Friday, 25 March 2011

Wonderful trunk design

Later this year both the Wild Forest and the Foggy Forest will be created in the city park of Laholm. For that purpose I yesterday visited Laholm and my aim this time was to find suitable trunks of old trees to "decorate" the park with. Together with the city gardener Stefan Persson and his staff I went to a local wood artist in Ränneslöv.

The artist's garden appeared to be a gorgeous place on Earth! It was literally crowded with wonderful old logs and other big wooden parts from a wide range of tree species and in different stages ot decay.

Here we later will pick out wood for the construction of a Nature Tower in the Wild Forest and chiefly find big trunks to dig down into the ground or even just drop around in the future forests as dead wooden monuments. Close to the trunks it will be planted climbing plants as Schizophragma, Schisandra and Celastrus.

The dead wood is very important for many different species of insects as discussed earlier on this blog, see Living dead wood from February. The wood will be an appreciated playground for many larvae inside the trunks and of great pleasure for woodpeckers hunting them from the outside.

The artist Anders Ölund and his storage of wood in the small village of Ränneslöv 

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Eventually the spring arrived

Suddenly the weather changed from cold and harsh, grim and gloomy into a wonderful, sunny and delightful spring day with temperatures above even 15 degrees Celsius. Today the spring arrived to Alnarp for real.

All the early spring flowers were just waiting for this holy moment and they started rapidly with no delay to emerge from bulbs and tubers. Some of them were of course already up over the ground before just to look around and they now quickly opened their perianths as fully as possibly.

Leucojum vernum prefers moist sites in semi shade

Eranthis hiemalis is showing all intimate parts they have without any trace of timidity 

Crocus tommasinianus belongs to the earliest in the genus to appear

The Hamamelis cultivars have already been flowering for some time

Saturday, 19 March 2011

The Mediterranean World in Alnarp

Camellia in one of the greenhouses

The students at the course Indoor Garden Design at the University in Alnarp in southern Sweden have three small greenhouses as laboratory units for their studies in plant knowledge and design. As the Mediterranean world has a tremendous amount of interesting and useful plants for city spaces under glass, the students has a huge range of plants to learn about and to chose from for their indoor garden design projects.  

Here the students are making the green plant wall more complete. They are planting Selaginella, Saxifraga stolonifera and other plants in the empty pockets of the wall cover.  Pest control is made by releasing predators in the greenhouses. Checking leaves to identify insects and mites is an important task.

Monday, 14 March 2011

The bloody history of whaling

After the visit at the zoological museum in Oslo I took a train to Sandefjord further west and installed me at the hotel Atlantic.

The hotel showed up to be a virtual museum of whaling as well. Sandefjord is well known as an important town during the whaling age in Norway.

Harpoons and whaling equipment at the hotel Atlantic

The whaling passway between the foajé and the dining room   

Whaling is still there

From 1850 and onwards a big number of whaling ships from Sandefjord were sealing and hunting whales in the Arctic Ocean and along the coast.

The city experienced a tremendously prosperous economical period the next 100 years and in the early 1950's the whale trade reached its climax with a big fleet of factory ships and nearly hundreds of whalers.

Waiting for the right positon for the killing shot

From the mid 1950's whaling was gradually decreasing. At this point the numbers of whales already had been reduced dramatically and the fight against whaling had increased constantly. In the late 1960's the last whaling expedition from Sandefjord occurred.

The whaling monument in Sandefjord

Beside the exhibitions in the hotel there are also a true a whaling museum in Sandefjord and a huge statue called Hvalfangstmonumentet showing whaling in action.

Although killing whales is history in Sandefjord today, whaling still exist in Norway, Iceland and Japan. The rest of the world, including me, wants to see an end of this bloody industry as soon as possible. There are several international organizations you can join in order to support the fight against whaling. Do that! Save the whales for the future!

This evening I spend at Gjennestad gartnerskole and delivered another lecture on the theme Biotope design in your garden for the garden society Staudeklubben Vestfold. It was a very cozy and well arranged meeting with a happy and interested audience. The threatened marine biotopes of the whales we never discussed however.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Biotope design in Norway

Last week I was invited to Norway in order to deliver two lectures about biotope design in parks and gardens. The first evening I visited Blomstevenners klubb in Oslo, a society with members of house & garden owners interested in gardening, flowers and all kind of plants on a rather advanced level. It turned out to be a cozy and amusing evening, with many questions and even a tasty cup of tea afterwards.

The members of the Blomstervenners klubb are gathering and chatting before the lecture

After the lecture we had coffee and tea and a lottery was hold with indoor plants as prizes

The next day I took a short walk from my hotel situated close to the railway station through the central parts of Oslo to the Botanical Garden and the Zoological Museum. This time of the year the garden was covered by a thick layer of snow, but inside the small greenhouses it of course was much warmer.

In the outdoor garden I found a tree with an interesting label on the trunk. It was obvious that it was a maple tree, Acer platanoides, but at the label it instead was written Oxyporus populinus. This is the Latin name of a fungus called mossy maple polypore in English and lönnticka in Swedish. It attacks living trees and particularly maples. According to the benefit of dead wood for the biodiversity in the garden discussed earlier on this blog it is positive to find fungi labeled as well, not only the trees themselves.

The Botanical garden and the Zoological museum are ruled by the University of Oslo

Mossy Maple Polypore, Oxyporus populinus on a Acer platanoides

Selaginella is here representing the Devon era

In the palm house the plants are arranged according to their evolutionary development, with examples from different geological eras. Among others there are species of genus as Equisetum, Dicksonia and Cycas.

The old Victoria waterlily greenhouse

Amorphophallus konjac in the Victoria house

In the zoological museum has several biotopes been created behind glass. All geographical regions of animals are represented, sometimes even with more than one biotope. Of course the show cases are too crowded with animals to look natural, but the displays are well made and also very interesting to watch.