In our project we use gardening both as an analytic metaphor and in a concrete way. Kyrre Kverndokk is studying gardening in Norway through the 20th and early 21st century as a lens for understanding cultural notions of landscaping and cultivation of nature. He explores how vernacular gardening brings together species and geo-masses from around the world, and how gardens are arenas for aesthetic modeling of landscapes and micro-ecosystems by separating cultivated nature from uncontrollable nature.
This spring Kyrre has conducted fieldwork with his co-fieldworker, Simone Gottschau. They visited about 20 gardens in two different suburbs, walked around in gardens and talked to people about their gardens, asking them about their lawns, understandings of weeds, attitudes to pesticides and fertilizer and much more. The fieldwork has been an exploration of the various aspects of outdoor everyday life. Kyrre and Simone have, among other things, found that the micro-encounters between nature and culture in gardens also involve a complex web of temporalities; the seasons of the plants, the seasons of gardening, the lifespan of plans and the life cycles of the garden owners, the history of the garden, nostalgic childhood memories and the planning for the future. These temporalities meet in the mundane practices of weeding, planting, seeding and mowing.
Kyrre and Simone doing fieldwork. The picture was taken by one of the informants.