Monday, 31 December 2007

Sunday, 30 December 2007

A year is coming to an end

It is still a dark and lifeless period in the garden. Life is there of course, but it is sleeping deep down in the soil. I was given several garden books for Christmas and spend my days dreaming of the spring garden, the summer garden, the autumn garden. Winter days and winter nights are for garden dreams.
The squirrels are alive and awake all winter though, and they are busy stuffing their soft bodies with the sunflower seeds from the feeder.

I love watching. Both the squirrels and the birds. The St.Francis birds as Rebecca beautifully calls them.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas to all my readers!

I send you my Christmas greetings with this Christmas car filled with gift.
As our tradition is, we decorated our tree yesterday, on "lille julaften" (Little Christmas Eve). We always do this together as a family, using ornaments we have collected through our 28 years of marriage. Most of them are handmade, and the girls find them a bit out of date. This year they had a wish - "Mom, can we decorate the tree with more modern stuff? You are always so old fashioned, sometimes we wonder if you were born before God!"
Now I have been to the Salvation Army's shop and bought 50 shining red baubles, and everyone loves the tree.
We are preparing for breakfast now. For lunch we will have rice porridge with one almond hidden and a gift for the one who finds the almond. Later comes church and home to the traditional Christmas dinner, opening of gifts and dancing around the tree singing the old carols. The day will end with all of us wrapped up in comfort blankets around the fire with new books and cds.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

The darkest day

Yesterday, on the darkest day of the year, I was finally home when it was light enough in the garden for photos. Alot of the snow has melted now, and what is left is transformed to hard ice. But now the sun has turned and we are looking forward to lighter days.

The sun is too low to reach the garden these days, only the top of the pines can see it.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Pages from my book.


- the book will be only in Norwegian (though of course if you all write to IKO (my publisher is the second one), they might think otherwise
- it is my first book- it is hardcover and in full colour print

- it can be ordered from IKOs webshop in a couple of weeks

- the title of the book is "40 dager - fra karneval til oppstandelse" (40 days - from carneval to the rising )

- yes, I have started my second book......more about that later

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Ready to warm us.

The logs are lined up outside the playhouse, ready to give us comfort and warmth. It is the darkest days of the year, dark when I leave for work, dark when I come home again in the afternoons. Gardening these days means reading magazines, books and seed catalogues, and dreaming about days and nights to come. There is not much time for dreams though, it is the most busy time in The Blue Café.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Capability Brown

While the Blue Garden sleeps under a cold blanket of snow, I enjoy reading about other gardens and garden designers. In a Danish Christmas magazine from last year, GARDEN Living, I find an article about Capability Brown, the Bristish garden designer who is said to be responsible from alot of what we today see as the typical English landscape. Lancelot "Capability" Brown was born into a labour family in Northumbria in 1716, he went to school and aged 16 he started as a gardener apprentice. Blenheim Palace is a place where you can see the result of his genius planning of a garden. Anwich Castle is another place. I have never been to Blenheim, but I enjoyed walking in the Anwick park last summer, enjoying the serene beauty.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

St, Barbara's Day

Yesterday, December 4th, was St.Barbara's Day in Germany. I learned about this tradition some years ago though my friend Gabi. Every year on this day she cuts a branch from her forsythia. The branch is placed in water, indoors, and is supposed to bloom on Christmas day. My forsythia is new, from this summer, and still too small to cut any branches. So I decided to cut a small branch from my cherry tree instead. The cherry tree is also still very small, but it gave me one branch :-)
Barbara, the daughter of the rich merchant Dioscuros, grew up in Nikomedia (today's Izmet, Turkey). In order to retain her innocence, Barbara's father locked her up during his absence, in a tower with only two windows. When Dioscuros returned from his journey, he found the third window in the tower. Barbara was baptized by a priest disguised as a physician, and she ordered to make the third window as a symbol of the Holy Trinity.
As it was done against her father's will, Barbara was accused, tortured and condemned to death. A branch of cherry tree had gotten caught in its dress, when she was locked into the dungeon. Barbara watered it with the water from her drinking cup, and on the day of her execution which the angry father had personally made (in the winter of 306), the branch bloomed.. From this comes the "Barbarazweig," the custom of bringing branches into the house on December 4 to bloom on Christmas. In some areas St. Barbara's is also the day to bake
Kletzenbrot (a fruit cake).
The information about St. Barbara Day is taken from here.

Tuesday, 4 December 2007


With all the white snow outdoors, it is also nice at this time of the year to decorate with a little white indoors. Since it is advent all my candles are in purple, so this shining white amaryllis stands out with its own beauty and charm.
I bought the amaryllis bulb a few weeks ago with the idea in my mind that it would be a perfect flower for Christmas. Well, the amaryllis grew too fast for me, and is giving me its charm and scent during advent instead.

I have just been out the garden to feed the birds. We have had a couple of very cold days, so the snow is hard and icy now. It is a difficult period for the birds, so they are eager when I come with the sunflower seeds, though they have to standing in line, waiting, when the squirrels come. I am watching it all from my studio window.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

It is advent, the darkest time of the year, when we try to enlighten the short days with alot of indoor candles. My advent wreath is filled with four purple candles, and the first one was lit a few hours early last night, to celebrate the homecoming of our son, from three years of studies in Australia.
My morning was busy, so it was already dark when I walked out in the deep snow in the garden to cut a few branches from a pine tree to decorate the wreath. Walking in deep soft snow gives me a very special feeling, especially when I know I will soon be indoors and can warm my feet in front of the fire.
Advent reflections will be posted every day untill Christmas in my main blog.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Snowy Erikas

The garden is ready for advent,
though the purple colour of the Erika is hard to see
under the snow cover.

There is an advent party going on

over at

Britt-Arnhild's House in the Woods.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Garden moved indoors

My window sills are perfect places for growing plants during the winter months. Three hyacint bulms have had their first weeks down in a cold room in the basement, and are now moved up into the diningroom. For still one week they will be dressed in green hats, they ¨don't like too much light after their time in a dark basement.

I started to grow them a little late, so I don't think I will have blooming hyacints for Christmas. But January is also a perfect time to fill the house with some sweet, pink fragrance.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Animals in the garden

I have been away for some time, so as soon as it was light enough this morning I was eager to go out into the garden. It has been snowing for a couple of days, but today the sky, though grey, is quite bright. The trees are covered in snow and make my world look like a winter wonderland. The first squirrel of the day was already visiting the feeding area, though he had to search in the snow for sunflower seeds as I hadn't filled the feeders yet.

Hidden by the darkness of the night the deers had been searching the garden high and low for something to eat. The snow make winter a hard season for them. They are eating the last roses which were about to bloom when the snow came, but exept fdrom that they don't seem to destroy much in the garden.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Winter activity

Internet will never take over for real books in my life, neither will emails and blogging comments take over from real letters. The Blue Garden has a blue book where I write down all entries, and glue all photos from The Blue Garden blog. I am behind in the project, but long and dark winter nights are perfect crafting time. With scissors and glue I enjoy looking back on a summer which is now history.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

The lavender will survive.

.....and I have the fragrance in bouquets and small bowls around indoors.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Colour Schemes for the Flower Garden. Booktalk in The Blue Garden - 2

Twice I have visited Gertrude Jekyll's garden on Lindisfarne, the first time in late autumn, the second in early spring. The first time a little too late for the garden to show its best, the second time a little too late. I plan to go back to Lindisfarne next year, and this time in August, and look forward to see what the garden will look like then.
As a gardener and a garden lover I have known about Gertrude Jekyll for years, but it was not untill my Lindisfarne visit this spring that I bought my first book from Gertrude's pen, Colour Schemes for the Flower Garden. And many a summer night was spent out in the Blue Garden reading from this book, learning about how to grow a painting.

The colours of the Blue Garden are covered under a white quilt now, but the dreams of a next year and another colourful painting lives in me, and trough long, dark winter nights Gertrude Jekyll walks with me in my dreams.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Snowy fairyland.

This is what I see from my studio window today. I was out as soon as it was light enough to fill the feeders and to take photos. Now I can enjoy it all from a cosy room of my own.

The smell of a sweet foccaccia in the owen makes my stomack cry, and to make time pass I am working on some felted ornaments for Christmas. Somehow the snow fills me with inspiration. The studio is transformed to an artist's workshop.

Friday, 9 November 2007

everlasting leaves

Before the maple leaves were all gone I saved a few and pressed them.
Now they will be everlasting memories of a colourful autumn.
Some will be made into cards and mailed around the world.

Let me know if you want a card.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Mostly indoors

I miss garden life.
These days I run out in the mornings to feed the birds and squirrels, and that's about all I see of the garden.
Though one morning earlier this week I went to work a little late,
and it was light enough for a few snow shoots.
The autumn decoration outside the play house looks Christmassy
sprinkeled in snow white.

One of the squirrels has been out before me.

The leeks are surviving a little snow
and will keep on giving flavour and vitamins
to Blue Café dinners.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007


When the weather prevents me from garden fun, there is still alot to do indoors. Like potting a few cuttings. I now have two more plants to help survibe the winter. One is a geranium from a plant I bought this spring, the other is a lemon geranium cutting I took Taking cuttings is not stealing, is it.....) from one of the green houses in the botanical garden in Padova.