Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Gardening Strategies for People Forced to Live in Socialist housing Projects

What your average Swede considers as Paradise when it comes to Housing Projects
Image - www.jm.se
In many ways the new cleaner looking designs keeps much of the areas former industrial character alive and well.  What a shame.

Göteborg Industrial Shipping District - Hissingen

This is the common modern day industrial styled housing offered to folks who want to live in Göteborg Sweden. The modern Scandinavian design is not exactly known for it's artistic beauty, warmth or old world charm. Those days are long gone. These homes in the top illustration and at the right here are on the former industrial water front of Göteborg's Harbour in the area known as Hissingen. It's almost a secular socialist sin to building with a design which is not approved by the State. Former days where beautiful artwork and character are gone and such incorporation of such aesthetics would get your archotectural design disapproved and force you to go back to the drawing board.

Communal Style Soviet Era Styled Housing
Although I must say it's an ever so slight improvement over the Soviet Era style housing projects here from the 60s & 70s. Most of the Landscaping design here is sterile, but I have seen some areas where they are trying to desperately turn that around be improvements of older Projects. Most residents ability to enjoy anything outdoors usually consists of Government created Parks. Although there are some cases where you just may be fortunate enough to have a tree planted in front of your house. And to help make understand just how lucky you are, the media here will play all of the ever recorded and produced Michael Moore Documentaries *cough - cough* Socialist Ideology Indoctrination films to help reinforce just how lucky you have things as opposed to those poor unfortunate residents over there in North America. Seriously, since I arrived here almost 7 years ago, these Kool-Aid Film clips are run continually on and off throughout every year. You know the films, "Bowling For Columbine" , "Fahrenheit 911" , "Sicko" and so forth. I have had friends actually asking me "Is America really like that ?" I don't want to even go here, but dirt is found in ALL countries if you want it bad enough to push an agenda.

Some of the really lucky folks may even get a 12 X 12 square foot excuse of a yard courtesy of the municipal instructions which mandate that  everyone will equally have the same species of hedge, square of grass/lawn and to help you to feel really apart of the program, you get a personal utility shed to put your workers party maintenance tools. Okay, Okay, there's more to this story and I'll leave it there. Not everyone here accepts this lifestyle. Many folks here and elsewhere in Scandinavia have creative ways of escaping this Socialist Utopia. Take a look. 
Photo: Mine
Me and my wife's daughter visiting friends who were fortunate enough to build a small quaint dwelling in a gardening community called an Koloni-område-Trädgård (Garden Area Colony)
Photo: Mine
You can't help but walk by these small garden Cottage pathways and not admired some Gardeners hard work. 

Photo: Mine
The little quaint houses here are so Gingerbread Storybook looking. The rules don't allow for monstrosities which keeps to the pleasant peaceful character of such communal garden villages.

Photo: Mine
Of course a big part of these peaceful garden settings is to get away with friends and enjoy a good meal and great company. The man in the back with the glasses is our dear friend Roger Persson who performed our wedding ceremony. He died less than a year  later from cancer. But we have the great memories of him and hope for a better future.
Previously in July, I wrote about our Trip to Silkeborg Dänemark. Here is the account where I wrote about this lovely city and it's unique authentic Mexican Restaurant called La Casita. 

Silkeborg Dänemark & a Mexican Restaurant
But I didn't reveal everything about this Danish city. They also have unique areas where folks not fortunate enough to have a house with yard and garden can get away to a small hideaway usually on the edges of forested areas like Sweden. It's their own version of Koloni-Område Trädgård. Take a look.
Photo: Mine
This was our bed and breakfast house in Silkeborg. But in front of it was one of these unique community gardens.
Photo: Mine
Most of these small properties were separated by Hedges. But you could definitely tell who the regulars were by the manicure of their gardening habitats.

Photo: Mine
These truly are real life escapes for folks who are fortunate enough to obtain one of these places. Of course there are rules that go along with owning one of these. You cannot live in these all year long. I believe it's only 9 months out of the year. But you can tell by the gardens who take full advantage and who haven't.

Photo: Mine

This older gentleman was a real funny character. I wanted to take a photograph of  his abundant Coral Bells which were huge. But he wouldn't let me photograph them unless I agreed to take his picture so that folks would know who the gardener was. At least he had some currants for harvest this year, though not as abundant and plump as in times past. Here in Göteborg our summer has been so bad there are  really no fruits at all this season. But it's sadly not just in folks gardens, but even out in the wild in Nature. I have not found any currants, blueberries or any other fruit which even the wildlife use, even if we don't. The foliage of forest understory plants is also badly damaged this year and I'm suspecting it is acid rain from Germany and Poland's industrial infrastructure which is the source of the pollution.

Photo: Mine
This is yet another favourite of most all Northern and Central European Gardeners, the European Forest Elderberry which grows in the gardens as well as the wild. People are crazy here about the Elderberry wine, juice and jams or jellies they can create from this shrub-like tree's flowers and excessive fruit production. But you won't get a person in the southwestern United States to even give the local native Mexican Elderberry which grows wild a second look. It is a part of the native Chaparral Community which is quite often looked down on by locals there. Native Americans and early white pioneers used it extensively. 

Photo: Mine
We ended up taking a long forest walk beyond the Community Gardens which in it's own way had many interesting scenes and surprises. 
Photo: Mine
We have these similar large Dandelion looking plants up in Anza California around the fringes of the woods.  Like the springtime ones, these larger summer seed balls are fun to watch the little parachutes do their flight to elsewhere when blown.
Photo: Mine
Someone erected this pine pole and dozen or so Bird Houses along the forest pathway. Didn't see any birds, but did find nesting material indicating they had been used.

Photo: Mine
Up above the pathway we heard all this noise and so found some short stairs leading up to this sports field. Kids playing Socker (Fußball) - Oh well, they may not be interested in gardening as the adults, but at least they aren't stuck inside connected to all manner of electronic devices. Even in lousy weather these kids over here will be out playing this game. What is it about kids and bad weather immunity ?

Tripadvisor - Lillehammer Ski-jump
Well, I don't live in any Soviet Era Housing Project, but it is a colony of sorts with rules and regulations. That only makes sense to a degree as it keeps the places nice looking and in order. Every few months or so we all have community yard duties to clean up and repair the places on the outside. Often several large Freight Cargo Container Bins are brought for people to get rid of large objects they no longer wish to have and other throwaways. This colony and it's buildings may look familiar to some folks if you've watched the Winter Olympics a couple of decades ago. These particular houses were purchased after the Winter Olympics as they were used as housing for the Skiers and other  Athletes. The location was in Lilehammer Norway back in 1994 when that country hosted the winter games. Now we live in them and here is what our housing & neighbourhood looks like.

Photo: Mine
This is what our Ginger Bread House neighborhood looks like. Notice the charm, character and quaint gardens ?

Photo: Mine
Gardening here is okay I guess. Sometimes things can get a bit weedy , overgrown and out of control. But of course massive amounts of constant on and off rain will do that to a yard. I suppose that's why I miss Mediterranean Styled Native Gardening so much more. Everything can be engineered to be as neat as a pin. But I supposed every situation can be that way if you put forth a little effort.


  1. Don't know how I missed this one but I like the personal touches and stories. It's nice to hear about your family and personal experiences with people of your past....and especially the quircky gardener. Touching that you mention your friend who passed from cancer. The pic of you all in that garden looks quite lovely. Have a good weekend. I'm ready to get out into some more of those grasslands tomorrow....I'm just going to try and avoid the chigger bites!

    1. Chiggers ? Are there Chiggers in Tucson ?



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