Archive for March, 2013

Well, Summer Time starts tomorrow at 2AM – or should I write 3AM?

Anyway, today was a mix of things. We got up and had to go up to Elsinore – Helsingør is the real name of the city, but I guess most of you will only have heard of it through Shakespeare – for a funeral. A man my Dad’s age who died of cancer last Saturday. It was a friend of my Mother-In-Law’s, so I didn’t know him very well. I liked what I knew of him, though; he was intelligent, well-read and enjoyed talking ancient Danish history and Medieval literature with me whenever we met at my Mother-In-Law’s.

I think, though, that it was the parallel to my Dad’s death that kind of shook me. It was really hard for me to sit at that funeral, harder than I thought it would be. There is still a lingering sadness, remnants of grief. Something – someone – that is not there any more. For all that we didn’t have in common, for all that we didn’t understand in each other, for all that was not right, he was still my father. Was, not is. The past tense can be cruelly acute in certain circumstances.

When we came back to Copenhagen I continued – alone, as I needed some solitary time – up to the summer house. The snow has nearly melted in the garden, though there are still patches of white here and there – and a layer of ice on my three miniature ponds – but spring is coming. Some day, and hopefully soon. I wanted to have a few days alone up here, so I will be here until Monday evening. The lawn is littered with branches and other bits of the trees Denis and one of his friends cut down last weekend when they were up here, but that can wait. After all, the lawn won’t need mowing for another month, given that the ground is still frozen in places and the grass hasn’t grown since November.

I do have some plants to plant, though, if the ground has thawed where they need to go. Astilbe, sedum, phlox, heuchera, eryngium and loads of other Latin names. And I can sow some hardy annuals so they are ready to germinate whenever the soil warms up to 5 degrees Celsius. All right, so it’s a miserable spring to be gardening in so far, but eventually REAL spring will arrive and there will be stuff growing and flowers blooming – and I will be able to get my dahlias in the ground and set the gladiolus and lily corms.

Perhaps later in spring – when we are done with the kitchen rebuild and there will be plenty of weekends in the garden – I might even consider digging out another flower bed in the lawn. The one I dug out in autumn will soon be filled to capacity, so I need more space to plant flowers in. One can attend too many funerals, but one can never have too many flowers.

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I like going on hiking holidays, ascending the odd fell and enjoying the challenge of scrambling up crags and hillsides to finally be rewarded by the view from the peak. Sadly, the Flâneur Husband doesn’t really share this slightly masochistic fetish, so it’s a good thing that I can now enjoy all the thrills of a scrambling hill-climb in the privacy of our own kitchen when I want to make my morning coffee:

Kitchen demolition

Getting to the kitchen sink this morning was quite a climb – and perhaps not very dignified to look at, had any spectators been around – and I sort of wish I could have had my coffee FIRST  and THEN climbed Mount Debris!

Indeed, we are spending the Easter week tearing out the old kitchen – though we won’t be installing a new one just yet. We have to re-plaster walls and ceiling and then change the floor boards before we can install a new kitchen, so it’s quite a project and we will get through it by the tested approach of “step by step” (“Ooh, baby”, as New Kids On The Block would have added when I was a pre-teen). The Flâneur Husband has this weird notion that the two success criteria are:

A: We get a new kitchen
B: We have fun doing it

Whereas I am much more realistic in my approach and define my criteria of success as:

A: We get a new kitchen
B: Neither of us files for a divorce

(This sort of DIY job is always going to put a strain on a relationship in my opinion, even more so than, say, going to a family reunion or a trip to IKEA.)

Anyway, I’m sure you will all be glad to know that I made it safely to the sink and back (and got only one rusty nail up my foot while climbing the daunting Mount Debris) and am now reclining in the safety and comfort of the sofa!

So, not much gardening in this blog entry – but then there’s still snow on the ground and nothing to do in the garden anyway. However, the solitary cobea scandens seedling that I posted previously has now been joined by one other seedling – and a third seems to be craning its neck in preparation for emergence, so that will have to do for “spring” right now.

On Saturday, though, I’m heading up to the garden anyway to spend some time chopping up the trees that the Flâneur Husband and his friend took down last weekend. I haven’t been up there since the first weekend in March, so it’s about time I went and gave the weather a good talking-to and told it to spring-up and be done with snow and freezing temperatures day and night!

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Flâneur Puppy?

Okay, so it’s not a puppy for the Flâneur Household, but for my Mum. She will be retiring on May 1st and has for a long time been scouring the internet for puppies of various breeds and mixes, and she had come across some rather cute puppies that were raised in a family household rather than in a kennel. However, as the puppies were just North of Copenhagen she couldn’t just stop by to see them herself, so I went to see them for her.

Flâneur Puppy?

 Oh, dear… I fell completely in love with this little beauty! As I crouched down on the kitchen floor she ran over to me and tried to climb up into my lap, though she is so tiny that I had to help her… The picture above doesn’t really give any scale, but the one below shows just how tiny she is – at 6 weeks old. (Please note that I have rather small-ish hands, so the puppy really is tiny…)

Flâneur Puppy?

Oh, how I wanted to put her in my pocket and take her home with me! She was so charming and trusting and sweet that I fell head-over-heels in love with her… However, as I’m not really in the market for a puppy right now, the second-best thing I could do was to call my Mum and tell her the puppies were amazing, the owners were nice people and everything seemed perfect – and she should put down the deposit ASAP and specifically say she wanted the puppy I had been sitting with for 20 minutes.

-So she did, and in 3 weeks she will come over with a bunch of plants and stuff for the garden and then pick up the puppy on her way home. If I can’t have her myself, at least she will become part of the family!

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I have a plan for the garden. Honestly, I do! However, at present it exists only inside my head, and the last plan of the garden I drew up was the first summer we had the garden and the holiday home, so it’s rather outdated now:

Drawing up plans

The Ambitious Border now reaches almost down to The Ugly Fence – with the inclusion of The Puddles – and the rose patch was discarded and instead there are now roses a bit here and there in the garden. The Temporary Nursery was a holding pen where plants could live until I got the borders ready for them, so that has now reverted to lawn, and the rectangular flower bed on the South-West side of the covered terrace has turned out to be the semi-circular Sunny Border.

And of course there’s the last addition, the Lawn Bed, which is filling up quickly with roses, soft fruit bushes and a spot reserved for perennials as and when I acquire them. I don’t know which, but I’m sure any perennial will be prettier than a stretch of lawn. (And okay, MAYBE I’ve already hoarded some cheap perennials as roots, so they will go in the ground when spring arrives and should in time be able to fill out the blank space.)

Add to this the beds and borders that do not yet exist – except in my head – and the garden is pretty much under control. The Lawn Bed, for instance, is only half of a grander scheme to create a line of flowers between the hedge/shrubbery and the lawn proper – but with a narrow-ish grass path behind it to increase the feeling of depth and provide easy access to the back of the beds. There will also be a narrow grass path between the lawn bed that I dug out last autumn and the second lawn bed that will be a visual extension of the first and might end up merging with The Woodland Patch.

This weekend I’ve let the Flâneur Husband go up to the garden without me – but with a couple of his friends – and they seem to be having fun with card games, red wine and a chain saw…

Flâneur Friend in a tree

Flâneur Friend in a tree

We have a row of pine trees towards one neighbour and from our side they look rather dull – and from the neighbour’s side they look downright ugly while also blocking their afternoon and evening sun… So down they will go, and fortunately the neighbour has some lovely mature trees that will be our new view, so we too will get something prettier to look at. Win-win, I think, especially since cutting down those pines will give more light to the hedge (a pink spirea of sorts interspersed with cherry plums and hawthorn) so it might grow a bit taller.

I’m not entirely sure how many trees they have cut down yesterday. It might be one or two. Either way, it’s a start! And it will open up an area of the garden that we never use, so perhaps a new plan should be made for that area. There is already a pear tree and an apple tree a few meters from the hedge towards that neighbour, so I might add the plum tree my Mum will be bringing over later this spring. (She bought it for her own garden but then decided she wanted another variety so I’m getting an 8ft tree for free!) It’s beginning to sound a bit like an orchard, isn’t it, so maybe that’s what it will be. I’ve always loved fruit trees for their mix of the ornamental and the tasty, so more of them, please!

So plans and hopes and dreams. What a gardener does while the snow is still on the ground, right? It seems like I’ll have another couple of weeks to plan and dream, sadly, and while I don’t want to moan about the weather I do wish it would turn more spring-like soon so I can get cracking with the planting and weeding and everything else that needs doing.


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I woke up this morning to this view:


Snow falling heavily outside, covering the cemetery in a blanket of soft, white flakes. Very pretty, but hardly spring – will you agree?


Outside it might be snowing
But inside I hope it’s growing!


I’ve sown a batch of cobea scandens / Cup and Saucer flowers that The Flâneur Husband gave me – along with other seed packets – as a “congratulations on your first day at work” bouquet. All right, so the convention is that when you buy your partner flowers you generally don’t ask them to grow them themselves, but… Will you agree that four packets of seeds is the perfect flower present for a gardener? Especially seeds that should be sown 4-6 weeks before the last frost…

It means we have a little piece of spring – with promise of summer – in our window in the apartment, and I really look forward to seeing something emerge from the soil!

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