Cologne: 30.05–01.06.2021 #spogagafa

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3 questions for: Beatrice Degenhart (garden blogger)

23-Apr-2020

Garden blogger Beatrice Degenhart – Photo: beatricedegenhart.de

Garden blogger Beatrice Degenhart – Photo: beatricedegenhart.de

The focus at spoga+gafa 2020 is on sustainable gardens. However, the theme will already be examined intensively and very practically in Cologne months before the trade fair in September: we are creating our own project garden.

The garden blogger Beatrice Degenhart was available for the realisation of this sustainable model garden for spoga+gafa. The 38-year-old Cologne resident has always had a great affinity with flowers and plants. She loves digging in the soil, sowing and harvesting. She acquired her knowledge working in her own allotment garden. We talked with her about the new project.

Impressions from the project garden. Photo: Beatrice Degenhart

Impressions from the project garden. Photo: Beatrice Degenhart

Mrs Degenhart, what makes a garden a sustainable garden? Is it the choice of plants, substrate, fertiliser and plant protection products? Or does the topic also play a role in areas like BBQ or garden furniture?

Degenhart: Most people do in fact first think of aspects like fertilisers and the choice of plants when they think of 'Sustainable Gardens'. Garden owners can also do a lot in these areas. Soil organisms are promoted, for example, with the use of organic fertilisers, and those who cultivate their own fruit and vegetables are rewarded with a harvest of organic quality. Ideal is when one learns something from nature and to think in cycles. The first step is of course the good old compost heap, in which grass cuttings, plant trimmings and other garden and kitchen waste can rot. In the process, important nutrients are released, which are returned to the soil. Those who also want to see their garden area planted with as much variety as possible and thereby look to regional shrubs and flowers, offer insects, birds and small mammals like hedgehogs both important nutrients and a place to hide and brood. However, sustainable of course also means using resources responsibly. Most importantly, water shouldn't be wasted in the garden. Water consumption can be reduced by, for example, collecting rainwater and considering well-considered planting or irrigation techniques.

To return to your question, of course one can also consider environmental aspects when barbecuing or choosing garden furniture. Whether wood charcoal or the garden bench, consumers can choose products here, for example, that are produced from wood from local forests. Those who prefer more waterproof tropical woods for garden furniture should make sure they originate from certified plantations and that no rainforests have been deforested for them. As you can see, the theme of sustainability is very broad. And the more one looks into it, the more aspects one also notices when designing and caring for the garden. It is a constant learning process.

Impressions from the project garden. Photo: Beatrice Degenhart

Impressions from the project garden. Photo: Beatrice Degenhart

Can you already tell us something about the planning and layout of the sustainable project garden?

Degenhart: The grounds are found in the "Kletterrose" allotment garden complex in the Cologne district of Sülz. The garden association there, as well as the Kölner Gartenfreunde e.V. district association provided us with a lot of support in the search and with other matters. The first ground was broken officially at the end of April, and I have started with redesigning the area. Here, it is important to me to make use of already existing materials and structural conditions. Thus, for example, an old concrete water basin is not being torn out, but will instead be used as a raised bed. This is because resources can also be conserved in this way and less trash is created.

Impressions from the project garden. Photo: Beatrice Degenhart

Impressions from the project garden. Photo: Beatrice Degenhart

What will happen in the project garden before the start of the spoga+gafa trade fair in September? Are any actions planned?

Degenhart: As many new and innovative products from spoga+gafa exhibitors as possible should be used in the garden in the coming months. They will then all also be presented in detail in my blog. It is important to the organisers of the international garden fair and to myself to use this project to ensure that as many companies as possible from the green industries concern themselves with the theme of sustainability and develop great ideas for making their products, as well as their production and transport more environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, I am unable to say at the moment whether we will be able to organise small events in the summer, like a sustainable BBQ evening in the project garden. That depends to some degree on the extent to which restrictions are loosened during this corona crisis.

More information: beatricedegenhart.de

Author: Roland Moers

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