Sunday, July 21, 2013

School Garden

School Garden in Sweden
"Give the children an opportunity to make a garden.  Let them grow what they will.  It matters less that they grow good plants than that they try for themselves."  --Liberty Hyde Bailey

This summer I had the opportunity to spend a couple of weeks in Norway and Sweden.  I can't begin to describe the beautiful gardens, waterways and mountains, or the amazing architecture and history, of these northern countries.  My husband Bob's roots are in Sweden and mine are in Norway.  Although neither of us have traveled to Scandinavia, we both felt as if we were strangely home in these very foreign countries.  As we were touring a church one day, I walked the perimeter of the cemetery.  All the cemeteries were well manicured and filled with flowers.  This particular grounds was lined by an ornate iron fence covered with vines and various flowers.  I noticed a gate and peered through.  On the other side of the gate was this amazing garden.  There was an older couple sitting on one of several benches.  They smiled and waved, so I walked into this flowering wonderland.  The woman began talking to me excitedly in Swedish.  I was immediately transported to my childhood, when my grandparents (on both sides of my family) would hold long conversations in Norwegian just so that I would not understand, planning some surprise or punishment with seemingly great delight.  This couple spoke no English and I clearly did not understand their Swedish.  Finally, the woman pointed to the above sign and then across the street to a building.  I realized at once what I had stumbled into; a school garden!  What a magical moment!  It was as if I was meant to find this amazing plot of land near this obscure cemetery in Sweden.  We are not alone in our pursuits to bring children and gardens together.  And on that day, I was reminded of how amazingly similar the teaching of children and the passing on of beauty is in this world that we all call home.  The following photos are all taken in this "Skoltradgarden."