A few weeks ago my godfathers sent me two boxes filled with spring bulbs, much to my delight as they included Allium giganteum Gladiator which is one of my absolute favourites. Slightly less delightful was the question "...and have you planted them yet?". The problem with planting the bulbs was that I wanted them in my woodland border at Humlegård, and that required additional work. Last summer I had decided to lay out a path of stepping stones throughout the border, but hadn't gotten around to doing it. Instead the stones lay in the packaging they had arrived in for many months, giving me a continuous bad conscious. The idea was perfect, as the border is so big the plants disappear in a jumble of green, but actually doing it.... that took time. I consoled myself with the thought that summer in the gardens is a busy time, so big projects are best left for autumn or spring.
The border was quite overgrown come October, so the first thing to do was clear a path through it. I wanted it to run straight across the border towards the back, as this area is otherwise unaccessible. Most of my borders are planted for coverage in order minimise the amount of weeds that invariably spring up as soon as earth is left bare, so I also needed to transplant perennials where I wanted to lay the stepping stones. While doing that, I tweaked the planting scheme too. Sometimes a little perspective and a few seasons are needed to see where there are gaps in the colour scheme, or where too many of the same perennials have spread out. It is a most satisfying chore, and actually I really enjoyed it when I finally got around to doing it.
I love garden design, but I've never been one for drawing and implementing grand designs in my gardens. I much prefer the organic process of letting things evolve over time, and I spend a lot of time in my gardens just observing, regardless of season. It gives me pleasure, but also shows me where the design can be improved without the hurry of having a team of contractors come in. As I do most work myself, I like the slowness of pace in the evolution of the gardens and my often poorly back most certainly appreciates it. For a while now I have felt that the vastness of my woodland border means you don't really see it, a bit like you might not see the woods for the trees. A path running straight through it not only gives access to close encounters with plants otherwise just seen from a distance, but also gives the border much more structure.
After the path was done, I moved the small cast iron statue from Stensund, the red house, to my gardens. It fits perfectly with the general colours of painted black cast iron and rusty iron features I have at home. In the small sculpture gardens at Stensund there are stonework sculptures, and I like that the different gardens have different materials. It gives them their own identities, and makes for a more interesting experience. Then, and only then, I finally got around to plant the spring bulbs. What a great feeling of achievement!