Intercultural guided garden tour


Gardeners act as guides through the garden for excursions and present their beds and stories of their native country.

Generally people are really enthusiastic about telling what they do in the garden and about their home country. You simply need to find enough people to make it an intercultural guided tour.

Description of the activity

The intercultural guided garden tour is an offer for groups from schools, universities or interested public to get to know the garden. The activity is carried out on request. In a first part, the organiser of the tour explains the garden, its structure, history and aims. During the second part three to five migrant gardeners present their growing spaces and tell a story that builds a bridge between their home country and the garden. Each gardener chooses a plant or a topic that relates for him or her garden practice and home country and talks about it for five minutes. The topics range from certain spices that are cultivated in the home country and in the gardeners growing bed and what they are used for, to the importance of maize in Mexico. The participating gardeners should change from tour to tour so that each takes his/her turn. The final part gives room for questions and discussion. Sometimes they also prepare snacks or food for the group, depending on the arrangement.

The activity started as a cooperative with the Welthaus, a catholic development cooperation organisation, who arranged intercultural exchange meetings in the whole county. The activity was also adapted as part of garden feasts.

The greatest challenge is to always have guides and to keep rotating the duty so that many gardeners get trained in presenting their growing beds and contribute their knowledge and competences.


The person leading the activity is one of the gardeners, most of the time one of the board members.  The leader needs to be able to motivate people to present their growing bed. The leader needs to be able to support gardeners who had not yet taken part in the tour in developing their story. The one who organises also needs to be persistant and really interested in making it intercultural. If he or she is not ready to invest enough time and effort the tour is only carried out by the same two or three people each time.

Steps for the implementation of the activity

Design the tour structure and make a fact sheet about the garden. This should contain how long the introduction, the presentation of growing beds and the final discussion are as well as important information about the garden for the introduction, so that anyone who organises the tour can use it.

A pool of gardeners who are in general ready to present their growing bed should be identified so that the organiser knows whom to call in case a tour is booked. The pool should be big enough so that the guides rotate (8-10 gardeners).

Use your network and partners to invite organisations and interested members of the public to book the tours. The tours in Wilten are offered for schools, as part of conferences and as excursions for catholic educational organisations.

Organise each booked tour:
- Find gardener guides for each booked tour many weeks in advance. If it is their first time, prepare with them what they could present and develop the story together
- If there are snacks/food served organise who brings what and make sure that there is enough food for all participants.

Materials and methods

The activity is suitable for a group of ten to twenty visitors. 15 visitors are perceived as an optimum group size.

For this activity you need the garden as space for the tour and if you offer snacks and drinks or plan a longer time for discussion, a space to sit together and a table for food and drinks is required.

Materials and human resources:
Bring the fact sheet and the agenda. Food and drinks are nice to have.

The tour needs to be well prepared and the pool of gardener guides established. You need some time to contact the gardener guides for organisation of each tour. The tour itself takes between one and two hours depending on the visitors. If you offer something to eat and/or drink you need additional time to organise and prepare it.

The tour can be offered for free or for a small fee. In Wilten, the gardeners who present their growing beds are not paid. They tried to pay money for gardeners contributions but found that it produced more conflicts than it helped. Ingredients for food are paid.

Learning outcomes for the participants

The participating gardener guides are experts. They learn that what they have to tell is interesting for others and appreciated by the visitors and feel empowered. They improve their presentation and teaching skills. Gardeners who are not used to this also learn to use German as a language for teaching and gain confidence. In the role of the organiser the gardeners gain organisational skills. The participating gardeners learn about their colleague’s experiences and practices.