Chronicle beginning of May 2008 (swedish) | Chronicle June 2008

"The love of gardening is a seed that, once sown, never dies." Gertrude Jekyll

Mid-May 2008

May has arrived and the garden is bursting into bloom. Everything’s happening just as expected. another winter has passed. Spring is here. Just take a moment to sit back and marvel at it all.

I know that our garden (1,450 sq. m. in all) is somewhat unusual. It’s also rather special, though I can’t take the credit for that. Perhaps I’ve helped it along a bit (quite a lot, actually), but the prerequisites were already in place. That was something I realised at an early stage. The first factor is the relatively mild micro-climate thanks to the location and other conditions, including the heat-conserving walls. The garden is one of contrasts. I try to assist it, to make it sparkle, because it’s not really my garden; it’s been entrusted to me on loan. But just think of what we might achieve if I can borrow it for a while longer, so that I can give it my very best.

I enter through a white gate and go up a few steps. To the left there’s what we call our fruit garden: an orchard, if you will, with some old apple trees and pear trees, and a younger plum tree. When we came here 10 years ago, there was simply a fruit garden and a few wonderful poppies that were in bloom; in June it’s quite simply fantastic.

I remember so well that at the pre-sale viewing of the house, on a bleak day in March, the owner had on display an album of photographs showing poppies and snow-in-summer (cerastium tomentosum) in June. So white and pretty. In fact, exceptionally pretty for a week or so – and then there was nothing. Apart from a few fruit trees, a collapsed wall, lots and lots of snow-in-summer and some poppies, there was nothing here.

Already early on, I realised the potential offered by spring bulbs. Already then, ten years ago, I knew what I needed to do: plant, plant, plant! And so, over time, I’ve attempted to achieve a mass effect by planting by the hundreds or thousands, not by the ones or tens.

To be sure, there’s still an enormous amount to do. But when I look around at our garden today and reflect on what it looked like ten years ago, it still amazes me. I actually believe that we can make our garden quite special and that we’re on the way to doing so; a lot has already been planted.
I’m attempting to create a garden in flux, one which constantly offers surprises. A friendly garden. A garden of contrasts, including a fruit garden, prairie planting, a large herbaceous border, a boxwood parterre (Buxus sempervirens), a ‘natural’ pond replete with goldfish and the occasional toad, a formal water lily pool, a wild garden, a rhododendron grove and a shady border; all of this is on a small scale, since the garden itself is not large.

If you come into our garden – we have two entrances, one to the north, the other to the south – it’s difficult to visualise what lies ahead. Entry through the front gate provides no indication of what awaits to the rear, and vice versa. To do justice to the garden, it must be walked around slowly. Certainly, I’ve done a great deal in the garden, and the garden has done a great deal for me. In my eyes, it’s a special place on this earth and I try to be humble and respectful of everything that happens in it.

Greeting from

A Gentleman Gardener