Friday, 31 May 2019

We are the World Blogfest # 25: The Lemon Tree Trust ...




‘Growing Home’ … a way of giving life to a war-torn world … war gardeners brighten up the lives of those who have to live in imprisoned spaces …

 
c/o The Lemon Tree Trust site

… planting seeds to give colour, to let there be food, to have shelter in the dust of northern Iraq, or as the Royal Horticultural Society found in an internment camp a hundred years ago …



… the wheels of time go around, sadly nothing much changes, yet humans will always have hope and work towards improving themselves … wherever they are – even in ‘prison camps’.


"We had so many flowers in Syria.  This garden
makes me happy" ...

The Lemon Tree Trust, a not-for-profit organisation, active since 2014, supporting greening initiatives in forced migration camps … helps marginalised communities …




A haven for the children, who live or were born, in the camp




Urban agriculture, however limited, starts a process to create new and unrealised potential for those with nothing … 




One of the kits available for a household in
a refugee camp

... it gives them joy – a flower for its scent or delightful beauty, extra food – vegetables and fruits, dignity for the gardeners, hope for their families and others, and a sanctuary – a quiet personal space …


Ten gardens …
       Ten plus ‘war gardeners’ …
                Seeds were sown …
                        Greening started and was nourished …
                                Stories flowed, ideas spread …
                                        Insects and birds came …
        

A wondrous patch of land gave these hardworking gardeners some solace, where roots could be put down – even in their time of displacement … for many years ahead.

The video about the Liberation Garden is
on the Lemon Tree site



Domiz is a camp for Syrian refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan … which gives us an insight into the Trust’s work there … it is quite extraordinary and so wonderful to see …




A panorama of Ruhleben camp taken in 1917 by
Nico Jungmann, one of the detainees - who was
an Anglo-Dutch painter

  man can be amazing, so generous, so adaptable, so accepting (in that there’s no choice) … the Trust gives them opportunities to personalise their lives within the patches of land available.



Please look at the videos on the Lemon Tree Trust’s site to see the wonderful little havens of love they have created for their families and community …


Archival photo inside Ruhleben's Horticultural
Society's Nursery


This Lemon Tree Trust link is to the Royal Horticultural Society’s video and information on the Ruhleben Internment Camp … where requests from the camp to the RHS mirror those being made today fromDomiz and other refugee camps …





This is the link to Wikipedia’s page on Refugee Camps – a long informative overview – with detail of the camps around the world.

We are the World  -  In Darkness, Be Light

The Lemon Tree Trust site includes a number of videos on the refugee gardeners, the gardens, about Domiz camp and more ... "Growing Home" video (10 minutes - well worth the watch)...



Please check out some of the videos and the gardens in Domiz - with some of the facts of life there ... it's informative and (sadly) interesting ... but heart-warming ... 


Lemon Tree - used by Tom Massey in
the RHS Chelsea's 2018 garden

Wiki page on Ruhleben Internment Camp - interesting to read the history on this camp in WW1 ... 


Tom Massey, the landscape and garden designer for The Lemon Tree Trust garden at the Royal Horticultural Society Garden, Chelse 2018 ... the details are here ...



Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

52 comments:

Hels said...

They got it spot on - planting trees, vegetables and flowers is a great way of giving life to a war-torn world. Not only can people have more fresh food to eat, but the greenery is life-affirming in a world of concrete, dust and tents.

Elephant's Child said...

What a brilliant initiative.
As a coincidence a friend sent me this quote this morning:
'I have found only two types of non-pharmaceutical “therapy” to be vitally important for patients with chronic neurological diseases: music and gardens.' Oliver Sacks.
I wouldn't argue, but believe a garden helps many more people than those with neurological conditions.

Romance Reader said...

Planting trees is always good, right?

David M. Gascoigne, said...

It is of course the most therapeutic activity one might imagine. The striking fact to me is that these gardens have been utilized for over a hundred years yet we still have not learned to avoid war and they are still needed today. Is mankind ever going to realize that living in constant conflict is not the answer to anything? Of course not. We have proven time and again that war is ingrained within us. And now the United States is sabre-rattling against Iran again, contemplating military action in Venezuela, and so on. The tragedy is that we ever needed these gardens in the first place.

RO said...

It's so wonderful to know that there are organizations out there who clearly want to help others who are so desperately in need, but may not be well known. Thanks so much for shining the light. Hugs...RO

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Hels - yes they did ... and it was interesting to read about Ruhleben Camp from 100 years ago. Obviously these poor people are so grateful for something they can nurture and which brings them hope and peace in that world of concrete, dust and tents - as you mention.

@ EC - it certainly seems to be bringing hope and extra nourishment to some of the tented cities springing up in the war-torn Middle East.

I quite agree re your friend's ideas, as too your own experiences ... gardening, being amongst greenery and music are two very soul-filling therapeutic activities ... interesting how co-incidences occur ...

@ Nas - thanks ... you are so right and it's good we are planting more trees around the planet ...

@ David - excellent comment ... and thank you for noticing my connection between the 100 year ago Ruhleben camp, and those today in the refugee tented cities.

If only we could get away from all bullying tactics that some leaders of the world seem to imply are good - those that accept them are definitely of the same ilk. What I'd really like to know ... that if these people were confronted with similar ideas, not supported or demanded to follow, and had to deal with the circumstances they find themselves, what would they do ...

Thank you for reading about these war gardens ... I do hope more people will be able to live peacefully, helping others ... as these have done in awful strife. Have peaceful weekends ... Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ RO - thanks ... sorry our comments crossed. It's good to shine the light ... and to be aware of initiatives going on beyond our own shores. Thanks for being here - Hilary

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

What a delightful post! The human spirit can be indomitable, and it's inspiring that these people can express their resiliency through gardening. Hope in the midst of despair.

Have a wonderful weekend, dear lady. Cheers!

Joanne said...

People are so generous. It's good to keep the spotlight shining on those who are truly doing stuff to help the world. Greenery and flowers - always a beacon of hope. Thanks for posting this.

simonfalk28 said...

What a beautiful story, or, two stories, really, that converge. Such a basic thing. Yet planting new life in the gardens gives the residents a new life of their own. Sheer genius, Hilary. A truly moving and worthy story for #WATWB. Thank you.

Patsy said...

No matter who we are or what our circumstances, having living plants around us is beneficial – and the worse our situation the more important this is.

jabblog said...

Mankind has such a capacity for optimism, even in the face of terrible hardship. It was uplifting to look at these gardens and also sad. I hope these refugees (and all refugees) can one day return home to peace and stability, as unlikely at that seems at present.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
A marvellous post, Hilary, and I got lost a few (many) minutes following links! David's comment is true - that such a need arose at all is the sorrow. That these gardens are bringing even the smallest relief is the joy. YAM xx (Safely ensconced in the Hutch and well-rested.)

Chatty Crone said...

I do love things like this - teach a man to fish and he will always have fish. It is a win win. I know they are doing that in Guatemala too - building greenhouses so that the woman might grow food to sell to help her family. Thanks.

Jacqui Murray said...

I've never heard of them, Hilary. This was fascinating. What a wonderful organization.

D.G. Kaye said...

What a beautiful and humanitarian effort by the heroes of war. I hope the Lemon Tree effort spreads to many more war torn areas. <3

Liz A. said...

That's a lovely idea. Sad that it has to exist in our world, but it looks like these sorts of things aren't going away any time soon.

bazza said...

Gardens can be so life-affirming and are a perfect way to repair people's souls and to heal their minds. I visited Stepney City Farm this morning and was struck by how the inner-city children were inspired by seeing plants and animals not normally in their own sphere.
CLICK HERE for Bazza’s anxiously adroit Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan - thanks ... I was really inspired reading the articles and looking at the links etc. Not being in England last year ... I missed this garden. As you so rightly say the human spirit is indomitable ... good to see you ...

@ Joanne - it is wonderful what people do for others and find ways to help them, offering what they need to give some life blood to their circumstances ... as you say a beacon of hope.

@ Simon - yes I wondered at the correlation of the Ruhleben Internment camp, and these refugee camps - so felt it was just the right sort of post for #WAWTB. I know one can see the delight in these refugee's eyes and pleasure they are getting from having their own garden - where they have and can make choices ...

@ Patsy - you're right there ... nature does give us solace for the soul ... especially when life is against us ...

@ Janice - how lovely to see you ... and even at the worst of times we can have that capacity for optimism. Thanks for looking at the posts and links ... and yes, like you I hope they'll get home one day - and as soon as is possible ...

@ Yam - oh that's great you're back home - your trip looked and sounded amazing. Also so pleased you took some time to look through the links ... they do seem to be bringing some relief and hope to those refugees in these camps, and I'm sure things will then spread on - and more gardens will grow from the seeds gathered ...

@ Sandie - yes it is like the 'teach a man to fish' and he'll have fish/food for his life and family. I'm glad they're doing this sort of project in Guatemala ... especially reading that the women are getting greenhouses so they can grow food for their family ... with the extra to sell ...

@ Jacqui - I think I read about them somewhere ... as I missed the garden at Chelsea last year, when I was over in Canada ... I'm so pleased you can resonate with their plans ...

@ Debby - desperately sad to see so many refugees in those camps ... yet wonderful to know the war-gardeners are being helped with seeds etc. It looks like the Lemon Tree organisation is continuing on ...

@ Liz - it's awful we need to do these sorts of things because of the inhumanity of leaders/people taking us into wars ... and sadly you're right, they won't be going away very soon. I'm glad you agree it's a lovely idea.

@ Bazza - gardens and being out in the fresh air is amazing ... and kids love being involved with the plants. I've seen Stepney City Farm in various online articles I've come across - and saw the Camley Street Natural Park near St Pancras, when my mother was waiting for rehabilitation down to Eastbourne ... but have never visited Stepney - an area at some stage I should check out ...

Thank you so much everyone - I'm so pleased you've seen all the good that The Lemon Tree Trust is giving, as well as all the support they're offering to these refugee camps ... those thoughts and ideas will ripple out. Have peaceful weekends - cheers Hilary

Vallypee said...

Such a lovely post! Out of seeds do beautiful things grow. I love the idea that this is happening in these war torn regions, Hilary. Thank you for telling us about them!

Anabel Marsh said...

Wonderful idea! Such a simple thing, and yet so important.

Botanist said...

Wherever they are, gardens bring a touch of healing to the world.

Mary J Melange said...

As someone who loves to plant flowers and be in nature, and understands the benefits of both, this is an excellent initiative for those living in prisons and forced labor camps. Rather than being surrounded by walls or dust or hopelessness, this gives the adults and children a sign that someone cares and a place to make them feel a little happier. Thanks for bringing this to #WATWB. It's always a pleasure to find out about initiatives like this that bring light and positive vibes to humanity.

JoAnne Macco said...

This makes perfect sense. Planting green, growing things give life to stark areas where the body is restricted. I can't imagine living in a place where there is no greenery. Good work!

Debbie D. said...

What a wonderful idea! I can only imagine the horrors of surviving in such places. These organizations bring hope and life. Thank you for highlighting their good works.

Shilpa Garg said...

This is such a beautiful story. War gardeners... spreading light, hope, joy and beauty where it is needed the most!! Thanks for sharing this wonderful initiative, Hilary!!

Susan Scott said...

Planting seeds - colour, scent and seeing things grow - what could be more life-affirming! I'll look at the links you provided Hilary - but in the meantime thanks be to all people and organisations who provide help in the many ways they do ..

Janie Junebug said...

I didn't know about The Lemon Tree Trust. Thank you for sharing the information.

Love,
Janie

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

Such a worthy cause. The Lemon Tree Trust helps with creating an oasis in places of despair. Symbolic of that gardening is good for the soil and the soul.

Thank you, Hilary.

Gary

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan said...

This is such a beautiful concept... wonderful to read about.

Norah Colvin said...

What a wonderful project, Hilary. I great way of helping people feel connected to each other and the earth, rather than disconnected. A perfect post to share. I very much admire the way you set it all out - very attractive.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Val - I was so pleased to find out about the Trust and to see the work they're doing - having the videos brings to life the help and support they're offering to people who've been displaced - letting them have choices, and freedom to decide certain day to day possibilities (even within the confines of the camp) ...

@ Anabel - it's a great idea isn't it ... well thought out, with input from those who need the support, so the residents receive the seeds and tools they would like ...

@ Ian - yes gardens do bring healing and hope for many ...

@ Mary - you're so right with your comment ... we love the great outdoors with its natural greenery ... so enabling these refugees to grow their own is just wonderful to read about and to see. Also as you mention it lets them know we do care ... while giving the children some hope as they learn about gardening and enjoying the scents and tastes of freshness ...

@ JoAnne - thank you ... the starkness of their life being alleviated in having the opportunity to bring greenery into their world ...

@ Debbie - yes, I'd really struggle being in a camp - but at least it seems ordered and there is some joy in their daily lives. Thankfully others are able to give hope and the opportunity to improve the lives of some in the camp.

@ Shilpa - it is a wonderful initiative isn't it ... and will spread light, hope and beauty for their corner of the world - they can find some peace ...

@ Susan - this is just up your street and as you say .. what could be more life-affirming. Thanks for looking at the links: when you get time ... wonderful to see them. I so agree - it is just such good news to see that organisations like the Lemon Tree Trust are out there to help where they can ...

@ Janie - I hadn't heard of them as I was in Canada last year - just so glad I found out about them and was able to post here for #WAWTB ...

@ Gary - I know you love your natural world ... and appreciate the help people can get when they're suffering. Gardening is therapeutic - good for soil and soul ... so true ...

@ Dr Roshan - so pleased you enjoyed hearing about this amazing organisation helping refugees ...

@ Norah - thank you ... I prefer to give the basic information on the blog, and 'brighten' each post up with images ... highlighting certain aspects - so any readers can get a feel of 'my story' ... I really appreciate your comment - while the project is quite extraordinary and so heart warming ...

Thanks everyone - so lovely to have your comments and thoughts on this amazing initiative ... helping these displaced persons. Have a good week ... Hilary

Lynda Dietz said...

What a touching post, and a wonderful way to provide color, sustenance, and joy that outlasts the years.

Morgan said...

I love this!!! I always love your blog, because I LEARN something, and feel something. Thank you for this, Hilary!

Lizbeth Hartz said...

Wow, Hillary, your post is so much more than a post, it's an education. I'd never heard of Lemon Tree Trust, who a lovely initiative. I am starting to follow all these lovely links. Thanks for sharing.

Keith's Ramblings said...

Like many of the other commenters, I'd not heard of the Lemon Tree Trust, so I thank you for introducing it to me. Plants and trees can be so therapeutic.

mail4rosey said...

It's touching and lovely (figuratively and actually). We do adapt when no choice is given, and what better way here, than with the gardens!!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Lynda - many thanks and I do hope for the refugees' sakes the gardens continue to grow providing sustenance and giving them solace ... as life goes on for them.

@ Morgan - how lovely to see you again ... and wonderful to read your news - I'll be over properly soon. I'm so pleased you appreciated the stories behind the post ...

@ Lizbeth - many thanks ... I enjoy writing these stories - at least it's on my blog and I can find it again. I hadn't heard of the Trust before ... but was so interested in seeing the link to the Ruhleben internment camp from World War One when the RHS was asked to send over seeds and items for their nursery. Excellent you'll be looking at the links ...

@ Keith - plants and trees just reward us don't they - while the refugees will have a motive to keep going ...

@ Rosey - yes .. it's difficult to consider the 'no choice' scenario ... being stuck in the camp all the time. The gardens bring relief ...

It's good to know the plight of the refugees is being helped to recover with the ability to have a garden growing in the camps ... lovely to see you all here - cheers Hilary

Nilanjana Bose said...

A great path forward...your post reminded me of the book The Lemon Tree, Sandy Tolan...wonder if there's a connection...I've been very patchy all of last month too much going on...hope to be better this month..Have a great week.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nila - thanks for letting my know about the book The Lemon Tree, as too the film that was made based around it. There could well be an influence couldn't there ... I didn't come across any reference - but I really just wanted to get the story and the Trust about the gardening sets, so the refugees had something to plant and thus nurture ... giving them hope for the future - even if only in the camp.

I've made a note of the book though ... perhaps to read at some stage - so thank you for drawing my attention to it ... cheers Hilary

Sandra said...

What a wonderful cause. So important.

cleemckenzie said...

I applaud any project that involves planting and growing things. I never miss a garden when I'm traveling, and I couldn't make it through life without my own garden to visit and tend.

Denise Covey said...

Hi Hilary. This post is timely. It provides an optimistic contrast to images we see of refugee camps in the desert and snow with not a leaf or twig to be seen. I'm so glad to see there are organisations determined to make a difference.

Elsie Amata said...

This is so beautiful and filled my heart with so much love and so much hope. What a wonderful sign of kindness in a place of darkness. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Elsie

Vagabonde said...

What an informative post. The Lemon Tree Trust is really helping so much, all the information and links you gave show that.
On the same type of subject I was reading an article about “urban gardens” in poor center-city neighborhoods in the US. Vacant lots are used for vegetable gardens by the community in cities like Detroit, Los Angeles where there usually are many gangs. The article said that these community gardens improved community cohesion, reduced crime, increased social bonds and networks among neighbors. So this idea works well in internment camps as well as in inner-cities riddled with crime. Growing plants and vegetable bring people together in a peaceful way.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra - there are so many displaced persons in the world ... at least in camps they can have some semblance of normality, so the Lemon Tree Trust must make the world of difference for the internees ...

@ Lee - it is wonderful how gardens help so many people ... refugees, people who are lonely, with disabilities, through grief, loss, mental challenge - we can be out of our selves - yet helping each other and ourselves. Visiting gardens when away, as well as helping us when we get out into them ... give us inspiration ...

@ Denise - I loved the opportunity these refugees were being given ... being able to occupy their time planting and growing herbs, shrubs, plants similar to those they had before they were assigned to camp. Then having those different scents, tastes, sight of greening and the extra produce - giving them hope for their future ...

@ Elsie - I was so pleased I found the organisation and our blogging companions and those in #WAWTB have understood the hope and love being given through the Lemon Tree Trust.

@ Vagabonde - many thanks ... I'm so glad you checked out the links. Yes I'd noticed that many communities around the world are creating gardening ecosystems in deprived areas ... so your comment really endorses what we so often miss or is hidden in the localities of our towns, cities, camps etc ...

Thanks everyone - so good to see you all ... wherever we are gardening opens our eyes to hope ... from being a toddler, to an elderly person - being outside and able to have a project helps us all ... as well as the extra exercise, fresh air the plants generate ... all are good for us - and for these refugees: who have had so much stolen from them - in losing their homes and life as most of us know it. We are lucky with our lives, as I know I definitely am with mine ... Hilary

Damyanti said...

I have a bit of urban agriculture going on in my balcony. Thanks for sharing all this amazing info, Hilary.

Friko said...

… man can be amazing, so generous, so adaptable, so accepting
and, at the same time, man can be so utterly cruel as to make these camps necessary.

I am glad that trust like the one you highlight here exist.

Victoria Marie Lees said...

As you know, Hilary, my family and I love to be in nature. What a beautiful way to regenerate an area, feed people, and provide the peace of nature with these gardens and seeds. More power to you and everyone who supports this. I always learn something new here. Thank you!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Damyanti - I remember your 'jack-and the beanstalk' balcony plants ... makes a difference to apartment life ... so glad you enjoyed the information ...

@ Friko - yes you're right - yet sadly man can be incredibly cruel, that we have to have these camps. Thanks re the Trust - it seems such a brilliant organisation to have in this day and age ... helping those who have to be in these camps ...

@ Victoria Marie - yes I do know how much you and your family love the great outdoors. This Trust seems to be offering just the right 'things' for making these refugees lives more habitable ...

Thanks to you all - we have so much to be grateful for in today's age ... all the best - Hilary

DMS said...

Love this! Planting trees, plants, and gardens is so important. It lightens our spirits and provides nourishment for the body and soul. Thanks for letting us know about this. I look forward to checking out the videos and learning even more. :)
~Jess

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jess - so did I - which is why I needed to write it up for my #WAWTB post ... just amazing how well organised the camp is, but then getting the starter kits through the Trust was such a pleasure to read.

You'll love the videos ... they're short - but I hope you'll get to see the Ruhleben Internment camp one ... it is just incredulous that the same thoughts were provided 100 years later.

So good to see you - cheers Hilary