I had to go to town today for some shopping. After a long vacation that I have spent mostly outdoors, being surrounded by noise and crowds was a stressful experience. And it wasn’t even a particularly crowded place, really, only relative to what I’ve become used to. 15 minutes was enough to give me the beginnings of a headache and I hurried home again.

At home I treated myself to some macro therapy.

The gooseberries are almost ripe. Yum.

I love having berry bushes in the garden: gooseberries, strawberries, raspberries… They are perfect. While cherry-picking requires a ladder, with a berry bush even kids can just walk up to them and eat. They require little space and little care.

And the harvest is of manageable size, again unlike cherries and apples. I mean, apples are nice and cherries are delicious, but a whole tree’s worth of cherries is too much for just one household. This year we had an exceptionally large cherry harvest – buckets and buckets full – and despite eating our fill, making chutney, squash and cake, we just couldn’t use them all. Even now weeks after the harvest we are still picking masses of fallen, moldy, bird-pecked fruit every day.

This year’s second major home improvement project – we’re having the house repainted. It was last repainted 12 years ago and is definitely due a fresh coat of paint by now.

The paint has cracked and loosened in some places, creating little pockets moisture. Peeling off that loose paint has exposed the siding boards behind, and there are spots where they are not at all in a good shape. (The crosses mean that these boards will be replaced.)

The parts where the loose paint has fallen off completely are actually in much better shape. Exposure to rain is not a problem; never drying out is.

The result of two weekends of work. Not a particularly impressive sight, right now.

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.

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)

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.