• Sofias Country Gardens

Sunny October days


The weather seems to become more unpredictable by year, but sometimes it works to the better. October has so far been unseasonably sunny and warm, with bright blue skies and a feeling of bristling energy in the air inspiring me to get up early and put in long days in the garden. I know that time is running out for this season - all too soon I will wake up and find the ground frozen solid so if there is anything I want done before winter it is best to do it right now!

My old ladies have been enjoying the weather too, taking days out in the garden. Most summer I have kept them in their large enclosure because in June some animal slipped in and killed one of the hens. I never saw the perpetrator, but found Sonja the other grey Arancuna hen murdered one afternoon. It is the risk I take having free range country hens roaming around that they may fall prey to predators, but I feel their quality of life is so much grater when they aren't cooped up in a cage that it has been worth it. So consequently I have only let them roam around in the garden when I have had time to be there and guard them myself, which I did now that I have been working on the flower border by the summer chicken coop.

This year I heave experienced an interesting shift in my gardening endeavours. Previously I have been utterly consumed by the kitchen garden and growing vegetables to feed the family, but this year my head space has been quite filled with decorative borders filled with perennials and shrubs. Although I have of course tended to the vegetables and had a fantastic season with fresh vegetables all summer long, I have found my thoughts consumed by an ardent passion for flowering perennials and colour combinations and seasonal interest. Perhaps this shift mirrors the shift in my personal life? My children are all now young adults who take good care of themselves, so the need to tend to their immediate existence isn't there anymore. The intense cosseting motherhood has changed into an adult companionship, and by doing so freed up a lot of my time. And you know what they say: as soon as there is a void it will be filled.

I guess there are worse things to be consumed by... I could have developed a compulsive gambling habit or shoppomania. Instead the borders are tended to and replanted to my hearts content until I feel they somewhat resemble the picture I have in my minds eye. That's the thing about creative work, the reality doesn't always correspond to what one has imagined... Some you win and some you loose, so I'm always happy to celebrate the small successes. This year I was especially pleased that the hops (Humulus lupulus) growing up around the fence of the chicken summer coop has had lots of hop flowers. It has a very strong smell but is excellent for drying and often used as a herbal remedy for various ailments.

Towards the end of the week the cool air has coloured many of the trees and shrubs leaves with autumn colours. I love the Katsura trees (Cercidiphyllum japonicum) I planted some years ago, as they don't only have a glorious set of autumn colours but also smell faintly of caramel in the autumn breeze.

Over at the old house Stensund the maples are felling their leaves, leaving the garden in a shroud of fantastic autumn colours. Here I have continued making borders around the plantings and weeding them properly before winter. It is a never ending job, but oh so satisfactory as the results are immediately visible! Close to the house by the stone wall I grow some blueberry shrubs (Vaccinium corymbosum) and they are absolutely lovely in the autumn too.

Even though it is getting colder by the day Boomer enjoys autumn too, and loves playing in the fallen leaves. He wishes you all a wonderful week!