A perfect summer day at Villa Gustafshäll
Last summer I went for a weeks holiday to Sweden. It is one of my favourite travel destinations, and I always take a day or two to enjoy Stockholms archipelago in summer. It is known for the beautiful old wooden villas dotted along the seaside. I feel they sit like gem stones in a necklace along the coast, pleasing to the eye and bringing joy to the heart.
One such villa is Villa Gustafshäll that belongs to my friend Magnus, and last summer he kindly invited us to spend an afternoon at this erstwhile paradise. Villa Gustafshäll lies at the very edge of the sea, and is therefore best seen in all its glory from the sea when approaching the jetty at Hasseludden by boat.
The main entrance is on the other side, framed by a beautiful garden filled with herbaceous borders and old apple trees, interlaced with a few roses and shrubs. The planting, in all its abundance, follows a soft and harmonious pink and white theme.
Most of the perennials are old varieties such as the white star carnations seen above. These were brought over from Finland in a single plant one hundred years ago and subsequently propagated until the garden has been filled with them!
Although I love the statuesque foxgloves, my favourite plant in Magnus garden must be the simple Astrantia. It grows in billowing clumps in all borders, and act as magnets attracting bumblebees, hover-flies and butterflies into the garden.
With the sun high in the sky, my friends and I spent many happy hours on the porch enjoying the simple pleasure of talking about everything and nothing.
Inside the house the windowsills are filled with pelargoniums in soft pink shades. Magnus keeps them over winter in a cool storage, and each spring he potts them up in fresh compost for the long summer season, taking care to propagate a few new ones as well.
The inside of the house is just as exquisite as the outside. It is truly a home where one feels that time has stood still! But if you look closely, you can se a very modern stereo hiding in a corner of the veranda...
Little details are decoratively added in all corners. On the farside wall of the house a row of tomato plants are neatly lined up, right beside the kitchen entrance.
In the evening, as the sun was setting, we enjoyed the view from the jetty by the little "badhuset", or bathing house as it would be in English.
Afterwards we spent the evening listening to music, eating strawberries and drinking champagne on the veranda. Such luxury! And somehow champagne and strawberries always tastes extra delicious and feels especially decadent in such a wonderful setting!