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Monday, August 30, 2010

Daydreaming and Gardening in Swedish

I've been reading books from Sweden lately--The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy and the Wallander series--and watching the movies and BBC TV series adapted from the books and as a result, I'm having serious Sweden fantasies. I would love to travel there, right now, today, but a trip like that would take far more kroner than I have available. So I've been doing the next best thing--visiting garden blogs from Sweden.

I started by checking in at Blotanical.com and surveying the map of garden blogs from Sweden. From the links I found there, I also began to follow blogroll links out to cover a vast network of Swedish garden blogs. There are surprisingly many, considering this is a place with such long winters. But Swedish gardeners seem to make the most of their growing season and perhaps the long days of summer make things grow at hyperspeed. The gardens look lush and vibrant and the settings are charming and quaint.

And yes, there is a language barrier since I speak not a word of Swedish and the blogs are mostly written in their native language (although it seems most Swedes seem to speak at least some English). But great garden pics work in any language. And somehow the gardeners' enthusiasm for their gardens translates as well.

Here are some of the Swedish garden blogs I've been enjoying:
I can tell this is just the beginning of a blog-reading obsession. Not as good as being there in person but pretty enjoyable nonetheless.

Anyone else out there up for a garden tour of Sweden next summer???

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

DIY Vertical Garden Planter

I haven't quite decided how I feel about this new vertical gardening craze. Sure, some of them look great, but I guess I'm still rather skeptical about the long-term viability of them, not to mention the maintenance. But for those of you who love the concept, I just thought I'd pass along a link to a tutorial to make your own wall planters similar to those Woolly Pockets so many decorating magazines are flipping over (note: the decor magazines seem to love them more than the gardening magazines, something else that makes me skeptical). The tutorial uses craft felt and plywood backing and looks easy enough to put together. The felt pockets are attached to the plywood with a staple gun--again, call me a skeptic, but is that really going to be strong enough to handle the weight of potting soil, plants, and water? If anyone out there actually makes these, please let me know how they work out.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Useless Local Garden Trivia: Official Flowers

Did you know that the dahlia is the official flower of San Francisco? The city's Board of Supervisors declared it so on October 4, 1926. And here's something for the bonus round: Mayor Gavin Newsom has declared Saturday to be Dahlia Flower Day.

Does Alameda have an official flower? If it does, I can't find what it is. But I think it should have one. Maybe something that grows well here and loves our sandy soil, but isn't exactly ubiquitous. My vote would be for the Pacific Coast Iris (Iris douglasiana). Any other suggestions?

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bloom Day

And I'm back. Not that I was ever away. But work and other demands temporarily moved blogging off of my to-do list. Some gardening happened in the meanwhile, but not nearly enough. Hopefully, that's about to change.

But today is Bloom Day and instead of posting photos of everything that's blooming, I thought I'd just post the most amazing thing that's blooming:


Yep, sweet peas cut from my garden. In August. All you climate change-deniers out there, 'splain that if you can.


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