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  • Writer's pictureSofias Country Gardens

Summer solstice

Midsummer... what a lovely time of year! It is the time of peonies, geraniums and foxgloves and to my utter delight they still fill up the old borders at Stensund. It is many, many years since I planted these borders and I can't imagine how they are still going so strong after all these years! It makes me wonder how long perennials can live..? I have long since forgotten the names of the white and dark red peonies, but the pink one below is Bowl of Beauty which was one of the first peonies I ever got.

The white peonies go so nicely with my dark blue geraniums. It is a combination that celebrates the white and blue colours of Finlands flag just in time for midsummer celebrations. Personally, I would not want to be anywhere else in the world for midsummer. In fact, while talking with friends just the other day, I admitted I'm so happy to be old enough to decide that I do not have to be anywhere else all summer long. Where other people suffer from fomo (fear of missing out) when they look at each others Facebook or Instagram and see friends post pictures of their gloriously exciting lives, I'm sighing with contentedness at not having to participate. Indeed, I think I really enjoy my romo (relief of missing out).

During midsummer the white rose of Finland, also called midsummer rose, (Rosa spinosissima 'Plena' or as it used to be known Rosa pimpinellifolia ’Plena’) is flowering. It is one of the oldest roses we have, and interestingly enough it is so old no one really knows its origins. It is very hardy, and can be found all the way throughout the colder climate zones of the far north in all the nordic countries. As it a semi-wild rose it doesn't need nor actually like pruning, but old dead branches can be removed from ground level. It is a favourite of mine, because although it for the most part of the year looks a little shabby the two weeks when it is covered in delicate white blooms it is simply heavenly! And also, my grandmother loved it most of all the garden plants because she always said it reminded her of her childhood in Rovaniemi, so every time I see it I think of her.

For many years ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria) has been the bane of my life. It used to be grown as a vegetable, and is actually very good when the young leaves are used like spinach in the kitchen. But it has a tendency to spread everywhere! I used to fight a loosing battle to keep it out of my borders, but then I read a book about garden insects and realised that they actually absolutely love it! It doesn't matter what insect you would like to support - all the buggs from bees to butterflies simply adore the flowers of ground elder! So, I decided to embrace it and now I consider it a garden flower instead of a weed and let it have a happy existence in some of the borders.

With this I would like to wish you all a very happy midsummer and end of June.

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