A year in our garden

In March 2004 we moved to Halden, a small town in the far south-eastern part of Norway.
The house we purchased has a spectacular site, situated on the grounds of the old fortress Fredriksten.
From our garden we get a nice view of the side citadels Overberget og GyldenlOslash;ve.
The name of the house is Fjellheim (mountain home), due to its location on top of a small mountain.
Rising behind our house is a much bigger mountain - Stutekollen (Ox mountain).
It was from this mountain the Swedes in 1718, under the command of their king Charles XII, tried to invade Norway. Fortunately they failed, and Charles XII was shot close to our house. His corpse was then carried to their camp in Tistedalen. Our garden is quite large - ca. 850 acres - but consists mainly of rock.
A staircase of 75 steps leads from our house down to the main road.
2004 was a very exciting year, as we did not yet know what the earth would reveal during spring and summer.
We were therefore very cautious about digging in the soil and planting new herbs and flowers.
It appeared that the earth concealed many botanical treasures, and the balanced mixture of wild
and cultivated plants was quite charming.
The very first flower to greet us was this crocus, unfolding in the sunny most spot of our garden
on my birthday the 19th of February.
March arrived with more snow, and covered all growing life. The crocus in February was just an unusual whim of nature. It was not until the end of the month that spring took a firm grip, but again the crocus proved the most hardy,
and were the only flowers daring to make their appearance.
The hot days of early April did wonders with our garden. We could almost watch it moving, and in a very short time, spring flowers displayed their beauty in every corner. Spring had - at last - got a firm grip.

May in Norway is always capricious. That was also the case this year. A hailstorm turned our garden white for a short while, but fortunately no lasting damage was done to the flowers. Our garden is covered with a varied collection of carpeting perennials in white, crimson, yellow and mauve, replacing each other all through the summer months. Rhododendrons , tulips and columbines all reveal their hidden secrets in May.

Our largest flowerbed is dominated by a huge bushy peony. It reveals its magnificent deep red flowers this month. In the slope above a bunch of mauve marguerites appeared. Under our bush of lilacs – by now presenting itself at its very best - anemones had pushed their way through the earth. Upon the white marble columns by the door we had placed two pots with beautiful thriving pansies, and in the staircase urns of colourful geraniums and fuchsia. Now it was really summer!

In July our garden was dominated by delilahs, hibiscus and clematis. The orange American poppies from last summer made their appearance again. About the same time, the large deep red oriental poppies opened up. At the south wall lilac clematis unfolded their marvels. Red and yellow hibiscus thrived in their urns. A really surprising phenomenon were the azaleas, which we painstakingly had watered since Christmas, suddenly awakened from their hibernating state and started a second life in our garden.

August became month of the roses. They unfolded their beauty in bright red and pink clusters. The autumn perennials also emerged in their optimal splendour this month - the pink hollyhocks especially were quite a sight! As for the pansies, it was time for replacement. Colourful chrysanthemums took their place.

Exploding sunflowers, golden showers in abundance, and glimmering spider webs on red bush-berries - that was September in a nut-shell.