GardenRant Airwaves

And You Think Fighting Snails Is Tough?

Turner_grass420_1 NPR’s Ketzel Levine delivered a sobering report on soldiers tending gardens in a war zone.  She interviewed Kenneth Helphand, professor of landscape architecture at the University of Oregon, who wrote a book called Defiant Gardens about gardens on the front.  Japanese gardeners in West Coast internment camps, Nazi concentration camp victims, and soldiers in foxholes all plant gardens–some loaded with cabbages and potatoes, others filled with flowers, and a few–such as this Army soldier in Iraq–just planted a little strip of grass and trimmed it with scissors.

Yeah, I’d rather be mowing the grass, too.

photos, audio, and more: NPR : Tending ‘Defiant Gardens’ During Wartime.

Posted by on June 12, 2006 at 7:54 pm, in the category GardenRant Airwaves.
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3 responses to “And You Think Fighting Snails Is Tough?”

  1. Kathy Jentz says:

    Congrats on the new blog! My great-uncle told me of his time in a POW camp during WW2 in France. He said he grew tiny potatoes and how the Red Cross helped out with supplemental care packages – but that they were basically starving. He also related how soldiers from different countries would trade growing tips and recipes and share their bounty – what little there was of it. Maybe the Army should make this part of basic training – how to grow a sustenance garden while in captivity – maybe issue some seed packs for soldiers to carry as well.

  2. susan says:

    More confirmation of that well-known manifesto item, that gardening MATTERS.

  3. This was a great piece on NPR. I blogged it as well, and wrote NPR a letter. I recorded it over the phone with them for possible broadcast, but I dont know if it ever aired. You can read the text on my blog at

    Thanks, and I look forward to all of your writing.

    – Xris, aka Flatbush Gardener