Whether you’d prefer a geveltuin or a boomtuin, the Gemeente will do the leg-work for free
By Thomas Ansell
Though there are plenty of parks in Groningen, including several small ones you might not yet know, lots of people live in small apartments with barely a window box to grow some herbs. And whilst covering the inside of your apartment with monstera, palms, and maybe a tomato plant is undoubtedly fulfilling, city-dwellers are always searching for something a little more to get their green fingers into.
Luckily, this wish is reflected in the Gemeente Groningen’s plan to ‘green’ the city (following their ‘Vitamin G’ plans). Applications are open for the creation of teeny tiny geveltuinen or slightly larger boomtuinen. To explain, a geveltuin takes the place of a paving slab and means that the city has lots of small green splotches on its streets. A boomtuin can be planted around the trunk of a tree that sits on the pavement or road; making the tree the centre of a small garden, rather than simply being a tree surrounded by cigarette ends.
Anyone can apply via the Gemeente Groningen and the best bit is that the municipality will create a garden space for you! Whether that’s removing a paving slab (and the sand under it) and filling it with loamy soil, or indeed surveying a trees surroundings and then changing the soil, or drainage, etc.
Margaret Metsala has just adopted a boomtuin on the Van Houtenlaan: “I’d like to have it produce colour all year round, and so I will plant a number of varieties of creeping thyme. That way there will be something interesting across the seasons, and I’d like to add some woolly thyme for texture!”
All you need to do as the stadjer is apply via the Gemeente’s website, and then choose what you want to plant! You’ll be responsible for looking after your new pocket garden, but you can rest assured that everything will be well-watered (we are in Groningen, after all).
Now, why have my ficus’ leaves turned yellow? Answers on a postcard, please.