July 2009 | September 2009

20 Augusti 2009

It’s late summer, evening time in the Stockholm area and I note that we’re heading towards a darker season. The sun came up at 05.21 and sunset was at 20.22. In other words, the summer is now behind us, but so much still lies ahead and expectation are great.

The summer heat still lingers on, the garden is still lush, and all the scents wafting around the garden are such a striking feature in the garden just now, towards the end of August.

It’s important not to forget scents in a garden; in our little garden it’s primarily the lilies that are the stars of the show. I focus mainly on oriental lilies, since the Asian lilies aren’t as heavily scented. I’ve probably said it before, but one of my absolute favourites is the white, beautifully perfumed Casablanca. I plant a few hundred lilies around the garden each year to ensure that the scents can be enjoyed in all corners. Speaking of scents, the heavenly honeysuckles are also still blooming, while the phlox are now coming into their own. Just now, at the end of August, the roses are basically over, but there are still lots of buds on the climber, Ilse Krohn Superior. These will evolve into sharply scented white flowers and continue to provide a wonderful display long into September.

Away from scents, I want to strike the drum for the fantastic clematis Paul Farges (Summer Snow), which unlike most clematis is continuing tobloom with amazing vigour. It makes a wonderful contribution to the lushness that I’m after this time of year.

It’s now the height of the fruit season. Our plum tree, prunus domestica Czar, planted seven years ago, has this year given a truly plentiful harvest for the first time. Though best known for culinary uses, e.g. jams and desserts, these purple-skinned plums are equally delicious eaten straight off the tree.

The fruit on the apple and pear trees, planted generations ago by hands unknown, is now beginning to ripen; this year’s harvest far surpasses last year’s. We’ve even harvested our first peaches. A couple of years ago we planted two trees, a variety called Frost, which we intend to train to grow over one of the three wrought iron arches straddling a path in the rear garden (apple and pear trees will be trained to grow over the other two arches). While the apple trees and pear trees have not yet yielded any fruit, we’ve now had wonderful peaches after only two years. Rather small, but delicious. That’s something we are truly grateful for.  

It’s now almost half past 11 at night as I’m taking my last round in the garden, reflecting over everything that has happened during the year. The seasons pass by so quickly— only a few months ago the lawn here was covered with a mass of crocuses, while up there the rhododendron were recently a blaze of white — but there is still so much to look forward to.

It’s so easy to forget the garden this time of year – as most people seem to do. But it’s not too late; it’s merely a question of keeping up with everything that is happening.
Don’t lose hope, dear gardening folk, even though the holidays are over and we’ve reached the end of August. So much is still happening. At one end of our big border, the Sweetscented Joe-Pie weed (Eutrochium purpureum) are standing tall and stylish, while at the other end of the border the bugbane (Actaea simplex 'Black Negligee') is standing in waiting. Living with a garden truly is an incredible experience – all the expectations and wonderment; the devotion to, and surprise over, all plants.

Love for a garden is a divine gift. I thank my modest garden and take pride in the lilac blue African lilies (Agapanthus) standing erect and proud in their pots like generals surveying the terrain. Agapanthus are one of the stateliest features it’s possible to have in a garden in Sweden in August although – or maybe it’s because ­– they don’t really belong here. So exotic, so stylish.

Don’t forget the splendour of late summer – go out and enjoy it!

Bye for now from a Gentleman Gardener


golden splendor