Establishing a Perennial Garden at Hurdal Gjestegård

July 23, 2022

While attending the Norwegian Seed Savers gathering in Ringebu recently, I met Malin Jonasson. She runs Hurdal Gjestegård which is one of 8 historical priest farms that the Schubelers Gardens has been granted funding to improve this year.

We stayed in touch, and I have over the past weeks done popup farmers markets there aimed at the local ecovillage. This led to several ideas of how we could further cooperate. Having recently established a perennial allium garden at Stein Skole, I proposed that I could help make a similar garden at Hurdal Gjestegård. 

We looked over the history of the farm together and found that in the 1880s the style of the gardens was wavey paths and circles. Then in the 1960s they turned it into rectangles. Our thought was that we want to return it to its original style. Last Wednesday we started establishing a perennial garden. So far, we have added a nice collection of alliums, brassicas (perennial and biannual), bellflowers (Codonopsis pilosula and lanceolata), Lovage and Valarian. 

This summer I have been teaching students and woofers on the farm that we should always do gardening like an art. Every wave we interact with nature should be a mindful wave. We should “paint” our ecology. For the last visit I brought two young students of ecology with me, Nicholai and Sondre. We drew sketches of how the secondary paths should be and worked as a team to design and start painting with the plants. 

Malin´s base design is a compass with primary paths going North to South and East to West; and with secondary paths in waves through the four quadrants.

In the middle we will build a ceremonial pinecone shaped structure of plants, stone, and soil. It is the symbol of Hurdal and something Malin has a special connection to in her garden and forms the logo of Hurdal Gjestegård.  

The idea is to make this space a magical space to be in. Around the perennial pinecone is a path with four benches that will be immersed in a cornucopia of plant life. It will be a space for centering, grounding and ceremony.

I have also been making lovely combinations of plants in Bonsai fusion on my farm and this inspired me to make a ceremonial center out of medicinal and eatable herbs from which we sustainably and artfully harvest for teas and meals. 

I look forward to gradually painting this garden wave by wave and to the connections it will give space to in times to come. To be tied to the history of Frederik Schübeler and the flowering of a new wave of gardens covering all of Norway is something I feel grateful to be able to play a role in. Gradually we will revived the network forming a national celebration for a diverse ecosystem to which we can all connect.

Thanks to Sparebankstiftelsen who donated funds and to all the hard-working volunteers that have donated from their hearts to create a beautiful world in our gardens. 

Thanks above all to Stephen Barstow and Ragnhild Gjems who first came up with the idea of reviving the Schubeler Network right there in the Hurdal Priest Farm four years ago. And finally, thanks to Kjell Hødnebø for leading the path for Schubeler  Gardens.

Anyone who reads this and feels the call to come and paint the gardens with me, please contact me. I am there Wednesdays in coming weeks, working on establishing it with volunteers.

From OVF rapport by an Høvo – 2018 of How the farm is. The new garden will be where #3 is.