society on 6th March 2020 in the Kalm’s parsonage (Maaria) which still exists in Turku (60°27′N, 022°16′E) in southwest Finland. The Society’s purpose is to study Professor Pehr Kalm’s life-work and its influences and to cherish the old garden culture – especially the garden culture of the 1700’s. One of the objectives is to establish a network for old parsonage gardens – both those still in use and former ones.

 In addition to the guided garden tour of the old Maaria parsonage, the Society gave the guidance on taking spring cuttings from an old apple tree. Photo: Maarit Heinonen, Luke

Roughly a hundred people participated in the first event arranged by the Society and it has attracted a membership of 40. The media release (in Finnish) is available here.  During his travels in North America 1747-175 Pehr Kalm described a cultivated apple ‘Rambo’ of Scandinavian origin 1. ‘Rambo’ is preserved in the national apple germplasm collection in Finland. An article about ‘Rambo’ is available in Landraces issue 4.

A new network for Finnish museum gardeners

Museums are specialists in collection management and that could be developed and broadened to include the management of living heritage plant collections. But until recently, professional museums in Finland have not been widely interested to include these in their collections. Farmers’ Pride Finnish partner Luke, was involved in organizing the first meeting of museum gardeners on 30th October 2019 at the oldest museum garden in Sagalund in Kemiönsaari in southwest Finland (60° 9′ N, 22° 43′ E). Fifteen people from the community of museum gardens in Finland took part and learned about those pioneer museum gardens with collections of landraces and other heritage plants. The new network aims to encourage museums to inventory the plants in their garden, to promote the use of landraces and other heritage plants in renovating museum gardens and to motivate i them to integrate this within their museum activities. The network involves a dozen museums and plans to hold an annual meetings in one of the museum gardens.

Initial ideas on how museum gardens in Finland can serve as plant heritage in situ preservers and users is presented in Landraces issue 3, 2015.

Learn more about Sagalund museum and its museum garden.

A group of museum gardeners and experts is arriving to the network meeting of museum gardeners in Sagalund museum.  Photo: Maarit Heinonen, Luke