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Arctic Garden

An ornamental garden in Isafjordur, Iceland.

A garden controversy is making news in ... Iceland. Perhaps you didn't know there were ornamental gardens in Iceland. It used to be a questionable. John Harshberger of the University of Pennsylvania wrote "Gardens in Greenland and Iceland, are they possible?" in the 1924 Geographical Review. He noted one such garden at 60 degrees north latitude on one of the Faeroe Islands. This little garden's flora included a little golden locust tree, lilac and white lupines, a flowering currant, a foxglove, cottage lilies, yellow larkspurs, one bright blue monkshood, Montbretia, monkey flowers, Jacob's ladders, Shasta daisies, fair-maids-of-France, an oriental poppy, two peonies, Scottish bluebells, daffodils, Spanish irises, spiraeas and wood hyacinths, among others.

Back to the controversy. Not many towns in Iceland have ornamental gardens, but residents of Isafjordur, the capital of Iceland's Westfjords, have brought complaint against the city for allowing school children to use a well-known ornamental garden designed in 1954 by Jon H. Bjornsson, Iceland's first landscape architect, as an extension of the school playground.

Bjornsson also designed an ornamental garden in Reykjavik. There is also a botanic garden in Akureyri, specializing in arctic plants. It has become a popular tourist attraction.

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December 7, 2019, 3:41 am PDT

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