The geranium experiment

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That I have a love for geraniums is not a secret. I like them a lot and I like that they seem to like me. Or at least, that I can bring at least some parts of them back to life even when the rest have dried up. I like having them, I like when they survive. I also like that they seem to survive even though I don’t give them as much love as they might deserve. When a geranium shows signs of dying on me, I pick a sprout and put it in a glass of water. When I feel like it I then plant it in a flowerpot and I have a new geranium going. What I like is that they seem to thrive in the glass of water, they even bloom in there. I started with two geraniums two years ago and they didn’t like it in the kitchen so I picked a sprout, put it in water and worked from there. This has resultet in a lot of geraniums since and I have started to plant several sprouts in one pot just to not be overflowed with geraniums (because I can’t stand throwing away a live sprout, so I pick them all) and because before they grew way too tall without being lush enough (yep, I have preferences in how my geraniums look). Right now I have three pots of geraniums, one pot with just one geranium, one big pot that comes from two sprouts and since that worked out, I have now planted several sprouts in a third pot (I know it’s late in the summer but this is when I felt like planting them). It will be interesting to see how they like it.

I have not yet gotten a summer geranium from the balcony to thrive indoors in the fall though, but I can live with that.

The dahlia conundrum

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My dahlias seem to thrive so far. They are beautiful and I love them. The weather has been warm but not too warm and today has been rainy. I’ve noticed that dahlias are a bit of a gamble. When we first got dahlias for the balcony two years ago, the label said they wanted semi-shade. I thought our balcony would be perfect for that, it’s sunny till about 2 pm and then in the shade. That summer was the warmest summer in forever and all of July was amazing and we could sit out on the balcony all night long without being cold. While we were enjoying our balcony and the weather, the dahlias slowly wilted. The buds died before even developing into flowers. I realized it was too hot for dahlias. A wise person would have gone for something else the next year but I happen to really like dahlias so I got some more. Last summer was all rainy and cloudy and the dahlias loved it. My flower boxes exuberated with dahlias, up until August, that is, when the summer turned very warm. We’ll see how this summer turns out. So far it’s all good and sure, I want a warm summer, but when it rains I can always think of how much the dahlias like it.

Ode to a guelder-rose

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I love this time of the year (I bet everyone says that). Flowers everywhere, especially lilacs. I love lilas but there is one other flower that is a little forgotten, I think. It smells lovely and and is really pretty. I’m talking about the guelder-rose. If I ever move into a house I want guelder-roses in the garden. I know of only one in my city, just outside my job, and I make sure to walk past it as often as I can. The guelder-rose is mentioned in a very petty summer song where they make a midsummer flower crown out of guelder-roses (which is weird since they are almost finished blooming now and midsummer isn’t until another two and a half weeks) and I thought a lot about that flower when I was a kid because it  had a funny name and I had never seen one. Then someone pointed this gulder-rose bush out to me and my fascination has only grown now that I know what it is. Maybe I should buy a house just to be able to have some of these flowers around… Would that be weird, you think?

Impatient

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Since we go a balcony last year I’m much more interested in gardening. Before I thought it tedious and not for me, not to mention that you had to put your hands in soil and such. That I lived on the 6th floor without a balcony of any kind made it all even more difficult to overcome. Now though, now I love my flowers and I keep flower pots in every room (except the kitchen, so far I haven’t found anything that seems to like the kitchen) and I even remember to water them. I still dislike getting my hands dirty and sticky but I bought a good pair (or actaually three) of garden gloves last year and they work fine. Last summer was a success when it came to making the balcony a little oasis in the middle of the city and the fact that it was one of the warmest summers in forever made the balcony an ideal place to sip on mojitos in the evenings.

So far we haven’t taken out the balcony furniture, aparently we need to buy a new wooden balcony floor first but today we took care of last years flower pots and such (yeah, obviously it’s much more fun to put the flowers in the pots that to remove them…) and I took the opportunity to plant the three flower shoots that I picked from the geranium in the kitchen before it died completely. They have been spending a few weeks in glasses of water and have grown roots so I thought it best for tchem to get into pots as soons as possible.

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I followed every rule that I know of and I’ve put them in the same window they were while in glasses. Now we have come to the difficult part and the part that makes me unsure about this whole gardening thing. Now I have to wait. I have to wait and see if the geraniums will like their new pots of if they will die (probably the latter just to spite me. My mum replanted one of tchem a few months ago and it loves it at her place. Today I got it back and I’m sure it will dislike my bedroom so much it will just dry out (despite every effort to water it) in no time). With knitting I know instantly if it will work or not or at least I can knit some more (nothing happens when I don’t knit) to find out but with flowers and gardening I just have to wait and see. It’s very frustrating. I’ve read that they like a warm and sunny window and I’ve put them in the sunniest and warmest window we have. But still, wait and see. I’m not a very patient waiter. Luckily I have my knitting. By the time the shawl is finished I’m sure I know wether the geraniums like it or not.

My new buddy

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There is a Swedish children’s movie called “Can you whistle, Johanna?”, set in the 1950’s, that is always shown on Christmas Eve in Sweden. It’s about a young boy, Berra, who, together with his best friend Uffe, starts the search for a grandfather. He finds one at a home for the elderly and together the three of them make all kinds of fun things until one day granddad passes away. Berra is very keen on learning how to whistle and granddad tries to help him. Anyway, in this movie there is a middle-aged cranky man, Mr. Gustavsson, who is way too protective of his garden and the kids are very afraid of him. Mr Gustavsson has a beautiful garden with a great cherry tree (very popular with the kids) among other things and the most precious flower in his garden is a rose. Mr. Gustavsson constantly fusses around this rose, spraying it with water, picks bugs out of it with tweezers and so on. When granddad has his birthday, Uffe and Berra takes him out on all sorts of adventures, they watch TV through the shop windows , something granddad finds very amusing, and barbecue and other things and in the end they climb Mr. Gustavsson’s cherry tree to munch on cherries. All goes well until it’s time to climb down and granddad, who is getting quite old, falls down and Uffe and Berra are terribly afraid as Mr. Gustavsson comes out of his house as he has heard the noise. But granddad knows what to do. He stands up and talks to Mr. Gustavsson about television, something that Mr. Gustavsson has thought of buying, and granddad cautions Mr. Gustavsson about the waves that goes through the air, that the waves will be fatal for Mr. Gustavsson’s rose. To protect the rose, granddad advice Mr. Gustavsson so create a little roof made of tinfoil to put over the rose, which Mr. Gustavsson promptly does the very next day.

Shortly thereafter granddad dies and before the funeral Berra sneaks into Mr. Gustavsson’s garden and cuts the rose without hesitate. At the funeral he puts the rose on the casket and starts whistling.

I am just like Mr. Gustavsson about this bud that I found in my flower pot. I’ve had this plant for four years and it took two years for it to bloom the first time. Then it gave me six lovely flowers but as I didn’t spend much time at home during that period I couldn’t really enjoy them. Then it took another two years before I spotted a new bud but this time it only gave me one flower. That was earlier this winter and I thought I would have to wait another two years for new buds to sprout but no, look at this, it’s new bud. I keep giving it sips of water and talks to it and make sure it has enough light and yesterday when Julle opened the bedroom window without my knowledge I got very scared that my precious little bud had gotten too cold. I haven’t made a roof out of tinfoil yet though but I suspect that might be the next step.

Eluding winter

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Today’s Green Week Theme is a little sign of spring. I was in the Botanical garden yesterday and found some snowdrops,

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some eranthis hyemalis,

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and some crocus.

That’s pretty good work for mother nature so far, I think.

Balcony improvement

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Our home improvement continues. Now that all the boxes are gone and we’ve bought a foldable table it was time for the balcony to get a make over. During the spring they’ve renovated the balconies on the building and ours was finally done a week ago. The other day Julle took out the temporary wood floor, the “summer floor” and we also took out the furniture and the cushions. Today it was time for flowers.

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It was the hottest day so far this summer and we went to the ‘flower and garden store” where we were picking up flower boxes, flower pots, mould, flower baskets and clay pebbles. I don’t know anything about gardening but we walked around the store and discussed what we wanted and read labels and thought of flowers and colors and scratched our heads and tried to squeeze out everything we’ve ever heard about gardening from our significantly more green-fingered friends and we only had to make one phone call to one of those friends, about what mould to use, and when Julle started quoting the TV show Rosemary and Thyme we thought it was time to leave.

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Back home Julle put up the flower baskets and I concentrated on the flower boxes. We had decided on dahlias and picked two of each color and I planted them in a color continuum from yellow to light pink.

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We also bought two begonias and one geranium, that I also re-planted and put on the balcony. I have an idea of a begonia on an embroidered tablecloth on top of our new table but for now it will stay outside.

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I think it all turned out very well and we’ve spent all evening out there eating strawberries.

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It’s like a little oasis, I could spend all my time there. Tomorrow we’ll have breakfast out there, read the paper and listen to the radio. A perfect summer morning (if the weather allows it).

Sunday at the allotment

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This past weekend we’ve had gorgeous weather and since I had to finish my exam during Saturday, and therefore couldn’t enjoy the weather as much as I wanted to, I took the opportunity to spend Sunday at my friend Heléne’s allotment.

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Spring has really done wonders with the nature, it’s green and beautiful and flowers everywhere. Birds are singing and the lilacs shower you in the most amazing smell.

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We had cookies and tea in the garden and sat there all afternoon while the sun set slowly behind the apple tree. That’s the thing I love the most about Sweden in the summer I think – the light. You can go out and take a walk late in the evening and the sun is still shining.

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My new-found semi-fascination for gardening is still limited though and I’m so far still more interested in looking at beatutiful gardens than making one myself, which is another reason why I really like allotment areas, there are beautiful gardens everywhere and I can take long walks all the while watching beauty everywhere.

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Well, we didn’t only just have tea and cookies, most of the time was spent working on our projects, Heléne crocheting and me sewing labels and knitting. I thought it suiting that I brought a project that matched the garden.

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Sun, flowers, cookies, knitting – it was the perfect summer day.

A mountain

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It was totally unexpected but ran into a mountain today. A mountain of flowers. Isn’t spring marvellous?

In the Dead Hydrangea Bucket

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Last year I got a tomato plant from my friend Emelie. It was an indoor tomato and we had a great time together, men and that tomato plant. It gave me a total of eight delicious tomatoes.

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Since me and that tomato plant had such a good time together, Emelie gave me another tomato plant this year. This plant needed a bigger pot though and I looked through my very limited pot supply and came up with the bucket that the previous owner of this apartment left on the balcony, containing a dead hydrangea, when they moved out in December. We have thrown the hydrangea away but kept the bucket. Now we could make good use of it.

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I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it again, I do not like to get muck on my fingers. I don’t like them dirty of sticky. Dirt sadly has the little side effect of very often being dirty, which means I don’t do dirt. This in itself means that someone else has to handle the dirt. Luckily my mum has a garden and dirt and came to my rescue. I took the small pot with the plant and the bucket and biked over to my mum’s house. She helped me replant the tomato plant and home we went, me and my plant in the bicykle basket. So today, we had the first of what I hope will be many great times (and tomatoes) together, me and that plant.