Chronicle June 2010 | Chronicle August 2010

July 2010


Dear garden friends and all wonderful people out there in the big wide world who read my chronicles. Thank you. It’s so satisfying to know that they are being read in many different countries. We’re reaching quite a large public and I want to offer my humble thanks to those of you who are following our story and what is happening in our little garden here on the northern edge of Europe.

We are in Sweden and the date is now 16 July 2010. I’m merrily running around the garden with a glass of rosé wine in my hand, groaning and out of breath. At the moment we’re suffering an extraordinary heat wave and, from the news, it’s clear that the weather in Europe in general isn’t too good. Many countries in Europe, and around the word, are beginning to encounter problems caused by climate change. It really is so unsettling and worrying. It’s so easy to take things for granted, but things are happening out there and we must do something. We must be concerned about the environment and give thought to what we’re doing and how we’re behaving. There will be generations to come who must also be able to enjoy Mother Earth.

Be that as it may, as I said at the beginning of this chronicle, it’s incredibly warm and we haven’t seen a rain cloud –or rain drop – for many a long day. Here in Tumba, in the south of Stockholm, it hasn’t been as warm since 1994. Of course, some people think it’s for good, while others think it’s for bad; some people love the heat, others can’t stand it. Personally, my heart goes out to the garden, because it’s south-facing and sloping, and certainly doesn’t benefit from such heat.  So it’s a question of watering, while at the same time being somewhat restrictive. If you live in a place where it’s necessary to water a great deal in times like these, I think one should try to use plants that withstand dryness more than other plants. Where this subject is concerned, Beth Chatto’s wonderful, non-irrigated dry garden in Essex, England is a valuable source of inspiration. In our garden, we’ve concentrated particularly on sedum. The moral of the story – and of the heat wave – is not to plant too many water guzzling plants, since in drought conditions they’re bound to come to an unhappy end.

A garden is a living thing; it’s not there simply by chance. It must be tended, watered and tidied. Nothing takes care of itself in a garden. But, at the same time, give a thought to nature and the ecological system. For me, perhaps belatedly, this is beginning to play an increasingly important role as far as the garden is concerned. This is something that has developed in recent years. I didn’t have that interest when younger, but now I’m beginning to think about it more and more. It’s not just a question of plants, cultivated and wild. It also means getting butterflies, bees and other insects and birds into the garden. I want to have in the garden everything that can enrich it – and thereby enrich our lives.

The month of July, 2010 is on the way to breaking heat records in Stockholm. So it’s a question of tidying, tidying and tidying and where, necessary, watering, watering and watering, and of being so grateful for having access to nature, greenery and flora and everything that grows.

Have a good summer, a pleasant summer. Take care of yourself and don’t lie out in the sun and toast yourself to a cinder. No, we know now what the sun can do, for better or for worse.

A Gentleman Gardener

p.s. It would be lovely to see you at our Tusen Trädgårdar open garden on Sunday, 8 August.