“Riga 2014” Programme: Sowing and Planting Cultivated Plants

“Riga 2014” Programme: Sowing and Planting Cultivated Plants
Spring has come and the sentimental candles and Christmas decorations that have overstayed their welcome are gradually replaced by window boxes, onion sprouts planted in jars, flower seedlings, and “vitamin bombs” or garden cress. The “Riga 2014” Programme offers a lot of information about plant cultivation and greening culture in various social and artistic projects.

“Friend in a Pot or Potato Diaries”
From March 2014

Accepting applications for a special potato to be grown in a flowerpot closed at the beginning of March., Targeted at junior school pupils, groups of classmates and friends are participating in this project. . At the centre of the project is the potato, the staple food of every Latvian. This time though, it is a special potato, grown in a flowerpot and not a potato field. The project has a dedicated website, www.kartupelis.lv, where any potato grower can register his or her bulbous friend in a flowerpot and document its development during the summer. The objective is to teach junior school pupils new skills, learn about the “life story” of the potato and the long way it has travelled from America to Europe. No less importantly, a child who registers his potato online at “kartupelis.lv” will learn the basics of being present in social networks and being polite to the other network members. Come autumn, potatoes will be harvested not only in the fields but also from the flowerpots and the most diligent and creative potato growers will receive various gifts for their efforts. Furthermore, the world’s first “Potato Opera” will have its premiere at the National Theatre.

Thematic line “Survival Kit”


From April 2014

The project “En-Rooters” (Iesakņotāji) brings together junior school pupils and senior citizens who live in nursing homes. The main precondition is that both sides have to have at least some interest in gardening. They will jointly sow various plants and reap the harvest together. The organisers of the project however, – students from the Design School at the Art Academy of Latvia – have resolved to neatly “pack it all up” in a practical way into potable flowerboxes, pots and beds. The seedlings will be re-planted in the green areas of Riga’s neighbourhoods, contributing to the beautification of Riga’s suburbs and involving local residents in making their neighbourhoods a better place to live in. Parallel to the project, three exhibitions will run at the Esplanade: “Past”, “Present” and “Future”, which will look back at the history of backyard gardens in Riga, discuss intergenerational solidarity, and look into the future, offering various design solutions for gardening in a city and inclusion of gardening in the design of urban projects. “En-Rooting” will be accompanied by concerts, performances and other such events. The project will close with a harvest festival on September 1.

The project is the fruition of friendship and collaboration between students from the Design School at the Art Academy of Latvia and the Social Anthropology School at Riga Stradiņš University.

Thematic line “Survival Kit”

“Garden of Freedom” and Harvest Festival
The 17th of May to the 6th of September, 2014

The aim of the “Garden of Freedom” project is to create urban gardens on windowsills and balconies in Riga. Why include “freedom” in the title? The venue of this unique research and applied art project is Brīvības iela (Freedom Street) 90, near the Vidzeme Market. The idea of the project is to encourage residents to consider having a garden in the very heart of the city and return to fundamental values – traditions and long-forgotten skills, or growing culinary and medicinal herbs on windowsills, balconies and terraces. The planting and sowing is to start on the 17th of May. This is when, opening the gardening season, a seminar will also be held to inform the public about the creation of urban gardens on windowsills and in backyard gardens. Experienced urban gardeners and backyard garden owners will share their experience during the seminar. The Harvest Festival under the auspices of the “Garden of Freedom” will take place on the 6th of September, during the contemporary art festival “White Night”. At several workshops, the harvested plants will be prepared for cooking, stocked up for the winter, or included in traditional medicinal kits. The results of the project will be documented in a series of image and video collections.

Thematic line “Survival Kit”


“Flower Blanket” workshops
The 31st of May and the 1st of June, 2014

Gardening, handicraft and art – all these creative activities will meet at the “Flower Blanket” project by the French artist Joanes Simon-Perret. The artist describes the “Flower Blanket” as an interactive ecologically-inclined project. During the project, seed ribbons are woven into traditional rag blankets that eventually grow into flower blankets. When watered regularly, textile fibre becomes a soil of sorts, where the seeds start to germinate and sprout shoots. Once made, the blankets will be displayed at the Vidzeme Market for the public to see, at the same time becoming part of seasonal greenery. The artist will be doing the weaving work in public at some of the Vidzeme Market’s pavilions, also hosting open workshops on the 31st of May and the 1st of June. The workshops are meant for the general public, giving the participants a chance to try their hand at this unusual technology. Any person may participate by bringing along some piece of garment he or she no longer needs. Under the supervision of the artist and the organisers of the project, the cloth will be prepared for weaving and becoming something completely new.

Thematic line “Survival Kit”

Riga Flower Ball
The 10th of July to the 13th of July, 2014

The Botanical Garden of the University of Latvia will be the venue for several events as part of the “Riga 2014” Programme, but one particularly geared towards those who are passionate about gardening and urban greening is the Riga Flower Ball – the most impressive, multifaceted and popular exhibition of flowers and ornamental plants in Latvia and the Baltic countries. The event is scheduled for mid-July and is targeted at the residents and guests of Riga who are interested in flowers and ornamental plants, wish to contribute to the beautification of environments, create beautiful gardens or simply take pleasure in the beauty of flowers. Latvian plant growers, gardeners, professional landscape architects and students, florists, professionals from various visual arts, students, pupils, musicians and dancers will participate in the event. 

Thematic line “Riga Carnival”


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