Swedish parents sharing their parenting tips

Bloom where you are planted: Letting your garden take root in Sweden

Are you ready to try your hand at gardening in Sweden? Despite being a cold, northern climate, most flowering perennials and decorative shrubs survive quite well in southern, central and north central Sweden.

If you are starting from scratch there are a few important factors to consider. Probably the most important factor is your own personality. Sound strange? Not really. Although a perennial flowering border in full bloom is a breathtaking sight: it takes a lot of work. Busy parents, people with demanding jobs, or those who are involved in other projects have little time left over to take care of a garden. But, even busy people can have a lovely garden if they design a garden that is relatively carefree. Consider the following garden styles:

The easy-care garden
A garden of small decorative trees and flowering shrubs is a good solution. The flowering shrubs can be chosen to bloom during all seasons: spring, summer, late summer and fall. Many varieties of flowering shrubs produce attractive berries that brighten up the winter garden. And, unlike perennials (flowering plants that live year after year), shrubs do not leave a lot of dried stalks and spent flowers in a garden and subsequently do not require “tidying up” in the spring and fall. Choosing shrub varieties that don’t require pruning will place even less demands on the gardener that is pressed for time. A Japanese-inspired garden that places a few striking plants among rocks and gravel is an easy care garden, especially if thick plastic is placed under the gravel to discourage weeds..

Gardening with children
If you have small children, you will have little time left over for a garden. On the other hand, you can plan simple and fun gardening projects that include your children’s participation. Children love to play in shelters. Help your children build a teepee of thick branches or bamboo, and, then let a fast-growing vine, such as green beans grow over it. It becomes a delightful “secret place” for children. Plant a bed of fast-growing flowers, such as daisies, cornflowers, snap dragons and let your children pick them for bouquets. Let your children make paths of different stones, with whimsical designs.

The garden lover
Are you planning to make your garden a hobby and devote plenty of your spare time to its care? In that case, your garden design can grow in any direction you like, whether it’s a Victorian-inspired “rose walk” full of sweetly scented antique roses, a traditional English perennial border or a trendy “theme” garden. In the last couple of years, ponds, fountains and rushing streams have taken Swedish gardens by storm. But, before you start cutting down trees and ripping up the lawn, it’s always good to keep a few practical guidelines in mind when planning your garden.

Garden planning: sun and soil
The optimal environment for most gardens is a sunny, well-drained location and good soil. During the summer, note which parts of your garden receive sun and which parts are in the shade. There are many varieties of plants that do well in the shade, such as rhododendron, hence the term “shade gardening”. Once you’ve determined the amount of sun your garden receives, your next step is to look at the type of soil you have. In many parts of Sweden, the soil is rich in clay. Properties built on or near glacial hills, åsar, may not have soil at all, but a combination of rocks and sand. Homes in archipelago and coastal areas are often built on massive rock formations, resulting in poor soil and shallow soil depth. Irregardless of the soil type you have in your garden, you will probably need to enhance the soil with the addition of fertilizers, mulch, and various kinds of planting soil depending on the plants you are planning to use in your garden. If you are planning, for example, to place a row of rhododendrons in a shady spot, you will ensure their health and good growth by planting them in a deep bed of rhododendron soil, which can be purchased at any garden center. The same goes for roses.

There is no lack of information about gardening! Gardening resources in the form of books, websites and magazines are boundless. You can also join gardening clubs that feature expert speakers, trips and informational meetings.