Ingrid and four of her friends made a cake for a cake contest at school. The design was an overload of cute: a panda, a rainbow and flowers.

To me the whole project seemed to mostly consist of loud arguments, but they seemed to enjoy it. Afterwards the kitchen looked like a tornado had torn through it. Every time they needed a bowl or a spoon, they took a new one. Cleaning up as you go was not a part of their process.

This Monday Eric, Ingrid and I saw Alice in Wonderland, a ballet at Kungliga Operan.

This ballet was originally created for and by the Royal Opera House in London and has now been exported wholesale to Stockholm, with the original choreography by Christopher Wheeldon, scenography, and everything else.

The performance was spectacular and wonderfully crazy, quite befitting Alice’s crazy adventures.

The costumes and scenography were fanciful and colourful, yet also stylish. I loved the ingeniously designed Cheshire cat – a giant cat of disconnected parts moved around by invisible dancers in black costumes. The fabulously choleric and bloodthirsty, blood-red queen was also memorable.

Alice herself was almost pale in comparison to the rest of the characters. But so she is in the book: she is an observer, pulled in to the craziness against her own will, rather than participating whole-heartedly.

I was a bit sceptical initially to the idea of making a ballet of Alice in Wonderland. So much of the book is about word-play and nonsensical use of language – how can you possibly translate that into dance? Surprisingly well, for the most part. A tap-dancing Mad Hatter in the middle of a ballet was nonsensical enough; a whirling and almost overwhelming dance of flowers was another.

The decorations of course played a major role in making the book’s crazy dream world real. The Cheshire cat was one clever solution; using projected video sequences for Alice’s falling through the tunnel and for her growing and shrinking was another.

I am no connaisseur of classical music so I cannot say much about the score, other than that I liked it, and that it fit the ballet perfectly.

It was a long time since I read the actual book and my recall of the plot is mostly based on the Disney version, of which I feel rather ashamed. I had no recollection of the scenes from the book that didn’t make it into the movie – the one with the Duchess and the Cook and the Pig Baby for example, which was wonderfully over-the-top and grotesque on scene.

I had also forgotten that the trial in the end of the story is about a case of stolen jam tarts. In this ballet version the plot line of a Knave of Hearts stealing jam tarts is extended into the real world at the very beginning of the story, before Alice goes down the rabbit hole. A gardener’s boy is accused of stealing a jam tart (while in fact it was given to him by Alice). And to complicate things further, Alice is in love with that boy, so we get a whole extra plot thread of young love. Rather unnecessary in my opinion, because it really doesn’t contribute to the larger picture, other than giving the two a chance to perform some quite romantic but boring but love duets.

But that’s a minor quibble; overall it was a wonderful performance that I really enjoyed.

The raspberry project continues. Yesterday I bought soil; today Adrian and I went shopping for raspberry bushes at Ulriksdal garden centre. I had two varieties in mind; unfortunately the garden centre had run out of one so we came home with only two bushes. (We got ‘Preussen’ but not ‘Mormorshallon’, “granny’s raspberries”.)

In the afternoon I prepared the planting boxes. With the other boxes it was a bit of a rush job – cheap geotextile in the bottom, in with the soil, done. This time I’m doing it thoroughly, both to keep the raspberries contained and to keep the weeds out: stronger geotextile, all the way up along the sides, stapled to the box.

We are really struggling with weeds in the strawberry boxes. There is one particular kind that is almost impossible to get rid of, once it takes hold: it spreads quickly by rhizome, and the rhizomes break so easily that it’s impossible to get them out. One of these year’s we’ll probably start over with those boxes: empty them completely, put in stronger geotextile and fill them up with fresh, clean soil.

We’re shopping for new rubber boots for Adrian. The old ones were green and had little dogs on them and Adrian liked them in all ways, except they had huge cracks in them and holes in the sole.

He also has another pair, or rather, we have another pair in his size, but those are pink (because they used to be Ingrid’s) and while he can wear them when there is no other option, he doesn’t really accept them as his boots.

One could argue that that’s a waste of a perfectly usable pair of boots… but I imagine myself being forced to wear boots that I consider tasteless and ugly, and I sympathize with him. Besides, the other pair doesn’t really go to waste – it is good to have two pairs of rubber boots so one can stay more or less permanently at his preschool (or school, from autumn).

The wall is finished and looks great. It looks nude, though: it definitely needs a new hedge. But first I need to make up my mind about what hedge to plant.

(Some background and history)

The kids and I took the bus to Vällingby after school to get vaccinated against TBE. (The third shot for Ingrid and me, the first for Adrian.) Both kids were surprised when the injection turned out to not hurt at all, and for the first time ever Ingrid is not anxious about her next injection.

I’ve seen information campaigns about TBE for years but somehow it never seemed very urgent. The risk seemed small and remote. After Ingrid’s experience with Lyme disease, getting us vaccinated felt a lot more urgent and important.

I so love seeing my plants grow, and I am so pleased with the two perennial beds that I have planted. Must make more.

The seasonal growth is the most immediately pleasing part: seeing the tiny green shoots emerge and then grow taller and stronger, and unfold into leaves.

But there is also the slower growth from one season to the next. The Epimedium was rather disappointing in its first year, more robust in the second, and quite eye-catching in this, its third year. The hostas I planted last summer look to produce 5 or 6 shoots; the ones from 2014 are already twice the size.

Hostas planted last year

Hostas planted two years ago

Some plants waste no time. Galium odoratum is already doing its job as ground cover even though I only planted it last year. And Carex morrowii is spreading like there’s no tomorrow – I’m already yanking out daughter plants where they are spreading too far from the mother and invading areas where I want other things to grow.

The only plants that currently look hopeless are the Lamiums. Some didn’t come up at all so I suspect they are simply dead; others look puny and near death. But who knows – they might just need a bit of time like the Epimediums.

We’re preparing planting boxes for raspberry bushes.

We have an apple tree and a cherry tree; a gooseberry bush and strawberries and rhubarb. Raspberries are a favourite that we don’t yet have, so they are on this year’s list of prioritized gardening projects.