News - February 8, 2018

Students open plant refuge

Julia Schafer

Two hundred enthusiasts attended the opening of Wageningen’s new plant shelter on Saturday 27 January. Spider plants, sanseverias and loads of other house plants found new owners.

The founders of the plant shelter: Lotte Littooij, Tutku Yüksel, Kirsten Snels and Mirjam Dijksterhuis. © Julia Schäfer

The plant shelter is a meeting place for students and residents of Wageningen seeking to offload, take over or swap a plant. It was started by students Mirjam Dijksterhuis, Lotte Littooij and Kirsten Snels, and the mastermind behind it, Tutku Yüksel of community centre Thuis.

‘We all thought it would be nice to have a plant shelter in Wageningen. We met each other through a planting workshop and a brainstorm session in Thuis,’ says Dijksterhuis.

The opening was a great success. ‘A lot of people brought something along, so we had more than 300 plants. But many of them were taken away again. We even had a small maple tree. That went pretty fast.’ The four volunteers identify the species of every plant that comes in and give advice about looking after it. ‘We also treat plants which are not thriving,’ says Dijksterhuis.

Through the week, she and her colleagues look after the plants that haven’t found a new owner yet. To do this, they need soil, pots and plant food. The plant shelter asks for donations to cover these costs, and the team wants to spend some of the money that comes in on organizing workshops.

Tutku Yüksel of Thuis hopes the plant shelter will form another bridge between the university and the town. The plant shelter is open every Saturday.