Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Sunny Border’ Category


Last week the Sunny Border got an extra layer of compost to raise the soil level slightly around the three L.D. Braithwaite roses my parents gave the Flâneur Husband for his birthday, and on top of that we added that big no-go, a mulch of shredded twigs and branches from when we cut back the purple-leaf plum that had too many dead twigs and branches to be sightly.

Sunny Border

It looks terribly tidy now it has been weeded and mulched, but the main point was really just to get rid of the wood from the tree so we wouldn’t have yet another pile of branches looking messy in a corner of the garden. (We have plenty of those…)

I will try to make some nitrogen-rich compost with a large share of grass clippings so the breaking-down of the wood chips won’t deplete the soil of nitrogen and harm the plants.

Over the summer we will probably get rid of some more branches by throwing them through the wood chipper; a pile of chipped wood just takes up so much less space than a pile of branches, and it will definitely improve the over-all look of the garden.

There will still be hiding-places for wildlife in the garden, though; we took all the trunks and larger branches and stacked them behind the rhododendrons so they are out of sight but might provide a habitat for insects and other critters.

Another main point of this exercise was that the Flâneur Husband likes power tools / toys, so I did the job of cutting up the branches in manageable sizes and he had great fun putting them through the chipper.

Read Full Post »


Well, in that case I guess I had better throw in something about plants as a counterpoint to my latest entries that seem to have been more about animals than flowers.

Day lily - hemerocallis fulva

This day lily is a classic in Danish gardens. (I think it’s a hemerocallis fulva, but I might be mistaken.) This particular day lily comes from The Flâneur Husband’s grandmother’s garden, but it was also in my mother’s garden, in my grandmother’s garden and in my great-grandmother’s garden. In other words, this is a classic country garden perennial, though these days it seems to have fallen from grace and is largely out-done by newer, more showy day lilies.

(The photo above was accidentally taken with the flash on, which is why the colours seem so vibrant; in the real world it’s a somewhat duller shade of brown-tinted orange.)

Any way, it’s one of those plants that I am not 100% in love with, but it wouldn’t be a proper garden without it, so it has been given a prominent position in The Ambitious Border! And it is pretty much the sort of plant you put in the ground and then never worry about again; it’s hardy as you like, and it spreads very moderately, so it will fill out nicely but won’t overrun its neighbours. Oh, and it blooms at the perfect time for a holiday home garden; in mid summer when we will be spending the most time up here!

I do want some of the modern, more showy day lilies, though… Real lilies are so-so when it comes to hardiness around here, and since I already have heaps of dahlias that need to be lifted every autumn and over-wintered in a frost-free place, I think a fully hardy alternative to lilies is a wonderful thing!

Another wonderful thing is happening in the Sunny Border; my dahlias have started blooming! A few are from tubers that I’ve bought, but most of them I grew from seed in the windows back in the apartment in Copenhagen.

Dahlia giant hybrid

They were mixed seeds, so there’s no specific name for any of them. I bought 4-5 different seed packets – giant hybrids mixed, giant cactus hybrids mixed and so on – and if they are even remotely pretty I intend to lift the tubers in late autumn and over-winter them. So far it looks promising

The slugs love them, of course, but I knew they would. Fortunately they tend to go more for the foliage than the flower buds, so though the plants themselves might look a bit sad, the flowers are mainly all right. (The damage on the flower above looks too subtle to be done by the slugs; they tend to do more “whole-sale” damage…)

Dahlia Giant Cactus Hybrid

It’s still early days for the Sunny Border; there are just a handful of dahlia blooms, but there are plenty more buds waiting to burst, so I definitely think it’s safe to say that growing dahlias from seed has been a success!

And it really was dead-easy; I had a germination rate of close to 100%, and all the seedlings survived being transplanted into the bed. (Some have been more mangled by slugs, winds and rain than others, but that’s hardly the plants’ fault.) Even if one just grew them as an annual and didn’t worry about lifting the tubers in autumn, this is still a great set of plants for very little money. Also, I grew them! From seed! To use the terminology of today’s youth: This is AWESOME!

I really post too many close-ups. I’m sure you all know what a dahlia or a day lily looks like, whereas you might not have any way of knowing what The Ambitious Border or the Sunny Border looks like. I shall do my best to get some larger shots soon so you can see what the overall look of the garden is.

Read Full Post »


I went up to the garden after work yesterday, simply because the weather was so spectacular (and sadly looks set to grow colder, greyer and wetter over the weekend).

Anyway, the forget-me-nots are now in full bloom and an absolute delight where they’ve been allowed to spread because I’m not mowing the lawn as close to the “woodland” area towards the road as the previous owners did. They happily compete with the grass in this rather shady area, and they turn a dull, useless area into something very pretty:

-Right next to them is a bit of omphalodes verna, which in Danish is called kærminde; “treasured memory”. Now, not only are the names quite similar in many ways, but the flowers are also very similar, so they create a little blue corner.

The past weekend I planted 30 dahlias in the Sunny Border, and I’m becoming more and more convinced that it’s too small, but maybe it’s just because I need to get cracking with the Ambitious Border right opposite it so the Sunny Border won’t be the sole focus.

Also, I need to visualise what it will look like when all the dahlias are 1 meter tall, the Chinese anemones begin to send their delicate flowers hovering over the coarse(-ish) foliage, the outlandish shapes of the blue iris flowers exploding over the grass-like spikes , and of course the red L.D. Braithwaite roses that my parents bought the Flâneur Husband for his birthday. We’re some time away from this scenario, but these are all plants I know, so I know what each will end up looking like, and together they will be spectacular.

-And of course the bed is backed by perennial sweet peas, honeysuckle and a purple clematis surrounded by blueish-purple geraniums at it’s feet.

Come summer, this will be stunning, for sure.

Another stunner – albeit more in personality than in looks – is this little guy:

It’s the starling who has taken a shine to one of our nesting boxes. Now, of course I love any bird that will nest in our garden, but I also love how this little guy goes about finding a mate. When you see ducks mating, more often that not it seems more like a rape than the basis of a family, but this little guy spends most of his time in the tree where the nesting box is located, flapping his wings, pushing out his chest and calling out to the entire neighbourhood “Here I am, where are you? I have a good home for us and our offspring!”

And then the sun began setting, I went to bed and this morning I left very early to get to work on time, but it was definitely worth it!

Mind you, Copenhagen is not a bad place on a sunny spring evening:

Read Full Post »


Yesterday after work I went home and started packing up for a weekend in the garden, and here’s mu luggage, photographed after 1 bus and 2 train rides (with the final bus ride to go):

  • 1 fuchsia – purchased in pot
  • 5  dahlias grown from tubers
  • 24 dahlias grown from seed
  • 2 dahlias grown from cuttings
  • 7 tomatoes grown from seed
  • 25 sweet peas grown from seed
  • 2 lavenders – purchased in pots
  • 20 or so gladiolus corms
  • 2 dahlia tubers

-So you know; just your average luggage when going on public transport!

Good thing nobody stared at me during the journey. No sirree, nobody at all… Except, of course, everybody who saw me logging around more plants than you find on your average well-planted balcony!

Today I’m planting out the dahlias in the Sunny Border; the forecast is for fairly mild nights during the next week, so I hope they will survive the change…  The Sunny Border will have no shortage of plants, that much is sure, especially if I sow a second batch so I have some spares to fill in any gaps. (Gardeners are like the royals; we should always have “an heir and a spare”, just in case… What with weather and wildlife doing as they please, we might as well be prepared!)

The fuchsia will go in a pot in the courtyard. I have no idea if it will be hardy enough for the Danish winters, so I might have to bring it inside when the frost begins, and that’s just simpler with a pot. (Plus the courtyard definitely needs some colour, and fuchsia is good at that.)

I’ve got doubts about the tomatoes; last year I grew them in a self-watering Styrofoam box, and that was actually my intention again this year, but I’m beginning to wonder whether to just plunk them in pots in the courtyard instead, or even in one of the vegetable beds (though I probably won’t do that, as space is limited there). We’ll see what happens!

Read Full Post »


Yesterday I showed you my bag. Well, here’s what the contents look like unwrapped on the lawn:

The top three are the L.D Braithwaites from the nursery near my parents, and the two bunches below are New Dawn and Rhapsody in Blue from a more mainstream garden centre.

Now, the cheap roses DO look healthy and I’m sure they will be fine, but in the picture above you can see quite clearly on the right bunch that the roots have been cut, whereas the more expensive nursery roses have smaller roots, but they have not been cut.

Today I managed to plant the New Dawns and the L.D. Braithwaites. The New Dawns were a right pain to plant, since they will be growing up trees and obviosuly had to be planted at the foot of these two trees. Now, first of all I had to remove more of the lawn – which seems a recurring theme in my gardening career – and then I had to dig planting holes between the tangled roots of the trees… It was not simple!

For the L.D. Braithwaites the process was simpler, but perhaps no less arduous; they were destined for the Sunny Border, where I’d already stripped off the lawn, but clearly since these were expensive plants they deserved special attention, so I dug a 1½ft deep triangular hole, almost a square meter in area. Essentially this means I dug out the best part of a ton of dense soil and pure clay…

I then mixed the top soil with four barrows of compost, positioned the roses and finally filled the hole. My back was aching, my hands were chafed andI generally felt worn-out, but at least I had the lush, exuberant view of a rose patch to enjoy:

Oh, right; I have a couple of twigs sticking out of the bare soil… But there is promise in these little twigs, and I trust them to make my effort worth-while. Or at least not entirely in vain…

(Also, please note what an un-butch photographer I am… The shadow in the lower right-hand corner is of course me, my phone and a rather daintily curved pinky finger. But it’s dark outside now, so I can’t re-take the shot, and I definitely can’t be bothered to save this post and then publish it tomorrow when I have a non-pinky shot.)

Read Full Post »


Right, so last time I went up to the garden my luggage contained three rhododendrons… This time the luggage was lighter, but the number of plants greater!

In case you can’t see it – which is understandable – this is a bag full of roses. Three red L.D. Braithwaite that will go in the Sunny Border, 5 New Dawn that will be planted 2 by each of the trees that carry the hammock in summer and one to be planted wherever I might think of it.

And to top it off there are also 5 Rhapsody in Blue, just because I like the outlandish blueish-purple hue of these roses.

So 13 roses to be planted, and only the site for the L.D. Braithwaites is prepared. That should keep me busy this Saturday and Sunday, I reckon!

Of course the New Dawn roses will be planted in the lawn, so I will do yet more cutting away turf at the foot of the trees that will act as trellises for them. I suspect this is a bit of a suicide mission, but never mind. Less grass, more flowers!

The Rhapsody in Blue is the joker in this game; I have no idea where to put them, but I guess I could stick them in the Ambitious Border in the area where I sowed annuals last year. Anyway, I’ll work that out once the Braithwaites and New Dawns are in the ground.

Read Full Post »


So this weekend the Sunny Border was completed!

Flâneur Gardener digging away merrily

The last fiddly bit towards the covered terrace was finally cleared of turf, and a few perennials were rescued from in-between the grass. This was mainly my project, while my husband busied himself around the garden, cutting back the poplars towards one neighbour and the hazels towards another and lopping off a branch of the red-leaved cherry plum tree.

Then we installed that nasty-looking plastic barrier towards the lawn, and it turned out as invisible as I’d hoped for, so that was good, and finally I could start loosening the soil so we could add some compost (the birthday present my husband got from his mother).

Flâneur Husband shovelling compost

We also did a bit of tidying up, moving piles of branches out back and generally trying to make the place a bit more presentable, though it’s still too early in the season to mow the lawn. (And it desperately needs a haircut!)

The result

It’s just a clean slate right now, or almost, but I think it will end up looking great. I put back some perennial sweet peas and a geranium that had been struggling in the tall grass up against the wall, and then there’s a line of stepping stones before the larger part of the border where the roses and larger perennials will go. I put in a few clumps of iris from my mother’s garden, because I think they will look great in front of the roses what will eventually go in beside them, and at the far end I moved some Japanese anemones (also from my mother’s garden).

I do need to be careful not to cram it full of everything that will fit in there, because I suspect some plants may want to grow a little over the summer, but so far it definitely has great potential.

My husband keeps saying he doesn’t want it to look too twee, so his knee-jerk reaction when I talk about planning the planting and coordinating colours is that he’d prefer something much more random, but obviously I’m not letting him have his way here. The colours will be mainly blues, purples and reds, ranging from light to dark hues, and with a bit of luck I’ll be able to have flowers in the border from May/June to the first frost.

I’m really rather excited about this!

Next weekend the plan will be to start tackling the vegetable beds. They’re terribly overgrown, and one of the beds has been used as a depository for dried perennial stalks that need to be cut up and go in the compost bin. And perhaps put in an effort to do some weeding in the Ambitious Border…

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »