Chronicle march 2013 | Chronicles

April 2013


Greetings to my garden friends! I'm just about to put on my rubber boots and an anorak and venture out of the house. The date is 10 April 2013. When opening the door to the veranda, I’m immediately hit by the freezing cold outside. This is the worst winter I can remember during the 19 years we've lived here. We’ve been experiencing sunny days, but extremely cold nights. Here, in our garden at Kungsvägen 10 in Tumba, there are still many patches of snow and ice and the poor crocuses are struggling to emerge from the ground; still, they are emerging – valiantly, slowly but surely. When the first snow fell in the garden, the beautiful blanket of white was captivating. But those initial charms are long gone and now I'm just tired of it – melt! Melt! Please.

As I said in the last chronicle, in spite of everything − and although much later than normal − spring is on its way. One sure sign is that the birds are singing in the garden. It really is quite magical to wander around the garden towards evening and witness the fact that life has returned to the garden. And the mating season will be here soon!

Over the past few weeks I've been able to enjoy the winter aconite and the first crocuses (some of which are already fading). Spring comes to our garden earlier than to many others in the neighbourhood due to the fact that we're on a south-facing slope with a hill to the rear which radiates warmth. Unfortunately, the heavy snow of the past couple of weeks has caused considerable damage in the garden, with a great many branches being broken by the sheer weight of wet snow. Rhododendrons have suffered quite a bit, and it is only now that the full extent of the damage is being revealed.

All of the bulbs ordered by the members of our Blub Club have now either been posted to them or collected here in Tumba. I hope that everyone will be pleased with the fine quality of the bulbs, and will ultimately enjoy fine results in the garden. For my part, I’ve bought quite a few bulbs I haven't planted before, such as Cardiocrinum gigantum, several species of canna, Lycoris aurea (yellow spider lily) and the calla lily Zantedeschia aethiopica. I want to try them out myself before recommending them to others.

The garden will be open this coming Sunday, 14 April. I've been going around the garden time after time trying to break up the ice on the paths using a metal pick. But I could really do with a blowtorch to melt away all the snow and ice still remaining. Unfortunately, I don't know any welders. It's a bit risky to open a garden in Sweden in April, in any event here in the Stockholm area.

It's now time for pre-planting bulbs and tubers. Dahlias are excellent for pre-planting now. But when they reach 30-40 cm in height, it’s then time to cut them back – “snip, snip” is my motto. If you do so, you'll get many more branches. While I prefer to pre-plant bulbs, it's not something one has to do; they can be planted out directly (provided it's possible to put a spade in the ground, which isn't the case just now in our garden!)

A big hug to all of you who read our garden chronicles and to all the garden friends I've been fortunate enough to meet over the years, both in Sweden and abroad. My thanks to all of you, wherever you might be. For me, spring means that life is back. Listen, heed, and take care of each.



A Gentleman Gardener