Chronicle February 2010 |

March 2010

Yes, it’s 8 March 2010 and today the sun rose at 06:41 and didn’t set until approximately 17:33. Despite the fact that snow is still all around, it’s possible to hear the birds singing in the bushes and trees and there’s a clear sense that spring is on its way. And about time, too.

I draw a deep breath and think of what’s happened all around. If only the snow would disappear so that we can see all the damage wrought by this interminable winter. On the other hand, in many places when the snow finally melts it leads to flooding. But, thankfully, our house and garden are on a slope and so the water drains away.

I’ve begun to take away all the pine, spruce and juniper branches that have decorated our windows and the arches in the garden throughout the winter. I find it just as much fun to take them away as it is to put them up when the autumn turns into winter.

Truth be told, the birds haven’t exactly been short of food in our garden over the winter. But we still need to continue feeding them, and soon a few migrating birds will be paying us a visit and they’ll certainly be hungry after their marathon journeys.

Despite the longer days and the reappearance of the sun, the garden continues to be covered by a 50 cm blanket of snow and any signs of spring are few and far between, so it’s rather difficult to jump for joy just yet.

Nevertheless, I have begun some spring time activities, for example seed sowing. Each year I try to test slightly different things, but I’m not really that good at sowing seeds and so I limit the scale of my activity. On the other hand, I’m rather good at pre-planting lily bulbs. Our large order of bulbs arrived from Holland yesterday, and I’ve already begun pre-planting them.

It’s not essential to pre-plant lilies – they can be planted directly at the beginning of the summer – but I want them to bloom early and so I do as follows: put them all in individual pots, water them, and then store them up on the loft in conditions of darkness and a temperature of 0-5°C. To mind my, these are the ultimate conditions. Then, in May, I take the bulbs down from the loft and begin to acclimatise and harden them.

The winter-into-spring conditions are continuing, but it’s now high time to begin working in the garden. There I go again, harping on about cleaning, putting things away, washing pots, and every other conceivable type of work which, if done now, makes life so much easier when summer finally arrives. By planning ahead, you can save a great deal of time.

Something else that is important for me is getting home lots of fertiliser. When there’s approximately 10 cm of snow (i.e. not just yet), conditions are perfect for going around the garden and sprinkling with Chrysan fertiliser or bone manure. First and foremost, I sprinkle it in those places where I know that there are crocuses waiting to come up. When the snow begins to melt, the water carries the nutrition down to the plants.

I’m sure it must be difficult for many of the foreign visitors to our website to understand the seasons here in the Nordic region – the contrast between the light summer nights and winter with its perpetual darkness. But at the same time I must admit that there’s a certain charm to having the different seasons and I’m so grateful to Mother Earth.

OK gardening friends – it’s now time to get started. All or nothing! Stay one step ahead. Plan. Dream about a future in the springtime, for soon it will be here. Winter will give way to the spring. The mere thought causes my body to ache with expectation. While every season has its charm, deep down inside I’m now so tired of the long winter, of the ice and cold.

So, don’t wait until Easter. March is here and it’s a wonderful month – the light has returned. Indulge in masses of tulips – we’re good at them in Sweden. Believe it or not, spring is on its way, even to this wonderful elongated country, Sweden. Hugs to all our friends out there.

A Gentleman Gardener