Chronicle May 2010 | Chronicle July 2010


June 2010

Dear friends, it’s a June evening and I’m about to step out into our little garden in the south of Stockholm. It’s 10 o’clock and I’ve got my umbrella with me as protection against the drizzle. A bit of rain, not too much. Early summer has arrived here in Stockholm. Many plants that have been in bloom are now past their best, which leads me to the thought that we must treasure each moment in life, we must make the best of life – enjoy to the full all that surrounds us, plants and people, and be grateful for them.

The lushness of our garden is quite impressive. The garden is at its most glorious just now, at the beginning of June. I have in mind the rhododendrons, the red poppies, and the alliums, which we have in profusion. To my mind, alliums are very underrated in Sweden. I think people should plant lots of them, many more than they tend to do; one usually sees mere a handful in a garden, if at all. Not only do they produce fantastic flowers and have a wonderful structure when the frost arrives, but also they’re not eaten by deer – an important consideration in many parts of Sweden, and certainly where we live. So three cheers for alliums! We have about 1,000 – many of them in the fruit garden together with the poppies, gently waving in the breeze beneath the trees.

And then there are my wonderful, beloved Yukashimanum rhododendrons that are now in bloom. And, for that matter, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the humble cow-parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris). Okay, it might be regarded as a weed, but what is a weed anyway? One person’s weed is another person’s wild flower. Many weeds are very lovely, so take care not to uproot too many – keep them in check by all means, but be aware of the wonderful contribution they can make to a garden. So go carefully around your garden or your patch and ask yourself – aren’t many of these so-called weeds actually very beautiful? The answer is clear: absolutely.

Yes, so much is happening right now. The gold-coloured azaleas, Azalea Luteum, one of the world’s oldest species of azalea, are now flowering to perfection and spreading their heady scent.  They’re located quite close to the goldfish pond, and looking down in the pond I see that the fish have came to life and are swimming around, the water lilies are coming up... yes, so much is happening. The pond is alive.

To be sure, a life can come to an end, but at the same time there is so much life all around. Those who know me know will understand what I’m talking about; at the moment I’m going through a very difficult period of loss and sorrow, but I feel that in the midst of my mourning the garden provides me with something extra – it gives me strength, a life force. It might sound strange to express myself in this way, but I really mean it. I believe that, quite simply, plants and nature provide strength, and I hope that everyone has the opportunity to feel the power that nature and flora can create.

The late-blooming tulips are still in flower. When planting tulips, it’s worthwhile considering the time perspective, namely early blooming and late blooming. If you think along those lines, it’s possible to have tulips in the garden for some two and a half months – that’s quite a long time. Begin with the botanical tulips and end with a flourish with the lily-flowered tulips, such as White Triumphator, which have a unique shape inasmuch as the blossom resembles a lily.

I’m now looking out over the fruit garden here at A Gentleman’s Garden and spread before me is a canopy of red poppies, purple alliums and white tulips and, stunning though the sight is, the thought occurs to me: “Just think of what’s to come”. Because if you’re a step ahead in your planning and planting, there’s always something new to look forward to. June is now here and the apple, pear and plum trees have bloomed over, but now the hawthorn is putting on a magnificent display. I love the hawthorn because of its wonderful flowering and the fantastic berries that are such a valuable source of nourishment for all the small birds later in the winter.   

Beloved garden, there’s so much to bear in mind and think about, but a garden can’t just lie still – you’ve got to tend it and be grateful for what one has. A life is a life, even in a garden.

The rain is now pouring down and I’m soaking wet, including shoes and socks!!!

Little garden, beloved garden, thank you for the strength you’re giving me just now.

Take care, all you garden people, and plant, plant and plant! Life must go on, it’s the most wonderful thing we have, and we’ve got to go on. Enjoy the greenery and lushness of the garden and nature.


A Gentleman Gardener