The long delayed (by COVID) opening of the Onion Garden Chicago took place at the Ringve Botanical Gardens in Trondheim on Friday. Here we grow over 400 different Alliums including over 100 botanical species and some 60 old (with a history from 60-980 years; yes the oldest history goes back to 1040!) Norwegian onions. To officially open the garden, Elise Moltzau Wanderås from the Norwegian Agricultural Authority (LDir) was given Felco garden shears to clip Allium pskemense flowering stems and our new sign was simultaneously revealed (received the day before)!
Thanks to all that donated onions to the collection in my project (2008-2016) funded by the Norwegian Genetic Resource Centre and LDir, to Vibekke Vange and the staff at Ringve who gave me the chance and support to create this garden and make a dream come true, to volunteer Kim Wallace, daughter Hazel and Meg Anderson for help maintaining the garden! Thanks also to KVANN (kvann.no) for support for purchasing seed and bulbs for the garden and support for sending plant material from the garden to members each autumn!
Notice that we used an Alliophone (Allium microphone) under the event (patented by Søren Holt of Danish Seed Savers some years ago!):
Norwegian: I september 2012 besøkte jeg Grimstad for å snakke om min bok Around the World in 80 plants som snart skulle se dagens lys! Jeg holdt et foredrag for Grimstad bys museum og Aust-Agder sopp- og nyttevekstforening. Jeg ble også invitert til Bioforsk Landvik hvor Åsmund Asdal fra genressursenteret hadde et kontor. Jeg hadde samarbeidet med Åsmund over flere år som leder av Planteklubben for Grønnsaker (Norwegian Seed Savers). Jeg ga en kort foredrag for staben etterfulgt av en tur på forsøksarealene for å se førstehånd flere av klonsamlingene som Planteklubben mottok materiale fra hvert år!
English:In September 2012, I visited Grimstad in the south of Norway to give a talk about my soon to be published book Around the World in 80 plants to Grimstad bys museer and Aust-Agder sopp- og nyttevekstforening (the museum and local group of the Norwegian Useful Plants Society). I was also invited to nearby Bioforsk Landvik where Åsmund Asdal of the Norwegian Genetic Resource Centre had an office. I had collaborated with Åsmund over a number of years as leader of Norwegian Seed Savers (Planteklubben for Grønnsaker). I gave a short afternoon talk to the staff followed by a tour of the grounds to see first hand several of the clonal collections that Planteklubben received material from each year!
I get invited to talk in some wonderful places! On 27th April 2014 I visited Portåsen and gave a shortened version of my Around the World in 80 plants talk in the comfortable Hay Loft venue at Portåsen!
The Norwegian Genetic Resource Centre (NGRC) think that all cultural heritage institutions in Norway with landscaping ought to use historical plants suitable for the actual buildings, associated culture and history. Portåsen is one of the places that have made the most progress with this. Portåsen is the childhood home of Herman Wildenvey (1885-1959) in Nedre Eiker. Wildenvey is one of the most prominent Norwegianpoets of the twentieth century. During his lifetime he published 44 books of his own poetry. Portåsen was established in 2010 as a cultural centre for the dissemination of Herman Wildenvey’s life and works. Herman Wildenvey was known as the “sun and summer” poet, and his poems reference some 80 different flower and plants. It is said that one of his first reading experiences were from Blytt’s Flora. Therefore it is quite natural that historical plants and traditional plant use gives a key backdrop to the varied cultural events with exhibitions, concerts, walks etc. at Portåsen. The place is beautifully restored. In the flower beds around the houses in the yard can be found historical perennial ornamentals (to be classified as Plant Heritage, a plant has to be documented to have been grown 50 years ago), which were either found in old gardens locally or received from “Oldemors garden” at the botanics in Oslo or from Lier Bygdetun (both have collections coordinated with the NGRC). Just above the yard is a well-tended vegetable and herb garden with food and spice plants, and within a traditionally erected fence can be found old apple varieties. A meadow has also been sown with seeds from Ryghsetra, an old local hayfield which Friends of the Earth Buskerud have received the Norwegian Plant Heritage prize for maintaining! The following lines are from Wildenveys poem “O, ennu å være”
O, ennu å synge om midtsommernetter, Og ennu å ånde i kryddersval luft, Ennu å vite, hva blomstene hetter Og nevne dem ved deres farve og duft.