The selection committee of the Finnish Garden Association selected the allotment gardens that participated in the event as recipients of the 2022 Open Gardens award.
Open Gardens is a yearly national event, arranged since 2012. The last event was arranged Aug 7th 2022. On the first Sunday of August, more than 850 garden gates were opened in different parts of Finland. There were private yards, allotment gardens, public attractions and tourist attractions. Interesting sites and excellent summer weather attracted 95 000 enthusiastic visitors to visit the gardens.
The theme of the year, ‘Gardens in climate change’, was one of the criteria for awarding the honorable mention. 22 allotment gardens from all over Finland took part in the event, and in these you could get to know many different types gardens. These gardens, as part of urban environments, slow down climate change with the help of abundant vegetation and also help to reduce the harmful effects of weather phenomena.
Abundance and diversity
The abundance of vegetation in the allotment gardens supports nature's biodiversity and helps to adapt to the effects of climate change. Old and abundant vegetation connects throughout the growing season, binding the harmful carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Layered vegetation cools and binds plenty of water during rains, for example, preventing problems caused by heavy rains. Allotment gardens provide shelter, living space and food for honeybees, many other insects and birds in urban environments.
In addition, the council's reasoning emphasized the versatility and community spirit of allotment gardens. Several gardens had events during the day such as guided tours, seedling sales and event cafes. Allotment gardens naturally combine the self-cultivation of useful plants with the showiness and abundance of decorative plants. The allotment gardens are open to everyone and serve as refreshing oases also at times other than during the Open Gardens event.
The event is organized by the Finnish Garden Association. The partners of the event are Svenska Trädgårdsförbundet rf, the garden foundations of Maiju and Yrjö Rikala and Ljudmila and Nikolai Borisoff, as well as Kotipuutarha-lehti, Martat and Kekkilä. The event is carried out in cooperation with the European Rendez vous aux Jardins network.
The largest gardening fare in the Nordics, “Nordiska Trädgårdar “, took place from 25th until 28th March 2021. Due to the current circumstances the fair was a virtual one.
Ulrica OTTERLING, director of the Swedish allotment federation kindly contacted Tina WESSMAN, her homologue at the Finnish office asking if they would like to join with an own digital showcase. And of course they did!
Tina straight away prepared two lectures and also received a lovely video presenting the only Swedish-speaking association (and the oldest one on its original spot) in Helsinki. An additional video from the association, was based on a documentary the Finnish public broadcaster YLE had ordered and that was aired when the association celebrated 100 years in 2018 was received.
The lecture ‘Allotment gardens in Finland' shortly covered the history of allotment gardening and the Finnish federation, and somewhat emphasized the special features of allotments in the country. The lecture 'What are the allotment gardeners in Finland like' presented the federation’s environmental project and the types of allotment gardeners that were found based on an analysis from an extensive survey (presented in Hyphen 69).
The event was very successful
The Finnish federation has since 1935 published a magazine called ‘Siirtolapuutarha’ (= allotment garden). Nowadays the magazine is published with five issues a year. The magazine is sent free of charge to all the allotment gardeners in the federation’s member associations, it has some subscribers and it is also legible on Issuu (with the lag of one issue).
The editor in chief of “Siirtolapuutarha” is the President of the Finnish association – Mr. Pertti LAITILA. The editorial team consists of one reporter, Ms. Pirjoliisa LAURÈN and the chairperson of the editorial board, Ms. Maylis KARJALAINEN. The graphic design is the handwriting of AD Ms. Riikka SIUSLUOTO.
In 2020 the Finnish federation became – as a publisher – member of the Finnish Magazine Media Association, founded in 1946. The association monitors the interests of magazine media publishers. It develops and provides tools to enable the industry to respond to competition in the changing media field. The association has about 250 publishing members, publishing almost 500 magazines and online publications. Public, professional and organizational magazines as well as customer magazines are represented in the industry community. Yearly this association arranges a competition called ‘Edit’ – rewarding successful achievements and creators of the magazine media industry in Finland.
The editorial team has done a huge work on making the Finnish allotment federation’s magazine more current. Due to these efforts “Siirtolapuutarha” was signed up in the “Edit”-competition of 2020, in the category “Best trade and association media”. Everyone was very happy, that the magazine made it to the shortlist (top 3). An extremely nice surprise was, that on March 18th ‘Siirtolapuutarha’ was announced being the winner of its category.
The jury’s rationale was:
“The magazine's editorial team clearly has a deep understanding of its own target audience, its development and needs. The magazine, renewed in 2020, looks like its readers in terms of content and skills; it is versatile, current, knowledgeable and contains a lot of useful information. The overall look of the magazine, including the paper and the plant colours used are supportive of the brand. The changes have taken into account the interest of the new, younger readership in the world of allotment gardens”.