Moderator Blog Post by: Jim Clifford
Early in the morning four of us started the workshop with a discussion of Amanda Hooykaas “Enduring Gardens: Woven by Friends into the Fabric of the Canadian Community.” Although there were only four of us, the conversation was still quite engaging. It was a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary discussion between a human geographer, a Canadian environmental historian, a transnational labour historian and a British urban environmental historian. We were all a little inspired by Amanda’s passion for her topic, which explores the ways gardens and communities interact to create meaningful places and spaces. The group pushed Amanda to expand beyond the material presented in her paper and describe the interviews she has carried out with gardeners at Maple Lawn Gardens in Ottawa. This gave us further opportunity to badger Amanda with historical questions and to share with her a long list of history books and articles that might contribute to her thinking on the role of urban gardens in today’s culture. Amanda politely withstood our disciplinary prosthelytizing and contributed a great deal to my understanding of the similarities and differences between environmental history and human geography. This session illustrated quite well the benefits of providing a forum for interdisciplinary discussion.