The national delegates met in Luxembourg on March 8th and 9th, 2019 for their annual statutory general assembly.
Before the meeting chairman Wilhelm Wohatschek and general secretary Malou Weirich had a meeting with Romain Schneider, minister for Agriculture. During this meeting they could present the Office’s new strategies to the Minister.
He assured them that he will both morally and financially support the publishing of the brochure “The soil is living” in several languages.
The executive board and the national delegates thank the minister very heartily for his recognition and support.
In addition to the statutory missions, the conclusions from the study session in Kortrijk were drawn. The cornerstones for a greater internal and external efficiency of our work were further discussed.
The Office homepage should present examples of good practice and be developed to become a platform to present knowledge and expertise. To this effect it was decided to acquire an expertise in the domains as for example: climate, water, public space, thanks to a cooperation between two or more federations.
The Dutch federation presented its activities, successes, problems as well as its innovative strategy for the future in a very interesting lecture. In the future they will, in addition to their current missions, focus especially on amateur gardeners who are not members of the federation.
All the other federations informed on their activities. This exchange brought interesting insights and gave – according to what was needed – stimulations for national activities.
The next issues of the Hyphen will deal for example with the topics: Environment justice, diversity of allotments, pilot projects of the federations.
The Office and the affiliated federations will also take part in the week without pesticides in 2019 and publish a memorandum on the Office homepage, the national homepages as well as in the national allotment magazines.
The delegates will meet again during their study session in Graz (Austria) on coming 21st August.
The next statutory general assembly will take place in Luxembourg on March 6th and 7th, 2020.
More than 100 years ago the first allotment garden colony was founded in Vienna. Today there are around 36,000 allotment garden plots, which are larger than the 7 smallest districts of Vienna combined. With the allotment garden association 'Zukunft auf der Schmelz', Vienna even has the largest allotment garden complex in Europe in a densely built-up area. While these gardens were once important for food production, today they are primarily small leisure oases with great significance for the climate, biodiversity and well-being of all Viennese people.
As said, allotments have been part of Vienna for over 100 years. So, it is time to present these refuges in the middle of the big city as they really are. KleingartenTV has created a documentary film for the ORF (Austrian Broadcasting Corporation) showing what makes Vienna's allotments so special. From the beginning to the present day.
The historian and author Peter Autengruber knows the stories of Vienna's allotments like no other and so he knows the interesting stories from the history of allotments in Vienna. Never-before-seen film footage from the archives of the central federation bring history to life and offer worth seeing insights into a time long past.
A time that Elisabeth Meindl experienced herself. She lived in an allotment garden in Vienna for almost 94 years and was kind enough to share her childhood and youth memories with the viewers of the documentary. Stories about the story of a contemporary witness.
Wilhelm Wohatschek, the president of the Central Federation, has dedicated his life to allotment gardening in Austria and we will present the achievements of the Central Federation for the existence and continuation of these small gardens to a large audience in this 25-minute documentary.
But it is not only the allotment gardens that make Vienna something special. It is above all the allotment gardeners. Using Helga Lang and the Floridsdorf women's group as examples, we show how important these people are for society and what great things can be made of small things.
The biodiversity study conducted by university lecturer Gerhard Bedlan of AGES (agency for health and food security) on behalf of the Central Federation shows how important allotment gardens are for life in the big city. The results are fascinating.
Of course, KleingartenTV also makes a foray through the shelters, the harvest fields and orchards and through the allotment gardens themselves in the documentary for the ORF.
The broadcasting of this documentary took place on Saturday 9th March 2019
Amidst a sea of flowers with tulips, daffodils and primroses, on the edge of an imitation of the Berlin metropolis made of wooden pallets, the allotment movement of Berlin, the German Schreberjugend and the federation of German allotment gardeners (BDG) presented themselves in the flower hall during this year's international Green Week 2019 with a concentrated horticultural knowledge.
The BDG cooperated with the German Schreberjugend. The visitors received useful information concerning raised beds, natural gardening and the stimulation of insect and plant diversity. And as it should be, knowledge transfer works best with a practical demonstration – hundreds of small insect hotels were built with drill, hammer and logs and they could be directly taken home by the builders.
Also high ranking visitors such as the federal minister of family affairs Franziska Giffey, State secretary Gunther Adler (BMI), and Parliamentary State secretary Marco Wanderwitz (BMI) did not miss a tour through the flower hall and thus received a foretaste of the coming spring. They were interested in the allotment gardener's exhibition stand. Finally, the BDG had the opportunity to address important issues such as the property tax reform during these discussions.
Sandra von Rekowski, research associate
Viola Kleinau (Board member of the BDG), Stefan Grundei (managing director of the BDG), Franziska Giffey (federal minister for family affairs), Guido Beneke (federal director of the German Schreberjugend)
In conversation: Guido Beneke (federal director of the German Schreberjugend), Stefan Grundei (managing director of the BDG), Viola Kleinau (BDG board member), Gunther Adler (State secretary BMI)
From left to right: Guido Beneke (managing director of the German Schreberjugend), Oliver Gellert (Branch manager Schreberjugend Landesverband Berlin), Stefan Grundei (BDG managing director), Marco Wanderwitz (Parliamentary State secretary in the BMI), Hardy Reckziegel (federal chairman of the German Schreberjugend), Jürgen Maßalsky (BDG board member)
Text by Simone Collet
The last snowfields have just disappeared and the ravishing corollas of crocuses are already appearing. These fragile stars with fresh colours are announcing spring.
With their plain, variegated, striped or colour-gradient corollas, these cute little flowers are widespread in our latitudes. They are found in gardens, parks, lawns, rock gardens, or even in pots or planters on balconies and terraces as well as in the undergrowth, along paths and at the foot of trees.
Originating from a vast region of Europe ranging from the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea, crocuses belong to the family of Iridaceae, whose emblem is the royal iris.
A variety panel
There are between 70 and 80 kinds of crocuses in the world and there are a large number of horticultural varieties. Their name comes from the Sanskrit kunkumann which became crocus in Greek, which means saffron.
The crocus variety Crocus sativus has been known for more than 3,500 years all over the world for the quality of its saffron, which has made the reputation of the producing village of Mund in Upper-Valais (Switzerland); it enjoys a label of origin. Saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. This is easily understood if one considers that not less than 150 flowers are necessary to produce a single gram of saffron. But what an aromatic power!
One distinguishes the crocuses planted in autumn that bloom in spring and those planted in spring that blooms at the beginning of autumn (Colchicum). One of the late varieties of crocuses is indeed the famous colchicum celebrated in the nostalgic nursery rhyme: "Colchic in the meadows bloom, bloom... Colchic in the meadows, it is the end of summer".
However, most crocuses bloom in spring as soon as the snow melts. These early varieties are providential for starving bees and other pollinating insects after the long winter period. By offering them a first supply of pollen and nectar, they allow them to survive a critical period.
A place exposed to the sun or weakly shaded is suitable for planting. The crocuses like light but not moisture: as you can easily see, they open to the sun and close when it rains.
The bulbs, also called corms, will be placed at a depth of about 5 cm, if possible in groups of five to ten, separated from each other by about ten centimetres, in order to obtain a harmonious flowering. A simple well-drained garden soil, of which one will have worked the surface by incorporating sand, if needed, is perfectly suitable. If the bulbs are planted in pots or in a planter, the soil will consist of one third of top soil, one third of soil for planting and one third of sand. After planting, cover the soil, pack lightly and then water.
Consequently, crocuses will grow without any fuss and even naturally multiply from one year to another without need to intervene. During the cold season, however, it is good to ensure that the land is not too wet. Care should be taken not to cut the leaves until they are yellowed and wilted, to allow the plant to replenish its reserves after flowering. As for the faded flowers, they are, if possible, gradually eliminated.
Beware of predators!
Crocuses are hardy plants that are valiantly resistant to disease and pests, but can do nothing against the voracity of some enemies. Gardeners, beware of mice, field mice and other rodents, which feed on young bulbs without mercy.
Text & Photos: Simone Collet
While planning a new Office for the allotment federation in Luxembourg a delegation visited the State school and the office of the allotment federation of Westphalia-Lippe on 13th and 14th January 2019.
At the occasion of the State horticultural exhibition in Lünen in 1996 a centre was created in the middle of a large park. This centre unites educational and administrative functions.
The building itself received a prize for its architecture.
It is surrounded by several educative plots, so that the allotment gardeners can also have practical courses.
We had the opportunity to get detailed information on the creation of the centre and could exchange with President Wilhelm Spieß and director Werner Heidemann on the problems that occurred during this creation.
We were impressed both by this equipment and by the particularly hearty hospitality of our colleagues in Lünen.
Martin Mergen (President), Otmar Hoffmann (Vice-president), Léo Wietor (Vice-president)