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Chicago Urban Gardening

The day to day experiences of a University of Illinois Extension Urban Horticulture Educator in Chicago, Illinois

Tending 'Defiant Gardens' During Wartime

Posted by Ron Wolford -

For many, gardening is a simple meditative act–a way to get in touch with nature. Others may think of gardening as a mundane chore. Whatever the view, there's more than meets the eye. For instance, the compulsion to create a garden during wartime reveals something vital about the human spirit.

Kenneth Helphand's critically acclaimed book, "Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime," argues that planting and cultivating a garden is a symbol of resiliency, and ultimately, an act of resistance amid a landscape of fear, destruction and disorder.

Helphand, a professor of landscape architecture at the University of Oregon, comes to the University of Michigan to discuss his findings in a lecture and slide presentation that illuminates the "astonishing tenacity required to create life in the face of death," according to Booklist.

In his book, Helphand explores the reasons people create gardens in extreme social, political, economic and cultural conditions. He examines the construction of gardens in the trenches in World War I, and in Warsaw ghettos and Japanese-American internment camps during World II. He also looks at unique gardens planted by soldiers during the Korea, Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars.

Contact: Frank Provenzano
Phone: 647-4411

University of Michigan News Service, 412 Maynard, Ann Arbor, MI 48109,

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