Most of the hedge survived and is even thriving much better than I had expected. The Aronia bushes are full of berries. The Potentilla are blooming, even though they have been on the verge of dropping their leaves, repeatedly. The Mahonias also look to be doing well.

Well, now they’re all in the ground, including the half-dead ones. Although I ended up throwing out about half of the bare-rooted Spireas that looked completely dead, and buying replacements (potted!) from a nearby garden centre at about four times the price.

Meanwhile Adrian and Ingrid built “björkspirea kingdom” from all the black plastic flowerpots, which is why there are pots lying around everywhere in the photos.

I’ve been calling this a hedge but what I have in mind is not a traditional hedge, i.e. a straight line of identical bushes. And definitely not a clipped hedge. This is going to be a mixed flowering hedge, with multiple species, wider in some places and narrower in others. In my mind I have a vision of natural, undulating shapes and lines, and a variety of leaf and flower, texture and colour. Like most of the rest of the garden.

I was aiming for a hedge of medium height, waist-high or a bit more, until I realized that there are regulations about hedges next to street crossings. Which appears rather obvious, now that I think about it. Most people around here seem to ignore the regulations, and there are many places where hedges have me fuming about bad visibility. I will be a good member of society and try not to add to the problem.

We’re limited to a height of 80 cm within 10 metres of the crossing, which, taken strictly, would cover most of the planned hedge except for a few metres nearest the entrance stairs. But I’m going to interpret this limit a bit loosely and dot the hedge with some slightly taller bushes here and there, which might reach a metre in height. Since this won’t be a uniform hedge and there will be gaps between the taller bushes, I’m hoping that they won’t hinder much. And I also have room for a bunch of taller bushes near the entrance.

In no particular order (since they’re mostly mixed up anyway):

  • Spirea cinerea “Grefsheim”
  • Ribes sanguineum “King Edward VII”
  • Weigela florida “Alexandra”
  • Spirea betulifolia “Tor”
  • Potentilla fruticosa “Pink Beauty”
  • Spirea japonica “Froebelii”
  • Mahonia aquifolium “Maqu”
  • Aronia melanocarpa “Hugin”
  • Viburnum bodnantense “Charles Lamont”

This year’s big project around the house and the garden will hopefully be a new retaining wall around the yard.

There is a sort of a wall there now, made of old railway sleepers. It was mostly rotten already in 2008 when we bought this place, and it has of course not grown any better since then. Some of the sleepers have crumbled, others have fallen down. There was a large birch tree (now gone) growing right through the middle of one of the sleepers.

Initially there was a diagonal lattice fence there as well, also rotten and falling to pieces and with sections of it missing. In fact the fence only stretched along two thirds the wall; the rest had probably disintegrated and been removed. We removed the rest of it in 2010 because it was in such bad shape and had large rusty nails sticking out here and there.


Inside the fence there were the beginnings of a hedge of alpine currant, quickly getting smothered by grass. We dug away the grass sward and put in some edging, pruned and fertilized and watered the hedge, and it grew nicely. Then it grew some more and then yet a bit more, and now it is wild, uneven and out of control.

Alpine currant is supposedly suitable for a free-form, unclipped hedge, and that’s what I was hoping to have here. A formal clipped hedge doesn’t fit the style I have in mind for our garden. According to sources, its mature height is supposed to be 100 to 150 cm, which sounded pretty good. But ours has grown way taller and wider than I had imagined, with the most vigorous parts definitely at the top of that range, and more. I guess it likes the conditions here.

Even though we have pruned it several times each season, the hedge is also overgrown and has collapsed in some parts under heavy winter snow, especially those parts that get a lot of sun and grow fast. All in all, it is in a sorry state. We need to cut it down to the ground and start over, pruning it even more often. But I don’t much like that plan: a clipped hedge is not what I want, and I also don’t particularly fancy the idea of being forced to prune the hedge on such a strict schedule or else face a repeat performance.

But now since the wall will get torn down anyway, and trying to build a new wall without damaging the hedge would be difficult and expensive, the decision was easy: the hedge goes. We get to start over and choose new bushes that will cooperate with my plan for a flowering, unclipped hedge, and not grow more than waist high.

I am somewhat annoyed that the previous owners of this garden planted a new hedge behind a rotten, crumbling wall, so obviously near its end of life. All of the work of planting the hedge and caring for it now gets thrown to the compost heap. But replacing the wall is an expensive project (as I am finding out) so I can understand why they did it.





This was mostly a quiet year with no major life changes.


  • The burglary early in January. I lost my favourite necklace that I still miss. As a result of the burglary I also bought a new camera system.




  • My first full year working at tretton37.
  • Cycled to work from April to October, not every day but often enough that I didn’t buy an SL season pass for that half year.

Looking back at previous years in review, it is interesting to see what was memorable then but is ordinary now. Such as daily photography, or going to the gym.

The Ribes (flowering currant) are among the (surprisingly few) failed parts of the new hedge. Two of the three bushes I planted look to be completely dead, with not a single green leaf on them. Some others that at first looked dead (such as a few of the Spireas) have sprouted at least a few puny green leaves after the drought ended, but not these two. I’m very pleased that it ended so well, given the circumstances.

The lawn has been dead for a long while. Now even large trees are being affected by this summer’s drought. This is what several nearby birches look like: the leaves all dead and yellow, even though autumn is still far away.

Our cherry tree is still green but all the leaves are wilting, and the cherries themselves have dried on the tree. The new hedge only survives (mostly) because of diligent watering. The flowers on the deck are dead; I gave up trying to keep them alive.

I decided that this summer the third and last section of the hedge will get planted, come what may. I dug the trench, weeded, spread fresh soil on top and ordered bushes.

And waited.

And waited.

And by the time it was time for us to fly to Austria, I still hadn’t gotten all the bushes, even though I’d left a ten-day margin beyond the estimated delivery date, just in case there were delays. I just wasn’t prepared for delays of this magnitude.

Now we’re back and I’ve also finally received all the bushes I ordered. Some are near death after waiting here for a week, even though I put them in the shade. Some are near death for no visible reason – I’m guessing the garden centre used different suppliers for different species and some were faster than others, so the ones they got early were left lying around somewhere for a week or so, while they waited for the rest. And finally some are near death because I got sold bare-rooted plants instead of potted ones. I thought I was so careful when I double-checked my orders but somehow I still missed this. Who on earth delivers bare-rooted plants in July?!

Luckily I also have some bushes that have not languished without water, and they’re looking strong and green. I also hope that the near-death ones will revive, given time and water. So I’m going to plant them all and hope for the best. But the planting is far from the joyful task I had been looking forward to.

The hedges I planted last year are coming along nicely. A few bushes look like they almost died, but even those are getting new leaves.

Life changes:

  • Changed jobs. Left ReQtest, which had changed beyond recognition during the past year, and joined tretton37 as a consultant.
  • Started playing Pokemon Go. Which is definitely not in the same category as a new job, but it’s something that is a part of my life now that I used to think I’d never do. But Adrian and Ingrid started, I sort of joined half-heartedly and passively, then Eric wanted to see it was all about, which made me start playing “for real” – and here we all are. I have mixed feelings about the game. I like it because it’s something that gets us all out of the house on those gray days. But I also dislike it because it’s such an attention magnet.


  • Learned F#. I undertook this as a mini-project during my first few weeks at tretton37 while I had no client project to work on. It was quite a struggle at first, since I was determined to write “proper”, functional F# rather than following the imperative patterns I am used to. But it got easier with time. I can’t think of a situation where I would choose to use it “for real” but it was interesting to learn.
  • Planted two sections of hedge.

Memorable events: mostly travels.

And two more distant events:

  • The terror attack in central Stockholm in April. Not an event I particularly want to remember, and not one that touched me personally – but a sign of the times.
  • The new commuter train stations in Stockholm. A mundane change that I am nevertheless reminded of daily.

The hedge hasn’t lost its leaves yet and is in fact still green. You’d hardly believe it’s December. Except that the sun is so low that even at midday it doesn’t even clear the neighbours’ house.

There’s a brief time window in the morning – maybe 5 or 10 minutes – when we get sunlight in the living room, and another in the afternoon around half past one when the sun sneaks in between the neighbours’ house and a pine tree. And a short while later, when the sun gets to the other side of that pine, the edge of the garden gets a moment of slanting sunlight.