Sunday, July 19, 2015

Vår trädgård (Our Garden)

Last year, December, we moved into our new house. This is our first proper house (our other homes being apartments). With the house came our first garden. We had very little experience with gardening (except from the odd weeding job in our parents' gardens when we were kids). 

During Swedish winter, everything is covered in snow and there is not much to do in the form of gardening. Thus for the first few months after moving in, we did not do much outside. With the start of spring, however, our garden exploded with a vigor that caught us off guard. Most plant life here have to finish their life cycle in a couple of months, thus when spring starts, everything grows like crazy (weeds included). Most of our spring and summer weekends and some of the evenings after work (in midsummer the sun sets around 11 in the evening), were spent in trying to tame our garden. 

We had some success, see photos below, but we also gave up on some unruly parts, to be attempted again next year. Something we noticed that is very different between Sweden and SA gardening is; in SA the gardens are meticulously maintained all through the year, while in Sweden it is much of a one season attempt. Since everything dies during the winter, each spring is a completely new start. So for things that didn't work out well this year, you have a new chance with next year. Below are some of our successes and projects that we will re-try next year.

We altered our porch a bit, taking down some of the railing, oiling it and building steps (see below). The yellow flowers in the back are blooming now and looks very nice. I don't know what they are called but they are extremely hardy, they die during the winter and these grew from under a pile of dead plant material. There was another bush of these in front of the porch that we had to clear to make place for the stairs - we are still fighting to get rid of some of them though.

Some flowers and a hollyhock we got from our neighbor, Inga-Lil, that we planted in pots on the porch

In the window inside is a small tangerine tree, one of the few plants left from our apartment days. On the lawn, in the distance, a mouse murder is taking place -- the culprit, a serial mouse murderer called Donkie

Three tomato plants I planted on the porch after a batch of spring flowers finished

Dahlias I got from Inga-Lil

The porch steps that Ronnie built and scars where we fought the yellow flower plants and are now trying to regrow grass. There is still some of the yellow plant left but we decided to continue the battle next year. In the back are two vinbär (currant) shrubs. 

A röda vinbär (red currant) and small vita vinbär (white current - a variant of the red current that is a bit sweeter). Interestingly, vinbär translates directly to "wine berry". These berries tastes a bit like I'd imagine undomesticated grapes would taste like and the leaves also looks like grape leaves. I assume they are related in some way.

The vegetable garden from the kitchen door on the porch

A small greenhouse Ronnie and his sister, Cindy, built for me (see details of their visit here)

Some tomato and pepper plants and a bush of herbs (resulting from "seed bombs" that Cindy gave to us)

Lettuce and broccoli in seed boxes - this is working quite well

Cauliflower and nasturtiums - the cauliflower is struggling a bit (something is eating the leaves)

The rest of the garden: Strawberries, carrots, corn, tomatoes, peas, pumpkins and more seed bombs!

Rhubarb, this is the third crop for this season. I already harvested two crops resulting in many rhubarb pies, jams, compotes, smoothies and a whole freezer rack full of frozen rhubarb. 

Rhubarb pie

The herb garden that got a bit out of hand. Will start a better organised one from scratch next year....

Our garden shed - an old smithy dating from the 1700's. Next to the smithy is a flower bed with some nice flowers but, invaded by weeds. Another project for next year...

The inside of the smithy/garden shed

One of our two young prune trees. We tried our hand at pruning four young fruit trees (two prune and two apple trees) and one mature apple tree. Overall it seems to have worked nicely with the mature apple tree and 3 out of the 4 young trees blooming and bearing fruit. This small prune tree suffered a heavy aphid infestation - we will fight harder against these pests next year 

A few apples

Different variety of apple

The mature apple tree in front of the house

Some more nasturtiums and a pattypan in pots at the entrance

Ronnie cut open a path in the bushes with our new trimmer to access the raspberry patch (this was necessary since most of the bushes consists of nettles...)

The raspberry patch

Raspberries in incubation :)

This year was a crash course in gardening for us. Next year we will be ready when spring arrives, to apply the acquired knowledge of one season of Swedish gardening :)


No comments:

Post a Comment