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Mylly's Brick Garden

from recycled materials and creepers

Photo Veera Launonen and Ilkka Martti Kivelä

The three-year project Tiilipuutarha / Brick Garden started from the end wall of the Centre for Creative Arts Mylly in 2013. Brick Gardens emerged in addition to Kuopio also in Helsinki's Kaapelitehdas / Cable Factory and the Winter Garden in Cape Town's Woodstock Foundry.

In spring 2015 construction workers appeared in front of Mylly's brick garden digging a hole. Wires and pipes were to be laid underground. Soon it emerged that Pro Mylly's artists and cultural folks were facing a removal somewhere else to make way to repairs and new newcomers.

So the artist-gardener started growing soil improvement plants on the broken ground and WANDERING PLANTS in the brick garden, in addition to the creepers before. Virginia creepers and scarlet runners continued as before, but joined by for instance geranium, potato and hairy vetch.


In the pictures the diggings in front of the Brick Garden, geranium, hairy vetch and potato.

When you plant a geranium or potato in a bucket, you can take them along when you move away. Or you can eat the potatos, as was done as well: in late summer Mylly's 5th floor artists enjoyed a beautiful potato harvest flavoured with butter. It was almost the last supper.

 Seeds of other plants and overwintering plants were distributed by the artist in the LAHJA / GIFT performance in November before frosts. Patinated bricks and pots also left along with passers-by. The Brick Garden continues to live besides as pieces also as shot by Veera Launonen and Ilkka Martti Kivelä - the video about the garden's phases will be completed in 2016.

 Cultures collapse, buildings fall into ruin, people and animals escape. What about plants? They too can be scorched, but seeds perhaps remain and start wandering towards other terrains. Plants too wander when they meet drought, heat or cold when the climate is changing. The image of our era is REFUGEES, MOVEMENT, CHANGE.


SCARLET RUNNER BEAN, cultivated in Europe as a decorative plant, comes from Central America where native people ate its roots. The beans are also edible when boiled.

INDIAN CRESS (NASTURTIUM), a lush decorative plant comes from South America (Bolivia, Peru). Its buds and seeds are used as a flavouring like caper; flowers are also edible.

VIRGINIA CREEPER grows naturaly in e.g. Himalaya and Central Asia. In Middle East it evolved into vine, the cultivation of which began 5000 years ago around the Mediterranean Sea.

JIAOGULAN has arrived from China where it is known as the herb of immortality. It is used for making healthy tea; leafs can also be eaten on top of bread.

HAIRY VETCH is indigenous in Southern Europe. It is a good soil improvement plant that is also cultivated as green fodder for animals.

SWEET PEA comes from the Mediterranean. It's no good to eat it but to sniff.

GERANIUM arrived to grandma's windowsill in Finland from Southern Africa. Nowadays it is a popular decorative plant around Europe.

POTATO was brought to Europe from the Peruvian and Bolivian Andes by the late 1560s. To Finland potato was brought from Germany by soldiers returning from the Pomeranian War or Seven Years' War in the 1760s. Its cultivation was initially scarce but its popularity grew when it was found out that potatoes can be used to make liquor…

Brick Garden at its most blooming and as dismantled

Photo Hannu Miettinen

Katri was here: To the last exhibition of Harbour's Mylly in January 2016 Katri Suonio built a stub of a brick garden and several other installations related to Mylly's history and artists.

Brick Garden Video was finished in June 2016, by Veera Launonen and Ilkkamartti Kivelä. The premiere was in the Red Mill of Kuopio's Night of Arts in 28-29 August 2016.