February Chronicle 2012 | Chronicle April 2012

Mars 2012

It's late morning on Thursday, 22 March 2012, and the sun is shining in a clear blue sky. Spring is here! The spring equinox occurred a few days ago and at the weekend we’ll be moving the clocks forward one hour to summer time, and the days will become even longer.

As I plod around the garden, I do so with a feeling of devotion. Large areas of the garden are covered with thousands of wonderful botanical crocuses; not just in the borders but also in the lawns. Our poor dogs are no longer allowed to run around the garden at will, because if they did they’d trample on too many flowers. The dogs’ freedom of movement in the garden might be restricted, but the same can’t be said as regards the bees – the air is filled with the humming of bees enjoying themselves among the flowers. This is a magical time – finally, after the long, long winter.

So much is happening now, but it's the same story every year. Some of the crocuses are already passed their best, while others are just coming into their own. It's a question of enjoying the moments and days on offer. Admittedly, some crocuses aren't blooming to the extent they did last year and this may well be due to the fact that the mother bulb often dies after one or two years, and it then takes a few years before the offshoot bulbs take off. Even so, there are thousands of crocuses in bloom right now. I mainly plant white crocuses and light blue ones, but also some yellow ones here and there. But the crocus I'm most excited about hasn't yet come into bloom. Its politically incorrect name, Negro Boy, dates from the 1930s and it’s claimed to be the darkest of all crocuses (a very dark purple, but definitely not black!).

And then there are other things coming up from the ground at the moment – I'm beginning to see the hyacinths, of which I've planted several hundred, as well as approximately 300 tulips. So things are really beginning to take off!

I've begun to open the cellar each day to let the agapanthus have some fresh air and begin to acclimatise, and the same is true as regards our garden shed in which the palm trees and bay laurel trees have spent the winter. I've also begun to plant my sweet pea seeds; I let them soak in water for a day or so before planting them. I've also received the spring bulb delivery from Holland containing a couple of hundred lilies, some day lilies and a few other bulbs which need to be pre-planted, so there's plenty to do at the moment.

The goldfish pond is no longer covered with ice and the fish have begun to stir. It's still too cold for them to start playing, and it's a little too early to begin feeding them yet, but they’re clearly visible beneath the surface. Thankfully, it looks as though all of them have survived the winter. It's very moving to see them.

There's a warm breeze, the birds are singing, and life in a spring garden is so wonderful. The trees in the fruit garden are still bare; there’s no green there, but then it's the ground one should be looking at – covered with snowdrops, winter aconite, and thousands of crocuses.

Our book, Trädgårdspassion- En kärleksförklaring i fyra akter [Garden Passion – a Declaration of Love in Four Acts] will be coming out in a couple of weeks. It's published Ica Förlaget. Those of you who have been reading my chronicles over the years probably won't be so surprised though the content; but there are certainly some people who have not read these chronicles and will who become acquainted with the garden for the first time. On Saturday, 31 March, an article about me and the garden will be published in the magazine of the newspaper Aftonbladet. That’s really quite flattering. Spring is here and it's time to clear away the branches and pine cones that are lying about here and there and to pre-plant masses of bulbs. Life has returned, life has returned!Beloved, beloved spring.

Enjoy spring to the full, dearest gardening friends.

Stefan, A Gentleman Gardener

ps. As I mentioned earlier, we will be opening the garden three times with an entry fee going directly to the Red Cross. You find the details appear on the website’s start page.