[permaculture] (fwd) Permaculture in Iceland

lfl at intrex.net lfl at intrex.net
Fri Jul 6 22:50:20 EDT 2007

On 14 Dec 2006 07:17:29 -0800, in alt.permaculture "hr.oskar"
<hr.oskar at gmail.com> wrote:

Hello all,

I'm a new member here and my name is Óskar Gudlaugsson. I'm a young
Icelander new to permaculture but quite enthusiastic to get some
going up here in the sub-Arctic.

I see that the activity on this group has somewhat dropped over the
years but I guess that's all the more reason to join and keep the
discussion going. Searching the archives I found a few Icelandic
residents writing about Pc in 2000-2001. If they're still around here
(in the group or in Iceland), I'd love to get in touch with them.

As I say I'm new to Pc (learned about it in September and got my first
books on the subject in late October). I scrambled to get more
intimately acquainted with the Icelandic flora before the onset of
winter (which I was rather ignorant about) and now find myself waiting
eagerly for spring (yeah I know it's mid-December).

Most importantly of all I wish to welcome any permaculturists
travelling or living in Iceland to contact me. I would be most pleased
to share my knowledge of Iceland (I'm a qualified tourist guide) with
any visitors.

I'll briefly share with you my gardening efforts so far...

I've been renting a tiny apartment in the backyard of Reykjavík's best
known commercial street the past year, and the garden there had been a
mess since years before I came. It could be a reasonably productive
pleasant urban garden, about 100 sq m framed with tall rowans planted
by some good man half a century ago. Parts of the garden were covered
with large pieces of rubbish and the lawn was ravaged by a dog which
regularly sprints across it at full speed. In the summer, my cousin,
who's one of the owners of the property, decided to cut back some of
the rowans in the summer to get more sunlight into the garden. That
or may not have been necessary but in any case he never had any time
remove the huge pile of leafy branches covering a third of the garden
surface. The other inhabitants' only contribution to the garden is to
venture in there once or twice per day to let their dog poop wherever
it pleases.

So a few months of observation was enough to see that this urban
garden's practically abandoned. At about this time I discovered
permaculture, got interested in plants and started to take an active
interest in the place. I gathered autumn leaves for a rudimentary
compost pile (my first attempt at composting) and eventually cleaned
all the rubbish and convinced the owners (including my cousin) to help
me take it to the recycling center. I used the opportunity to make
clear my interest in taking care of the garden for them, in exchange
for the freedom to make the decisions myself, even after moving out of
the apartment (which I'm doing now). They gladly agreed to this. Then
bought an axe and started chopping up all the wood for mulch and other
useful material.

Overall I've mostly had positive feedback to my efforts, even the
compost pile. The neighbours across the wall, who're gardening types,
explicitly thanked me for the initiative and took great interest in
compost. Others are mostly ignorant and indifferent to the garden in

Maybe this story is a bit lengthy and unremarkable but I guess I just
wanted to introduce myself for one thing and for another to encourage
anyone out there who doesn't own any land to look around for neglected
land to care for, rather than wait years for those 10 acres of
dreamland in the countryside. This way, by the time (if) I finally get
my own land somewhere I'll have plenty of hands-on experience.

Best regards to all,
Reykjavík, Iceland

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