May 2017 / october 2017

June 2017


We’re now some way into the month of June 2017. First and foremost, I’d like to thank the members of the bulb club who visited us recently. It was really nice to get to meet you all.

I’m taking a wander around the garden. The laburnum trees (laburnum anagyroides, sometimes also called  ‘golden rain’ or ‘golden chain’) behind the house have just come into bloom and are so impressive with their beautiful cascades of yellow flowers, just as the name indicates. When we visited the wonderful National Trust Bodnant Garden in northern Wales a couple months ago, we saw the enormous, long laburnum arch which is shown in the photo below:

Unfortunately, our visit was a couple of weeks too early and so we missed the flowering. On the other hand, we have a strong reason to make a return visit next year!

Alliums are the most striking feature in the garden at the moment. In my opinion, alliums are much underestimated in Sweden and more should be planted. People usually associate alliums with purple balls of flowers, and indeed in our garden too it is the purple Purple Sensation and Christophii that dominate among alliums. But alliums (the word actually means garlic in Latin) form a very large group of plants and alongside purple balls there also white alliums, for example allium niger (a somewhat misleading name, one might think!), which reach approximately the same 70 cm height as Purple Sensation. They flower slightly later and come fully into bloom more or less as their purple cousins are beginning to fade.

Without the slightest exaggeration it’s possible to say that there are at least 1,000 alliums in bloom at the moment, particularly in the fruit garden among the apple, pear and plum trees. It’s quite a magical sight, particularly when a host of red poppies have come into bloom simultaneously with the alliums. Whereas beautiful poppies were already a feature of the garden when we moved into the house 20 years ago, all of the alliums in the garden have been planted over the course of recent years. It’s clear that they like the conditions in the garden, since they return year after year, have multiplied and spread and are in the habit of popping up all over the place – as unplanned as they are beautiful and welcome.

We will soon be entering the month of July - the beginning of the rose season. All around me I see signs that it’s going to be a great year for roses. So, if you have the possibility, you are most welcome to come by on the afternoon of Sunday 16 July when, as is now traditional, we’ll be taking part in the Open Garden scheme organised by the magazine Land. I’m full of hope that by then the roses will be putting on a magnificent show. We have quite a few rose bushes in the garden, but it’s mainly rambling roses, such as rosa helenae and the closely related lykkefund, which dominate and climb up the trees in many places in the garden.

In the front garden we’ve recently planted two heavily scented white Madame Plantier rosor which will be tied to, and climb up, 2.5 meter high timber posts (embedded in cement foundations for stability). We got the idea upon seeing such posts when we visited the magnificent garden at Powis Castle in central Wales during the course of the same trip I’ve mentioned above.

The posts have been placed between the mop top robina trees (robininia pseudoacacia 'Umbraculifera', also referred to as umbrella false accacia) along the edge of the pathway up to the house from the street. We’ve had them for about 10 years and they make a truly architectural feature in the garden, also during the winter; in addition, they have a wonderful autumn colour. As the name implies, they have a beautiful, dense round shaped crown. In Sweden, they are slow growing and best suited only for the mildest climate zone (referred to as zone 1), but thanks to a very benign microclimate in our garden with a sheltered south facing position, our trees have survived well – much to the surprise, so they tell us, of the garden nursery from which we bought the trees in the first place!

Take care,

Stefan, A Gentleman Gardener