Chronicle November 2011 | Chronicle February 2012

January 2012

Warmest greetings to all my garden friends! Today is the first day of the New Year, 2012, and I'd like to begin by wishing all of my readers a truly happy New Year.

It's now 2:30 in the afternoon. I had been thinking about taking a walk around the garden and checking on things, but the weather is really off-putting – it's extremely windy and it's snowing sleet. There was no snow this Christmas, as distinct from last year. In fact, the winter still hasn't really arrived. Although today's January 1, the mercury in the thermometer outside shows that the temperature is still above freezing. It's all very strange. On the other hand, it's been cold enough for a sufficiently long period of time for a thin, transparent layer of ice to have formed over the goldfish pond. Through it the goldfish can be seen moving ever so slightly in the lower part of the water. It looks quite weird.

The days are still very short and darkness arrives early, and it will be several weeks before we begin to notice any light at the end of the tunnel. As always with the start of a new year, it's exciting to have things to look forward to and things to ponder over – to cast one's mind back and one's gaze forward. The garden lives its life, and we ours.

Since we haven't had any really winter cold, small bulbs have started creeping up out of the ground, and that’s slightly worrying. We'll see what happens. I still hope that we’ll get at least a few snow-filled winter months, for what we had so far is very unusual – not to mention the night between Christmas Day and Boxing Day when storm Dagmar swept over the country. We weren’t in Sweden at the time, and thankfully the garden survived pretty much unscathed, with just some garden furniture being blown around. But a great many trees were blown down in places around Sweden – not least in the forest which lies only a few hundred meters from our house, and our neighbourhood was without electricity for quite a while. We’re so vulnerable to the forces of nature. Who controls the forces of nature?

As I’ve said before, there’s usually not a lot to do in the garden this time of year, but since there hasn't been any real winter cold I've had the opportunity to rinse out garden pots and make preparations, and go round the garden and inspect things. I go round the garden at least twice a day irrespective of season; even in the winter I trudge around and check that everything is as it should be and that nothing untoward has occurred.

I'm delighted that we've recently come out with some new greetings cards, including five lovely cards with birds on them – all taken in the garden by our dear friend and wonderful photographer Solveig Edlund. We couldn't cope without her. And that's a fact.

And one thing one should absolutely not forget to do this time of year is to feed the birds. I do so regularly and we get through a huge amount of bird seed, as well as liver paste and cheese; on the other hand, the birds bring so much to the garden. All life in the garden is wonderful.

As usual, in 2012 the garden will be open for visitors – both private groups (and the calendar for 2012 is already fully booked) and for the general public. This year we’re co-operating with the Red Cross and the garden will be open three times (15 April, 13 May, and 10 June) with an entry fee of 20 kronor, which goes directly to the Red Cross. In addition, on Sunday, 22 July we will be participating in the Open Garden Scheme 2012 organised by the newspaper Land and we’re also taking part in the Thousand Gardens Scheme 2012 (11th and 12 August). Everyone is most welcome!

It's now time for me to sit down with my seed catalogues and fantasise a bit...

Stefan, A Gentleman Gardener