Chronicle november 2009 |

December 2009

Yes, dear garden friends, we’ve now entered into a December winter landscape. In the Stockholm area today, 14 December, the sun rose at 08:40 and went down at 14:46, so at the moment there aren’t that many hours of daylight in our part of the world.

In a couple of weeks we’ll be welcoming in the New Year and heading towards a new gardening year. Just now I’m sitting in the conservatory and looking out at the garden, which is covered by a blanket of snow. The fruit tree arches, covered with spruce branches and a thick layer of snow on top, make such a lovely sight.

I planted my very last tulip bulbs just a few days ago. As I’ve said before, it’s possible to plant as long as the ground isn’t frozen –but now I’ve done enough planting for this season. Approximately 6,500 bulbs have been planted in the autumn; that isn’t too bad. Winter aconites and snowdrops are usually the first flowers to appear, at the end of February/beginning of March, to be followed by a sea of thousands of botanical crocuses.

The garden hoses have finally been emptied. The rhododendrons have been thoroughly watered and a thick layer of wonderful oak leaves has been placed under each bush. I’m convinced that oak leaves provide the best covering for rhododendrons during the winter. So, the rhododendrons are now snugly embedded for the cold months ahead as they lie in wait for the coming season.

Taking a round in the garden, I see that the goldfish in the pond have descended to the deepest part (about 1 meter), where they are now lying still and resting beneath the ice. We’ve turned off the pump to the filter system, but the air pump will be operating throughout the winter. We’ve placed a Styrofoam disk in the pond; it floats on the surface, and the air bubble from the air pump which forms beneath the disk prevents the surface of the pond from freezing entirely.

It really is time to step back and look back over the season that’s just passed and attempt to figure out what things went wrong in the garden in 2009, while being grateful for everything that succeeded. At the same time, one should also look ahead to the coming year.

Just consider how much pleasure a garden can give. It certainly requires a lot of work, but the rewards can be enormous. December is, however, a rather stressful month. I’ve had masses of spruce and pine branches to put in our window boxes – an attractive embellishment at this dark time of the year.  The window boxes, trees and bushes are festooned with lights; together with the snow, it makes for an incredibly beautiful sight in the winter darkness.

There are still lots of berries on many bushes in the garden, so the small birds don’t really need our help just now, but I find it such fun to feed them. It’s wonderful to sit indoors and look out at the bird life. But soon the ground will be frozen, the berries will be gone, and the birds will really need our help. Bird life in the garden means a great deal to both of us. We have several feeding spots around the garden. I’m extremely pleased with our new bird table in the shape of a red cottage, which we can see through the kitchen window. Sparrows and chaffinches are regular visitors. The birds are our friends throughout the year, and we hope also to see once again our two red squirrels, who faithfully put in an appearance each year.

Think ahead and even now make your plans for 2010. One can have so many plans for a garden.  It sometimes amazes me that even though the house and the garden date from 1903, planting in the garden is never complete, and for that matter will never be. We’ve lived here for 13 years and new projects and planting ideas are always springing up. That’s the sort of person I am.

During the coming season, 2010, we plan to have the garden open on a number of days. We’ll be putting out information on the website, and would love to welcome visitors to share the garden with us.

Have a really wonderful winter, and my thanks to the garden people everywhere who take the time to read my chronicles. It’s so enjoyable to be able to share with you my thoughts and feelings about the garden and garden life.

It’s now time for the garden to get some well deserved rest, and our bodies and souls also need some rest. So have a wonderful winter, and let’s give three cheers for gardens. My thanks to all of you, and I wish all of you really Happy New Year.

It’s now time to go inside and light the log fire...

A Gentleman Gardner

PS. This is the same place in July and December. It is great to live in a place where the seasons are different.

fruktgang sommar fruktgang vinter