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Archive for June, 2012


Last week I had to travel to Jutland to spend the last week with my Dad. He died on Thursday, the Summer Solstice, having gone to sleep and then 10 minutes later it was all over. We buried him on Saturday.

It was a good ending, really; my two brothers and I all managed to spend lots of time with him during the last week, and it was really nice to be able to be there for him – and with him – in his last time.

Anyway, The Flâneur Husband and I came back to Copenhagen on Sunday around noon, and then in the afternoon I went up to the garden to have some time to myself.  I didn’t go to work yesterday or today, and instead I’ve mainly just been sitting around in the garden doing absolutely nothing.

Then this afternoon something happened. I suddenly felt like doing something, so I’ve finally gotten around to planting the area around The Puddles. They look a lot less like plastic tubs now, and a lot more like glimpses of water between the plants. Give the plants a few months and they will look like they’ve always been there, I’m sure. And next year I will have to start removing plants because I probably planted them too closely in an attempt to make the area look lush and mature from the beginning. Never mind…

It’s far from finished, but it’s beginning to take shape. Astrantia, sedums, hostas, purple iris germanica, purple asters and a single perennial sweet pea to climb the half-dead small beech tree just in front of the hedge.

I have been looking around the garden to see what else I have that could find a home here, and there are some more irises (both the native yellow version and the blue iris siberica that I grew from seed – before I then got two large clumps of it from my Mum…) and of course I need to add some creeping ground covers to cover up the edges of the tubs. I have an unidentified creeping ground cover with variegated leaves that might look nice around the edges, and it should get enough shade from the larger plants for the white markings to “pop”.

I’m considering moving the variegated hosta over to The Puddles as well; it’s currently in The Ambitious Border surrounded by much showier plants, so it might get more attention if I moved it to a place where the foliage would be more noticeable.

Below you can see the small hosta squeezed in between the peonies, the goatsbeard and the day lilies. It’s lovely, but it becomes rather lost in that company.

The goatsbeard is in full bloom these days and looks amazing. It comes from The Flâneur Husband’s grandmother’s garden and was given to me as an astilbe, but I’m so happy it’s goatsbeard instead; so much showier than the smaller astilbe plants, and perfect for covering up a somewhat bedraggled section of the hedge.

In front of the goatsbeard is the only peony bloom of this year. I’m a little disappointed, as I would have liked to have more flowers, but since I only planted the peonies last year I guess I have to accept that they don’t put on too much of a show this year. Maybe next year, eh?

Still, the single bloom is pretty, so I mustn’t complain. And maybe next year the 5 other peonies will bloom as well.

 

Today my garden cheered me up immensely. And I’ll be back again Friday afternoon and have the entire week off after that! Just imagine what I might actually get done! Mow the lawn, weed the borders, shift some more plants around? Oh, and paint some of the exterior of the house…

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My sore back has delayed The Puddles quite a bit, but on Tuesday it was Constitution Day here in Denmark so I had a day off and went up to the Garden Monday evening.

My back was in too bad shape to do much, so the only thing I really did was level the bottom of the holes a bit, stick in the plastic tubs and drag out the garden hose to fill them. (I had originally intended to fill them with rain water or water from the stream, but carrying buckets of water was not an option.)

The Puddles

You might notice a difference between the colours of the three puddles. I wanted to test what to do with the bottom of the tubs, so in the first one I did nothing – and you can quite clearly see the plastic bottom of the tub. It really just looks like a black plastic tub with water in it, which is clearly not the point.

The middle puddle has a thin layer of clay at the bottom. I figured that would be a way to create more of a natural look, but in the end it seems the clay particles won’t settle so it’s just muddy and yucky-looking. Not really the point, either.

The last one, though, is so far a winner. I basically just gave it a handful of normal garden soil, and it has settled nicely, covering the bottom of the tub and creating a pleasant graduation from the clear water at the top to the mud at the bottom. (This is also the tub where I’ve released the tiny frogbit plants.)

Obviously I need to fill in the holes around the tubs, put in something in each tub so insects and other small animals can get out if they fall in by accident and – importantly – plant the area around The Puddles so it becomes less of an eye-sore and more of a pretty, if quaint, addition to the Ambitious Border. That will be for next weekend when I am joined in the garden by the Flâneur Husband – who has now returned permanently to Denmark!

Meanwhile, the large rhododendron that was in the garden from the beginning seems to have decided to put on more of a show this year than the two previous years. It’s absolutely stunning!

Rhododendron

And the kolkwitzia I got from my parents a year ago seems to be happy enough in its new home and is sending up shoots of new growth. It’s much needed, though, to prevent that people unwittingly step on my shrub…

Kolkwitzia

And yes, in the picture above you can see the state of the lawn. Or should I call it the meadow?

Lawn

-It’s growing rampant these days, but next weekend I will go up there with the Flâneur Husband and then there will be no excuse…

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A few weeks ago, as we were getting ready to leave the summer house and return to the City, I decided to cut some of the deep blue aquilegias that grow  between the paving stones in the courtyard. I know they’d bloom while I wasn’t there, so I figured the budding flowers would look nice in a vase in the apartment, and so they did.

The buds dutifully turned into flowers, and I was happy. It’s my favourite colour of aquilegia, but sadly we only have it in the courtyard where it is a weed, really, so I was so thrilled last week when I noticed seed heads starting to form; there must either have been some kind little fly that chose to pollinate these flowers, or else they were just shaken sufficiently when I have been airing out the apartment, because today they look like this:

The colour of the dried petals is a truer blue than the actual flower, which has a slightly purple tone

Of course there’s always a risk that the seeds won’t be true to type, but considering that I have no other colours of aquilegia in the apartment, I’m feeling confident that the seeds will produce the same lovely colour if I sow them out in the Ambitious Border.

So, this means that I have now used cut flowers and branches to propagate forsythia, dogwood and sedum so far, and with aquilegias in the making. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Free plants are the best!

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