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the Invisible Garden:
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the Invisible Garden


name: the Invisible Garden
type: urban biotope
address: Budafabriek, Dam 2 Kortrijk Belgium
gps location: 50.8317, 3.26395
dimensions: 14.00x14.00 meter
start date: 2014-11-01
end date: 2015-02-05
more information: http://annemariemaes.net/works/urban-corridors-works/invisible-gardens/


Afsluitend rondetafel gesprek over the Invisible Garden
date: 2015-01-24
Under the green light: Afsluitend debat met Annemie Maes, VELT, PTI, Christine Depuydt 08/02
Hoe moet het verder met ecologie, mens en natuur ? We plaatsen verschillende partijen naast elkaar maar ook de bezoeker krijgt zeker het woord.
08/02, 11u-12u30, Budafabriek
link: http://gld-kortrijk.tumblr.com/tagged/LECTURES

New plants in the Invisible Garden
date: 2015-01-23
On 15 january the students of the Provinciaal Technisch Instituut (Tuinbouwschool Kortrijk of PTI) planted following seedlings in the garden: Digitalis purpurea ‘Dalmation White’, Verbascum ‘Snow Maiden’, Achillea millefolium ‘Colorado’, Armeria ‘Balleriana Red’, Alchemilla mollis ‘Thriller’
Aubretia ‘Royal Red’, Polemonium caeruleum ‘Lavenderblue’, Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Early Sunrise’, Ficus binnendijkii, Chlrorophyttum comosum, Echeveria, Sanseveria trifasciata, and lettuce and spinach seedlings.
Friday 23/1 the new plantlamp should finally arrive, and we hope that these young plants will develop nicely over the last 3 weeks of the installation.
All olive trees are saved and they all make nice new leaves.
On sunday 8 february we organise a small round table/panel discussion wiht all actors that were involved in the project. See you there!

Infrared Plant Photography
date: 2015-01-18
Botanists use an infrared camera and infrared photography to work on the health of trees. Raspberry Pi developed the PiNoir, and the people from Public Lab develop additional tools to measure and compare spectra in IR and in regular plant photography.
Here are some links (thank you Shane!)
link: http://publiclab.org/wiki/near-infrared-camera

Sensorbox fixed and reinstalled
date: 2015-01-18
Finally Balt and Peter discovered the problem with the uploads of the sensorbox data and pictures. A logfile keeping track of uploads became too long and therefore got stuck in a loop. This action blocked all the rest of the uploads - though the code was still correct and there was more than enough memory open on the card.
We will add the missing data by transferring them manually from the SD card to the server, so that they can be visualized in the garden data-graph.

Finally the information about the plantlights
date: 2015-01-16
After 6 weeks, I finally got an answer from the supplier of the plantlamps: Elektro Bossuyt.
The gowlights that are used in the garden are Sylvania GROLUX T8 58w. Info says:
High level of blue and red radiation helps promote healthy plant growth. Promotes the process of photosynthesis in plants. Oldest, but most optimal light colour for plants.
Applications: complete or additional artificial lighting of plants. Recommended for use in greenhouses, indoor gardens, flower shows and conservatories.
link: http://annemariemaes.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/data-sheet_sylvania.pdf

The garden after the PTI operation
date: 2015-01-15
A new haircut for the Invisible Garden.

Still problems with the sensorbox
date: 2015-01-15
For one or another reason the sensorbox in the Invisible Garden installation stopped working. In the beginning there were the problems with the internet connection shutdown, but after a while the sensordata started to come in very irregularly. Sometimes a photo was made, sometimes not, sometimes a short data transfer was happening but most of the time nothing went through.
I talked to Peter about this problem, as well as to Balt. I took the set home and I inspected the hardware. I put the sensorshield ontop of a new Raspberry and launched the new combination. Still no data are displayed in the P2Pfood.net database, neither the programmed photo's are made every 30 seconds. Balt inspected the SD card and everything seems to be OK with the code. It is a mystery. I hope we can solve it before the end of the exhibition in order to get some more data on temperature, humidity and light conditions in the garden.

New seedlings planted by PTI
date: 2015-01-14
The students from the PTI planted new greens in the 4 zones of the garden. In the vegetable garden ... were planted; in the meedicinal herb garden ..., new grasses in the mediterranean garden and ... in the edible forest garden zone.

Proceedings of the garden, before and after ...
date: 2015-01-13
At the last check, end of the december, the garden wasn't doing so well. There is clearly not enough specific plantlight. Rufin and me decided to add more light. Rufin can get a 1000Watt lamp from his dealer, this lamp has to be installed as soon as possible. The Buda-production people managed to wait 2 weeks before installing the lamp, and when they finally connected it, the lamp fell down and was -of course- broken. Result: no extra light.
On top of this ill luck with the lamp, one of the exhibition-chickens broke loose and destroyed and ate all remaining green in the garden ...
Two weeks later, around half of january, the PTI decided to plant new seedlings as the garden was -in the meantime- more looking as a picture of mars than as a healthy ecosystem ...

date: 2015-01-01
Specimen collected over time in the Invisible Garden: Pieris rapae (Koolwitje) (7/12/2014), mot (26/12/2014), Planococcus citri (wolluis) (28/12/2014), Cacopsylla fulguralis (bladvlo) op Eleagnus ebbengei (28/12/2014), (dode) bladluizen op spruiten (28/12/2014), spruit, doorsnede (28/12/2014).

Pests and Plagues
date: 2015-01-01
On 28/12/2014 I took some samples from the pests that infected the plants in the garden to examine them under the stereoscopic microscope at home. On the photographs we see Planococcus citri (wolluis) on Olea europeae (olijfbomen) and the (now dead) aphids on the Brussels sprouts.
There are also 2 pictures from the wax threads left by the Cacopsylla fulguralis (bladvlo) on the leaves of the Eleagnus ebbengei. The fleas were succesfully eaten by the Chrysoperla carnea.

Screens, blackboard and sensors
date: 2015-01-01
The blackboard was meant to become a means of communication between the public and the people working in the garden, but this is not really a success. I think nobody dares to write on it …maybe we have to focus more on the interaction? Also the QR-codes are not really successfull, though I continue to keep the database up to date!
Concerning sensors and internet: apparently there is something wrong with the ethernet port of the raspberry Pi computer which is collecting the sensordata and sending them to the opensensordata server. I hope that the garden-data (temperature, humidity and light) are stored locally on the SD-disc and that we can import them manually and display them in the graph later.

Long term experiment?
date: 2014-12-28
The natural ennemies in the garden are not doing so well. The Cryptolaemus on the Olive trees disappeared. Probably, nearly certainly, the olive trees were treated with chemicals against the mealybugs. And that's why the Croptolaemus-larves could not help. They simply died, or ran away from the chemicals. We will try a second time and set out some more Cryptolaemus larves, in the hope that the chemicals slowly disappeared from the inside of the olive tress. If not … ???
The good news is that the Chrysopa did their job to kill and distruct the aphids on the Brussels sprouts and other cabbages, but the killed also the flea on the Elagneus ebbengei. Wot! Great job!
Rufin from PTI and Jeroen from Koppert will check once more on 29/12/2014 and decide which little friends we have to intruduce in bigger amounts in the garden ecosystem.
The general state of the garden is OK, plants still have their leaves, most of them make even new leaves so photosynthesis is going on, but the overall impression is that the plants are rather weak and very vulnerable to pests.
The strawberries look strong and make new leaves, as well as the Taxus, Ebbengei (again) and Laurels. Fennel is recovering, Verbena bonoriensis is becoming greener and greener. Some of the grasses also find a second youth, as well as the lavender and the sedum oreganum.
But most of the Velt-vegetables disappeared. They simply died, and composted. Conclusion: or the soil is not good for vegetables (they for sure prefer more rich soil -clay- than the poor rocky lava-soil), or they did not well survive the transplant from their original habitat, or there is not enough light in the Invisible Garden for keeping them alive and kicking.
Last reason is why we decided (with Rufin) to put an additional plant lamp. We can borrow a 400V/1000W lamp from a supplier of greenhouses. I ope that Buda can install theis lamp as soon as pobbible, in order to be able to see the difference over this last month of the experiment.
Yes, the fact that the Invisible Garden experiment lasts only 3 months, is a real pity. Actually this is far too short to be able to monitor the behaviour of this indoor ecosystem. It is completely normal that the first week s after the garden was installed, the plants had to adapt to their new conditions. So it was very normal that some plants lost their leaves and that other faded away. The overall themperature is mostly 19°/20°C and it is also rather humid in the garden, so this are the perfect conditions for pest attacks - what happened. We helped the plants to fight back, with the help of natural ennemies, but this takes time. And so: time is what we need.
We will make a first round-up and conclusions after 3 months, but to get valuable information out of this experiment, we should go on for at least another 3 months, or better for another 6 months.

Een extra plantenlamp
date: 2014-12-26
Samen met Rufin van PTI hebben we beslist een extra plantenlamp op te hangen in de tuin. Er is echt té weinig licht voor de planten, wat ze zwak maakt en gevoelig voor plagen van schadelijke insecten. Het is een dure lamp, maar we mogen ze van de leverancier van PTI gebruiken tot het eind van de tentoonstelling. Het is voor het welzijn van de planten heel belangrijk dat de lamp zp snel mogelijk wordt opgehangen.
- het is een 1000W plantenlamp, die het nodige spectrum voor plantengroei bestrijkt. Het is geel licht, geen UV licht.
- het is een 400 volt lamp, dus die heeft een speciale aansluiting nodig.
- de kabel van de lamp moet 2,5 carré (dikte van de electrische draden) zijn.
- het is dus belangrijk dat de lamp snel wordt opgehangen zodanig dat de planten zich wat kunnen herpakken. Nu is er niet genoeg licht. De planten proberen wel nieuwe blaadjes te maken (omdat het zo warm is) maar hebben niet genoeg licht voor fotosynthese. Daardoor verzwakken alle planten en zijn ze veel gevoeliger voor de aanvallen van insecten zoals de bladluis en de wolluis. We willen uiteraard allemaal dat op het einde van de tentoonstelling, en zeker met de afsluitende presentatie op 8 februari 2015, de tuin nog in goede doen is, en daarom moeten we nu zo snel mogelijk ingrijpen.
Data studie:
- De datastudie (waar ik veel tijd en geld heb ingestoken om het sytsteem op te zetten) is onderbroken sinds eind november. Vanaf die datum werkt het systeem met horten en stoten, meer niet dan wel. Dit is waarschijnlijk te wijten aan de internettoevoer. Dit is zeer spijtig, omdat deze studie een onderdeel is van het werk. Dit zal ook gepresenteerd worden, zowel op 8 februari als in een boek dat ik over de tuin aan het maken ben.

Friends and ennemies
date: 2014-12-23
The Invisible Garden acts as an incubator for all kinds of insects, good and bad. With the 'commercial' plants bought at Willaert, we had some destructive insects as the mealybug (Planococcus citri) on the olive trees, and a lot of different aphids on the cabbages and the sprouts.
The development and explosion of destructing insects is probably due to the warm overall temperature in the garden (±19°C) and the relative high humidity, aniways in the beginning days of the garden (±80%). Opposite, we did not give enough water and the plants were vaporating their own humidity reserves. This has put them under stress and destructing insects smell this. They quickly started sucking the spare humidity sources out of the plants.
We tried to restore the ecosystem by introducing friendly insects that are a predator for the destructive ones. At Koppert, a company specialised in natural ennemies, I bought Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, the larves of a small beetle that eats the mealybugs. And against the different kinds of aphids we've set out the Chrysoperla carnea, green lacewing flies which are eating the aphids. The Chrysoperla larves are introduced on dried buckwheat leaves.
Besides these two kinds of friendly insects, Koppert gave me some samples of other useful insects.
Thus I've set out (11/12/2014) as a biological pest control on the strawberry plants:
- Amblyseius swirskii (= roofmijt, against the white fly pest)
- Aphidius colemani (= sluipwesp, against aphids of all kind)
- Orius laevigatus (=roofwant, against Thripds of all kind)
Also on 11/12/2014 on the Brussels Sprouts:
- Encarsia formosa (= sluipwesp tegen witte vlieg)
On the cabbages:
- Diglyphus isaea (= sluipwesp tegen mineervlieg)
And on other cabbages and ferns:
- Dracnusa sibirica (= sluipwesp tegen de mineervlieg)
link: www.koppert.nl

Plant Paradise?
date: 2014-12-23
October 2014 I visited the lab of Caleb Harper, the CityFarm Project, at MIT. The MIT CityFarm is an anti-disciplinary group of engineers, architects, urban planners, economists and plant scientists exploring and developing of high performance urban agricultural systems.
Also the Plantlab at the Wageningen University is experimenting with a closed control system for growing plants.
What plants consider paradise is quite different than what we might expect. If plants had a say in their environment, they would have very specific requirements for every stage of their development regarding light, temperature, airflow, humidity, CO2, water and nutrients. Using our research, we created their paradise: a merger of state-of-the-art technology and knowledge of plant physiology. We built a completely closed growing environment where we can optimize and control all growth conditions: the PPU (Plant Production Unit).
PlantLab does not modify plants themselves; instead, we select the characteristics of nature that plants like, while omitting the elements that inhibit plant development and growth. For example, we give plants only the wavelengths of light that they prefer (red, blue and some far-red), and combine this with sophisticated climate control and other insights from our mathematical models.
link: http://mitcityfarm.media.mit.edu/

Plagen en nuttige insecten
date: 2014-12-18
Wegens te weinig water in de beginperiode en daardoor een stress-situatie voor de planten, maar ook wegens gewoonweg meegekomen met de aangkochte (commerciële) planten van Willaert, heeft de Invisible Garden last van bepaalde plagen van schadelijke insecten.
Dit betreft voornamelijk de wolluis op de ofijfbomen, en de bladvlo op de Eleagnus ebbengei.
PTI bracht mij in contact met de firma Koppert/Hombio, die een aantal stalen leverde van nuttige insecten.
Eerst en vooral proberen we de aangetaste planten te vrijwaren door plaatselijke bestrijding van de plaag met nuttige insecten.
Voor de Olea europeae (de olijfbomen), waar de wolluis (Planococcus citri) huis houdt, hebben we de tegenaanval ingezet met Cryptolaemus montrouzieri, een roofkever.
Voor de bladvlo (Cacopsylla fulguralis) op de Eleagnus ebbengei gebruiken we de Chrysoperla carnea, een groene gaasvlieg (±12mm) waarvan de eitjes geleverd worden op boekweitblaadjes. Het zijn de larven die de bladluizen gaan opeten.
link: http://www.koppert.nl/plagen/bladluis/

Art & Economy - study
date: 2014-12-17
Christine Depuydt, a researcher at Vives Kortrijk, is taking the Invisible Garden as a case study for her PhD research into Art and Economy.
She wants to know how many people/companies collaborated on the realisation of the garden, how these persons relate to each other, what their interest is in the garden and how many time they spend on garden related tasks.
To make an overview of and to formulate an answer on these questions, I started to make an organigram of all collaborators.
Organigram has to be updated.

Problems with the data study
date: 2014-12-16
At the creation of the garden I installed a sensorbox with temperature, humidity and light sensors. The goal is to follow up this indoor garden experiment with a sensor data study and to compare the figures at the end of the experiment (february 8th 2015) with the status of the plants in general.
Though, there are a lot of problems to assure a regular data collection. The internet connection in the room is very unstable and on top of that we have misunderstandings due to everchanging permanency of responsible persons in the exhibition.
The result is that the sensor graphs show a lot of gaps, and I am not sure if we will have sufficient figures to work with the data.
link: http://opensensordata.net/annemie

Research on Global Warming
date: 2014-11-05
Would plants adapt to a permanent summer? We monitor the Invisible Garden space with customized sensors to measure temperature, humidity and light.
The Invisible Garden is an experiment, a research on global warming effects. We want to explore the complex interactions of plants and bees with nature in this artificial environment. What will be the reaction of this plant community, this ecosystem, over the course of the 3 months of the experiment? Will the garden as a whole adapt to the various moods and conditions of this artificial world?

Silent Running?
date: 2014-11-04
The Invisible Garden reminds some visitors of Silent Running, a 1972 environmentally-themed American science fiction film. In the future all plant life on Earth has become extinct. A few specimens have been preserved in enormous, greenhouse-like geodesic domes attached to a fleet of American Airlines space freighters. The Protagonist is the resident botanist and ecologist who carefully preserves a variety of plants for their eventual return to Earth and the reforestation of the planet.

Over groeilampen en bloeilampen ...
date: 2014-10-31
Fotosynthese is een fotochemisch proces waarbij groeilicht geabsorbeerd wordt door het chlorofyl en carotenoïden van bladeren. Het opgenomen groeilicht wordt in de vorm van lichtenergie gebruikt voor de vorming van suikers uit koolzuurgas (CO2) dat door de bladeren wordt opgenomen. De wetenschappelijke benaming van het groeilicht is PAR of Photosynthetic Active Radiation. De hoeveelheid wordt uitgedrukt in micromol, de meetwaarde voor lichtfotonen. Er is 20 à 25 micromol nodig voor een regelmatig onderhoud van de planten, 45 à 50 micromol voor een lichte groei, en 100 à 150 micromol wanneer men planten wil opkweken in bvb. een groeikamer.
In de Invisible Garden in de Buda fabriek zullen we gaan voor een gewoon 'onderhoudslicht', dus voor een gemiddelde lichtsterkte van ±25 micromol.
PAR-licht bevindt zich in de wavelengths van 400Nm tot 700Nm (nanometer)
dit kan gaan van blauw tot rood, naargelang bepaalde acties bij de plant, bvb. groeien of kiemen. De kleurtemperatuur wordt uitgedrukt in graden Kelvin. Een plant heeft een hogere kleurtemperatuur nodig om te groeien dan wanneer hij in bloei staat.
De goedkoopste en eenvoudigste oplossing is om te werken met fluorescente plantenlampen of planten-TL's. Belangrijk is de hoeveelheid licht, en de homogene verdeling van het licht in de ruimte. Wanneer we de biologische klok en het Carcediaanse ritme van de planten respecteren, zou een lichtintensiteit van 20 à 30 µmol/ms moet volstaan om de planten gedurende de tentoonstelling van voldoende licht te voorzien.

Ik wil werken met enerzijds algemeen licht (= de lucht, de hemel => dit zijn de fluorescente planten TL's) en anderzijds met zon-accenten (zoals in de natuur, hier verkregen door halogeen licht, spots).
Het algemene licht (hemellicht) - dus de TL's- wil ik allemaal even hoog hangen, op 30cm van het plafond (zodat starters en andere lelijke dingen verstopt kunnen worden tegen het plafond).
Voor de TL's wil ik werken met OSRAM FLUORA T8 plantengroeilampen. Ze komen allemaal op een dimmer, zodat ik de lichtintensiteit volgens tijdsschema variabel kan afregelen.

Bringing in the soil ...
date: 2014-10-30
IBIC, a company specialised in the construction of rooftop gardens, is sponsoring the soil for our Invisible Garden installation.
The room -Atelier2- in Buda is 14m x 14m = 196m2. Er worden 2 silo's geleverd van elk 26 ton (totaal 52.000kg); 1 silo grove lava en 1 silo gazon lava (voor de moestuin). 1cm substraat/m2 weegt 12kg (droog) en 16kg (nat).
Voor de Invisible Garden betekent dit 265kg/m2, met een gemiddelde hoogte van ± 30cm. Dit zal gemodelleerd worden volgens tuinplan, hierbij wordt rekening gehouden met de dragende balkenstructuur.
Vóór het opspuiten van de lava wordt eer een dikke plastiek gelegd, deze wordt opgevouwen tegen de muren om het geheel te beschermen.
De lava wordt opgespoten via een dikke felexibele buis en op het einde van de tentoonstelling terug opgezogen.

Constructing the garden
date: 2014-10-29
For the construction of the garden we collaborate with the company IBIC, a specialist in the construction of rooftop gardens. The garden is setup as an art installation in a room on the first floor of the Buda Factory. First we put sheets of black plastic WF50 to protect the tiles and concrete in the room, then we make a first arrangement of the taller plants in the space. Therefore we use a fork lift and a transpalette. And yes …. plant growing lights are on!

The 4 garden zones
date: 2014-10-27
I created 4 zones in the Invisible Garden: 1. the Edible Forest Garden, 2. the Mediterranean Garden, 3. The Medicinal Herb Garden, 4. the Vegetable Garden.
I created a dedicated page for each of these gardens in the Opengreens database. You can scan the QR code to go immediate to the page of the selected garden.

Selecting the plants
date: 2014-10-20
The Invisible Garden is nature in an artificial set up. As we are working inside, in a room with a rather low ceiling (± 4m high, 14m by 14m) and without windows (no ventilation and artificial light). We have to choose plants that are able to survive the 3 months of the exhibition in these strange environmental conditions. Moreover: the exhibition open on november 5th and runs till february 5th ⇒ the core of the winter season. In order to have any green in the room, I will have to look for evergreen trees and shrubs, mixed with dedicuous plants chosen for their autumn/winter structure.
The plants complex sensory and regulatory systems are in response to the ever changing environmental conditions. As we are working here in an artificial light situation, we will have to work out an adaptive light/time schedule for the plants.
A plant does not measure the length of the day, but it measures the length of the continuous periods of darkness. The phytochrome is the light activating sensor in plants. We have to research the optimal lightwave lengths (red/blue), the color range (warm/cold, white/blue), the distance of the light from the plants (intensity, sun - half sun/shadow simulations) and after all make sure that the light in the room is spread in a rather homogenous way.

Open Air laboratorium
date: 2014-10-18
Throughout the garden we discover a series of hidden poetic memories (audio, video). AnneMarie Maes is fascinated in structures created by Nature, structures that are often not visible unless you look at it through an artistic eye and with the technological tools of modern science. Within the garden are hidden examples, shown on small embedded screens, of the extraordinary structures that AnneMarie Maes draws our attention to.
In the Mediterrenean Garden the autumn-palet of the waving grasses lure the visitor inside the semi-dim room. Once deeper inside the installation, a colder and more exact laboratorium setup takes the overtone. Every plant is tagged with a QR-code. The plant’s evolution throughout the exhibition is updated in the OpenGreens database and this information can be tracked via mobile devices.

Invisible Garden: an art installation
date: 2014-10-15
The Invisible Garden is a large-size art installation in the exhibition ‘the Green Light District : the place of Nature in the city of Men’. The garden is a remake of the Edible Forest Garden, the Open Air Laboratorium created by the artist AnneMarie Maes on her rooftop in the center of Brussels. The Invisible Garden is a sitespecific project that reverses the relation between nature and art. The transitions between inside and outside, culture and staged nature, become fluid and transitory.
The garden can be seen as a giant roof garden, as it covers an entire room of 200m2 on the first floor of the old Buda textile factory. Roughly four zones can be distinguished: the naturalistic mediterrenean garden, with olive trees and grasses, the edible forest garden, with bee-friendly trees, shrubs and ground covers, the vegetable garden with perennial and annual plants and the herb garden with medicinal plants.
The garden is conceived according to the traditions of permaculture, respecting the principle of the 7 layers. The plants are selected on their edible and melliferous qualities, they create a subtle ecosystem that is favorable for humans and honeybees. Different plant species have been carefully selected to cohabit and thus approach as much as possible the complex ecological web that we find in natural environments.