Chronicle January 2014 | Chronicle March 2014


February 2014

Greetings to all readers! This is A Gentleman’s Garden and the date is 26 February 2014. The time of wonders has not passed: this time of year normally finds me tramping around a garden full of between half a meter to one meter of snow, but now when I go out in the late morning I can hear the birds singing in the trees. We've hardly had any winter, and I get the feeling that we’ve seen the last of it for this season. We've lived here almost 2 decades and I've never experienced anything like it: hardly any snow, no frozen soil. We’re not the only ones who feel that spring is here; as I just said, the birds are singing and engaging in courting rituals – now, in February! Some birds have been enjoying their time in the bird bath near the house. This week I even saw the first cranes flying over the house. Migrating birds returning home as early as this – quite crazy!

It’s spring in the garden at the end of February: Winter aconites are in full bloom – pretty patches of yellow all over the place. We didn't introduce the winter aconite into the garden until 4-5 years ago, when we planted a few of them here and there. They obviously like it here, because they’ve spread enormously, to all different parts of the garden. It's just a pity that we didn't think about planting them many years ago.

Snowdrops are in the course of blooming over. Tulip leaves are emerging from the ground throughout the garden. The first allium leaves are also beginning to show. Hyacinths, too, are beginning to creep up above the soil, not to mention the masses of different types of crocuses that are blooming approximately 5-6 weeks early. All this gives food for thought: are we witnessing climate change, or what is it? From the micro perspective of my own garden, I wouldn’t complain about having a longer flowering season, but nevertheless it's worrying. The first opening of the garden this year isn't until 27 April, and if things continue as they are, who knows? The roses might be blooming! The time of wonders truly has not passed.

As I just said, our first crocuses have begun to emerge, with more and more blooming every day. The first type to put in an appearance (a couple of weeks ago) was the beautiful Miss Vane. Now, Prins Claus is in bloom; this white crocus with broad, dark purple markings has long been a favourite in our garden. A relative newcomer in the garden is the sweet little crysanthus crocus ’Zwanenburg Bronze’. This fragrant charmer has a wonderful deep golden colour with dark bronze markings.

At the moment, I'm in the course of planning several changes to be carried out in 2014. One of the most important changes will be to take away a great deal of clematis Paul Farges (Summer Snow) which grows by the front side of the house. Wonderful though it is, it’s became far too dominant, has almost totally covered (and partially killed) the box hedge which frames the border immediately beneath the windows at the front of the house, and made the border into a wasteland. And so a large part of the clematis will be cut away, the box hedge dug up (with those plants that are still alive being recycled to fill in gaps in other box hedges in the garden), and the miserable, neglected border will be revived, probably with rose bushes and underplanting of bulbs.

We’ve now settled all the dates for the garden openings to raise money for the Red Cross. The dates are already available here on the website. Everyone who has the possibility to visit is most welcome. In England, it's very common for private gardens to be opened for charity (for example, the famous National Gardens Scheme with The Yellow Book), but here in Sweden it’s still quite rare. In any event, our first open garden this season will be on Sunday, 27 April. In previous years, when the garden has been opened towards the end of April it's been in the height of the crocus season; as things are now – with the crocuses already out 5-6 weeks too early, who knows what will be blooming? By the way, we will also be taking part in the Swedish Horticultural Society’s Thousand Gardens scheme on 29 June and in the magazine Land’s Open Garden scheme on 20 July. Talk about full activity!

On 29 June, everyone will have the opportunity to enjoy music in the garden performed by four talented clarinettists, who together constitute the Klarinetter Con Brio quartet. They will be appearing and entertaining us several times during the course of the day, and we’re extremely grateful for their initiative and contribution.

Winter Spring greetings from Tumba

Stefan, A Gentleman Gardener


ps. The April issue of the Swedish Horticultural Society’s magazine Hemträdgården will feature an article about A Gentleman’s Garden. I'm very curious over what they're going to write...