Botanical garden temporarily flourishing
“We depend on grants”, says the garden director Bente Eriksen. “However, this year we received money for both staff and plants!”
The tulips and the summer flowers saved through donations
The tulips were made possible through a private SEK 400 000 donation, the summer flowers through the Friends of Lund Botanical Garden who raised SEK 45 000 while the three seasonal staff members were funded by an additional contribution from the University. So, right now the Botanical Garden is in bloom! Furthermore, there is planning underway for the long-awaited extension of the greenhouses. The confined cycad will perhaps get the chance to grow to its full height.
“But not for another five years at least”, estimates Bente Eriksen.
Two years before financial dip
And then there will be just two years left before the financial dip she calculates will impact the garden again if they are not compensated for employer’s contributions. With a turnover of SEK 16 million and nine permanent employees the millions run out quickly. To be the director of an organisation in which it is unknown what the finances will look like the following year has its planning challenges. The majority of the budget goes to staff and premises and without funds, there is no innovation, which is something they would like to achieve. A classroom is high on the current wish list and, for the sake of the staff, a revamp of the garden office where both the toilets and kitchen are old and rundown.
Art and music news in the garden
However, there is good news too. Earlier this spring, the garden had its debut as an art gallery. Art and culture have found their way onto Lund University’s agenda since LU Culture Forum was started by the pro vice-chancellor Bo Ahrén a few years ago. The art exhibition ‘Shadows and whispers’, with photographer Ida Magntorn and sculptor Karin Wiberg, returns in August and will run until the Lund Culture Night in October.
“In mid-June, Sommarlund will also hold two concerts here in the garden which we think is going to be fun too”, says Bente Eriksen.
The growing season is getting longer
Otherwise, not a lot more is required to attract visitors than the garden itself. The Botanical Garden’s own shop and café, which is run by a leaseholder, attract many people. There are approximately 500 000 visitors per year and the growing season is getting longer, something which rather complicates things for the garden.
“Our seasonal staff work between April and September. Previously, we didn’t start planting before the beginning of June. Now it happens a month earlier and the leaves don’t fall until November so we ought to have more staff for a longer period of time.”
It means a lot of work for staff who are currently enjoying the flowering tulips and the fact they will soon be planting the summer flowers.