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  • Writer's pictureSofias Country Gardens

Flower mania

Come late may and my gardens are in bloom. I have never understood minimalism in gardens - I mean it is beautiful with minimalistic gardens but how on earth do they do it?! I have never been one for controlling myself regarding plants, and indeed flower envy is one of the few forms of envy I have ever encountered in myself. If I see a beautiful plant I am gripped by a crippling need to own it and more often than not I succumb...

The garden at Stensund next to my Sweet tiny cottage is already bursting with flowers, and there it is a question of keeping plants in some kind of order and trying to move plants as they get too crowded. In the woodland I have more or less given up trying to keep any semblance of order... Plants pop up in any available space! There I have resorting to moving away perennials, and underplant with bulbs instead.

My favourite bulb is the purple Allium that I planted years ago. It turns up like clockwork each year, with its happy purple pom-poms at the edge of the woodland, heralding in the season to sit and enjoy the outdoors on the stone patio in the middle.

In contrast, at Humlegård there is ample space to make new garden areas with new planting schemes. Most of the garden is designed to be a floating wild meadow, but some areas are cultivated and tamed. It is all about contrasts, and allowing for my inevitable flower mania!

Above the house at Humlegård there is an area that has the most beautiful wives of the lake, where we made a seating area last year. In the end of May it was already covered with weeds and grass, as I never had time to finish planting it last year and had not yet gotten around to weeding it this spring. Consequently, there was a lot of work to do to put it in order! The first thing to do was to get rid of the weeds, which my kind caretaker Roger helped me with, and then decide on the planting scheme.

More often than not, this is what my car looks like during the summer months (pictured right). There is a charming plant nursery halfway between Helsinki and Snappertuna, called Grönbacka trädgård (​) where I often make a pit-stop and overindulge. This year I was especially pleased as they had my favourite pink flowering currant Ribes sanguineum. I have long wanted it, but until now not been able to find it in Finland.

​The flowering currant does produce berries, that although they are edible have a horrible taste, so in addition to them I also bought black currants Marski and Mortti and red currants Punahilkka and Jonkeer van tets. Around the bushes I planted Catmint (Nepeta) 6 Hills Giant, Trollus chinensis Golden Queen and Salad burnett (Sanguisorba minor).

Next to it is an elevated area where I have my "mohito mint", the garden variety peppermint which spreads profusely and does not mind being cut back harshly all summer long, and my strawberries of the variety Bounty. Apparently Bounty has a sweet taste and should not put out as many runners as other varieties, but this remains to be seen. It still looks a bit sparse, but in a month or so the area will be covered.

I do like recycling, so as I happened to have some light plastic left over I made a simple scarecrow to keep the birds away by tying it to a stick and letting it fly in the wind. Not perhaps very beautiful, but effective none the less.

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