Chronicle October 2011 | Chronicle January 2012

November 2011

Warmest greetings to all my gardening friends! I’ve said it before, but I'll say so again – the months pass so quickly and the summer is so short here in Sweden.
And now we’re well into the month of August and it’s something of a harvest time at Kungsvägen 10. I don't grow many vegetables, but we do have a few beans (though they didn't succeed so well this year), we've picked our last peaches, and are now waiting for the grapes. The mulberry bush clearly enjoys being in the garden and we've been steadily picking the black, intensively sweet berries for ages now. Mulberries are rich in vitamin C, so a mulberry bush is something that's definitely worth planting wherever you are – it makes a wonderful addition to the garden.

I've just come back from England – we've been on a garden trip around Yorkshire in northern England and seen some fantastic gardens, ranging from impressive castles and manor houses, such as Sledmere House and Burton Agnes Hall, with their sweeping parks and fantastic walled gardens, and a few ordinary homes with extraordinarily lovely gardens (which participate in the National Garden Scheme). Our special thanks to Mr & Mrs Tattersall of Stamford Bridge for being so helpful. I must also recommend a visit to Breezy Knees Gardens –an enormous, quite new set of gardens outside York, with many different types of gardens on display (have a look at the pictures on their website,, and you'll understand what I mean). Last, but by no means least, I want to mention Wentworth Castle Gardens in southern Yorkshire outside Barnsley. Admittedly, we didn't visit at the best time of the year, since the park’s jewel in the crown is a collection of rhododendrons which in terms of size can challenge the famous rhododendrons at Sofiero Palace, in Helsingborg, Sweden, or at least isn't that far behind. We’re now planning to go back in May next year when the rhododendrons are in full bloom. By the way, the elegant castle building now houses an adult education centre!

One can gain such inspiration from each other's gardens – ideas, big and small. Forgive me if I express myself so, but having just come back from seeing gardens in England, it feels that by comparison Sweden is somewhat of an underdeveloped country in terms of gardening. This is quite strange since there is clearly a strong interest in gardening in Sweden: garden(ing) books sell like nobody's business, people buy gardening magazines, and garden nurseries are well frequented; nevertheless, when going around and looking in gardens, there don't seem to be that many people who devote themselves to their gardens. I don't know whether it's due to a lack of time, money, or what you will (and a bit of fantasy is worth a great deal more than money).

At present the garden is shining brightly. The clematis Summer Snow is still in bloom, and for my money it's the number one clematis. Huldine is yet another white clematis that thrives in our garden. It's tenacious, quite wonderful, and has climbed to the top of an old apple tree in the fruit garden. It's not for nothing that the clematis plant is sometimes referred to as “Queen of the Climbers”.
Wandering around the garden, it's hard not to be struck by the scent of the lilies, and the fact that everything in the garden is so green and lush. But now I'm going to have a look at the day lilies… Day lilies have, in fact, caught my attention for the first time this year. I hadn't really considered them before, but now I've fallen in love with them, as I’ve also recently fallen in love with foxgloves.
As usual, the water hoses have been working overtime, I've been generously applying fertiliser, and soon it will be time to cut to the box hedges. And there's so much to cut this time of year.

The white hydrangeas, Annabelle, are putting on a wonderful show and I'm just so thankful to be able to enjoy a living garden and the forces that are found in a garden.

I’d like to thank all the visitors from Finland – a whole busload – who came to see us a few weeks ago when on a garden trip in Sweden, organised by Antti Kauppila from Kauppila Garden Nursery in Åbo. We had the chance to spend a very pleasant hour together. Not least, I'd like to thank Antti for the new Annabelle hydrangea he gave me as a present – hydrangea arborescens Incrediball; it should produce beautiful large, white blooms. My favourite type of flower.

On 21 August, we opened the garden for the benefit of the charity Hela Människan, which among other things helps the homeless and children in need in the municipality. We had incredible luck with the weather – it poured down non-stop the day before, and continued raining a few hours after the open garden, but during the intervening hours we enjoyed a clear blue sky. The last open garden of the season will take place on Sunday, 18 September (12 noon-5pm). A warm welcome to all.

I must say a few words about Gunnel Carlson’s new book Trädgårdsriket: guide to 850 Swedish gardens (Norstedts), which came out a while ago. It contains references to masses of parks, private gardens and even garden nurseries that took part in the 1,000 Gardens event last year (we are also in the book). It's fun to have such a book in the car when travelling around; there are so many things to see that otherwise one has no idea about. For example, although I hail from deepest Småland, I had no idea that just outside Moheda there is a large (25,000 m2) quite lovely private garden called Moeboda Norregård, with a 5,000 m2 pond. After having read about it in the book, we had the good fortune to be shown around the garden by its gracious owner, when on a family visit to Moheda a few weeks ago.

If you're considering coming to the Formex trade fair in Älvsjö (1-4 September), it would be great if you could stop by and say hello at stand A12:21 (Two Faces of Sweden). We'll be there helping our wonderful friends Micke and Eva with the sale of their decorative items for home and garden, which include wonderful products in rust metal.

Last, but by no means least, on Sunday, 3 September (10am-4pm) we'll be standing at the Enköping Garden Day market in Skolparken in Enköping, just as we did last year. By the way, if you haven't visited Enköping previously, it's worth making an effort to do so to see their wonderful parks, such as the Dream Park, designed by the famous Dutch designer Piet Oudolf, as well as Enköping’s wonderful pocket gardens.

Wishing you all a continued wonderful late summer.

See you soon!

Stefan, A Gentleman Gardener.