March 2013


Warmest greetings to all my gardening friends!

We’re already in the middle of a new month in our lives and the date is Sunday, 17 March 2013. In the Stockholm area, the sun is finally beginning to put in more than merely a fleeting appearance; the days are bright and sunny but the nights are still freezing cold, in fact much colder than normal. The sun rose today at 05.59 (or so I've read–personally I wasn't awake at the time) and sunset is at 17.56. So we're heading towards lighter days, but as I say it's very cold. I'm going to go inside now and pour myself glass of red wine. I'm frozen. The thermometer shows that its 10 degrees colder than at the same time last year. I'm so tired of the winter – I WANT SPRING!

I've just been going around the garden in the search for some signs of the hitherto elusive spring. There’s still lots of snow, slush and patches of ice all over the place, and it's really difficult to make one's way around the garden. Nevertheless, it’s time to start making some early spring preparations, for whatever is done now will be of benefit later in the spring. So, I’ve been rinsing plant pots and tidying up by raking dead leaves, twigs and branches in those places where the snow has disappeared.

The signs of spring that I have managed to find in the garden include winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis), that customary first, bright yellow, optimistic sign of spring which began to bloom in the past few days. Snowdrops, too, are cautiously beginning to emerge from the ground. And down in the fruit garden the crocuses are up a couple of centimetres. Even alliums are beginning to reveal themselves.

As I’ve just said, the days are becoming longer, and when the temperature is above zero the snow and ice are beginning to melt away. It's fascinating to sit here and look out of my upstairs office window and see rivulets from melted snow out on the street. Conclusion: spring IS on its way. But until it finally arrives, I'm going to continue lighting the fire in the kitchen and the tiled stove in the living room to keep the house warm.

Going round the garden, I'm surprised that the ravages of winter are not as extensive as I'd thought. I'd feared that a lot of branches would have been broken by the pure weight of the snow, particularly the wet snow, but now I'm calmer and realise I don't need to be too worried.

During the past few days I've been out in the garden throwing lots of fertiliser (Chrysan brand fertiliser and bone meal) over the snow. As I've mentioned on previous occasions, this is a perfect time to give a proper dressing of fertiliser before the snow disappears –it will then sink into the ground as the snow melts. My neighbours might think that it looks a bit strange with brown patches sprinkled over the snow, but it provides so much nourishment for my beloved the crocuses and all the other plants, and so it's something I really recommend doing now in March.

It's not long until we open the garden for the first time in 2013 (specifically, on Sunday 14 April). You can find all of the dates here on the website. It will be nice if we could meet on one or other of our open garden days.

Until then, if you have the time and the inclination, let me recommend the latest issue of the magazine Lantliv Trädgård (which came out at the end of March) which contains an interesting illustrated article about A Gentleman’s Garden entitled “Fortunate with bulbs”. By the way, on page 70 of the same magazine there’s an article about alliums which is illustrated with beautiful pictures from our garden.

A warm hug in the midst of the spring-winter chill in Tumba.

Hope to see you soon


A Gentleman Gardener