Saturday, April 05, 2008

Colours of spring and hardy neighbours

It is often said that here up north there isn't so much colour early spring. Not compared to the more tropic regions of the world. And perhaps that is true. On the other hand we hardly walk around with photos of more tropic regions when we look at our gardens, constantly comparing here and there. That would really look silly. Would give the neighbours something to wonder about wouldn't it?

Our neighbours (there are only two of them actually, oh and a dog to not to forget) are toughened by now and have stopped to look as surprised as they once did. Nowadays they have accepted that being a gardening nerd and thus a bit peculiar does not necessarily mean I constitute a threat to children and small furry animals.

It is remarkable what neighbours can get used to. Let me present a small collection of situations:

- They find their neighbour in the kitchen garden digging up Jerusalem artichokes (Helianthus tuberosus) with a big spade. Perfectly normal had it not been for the fact she is dressed in a suit and high heeled shoes. And with a handbag firmly placed on the ground next to her. There is a perfectly simple explanation of course. On the way from the car to the front door I suddenly got a vision of mashed Jerusalem artichokes - a delight to mix with mashed potatoes. Thought and action being one, of to the kitchen garden and start digging. I know this. They don’t.

- Living with heavy clay in the garden means every hole you want to dig is a challenge. And with a passion for planting things that needs big holes (read: trees) I live a challenging life. The hole was 30 centimetres deep when a "clonck" was heard. This might mean one of two things - I have hit bedrock or there is a stone on my hole. Bedrock means change of plans and a need for moving the hole somewhere else. Stone means it is possible to remove it from the hole and continue as planned. Widening the hole somewhat made it clear this time it was a stone. I dig around the stone, freeing it from soil (=clay). I try to put the spade under it and wiggle it loose. I break the shaft of the spade. I mutter words I wasn't aware of that I knew. I fetch another spade. Break that shaft to. I fetch an iron bar to use as a lever. Put in place, throw myself upon it and scream out loud to get more strength (think of a shot putter at the Olympics and you get the idea). Now the neighbours pass. With a friendly "Good morning" they go on with their walk. Not a raised eyebrow, which is more than can be said of their guest who is walking with them...

- Dark nights a light may be seen flickering around our garden. Sometime it moves around vigorously (=I’ve got a new idea for a planting and have to rush out in the garden to see if there is room for it where I want it). Sometimes the light keeps very still (=I need to plant something right at this very minute. It is difficult to plant when it's pitch black outside. The obvious solution is of course to place a flashlight at some distance to lighten the spot.) The neighbours now have stopped tiptoeing out of the house to catch the supposed burglar - a relief for us all and the end of some very embarrassing scenes.

To all gardening friends and hardy neighbours around the globe here is proof for there being colour in the Nordic regions as well.


Zoë said...

Hello, just discovered your blog via Blotanical. I enjoyed reading about you experiences of gardening where you are, the photographs are lovely - Daphne of all sorts are one of my favourites too.

chey said...

That is a very funny post. Thanks for sharing! I frequently had wondered what the neighbours would think about my obsessional gardening behaviors, but now I think I have finally blended in with the scenery:).
Great photos also!

Jean Ann said...

I am excited to find you on Blotanical so I can learn more about what it is like gardening where you are!

Viooltje said...

I never doubted the colours in the Nordics regions. In fact it is there where I have seen the loveliest and most colorful wildflower meadows. And mind you, there's also other weirdos out there (like me for instance) who are spotted in the garden wearing a suit and high heels and while walking past their front garden get a sudden urge to pull a weed. I'm really glad Blotanical has shown me the way to your wonderful blog, wonderful photos and witty style of writing and am looking forward to your future posts and many more colours from the North of Europe.

Greetings from the Mediterranean

Weed Whackin' Wenches said...

What wonderful photos! Just loved your "confession" in the header of your blog. Look forward to reading more. --Curmudgeon

patientgardener said...

I love your blog which I also discovered via Blotanical. Its interesting to read what someone in another country is doing. In the UK there was recently a programme about gardens around the world and the presenter visited a botanical garden within the Artic Circle - cant remember the name and it was amazing what was growing.

melodye said...

je decouvre ce blog et je vois de magnifique photos...! je reviendrai visiter!
bonne journée