Friends took us to Blacktoft last Thursday. It is a very small village at the border of the Humber a bit west of Hessle. The river is still navigable for small ships. It has a wonderful, very old church with records about vicars back to 1213. The banks along the river makes for a pleasant and comfortable walk.
(Click on the pictures for full size, 2-4 MB).
The flowering lilacs and the laburnum (golden rain tree, ”gullregn” in Swedish) created strong color contrasts. The spring was at its best and we had a lovely afternoon.
Yesterday I spent a day with my job colleagues at a conference centre at Hasseludden in Orminge. It is beautifully situated with a good view over the waters leading to the Stockholm harbour and of Lidingö, surrounded by a pine forest. It is an old trade union centre but it has been sold and is now rebuilt in beautiful Japanese style.
The most striking part of centre was the baths which were low down in the building at a corner of the house. Bathing Japanese style is quite a procedure where you sit on a low stool and use a wooden bucket to throw water over you. Afterwards you soak for a while in a small bath, also quite hot.
The big bath was 25 m long or more. The hall for the bath was lofty with big windows facing west. You could see the bird cherry (hägg) flower leaves drifting like a snowfall when there was a bit of wind rustling through the branches. Round and soft stones decorated and edged the bath. The smaller and hotter baths were outdoors under a roof. It was square shallow baths with +40 C water where you float and see the forest around you, hear the birds. I can imagine lying there a winter day too, looking out on the snowy trees, but now we had a marvellous warm day, summer weather really.
Japanese food and a short introduction to Qigong was also on the programme.
Sitting on the terrace you had a wide view – and also entertainment by a Great Black-backed Gull, Larus marinus (havstrut), see pictures below. (click on the pictures for full size pictures - 2 MB).
Finally! Today it is a real spring day. Warm weather, perhaps 19 degr. and sunshine. A light breeze. It s such a pleasure, such a joy!
Funny how you change. Weather did not matter so much when I was younger, but now it does. I am travelling today to Sweden which is a shame really when it is like this. Before I left the house I had time to take a couple of photos of our flowering trees: the lilac in the long border, the apple tree south of the workshop and the cherry close to the summer house (at least I think it is a cherry). Both the lilac and the cherry are just to open their flowers and I will probably miss the peak of their flowering. The apple tree is in full flower.
The pictures below show the flowers of the lilac and the cherry. The apple tree is above (click on the pictures for full size pictures 2-4 MB).
This is really the main border of the garden along the eastern hedge, about 15 m long and generously deep. It was in a bad state when we arrived, completely overgrown, full of weeds and wild. It had to be completely redug, to about 50 cm depth. A lot of roots, weed and various stones and rubbish (plastic manure bags!) came out, and grit, compost and manure was added. Eve saved a lot bulps and a few plants from the digging but everything (but the trees of course) had to be replanted. As to the trees there are a forsythia, a couple of hollies and a lilac which give a nice background to the border. They have all been trimmed back.
At this time the new Viburnum 'Eskimo' (in Swedish "olvon,"prydnadsolvon" or "luktolvon", see also http://www.usna.usda.gov/Newintro/eskimo.html) is flowering beautifully and attracts the eye - and the nose - because it is very scented. The white round flowers clumps are big, about 3 inches across (picture above). A Clematis, "Early sensation" flowers also at this time. Some lovely yellow and very delicate Narcissus have been a pleasure för a while now. Nearly black tulips, "Queen of Night" are also flowering, most extraordinary colour.
The list of plants in this border is long (given here with the proper latin name, and the English and Swedish names when I have them):
Acanthus / Acanthus / Acanthus
Althaea / Hollyhook / Stockros
Aquilegia 'Black Barlow' / Aquilegia 'Black Barlow' / Akleja, 'Black Barlow'
Artemisia absinthium 'Powys Castle' / Common wormwood / Malört, äkta
Ceanothus / Ceanothus / Ceanothus
Ceratostigma plumbaginoides / Plumbago / Blyblomma
Clematis 'Early sensation' / Clematis 'Early sensation' / Klematis, 'Early sensation'
Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Lucifer' / Montbretia / Montbretia
Delphinium / Larkspur / Riddarsporre
Dicentra spectabilis / Maiden pink / Löjnantshjärta
Dipsacus spp. / Teasel / Dipsacus
Eryngium planum / Sea holly / Eryngium planum
Festuca glauca / Festuca glauca / Festuca glauca
Fuchsia 'Tom West' / Fuchsia 'Tom West' / Fuchsia 'Tom West'
Geranium 'Johnsons Blue' / Geranium 'Johnsons Blue' / Näva, 'Johnsons Blue'
Gladiolus 'Peter Pears' / Gladiolus 'Peter Pears' / Gladiolus 'Peter Pears'
Helleborus spp. / Helleborus spp. / Helleborus spp.
Heuchera 'Palace purple' / Coral flower / Heuchera, 'Palace purple'
Iris, spp. / Iris, unspec. / Iris
Kerria japonica 'Pleniflora' / Jew's mallow / Kerria
Lavandula / Lavender / Lavendel
Lupinus / Lupin / Lupin
Narcissus 'Hawera' / Daffodil / Påsklilja
Narcissus spp / Daffodils / Påsklilja
Nepeta alba / Nepeta alba / Nepeta alba
Nepeta mussinii / Catmint / Kattmynta (kantnepeta)
Papaver / Poppy / Vallmo
Papaver 'Janet' / Poppy, 'Janet' / Vallmo, 'Janet'
Ranunculus acris flore-plena / Buttercup / Smörblomma
Rosa 'Just Joey' / Rose 'Just Joey' / Ros, 'Just Joey'
Rosa 'Remember me' / Rose 'Remember me' / Ros, 'Remember me'
Rosa 'Whisky Mac' / Rose 'Whisky Mac' / Ros, 'Whisky Mac'
Rosmarinus officinalis / Rosemary / Rosmarin
Syringa / Lilac / Syren
Tulipa 'Queen of the Night' / Tulip / Tulpan
Viburnum 'Eskimo' / Viburnum 'Eskimo' / Olvon, 'Eskimo'
Zantedeschia 'Black Cherry' / Zantedeschia 'Black Cherry' / Zantedeschia 'Black Cherry'
The pictures below give an overview of the border and of the viburnun, the daffodils and the clematis (click on the pictures for full size pictures 2-4 MB).
I will take the borders in order and I begin with the back garden. The border nearest to the house is just outside the kitchen window with the workshop to the west side. It catches the sun early and there is a bench at the workshop wall which is just a lovely place for the first coffee in the morning.
Just now an iris is flowering. That is a plant from earlier and we don't know the name of it, but it is a beardless iris, possibly a hybrid named 'Snow Queen'. Nearest to the workshop we have most of the kitchen spices: chives, parsley, thymes, rosmarin, mint, majoram and oregano. The dill, which is hard to buy in this part of England for some reason, is planted at the other side of the house. There is also an honesty (now violet, see picture), honesty (Lunaria annua, Månviol or Judas silverpengar in Swedish), a suffering rose of unknown sort, a holly (Ilex, järnek). As to holly I am running a campaign to get all holly out of the garden. We have them in all sizes, from small seedlings to big trees. The campaign has however failed so far.
Later there will be flowering geraniums (the gorgeous 'Johnsons Blue'), montbretia (Crocosmia), foxgloves. The campanula carpatica (kapaterklocka) is a good low-growing spreader. Aubretia, a new species for me, is also of low height and is already flowering nicely in clumps, that partly will cover the border brick edge. And there is a bush I remember from Ängby which has white small fruits which pop when you squeeze them. Evidently it is called Viburnum opulus (snöbollsbuske).
The pictures below give an overview of the border from various angles(click on the pictures for screen size pictures).
The picture above shows how our front garden looks at present. The flowering prunus is actually our neighbour's tree that stretches over the border - just wonderful!
At repeated requests - by my daughter - I am going to describe the garden. When we came here in October 2006 it was a complete ruin (but for the lawn and the front garden which had been well kept). But the former owner had not had the strength to keep the back garden running during a decade or so and most of the borders had disappeared under nettles, brambles and rubbish. It had been covered by some plastic to control weeds but that had rotted to pieces and the weeds just went straight through. During the past one and half year my dear gardener (=Eve) has cleared all the mess, dug all the borders, put in tonnes of new soil, grit, manure and bark.
A garden shed, a summer house and my workshop have been erected so there is a lot of new buildings. The fence has partly been repaired, but there is more to do on that. A lot of bushes and a couple of small trees have come out (not least holly which I am not very fond of). And other trees have been trimmed and branches have come out.
Last year the planting could proceed and this is the first spring we see the results. A lot is to come but the bulbs have come and the new plants are with few exceptions doing well.
Our land is about 10 m wide (hedges included) and quite long, about 50 m or so. The house is semidetached so we can get pass the house on the west side. Actually we use normally the kitchen entrance at the back as our main entrance. The front garden is about 12 m deep (from the border to the house door) and the back 26 m (from the kitchen wall to the border). About half of the surface is occupied by borders, the rest is lawn and paths.
This picture gives an overview of the back garden (click on the picture for full resolution).
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