Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

No, I’m not branching out into religious garden ornaments.

A plant that thrills me is the one above, Angelica Archangelica or kvan as it has been called in Scandinavia and the North-Atlantic islands for over a thousand years. I sowed some seeds in pots in the courtyard last spring and this year I decided they deserved to be released into the wild, so they have been transplanted to the bank by the stream where they will blend in nicely with the rather wild area of grasses, reeds, irises and a single rhubarb that was relocated there when I needed to make room for the horse radish in the cement circle that still houses another two rhubarb crowns.

I first saw kvan in Nuuk, Greenland, where it grows in the wild as well as in the few gardens that exist in the old colonial part of the town. It is a beautifully light and airy plant, growing up to 2 meters here in Denmark, though in Greenland it only reached half that height due to the much shorter growing season and of course the shallow layer of soil on top of the bedrock. And it’s tasty as anything; at one of the top restaurants in Nuuk I had it served as a compote with some local reindeer venison (as part of a rather extravagant 10-course dinner made primarily from locally grown/raised/caught ingredients…) so I really hope for some nice big plants so I can enjoy both the flowers and the flavour!

(I imagine a kvan and rhubarb jam would be rather nice with a home-baked roll and a cuppa! Or perhaps the candied orange peal in my grandmother’s Christmas cookie recipe could be replaced with candied angelica? Oh, the options!)

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A while ago, A Woman Keen On Sensible Footwear (a.k.a. Wellywoman) commented on one of my recent posts that she wasn’t aware that forsythias would root in water.

Well, the proof’s in the rooting, as they say:

Granted, it does take some time, which is why this lovely vase is grimed over with lime scale, but it’s a perfectly easy way to propagate this bush, either to create more of it or to create new undergrowth if it is beginning to get too top-heavy and tumble over.

I generally find that most branches will root in water, given enough time, and the trick with the forsythia is just to let it bloom away, drop its flowers and then wait for the leaves to appear. Once you have leaves on your branches, the roots will be there in very little time, with no need for rooting hormones, special treatment or anything.

In the vase above – as in all my vases of forsythia – I have mixed the forsythia branches with red dogwood. The red stems create a nice counterpoint to the brash yellow flowers, and once the flowers are gone the dogwood – in this case a rather pleasantly variegated cultivar (ooh, look at me throwing proper gardening words about; “variegated”, “cultivar”!!!) – will start showing leaves sooner than the forsythia. And of course the dogwood have as lovely flowers, even if less attention-seeking, as the forsythia. And the dogwood, too, roots before long.

Considering that I’m trying to replace an ugly wooden fence with a hedgerow of living plants, I think this sort of propagation is about as easy a solution as you can get! I could, of course, also just start pinning down overhanging branches, leaving them for a year and then cutting them loose and transplant them, but this is so much quicker and also adds to my connection to the garden. I have it right here with me in the apartment!

The pot at the back of the picture above is the sedum flowers I brought in as a bouquet last autumn and decided to keep, since they started rooting.

So far it seems that my success with cuttings is a one-all; I have had no success with rose cuttings, in spite of taking numerous the year before last, but I’ve had great success with flowers that were just picked to be pretty in the apartment and then decided they wanted to live!

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It seems that one of the winter storms has had a casualty in our garden! On of the fir trees by the drive has fallen, but it was not very pretty and it fell on the area un-affectionately known as “the cemetery”, so that’s all right.

The picture adequately describes what a small root system it had, and considering it was a 30ft tree I guess it’s not surprising that it toppled over.

It does mean, though, that our garden is more open to the road, so I will have to think of ways to mitigate this accident and make the most of it. I’m pretty sure we already have small-ish plants in that area that will be able to bush out and give coverage within a few years, so I’m not too worried.


On the plus-side this will give us some fire wood to keep us warm! (Though probably not this winter, since it needs to season.) So tomorrow I will play the chain-saw gardener and have some fun with that.

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Merry Christmas

So I’ve had a bit of a busy autumn with little time for the garden and even less time for blogging about it, so here’s just a quick seasonal greeting to let you know I’m still around and will resume blogging when the gardening season kicks off again in a few months…

This is what our apartment looked like at noon on the 24th, just hours before our family arrived to celebrate Christmas with us with tree, roast goose, presents et cetera. It was a perfect Christmas, and I hope you all had an equally lovely time.

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On gardening as therapy

My mum called me on Sunday while I was up in the garden. My dad was supposed to go into surgical examination on Thursday to see why he was still having a sore throat and trouble swallowing after they’d blasted the cancer with radiation therapy. That was postponed due to his regiment of blood-thinning drugs, so he went in today.

Anyway, on Sunday I spoke to my Mum for nearly two hours. A long time, given that I hate being on the phone. The first hour was all about my Dad, and the second hour was almost entirely about… Roses!


(I know that’s an asters, not a rose, but it’s a plant I got from my Mum’s garden, so it is appropriate in this entry!)

My Mum is trying so hard to cope with my Dad’s illness and arranging the move and everything, and it seems her relief from all the “serious” stuff is to think about the garden. When Life is all about the next six months, at times it’s good to think about the next six years, as one does when planning a garden.


(Okay, this is not a rose, either, but it’s also from my Mum’s garden)

We garden for the future, and planning a garden is all about imagining what Life will be like years ahead. My Mum wants a garden for two, and I hope that’s what she gets.

(Both the images above were taken in our garden, but the plants come from my Mum’s garden.)

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So cute…


I know they eat our hazel nuts – all of them; there’s not a single nut left on the tree – but I still love these cute rodents!

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Two nights ago:

These are views from the windows of our new apartment. Can you even imagine the sheer pleasure of sitting in the middle of the city and enjoying sunsets like this? A dark mass of trees in the cemetery across the street, and hardly a building to be seen.

Oh, and this is the sort of pattern projected unto our walls by the setting sun:

So why do I share this on a garden blog? Well, there is a view of trees, which will be my fig leaf… But also, our garden is by our holiday home, so I don’t get to spend as much time enjoying it as I might like, and as a consequence it is important that I can enjoy beauty and nature in the apartment as well. I dare say I can!

(I can even see some blooming pink cone flowers on a grave between the trees, but they are too far away to get a good shot of.)

Meanwhile, tomorrow after work I shall be heading up to the garden. The forecast is mediocre, but who cares. I need to get up there.

(And yes, this means I won’t be attending that garden blogger meet-up on Saturday. I have to be back in Copenhagen Sunday morning, so there just won’t be time if I want to see the garden in September for the first time since late July.)

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