May 30th. Jo, Robbie and Linn started collaborating on ideas for the project in February 2019 when Jo and Robbie visited Tønsberg. Since then they have been meeting on Skype and Linn has been working to develop partnerships in Norway. Jo and Robbie arrived in Tønsberg on 25th May and now the project is in full swing!

The first thing to do was to get planting seeds for the garden which opens on 15th June The artists have worked in collaboration with Per Arvid Åsen (Agder Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden, Kristiansand, Norway) to identify plants that would have been grown at St Olav’s Monastery. Seeds were planted and they are now growing nicely at the Vestfold Kunstsenter

Pop in during opening hours and have a look!

Per Arvid has kindly donated plants for the garden and will lead a walk and talk on medieval plants on 18th July at 17.00

We are using the Tønsberg and Færder Library as a base for our workshops. They have generously offered their facilities to the project.

Tønsberg and Færder Library

Seed Packet Workshops
We have designed seed packets that contain seeds from the type of plants that were grown in the St Olav’s Monastery garden in the 11th century. The packets also contain information on how to save the seeds from the plants and instructions for social actions that explore notions of sharing and generosity.

The seed packets are being made in public workshops at the Tønsberg and Færder Library on 1st and 7th June. 12-4pm. The seed packets will be given away free and will be left around Tønsberg at places of rest or exchange such as shopping centres, libraries, park benches, bus stops and railway stations.

The garden will be built at the centre of the ruin of St Olavs Church (built 1191) which is directly opposite the Tønsberg and Færder Library (which contains the monastery ruins) The <GIPT> open source garden will be located on this site of learning and contemplation which in medieval times was a place of privilege. The current library is an open access public building and our garden will be open source and open access which allows us to consider differences between past and present and to also explore ideas around ownership of knowledge.

Our contemporary garden is designed by Project 10 and is open source https://

8th June. Linn has milled the parts at Fellesverkstedet workshop in Oslo and they are now being stored at the Tønsberg and Færder Library. We carried out a test assembly of the main structure and its looking great.

The Garden will be constructed in the church ruins at a Dugnad on 12th June. 4-7pm. Location of Rundkirkeruinen

Come along and help construct the Grow Pod. We are also looking for donations of plants for the grow pod so please do bring something from your garden to swap or donate (herbs and edible plants)

We’ve been watering and checking our plants which are now growing nicely ready to be planted after the garden is constructed. The Tønsberg Kommune is very kindly supplying compost for the garden.

Artists Talk
On 6th June we gave an artists talk and workshop at Vestfold Kunstsenter. It was great to meet everyone and talk more about the project. Mini glasshouses were given to those who attended and will journey across Tønsberg, being passed from person to person before reaching their destination at the Garden Opening at the Rundkirkeruinen at 3pm on 15th June.

Gardening Books
June 1oth. Our latest work of ‘literary gardens’ is now installed at the library. We are using books of knowledge and ideas as a growing medium for plants.

Stories that get told in the dark, that creep upwards towards the light, metaphors composing themselves into pictures when no one is looking, bursting off the page while the roots suck nutrients from the text.  Stories that are unfinished but are moving towards completion, formulating themselves, then reformulating themselves, finally choosing a shape and pattern that reflects not just the authors intention but the road the book has travelled, its twists and turns, the languages spoken, the borders crossed

Robbie Coleman 2019

June 12th. We have set up an exhibition at the Art Centre. Do pop in and have a look!

Grow Pod Construction
On 12th June we started constructing the grow pod in the church ruins. Despite a forecast of heavy rain, luckily it stayed dry 🙂 Thanks to everyone who came to help and for the donations of plants and herbs.

On 14th June we planted The Garden, it was great to see all the plants and herbs in place. A bit of rain helped with the watering!

On 15th June was the garden opening. A lovely sunny day! Kristin Røed of Vestfold kunstsenter welcomed everyone. Then came The ‘Flowering’, a choral work from Scotland created created by sonifying medieval herb illustrations. (More information on The Flowering) The garden was then officially opened by Petter Berg, Mayor of Tønsberg followed by a presentation from Eivind Luthen from Rundkirkens Venner. Jérôme Richter then led a ceremony to send good wishes into the garden.

Choir performing the score generated from the scan of the Mugwort illustration
Choir performing the score generated from the scan of the Orache illustration

The Garden is now open for people to visit. there is a seated space inside for rest and contemplation. As the plants grow, they will be able to be picked and used for cooking.

18th July. Per Arvid Åsen (Agder Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden, Kristiansand, Norway) gave a city walk/talk about medieval monastery herbs attended by 35 people

The garden is growing well!