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Archive for April, 2012


In a corner of the sitting room in the apartment we have an old (1890’s?) pedestal that comes from my great-great-great aunt or some obscure family connection like that. I grew up with it in my childhood home, and when my parents – rightfully – decided that it really wasn’t all that pretty and needed to go, I insisted on bringing it into my room. I’ve now had it for some 25 years, and it has always looked more or less out-of-place in any home I’ve had, but I love it all the same.

However, it has now found it’s perfect match, and that’s what this is all about: a cissus that the Flâneur Husband inherited after the death of his much-loved grandmother some years back.

It softens the rather formal pedestal and the pedestal gives the cissus a great platform for spilling over the edges of the pot and really make a statement against the white walls of our home.

A couple of weeks back I gave it a rather rough treatment, cutting back any dead leaves and stems and generally leaving it looking a bit bedraggled, so I re-potted it – it also used to be in a far too small white pot, so I moved it to a larger black pot that seems to disappear between the foliage as a natural extension of the pedestal – and it has really taken off.

You can see in the picture above that it has even discovered that it’s actually a climbing plant, though it has nothing to climb except itself. I’m still not sure whether to give it some sort of support or whether to just let it do its thing as best it can.

As bad luck – and clumsy scissor skills – would have it, my pruning included me cutting off one perfectly healthy twig of the plant, so I figured it would be worth seeing if I could get it to root in a vase, and hallelujah!

There are now two small white roots, so I will leave it in the vase for a bit longer to grow more roots before potting it up. Voilá, a new plant for free!

Also, the internet tells me that these plants have a limited life span, so I guess this accidental cutting is a blessing, as it will continue my husband’s inheritance and the memory of his grandmother once the original plant starts giving up.

(The internet also tells me that to take cuttings from this plant you need to make a clean cut below a leaf node, dip it in rooting hormone and pot it up directly. RUBBISH! Why would anybody want to do so much faffing about when you can just make a random cut, stick it in water and watch it grow?)

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Within the European Union (EU) there are no border checks for plants and plant products travelling between member states and, it is possible, to import and export plants freely with very few exceptions.

Having thus proven the legality of my actions, should anybody wish to question it, here is the luggage that I checked in when returning from visiting the Flâneur Husband in Aberdeen over Easter, a 4′ by 2′ sportsbag:

Of course, the bag held very little in terms of “normal” luggage.

On top you see one rhododendron, and in the black bin liner underneath are another two. Yup, I brought three 3-foot rhododendrons from Scotland to Denmark…

My husband really likes these plants that he had in pots on his large deck by his Aberdeen apartment, so since he’s moving back to Denmark – and the garden and, of course, myself – on June 1st he wanted to bring these plants back with him, and I had the pleasure of schlepping them first via plane to Copenhagen and then by bus, metro, train and bus up to the garden by the summer house. (I make it sound worse than it is, of course. It’s a trolley bag, so essentially I just rolled it around a bit.)

I got back from Scotland on the evening of Easter Sunday and went up to the garden on the morning of Easter Monday, but because it basically rained the whole day yesterday it seemed foolhardy to attempt to prepare proper planting holes for them and plant them, so instead I heeled them in in one of the raised vegetable beds where they await the weekend. There will be more pictures ones they are installed in their permanent location.

The rhododendrons won’t be the only planting project of the coming weekend, though; the Flâneur Husband’s birthday present from my parents (ordered by me online) finally arrived today. Three L.D. Brathwaite bare-root roses, and I’m pleased to say they look like prime quality. Well-developed roots, lots of tiny shoots and generally a healthy-looking group of plants. The postal service managed to send them but not deliver them – and fail to notify me that they were held at the local post office for a week before being returned to the sender – but then the nursery packed up three fresh roses and sent those to me instead, so in spite of the delay I really don’t think I could have had a better service from that nursery.

www.rosenposten.dk

Yeah, I wanted to give them a mention, just because they’ve been so helpful and seem to have delivered great quality. I know most of you won’t be ordering from a Danish nursery, but still. They deserve a positive mentioning! (And if you ever find yourself in Denmark and need to order a rose online, you now know where to go.)

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Castle Fraser

Snapshot from another castle outing…

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Scottish Spring


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Just a snapshot from my not-so-sunny Easter holiday in Aberdeen.

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No, this is not going to be another post about what it looks like when I work from home, surrounded by vases of blooming forsythias or whatever. This is about REAL work, the kind that will produce visible, tangible results in the garden.

There is a large table in the bathroom that would probably be ideal for changing nappies if you had a baby, but since we don’t I have put it to other use:

I use it as a work surface for sowing seeds and potting up cuttings, and then the results are transferred to the windows around the apartment, especially the bedroom window since this is the window that gets the most sun (from dawn to around 1pm). The sitting room windows get slightly less sun, so I use those mainly for cuttings and for growing on tubers and roots.

This is what I currently have growing in the apartment (with a few omissions because there were pots I forgot I had tucked away):

As you can see I’m cheating by starting off the dahlia tubers in the apartment. This is because the slugs love them, and I figure a larger plant will be more able to survive a slug attack than a completely new shoot. There are also dahlia seedlings, pots with dahlia seed that has yet to make an appearance and – because the tubers grow so happily – a small pot with three dahlia cuttings that so far look like they will survive.

There are also two pots with tomato seeds and of course a tray of sweet peas. (And a box of DEGT seed – Don’t Even Go There – i.e. Zantedeschi Aethiopica with a germination period up to 3 months…)

And in the back of the dining table you can see a vase of dogwood branches that have rooted in the water. The variegated foliage is still pretty and adds a touch of spring to the apartment, but more importantly the roots are well-developed and eventually I will cut the branches back to only a couple of leaves and then plant them out in the hedgerow. I’m sure they will be happy there, and with dogwood there’s never even question about whether it will survive.

I do wish I could go out into the garden every afternoon after work, but since that’s not an option I do enjoy being able to get things going in the apartment, even though it will be a nightmare to transport everything up to the garden by bus and metro and train and bus…

(Oh, and tomorrow I’m flying over to the Flâneur Husband in Aberdeen and will be returning on Sunday with a suitcase full of three small rhododendrons that I will then plant in the garden on Monday… It seems silly in a way to move plants that far, but on the other hand they’ve brought him so much joy during his expatriation that I think it’s perfectly sensible to bring them to Denmark so he can continue to enjoy them.)

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On Friday I left for the garden straight from work, and as I was walking from the bus to the summerhouse I suddenly noticed something…

The woodland anemones are beginning to bloom. It’s still just a few dots of white on the forest floor, but soon it will be a veritable carpet. I will make sure to take a proper walk in the forest the next time I go up there!

I arrived in the garden just in time to have a couple of hours of daylight left to enjoy the garden before retreating inside to a warm fire and a Scottish coffee (as they say in Scotland, it’s like an Irish coffee, just with better whiskey).

I do enjoy the calm and quiet of sitting in front of a warm fire in a small wooden house with no TV, no people, no nothing. Just me, being there in the moment and feeling my mind de-clutter itself.

Mind you, that was the Friday evening. Saturday I was hi-jacked by one of the neighbours who seemed to be in a mood for sitting around a fire with a few too many beers, so that’s what we did from the afternoon into the late hours. The weather was excellent on Saturday; warm sunny spells interspersed with  mild snow showers.

imageWhile I wasn’t being laddish around a fire I did get something done. The vegetable beds are now in decent shape for sowing, perhaps on Easter Monday, perhaps later. (The forecast threatens with freezing nights down to minus 5C, so I have to wait for the temperatures to rise a bit.)

I think I still want to work in a bit more compost in the vegetable beds, both to lighten the soil and to bulk up the volume a bit.

There will be peas and beans in these two beds, like there was last year, but given that a great portion of the soil has been replaced I think it will be okay. And under the beans I will try my luck with some curly kale and some kohlrabi. And marigolds, of course, for what would a vegetable garden be without marigolds?

I think this will be an all right little vegetable garden.

I’ll finish off with a small – but significant – visitor to the garden; the first ladybug sighting of the season! These little fellows are always welcome in the garden!

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