Sofias Country Gardens
The garden at Grönborg had been very neglected for many years but the backbones of a nice wild garden were there; large old apple trees with a rhubarb growing underneath and some old shrubs as well as a lawn and meadow meandering down the hill. All it needed was some loving thunder care, and a few additions to make a framework.
I try to take advantage of self seeded plants whenever I can, and from last year I had a bunch of bridal wreath spirea (Spirea prunifolia) growing at Stensund that I transplanted to Grönborg on the slope just by the entrance. It is an easy shrub to grow, as it will thrive almost anywhere and survives even the harsh winters we sometimes get. It blooms beautifully in the beginning of may with plentiful white blossoms. Boomer, of course, kept a keen eye on me throughout the day.
At Grönborg the castle ruins of Raseborg are ever present in the background, giving a romantic air to the place even during the time of year when the garden is dormant. As spring bursts onto the scene at tremendous pace in Finland, it is important to do any clearing work as soon as the snow melts.
In late April before anything came to life we cleared old deadwood branches and masses of tangled grass. The blackcurrant bushes that had grown wild were cut back and given new life, old branches were pruned to let air and light in (picture taken before we started clearing up the garden). There were lots of self seeded maple (Acer platanoides) that needed to be removed, although a few healthy young trees were left.
In the beginning of may a sea of cowslips (Primula veris) turned upp right behind the row of lilacs that run lika a hedge all along the back of the house towards the woods. I love cowslips as they are beautifully dainty, nodding their little yellow heads in the wind amongst last years grass. They are also a great nectar flower for early bumblebees and I do try to always have some in each of my gardens, which is quite easy as they grow wild in southern Finland and once they are established they will self seed and spread.
By the front porch purple flowering lesser periwinkle (Vinca minor) turn up as remnants of the old garden. It can be an invasive plant in warmer climates, but here in Finland it is well behaved and spreads with moderate pace as the winters are harsh and it is dormant much of the time. I love the purple colour most, although it does come in blue and white as well.
By mid may the apple trees were ready to burst and even during overcast days there was a warm feeling of lushness in the garden. Last years leaves suddenly disappear from view as the grass takes over and the trees burst into leaf. At this time of the year there is a mad rush to enjoy the spring, but I try to make time to harvest some rhubarb and make pie.
Although I have to say, the best rhubarb pie is made by our neighbour who has the Classic Car Cafe a short walk away in the village just before the church!