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Archive for the ‘lawn’ Category


Well, first of all pardon the rather crude title of this entry, but it is addressed to the deer that seem so fond of nibbling on our roses and then do this:

deer droppings

I mean, I’m all for getting some free deer manure (well, “free” is an exaggeration; I pay it with perennials, rose buds and whatever else the pretty things like to munch on through the year), but couldn’t they at least be trained to leave their droppings where they have eaten?

If they’re going to stop and smell taste the roses, couldn’t they also leave their droppings there so they return the feeding favour to the plants? Rather than leaving the droppings on the lawn…

Speaking of the lawn… Now that all the snow has disappeared again I’m really happy I got around to giving it that last trim just before frost and snow set in; it somehow makes the garden look “tidy enough” with the cut lawn, even if there are twigs here and there and some leaves that have blown about. And yes, deer droppings.

Lawn in winter

The garden does look rather drab today, though, doesn’t it? Compared to the glory of what it looked like last week, it certainly is less bright and festive, but there are still a few highlights.

Goldenrod seed heads

I love how the goldenrods provide winter interest with their fluffy seed heads that seem to retain their fluffiness in spite of snow and rain; there’s a lightness to them that seem to contradict all the other down-heartened perennials that have given up the will to live – well, at least that’s how they look, though of course they will be back next year – and I love how they move in the wind and somehow look like a black and white version of their old, flowering self.

(Some might even say that their seed heads are more tasteful than the rather garish yellow bloom, but I love that, too.)

I’ll end this with a rather special treat: One of our fir trees is sporting the most stunningly beautiful cones at the moment!

Porcelain fir cones

Okay, the more botanically minded of you might remark that fir trees don’t normally suspend their cones from ribbons – and you’d be absolutely right, of course. Yesterday I did what one does when unemployed; I went for lunch in the Tivoli Gardens in central Copenhagen with my mother-in-law, and she stopped by one of the stalls and bought these two un-glazed porcelain cones that I think are absolutely gorgeous; I love un-glazed porcelain, though it can be quite a hassle to keep clean. However, for Christmas baubles I think it is okay as they are unlikely to get very dirty ever. (Well, unless you play around with them in the garden, of course, in which case you really have to be careful not to drop them.

Now, the reason they ended up in the garden was that while my mother-in-law was carrying quite a generously sized handbag at the time she asked me if I’d have room for the small package in my bag, so apparently they are a present. I think they will look lovely on our tree on Christmas Eve – when my mother-in-law will obviously also be there to enjoy them – and they somehow seem like a very beautiful modern take on the old-fashioned glass fir cones that we also have two of, inherited from my mother-in-law’s mother.

Christmas

I do like them a lot, though obviously new ornaments will never be as cherished as the heirlooms – but ornaments bought at special occasions (like the handpainted baubles the Flâneur Husband and I bought in Pitlochry last year, including the yellow one above that somewhat incongruously features a pineapple and grapes) or given as presents will still rank highly and will definitely find a spot on my tree.

So there, an entry encompassing crap, garden, baubles and family. I wonder what sort of Google search people have to make to end up on this page…

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There isn’t much bloom left in the garden these days. The sweet peas are clinging on to their last flowers, and the rudbeckias are doing their best in front of the covered terrace – but they will look much more impressive next year when they’ve settled in more!

And then there are the dahlias in The Sunny Border.  They just won’t quit!

Dahlias

The colour combinations are completely random, as these were grown from mixed-seed packets, but I might label some of them so I know where they will look their best next year. For instance, the coral on in front definitely looks out of place with all the whites and the pastels, so it should perhaps be given a spot in a different bed next year….

The prettiest part of the garden right now, though, is probably the lawn. A few areas are still green because there are no large trees or shrubs nearby, but large swathes are coloured brown with oak leaves, yellow with mirabelle leaves or purple with cherry plum leaves.

LeavesAnd in some places, like the photo above, a few cherry plum leaves dot the yellow surface of mirabelle leaves and create quite a beautiful spectacle in their own subtle way. I think it is quite the loveliest thing in my garden, even surpassing my much-beloved dahlias right now. -Though probably not so much when I start raking them up… That will be quite a job! And of course the dahlias need to be dug up, probably next week once the first frost has killed off the plants above ground level. And the lawn really needs a final (high) mowing. And spring bulbs need planting. And I’m sure there is much else to do, but right now I am sitting by a warm fire, enjoying the sound of the wind shaking the trees and the sight of my yellow lawn with purple dots.

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I spent months getting The Sunny Border carved out from the lawn, digging in compost etc. to make it ready for planting, of course while also doing the same for The Puddles. Lots of work, lots of sod to dig up, move around, lots of compost to incorporate in the soil, lots of planting and so on and so forth.

And then from Monday evening to Wednesday afternoon  I do this:

Unnamed bed

How the *BLEEEEP* did that happen? And with only a few blisters? No broken back, no need to lie down for a week or visits to chiropractors?

This new flower bed is noticeably larger than The Sunny Border, and the soil in that part of the garden is every bit as heavy and clay-y as in The Sunny Border, so I’m really surprised I’ve gotten all this done in so little time. Was I really that lazy last winter/spring, since it took me so long? Or am I just getting the hang of this whole digging-malarkey?

The flower bed has a slightly odd shape; rounded in one end and cut at an angle at the other end, but though this be madness, yet there is method in’t. You see, I have a dream about continuing this flowerbed further, and intersecting it with a path that cuts through at an angle so it appears more or less as a continuous flower bed. It may or may not happen, of course, but at least there’s the possibility.

Unnamed bed

So… In went a blackcurrant bush that has been sitting mirthlessly behind the annex ever since we bought the summer house, a gooseberry that comes from The Flâneur Husband’s grandmother’s garden (and has been languishing in a far too small pot for a year and a half), those Rhapsody in Blue roses that I bought in spring but never got around to planting, the two asters I bought Monday morning and a poor hydrangea that had been sitting around in a dark, overgrown corner of the garden, just waiting to be rescued.

It turns out only 4 out of the 5 Rhapsody in Blue roses survived their miserable stay in the pot, but the 4 look healthy and strong, and the blackcurrant was rotting away at the root, so it came apart when I moved it, resulting in 3 separate plants that each have fresh root systems and look viable, so there is hope that my neglect won’t have any serious consequences.

Also, the fuchsia that I bought this spring to brighten up The Courtyard has proven to be two separate plants, so I divided them and planted them a few feet apart. They will probably need some protection over the winter to settle in, but if they make it, they make it and otherwise it was not a lot of money spent on something that flowered from I bought it ’till now!

Unnamed bed

And the two aster plants I bought in the supermarket on Monday morning? Well, I divided them into the separate plants, and each pot yielded 6 plants.They look rather puny at present, but I have confidence that next autumn these will look great.
Apart from the joy of having a new flower bed, these two days have also – finally – seen the end of the Flâneur Husband’s birthday present from his mother (a cubic meter of compost). It is great stuff, really, but I think it might have been the wrong time to get it delivered in spring. After all, than meant that I could only really use it in new beds and borders, so a lot of it has just been sitting out by the road for the entire summer, looking rather messy in a huge white fibre bag.

(Mind you, since my own composting efforts yield FAR too little organic matter to count when laying out a new flower bed, let alone three in a year, it was great to have that “bag of plenty” sitting in the drive.)
Anyway, there you are. A new flowerbed in less than 48 hours from the first digging to the final planting. (Okay, okay… The final planting is going to be whenever I can fill the gaps, and probably it will be a spring.sowing of annuals next year…) I feel terribly accomplished and efficient!

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The Flâneur Husband and I went up to the garden Friday afternoon after work, and this is what met us:

Flooded Garden

Our summerhouse had more or less turned into a moated castle, only without the crenelated towers and the drawbridge. The latter would have been useful, since we were both in our city shoes… Mine were leather, so I traversed the lawn with difficulty and returned – wearing my wellies – with a pair of clogs for the Flâneur Husband so he wouldn’t have to wreck his suede (NOT blue) shoes.

The neighbours told us that on Thursday the area had 80mm of rain, which is a lot more rain than falls in the average month of July, and since this has been a wet summer the ground was saturated and there was no other way this could have turned out.

Merged Puddles

Needless to say The Puddles were hard to spot, since they had merged with the lawn in that corner of the garden to form a Great Lake – or at least a garden version thereof.

I was somewhat annoyed with this, as this was not what we had expected to see on that sunny afternoon, but the Flâneur Husband seemed absolutely put out by it and very worried about whether it would damage any plants and how long it would take to subside. I, on the other hand, have seen flooding like this in the garden several times the first year we had the garden – before we had the drain installed – so I was pretty sure the plants would stand up to it with no problems, but still…

The - wet - Sunny Border

My poor dahlias were standing in 3 inches of water, and I’m pretty sure dahlias aren’t naturally aquatic plants…

Still, after some food and a glass of wine – and the turning-on of the drain pump to pump water out into the stream behind the house – the mood lifted and we had a lovely evening after all, taking advantage of the photo-op to take some pictures of how flâneurs deal with a flood:

Flâneur Husband

Flâneur Husband

Flâneur Gardener

Flâneur Gardener

-A glass of Chardonnay and a leisurely stroll through the garden, even if it had to be in 3 inches of water! And yes, I like to don some tweed in the garden from time to time as the picture shows.

The next morning, though, the lake had all but vanished from our plot. The Puddles were still merged into a single pond-sized puddle, but the lawn was visible and the ground was generally just boggy and wet, rather than flooded.

Boggy Garden

It was a sight for sore eyes to wake up to a garden where wellies wasn’t de rigeur, and even the dahlias were now on dry (i.e. boggy) ground:

Dahlias on dry ground

The upside to this flooding is that hoards of slugs seem to have drowned in the water; sadly, though, loads of earth worms also perished.

Today, Sunday, the garden looks wonderful – and dry! The Flâneur Husband mowed most of the lawn today before heading back to town, and Idid the rest this afternoon. There’s laundry drying in the sun, a mild wind is keeping the temperature in the sun bearable and I’ve put away the tweeds in favour of a pair of swimming trunks and a chair in the sunny courtyard.

Mowed lawn

(I might not air my dirty laundry in public, but I don’t mind putting my clean laundry on the Internet!)

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While I was weeding The Ambitious Border Friday and Saturday (Sunday I was simply too knackered in my back and shoulders after two days of forking and kneeling – and I’m only 33! I definitely need to shape up if I want to keep up with the garden…) I couldn’t help thinking some of the weeds were simply just too cute to throw away, like this little baby:

Okay, so that picture is a recycled one from my post on the lawn, but to be honest there were areas in The Ambitious Border that looked much the same. Before I started the weeding, my Mother-In-Law mentioned that she wouldn’t know what was weeds and what wasn’t, and to be quite honest the mess in the border didn’t give any indication of what was supposed to be there and what wasn’t, but by Saturday afternoon she could definitely see what was supposed to be there, because there was nothing else!

Anyway, back to the little blue beauty! It has a creeping, spreading habit, and then it sends up its little flower spikes “soaring” 5 inches above the ground, so I figured that a) the lawn would inevitably encroach on the clear area around the 5 New Dawn roses I planted by the two hammock trees (a blood plum and an oak) so I might as well try to control which weeds will grow there, and b) these plants have such small, shallow root systems that I can’t imagine they will compete too much with the roses for food, especially considering that they are right next to 20-foot trees.

Today I realised, much to my joy, that the little blue beauty has a name; Ajuga Reptans (“creeping lip-less” in Danish; not the most flattering name!), and it’s actually not just a weed but also a perfectly accepted ground-covering perennial that can be bought from nurseries and garden centres!

I do hope they will spread out nicely on the bare soil around the roses now that they have no competition from grass and other weeds.

So there, an upgrade from weed (although pretty) to a desirable perennial! Thank you, Google!

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On Sunday April 28th at 8 o’clock in the evening I got the lawn (okay, most of it) mowed, so I did manage to get it done within April!

Now, I agree that it does look a bit tidier now than with the 10″ grass jungle, but it also looks so much less interesting, because all the small flowers that had come out all over the lawn have now been cut down.

Here are a few examples:

I also suspect that the mowed lawn will be much less interesting to the wood pigeons and the pheasant and all the other birds that have taken to strutting their stuff on the lawn while foraging, not to mention the smaller animals like insects and the like.

*sigh*

A lawn is a desert painted green, but there’s no helping it; it must be mown, though I probably will never get around to doing it on a fortnightly basis. Still, little by little I’m carving out sections of lawn and turning them into flower beds that will allow for more diversity both of plant and animal life. And I promise: I will NEVER weed the lawn!  Just look at the above beauties; I can’t imagine why some people are less than thrilled to have such flowers growing in-between the grass!

 

(I only got around to mowing perhaps half of the lawn; the area in front of the covered terrace and the area from the drive to the front door. The rest will be done the coming weekend when I have a three-day weekend up in the summer house with my mother-in-law in tow. I actually look forward to having some company up there that isn’t classified as “wildlife”. Also, when my mother-in-law gets bored, she starts cleaning or cooking… Either is welcome!)

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