You will not believe how long I have waited for this.
Well, if you are familiar with garden seasons, then maybe you do – but guys…I’ve been by to check up on things a few times during the winter, but these crooked fingers of mine have not touched soil since September last year.
And you know I have an addictive nature…!
Not that it really has anything to do with addiction, it’s more likely PASSION. Which again could be and feel like some kind of addiction… fuck it, leave it, you probably already know what I mean anyway.
Today was the first day of the new season, the urban gardening season 2019. There is an indoor gardening season too for me, but due to only east and west facing windows and no balcony or window boxes, it’ll be a month more before that really kicks in.
Today was all about the Urban G at Karolinelund, at gardening community of Aalborg citizens who have dedicated themselves to gardening in a sustainable fashion. The website is in Danish, but if you like to look at pretty flowers and gardening – or just want to know more about how it looks like, you can check out the site here:
If you are really crazy about urban garden communities, why don’t you pop by the Instagram profile for the community: @karolinelundbyhave .
Right now, I am going to take you by the hand and invite you into the kind of days in my life that makes my heart bubbly – basically because I wish I could take you there IRL. I would love the company.
Prepping For the First Day
I decided yesterday that if the weather held, today would be IT. The very first day. A bad night of sleep nearly got the better of me, but then the sun rose, the first cup of coffee got into the system and cats were fed and petted to the extend, where they should be ashamed of themselves. And little by little I got the gear prepped. Haven’t had my garden basket out since September either, and I realised that the packaging for the tulips I planted in the early autumn were still in there (with a bit of flower bulb peelings and dried up soil), so I did a quick clean up and packed the little shovels and the hand cultivator, a flower cutter and my credit card.
You see, last season, I was a fierce smoker and smoking was a pretty big part of my gardening days. So to change the habits and not fall back into old ones, I decided that on my way there, I’d buy a cold coffee at the store nearby Karolinelund Park. Turns out they only had Starbucks Cappucino and Latte (and not some Espresso concoction, I had hoped for) – but hey, it’s caffeine-ish and for a first day in the gardens, it’ll do. Incase you were wondering, I take my coffee black – very black – like quintuple espresso kinda black.
Anywhooo – I got ready, gave each of the cats a hug and went on my way.
There are a few routes I can take to Karolinelund, each taking about 15 minutes in a relatively fast pace, but my favorite takes me through Østre Anlæg (Eastern Park) and the edge of what in Danish is called “øgadekvarteret” (~”island-street-neighbourhood” – called as such because most of the streets are named after islands).
Østre Anlæg – or Oestre Anlaeg – is beautiful and quiet, almost regardless of the time of year. The noise from the traffic disappears, and you hear birds, ducks and seagulls and the wind in the trees – well, summertime around noon, the park is packed, and summer evenings does tend to have picnic grill parties taking place. But if you get there early enough, you do get to enjoy the silence and nature – right here in the middle of the city.
My Favorite Walk to the ‘Urban G’ in Pictures…
Karolinelund – the City Fair Turned People’s Park
When I moved to Aalborg with my ex-wife, Karolinelund was the city fairground, complete with roller coasters, concerts and other rides. I remember when I was working night shifts in the summer at the restaurant my bike ride to work took me straight pass Karolinelund, where my pedalling was accompanied by loud girlish screams from the roller coasters.
Some years back, however, the fairground closed and for a while it was unclear what would happen (we were quite a few that hoped for a financial rescue investment in the fairground). But as crew got in and started to disassemble the rides, it was clear that the days of a city fairground was over.
Karolinelund has turned into a cultural people’s park with an array of facilities like skater ground, beach volley, concert stage and of course – the urban gardens.
You can read about Karolinelund at Visit Aalborgs site here:
It is actually becoming more and more popular. The past season alone I heard a lot of new visitors in the park commenting on the huge changes and how they love the atmosphere in the park. It’s not unusual that people who aren’t in the garden community take a walk along our garden beds and just enjoy the colours, the flower scents and the playful butterflies. Occasionally a few stop and do a bit a small talk, and as you know, it’s not really a strength of mine, communicating with strangers – but somehow it becomes easier, when I’m working simultaneously with something I love.
My mentor last year paid me a visit in the garden one day at our appointments and she was really surpriced at how different my appearance was.
“You seem all together and confident down here”, she said. Which, I must admit, may very well be true.
I took some pictures of how it looks like on a cold, but sunny Saturday morning in February.
Welcome to Aalborg Urban Gardens in Karolinelund Park
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Welcome to My Spot
I had my first season last year (2018) so I pretty much just took over the raised angle bed from the previous owner. The wood was thin and cheap and had started to break, but not severely enough for an emergency fix. This winter has been a bit rough on the wood, so I’m guessing that I will have to do some handywork this autumn – which is kind of intimidating as I am pretty much born with ten thumbs and no means to use either of them! But I hope, after seeing the state of my garden bed today, that sufficient research will help me through. Also, it’s no help that there’s no car to transport the materials, so I will have to get the items one by one when the time comes. And a building supply store is not really within walking distance. So that is going to be tricky.
But I do have dreams….
I’d like to build some pillars, a kind of garden bed skeleton with crossing planks on top, from where I can hang different flowers pots or let cucumbers climbs up on – because I really don’t have enough space for all the things I want to do there. So I have to be creative. One thing I know I’m going to try out this year is rhubarb (I’m crazy about rhubarb), but it takes a lot of space, so I think I’ll have to bring a big container of sorts, to place next to the actual garden bed.
At the end of last season I planted flowers through the middle of the bed, both angles, because I realised that when you work the soil and harvest, it’s kind of hard to reach the middle of the garden bed, without hurting this old back of mine.
Anyone offering massages?? Nah, just kidding.
I discovered today as I was cultivating and turning the soil that one of those flowers, a brave tulip, was peaking through the surface – I decided to give it a slight covering layer of soil, because the frost might still be an issue (and I’d be so sad if it died on me).
The Best Spot in the World – With Sun, Coffee and Dirty Hands
There are a number of things that I love immensely about working the garden. Obviously, when the different crops start emerging, that is so exciting, because will the weather be a factor? Will the sun burn too hard? Will the bugs stay away? How will the flowers turn out?
Last year I had a row of Zinnia (in the daisy family) and I thought it would just be one colour, but it turned out to be a lot of different, beautiful colours and being flanked by a row of bad ass tall sunflowers, my garden bed became quite the view for bypassers.
I’m excited to see how the tulips and the daffodils are going to pan out this year.
Another thing I’m completely mad about is the actual working the soil. I always start off with the gloves on, but end up taking them off to get a better feel with the soil and get a good grip on the weed.
Especially when I prep the indoor garden pots, the smell of the soil as I moist it and blend it with thin gravel in the sink is just – aahhhhh!
The least appreciated task is clearing the weed, though. It just never stops growing and my patience is not always compatible to the task.
Which brings me to fertilizing… Aalborg Urban Garden is a community dedicated to sustainability, so it goes without saying that fertilizer – if used – must be organic. So when I do use it, it is the organic version (that goes for my indoor plants too). But mostly I fertilize the indoors more, because those plants don’t get the benefit of bees and butterflies moving the pollens around, just as the sun isn’t always available and the wind pretty much non-existent. But I keep it to a minimum, because basically – I’m a bit of a garden geek, that just prefers the crops to be as pure as possible.
The reward is of course harvesting your own tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and strawberries. It just tastes so much better and the knowledge of knowing exactly how it has been grown makes the pleasure even greater.
You may be able to spot the strawberry plants in the photos. I didn’t do anything to them today, because the withered leaves might make some kind of shelter, incase we get a bad frost later (as we did in March last year).
I have a drawing of how I want the different plants organised in the garden bed and this year I will do three versions of tomatoes, potatoes, cucumber, carrots, garlic and different herbal spices – and something else I can remember right now (and after two days of running and todays garden task, my limbs are a little too sore to get up and look for the plan.
The tomatoes will be from last year’s harvest.
You see that is another part of sustainability – harvesting the seeds from a years crop and dry it and save it for next years season. And it keeps the costs down a bit. But again – there is a certain kind of pleasure in knowing that you are running on 2nd and 3rd generations of your own seeds.
Or at least there is to this little green garden geek!
Since I only started blogging for real back in October with my Happy October series, I haven’t been talking that much about gardening. And mind you, I won’t be talking about it non-stop throughout the season, because Rocking the Spectrum is first and foremost about mental health awareness. But I will revisit the Urban G, introduce you to the indoor version, revisit the indoors later on – and just do the occasional highlighting of the season. So, if you are not totally garden geek like yours truly, fret not, I will write about other matters too.
I just really wanted to share one of the most special days of the year for me with YOU.
Hope the photos and my words gave you a little insight to the joy.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention…
I catched some dinosaurs on the way too:D
I am working on a post on autism and love, which will probably be a sort of double-issue with a Debunk Session and an Up-close-and-personal session (or something like that) – but maybe, before that happens, I’ll get to talk to you about Star Wars…and graphic novels. It depends on how my mood recovers the next week.
Until then… what ever the topic….
Yeah, you know it…
Luv Ya :-*
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My name is Linda and I set my eyes on the world for the first time back in the summer of 1978.
In 2017, after decades of struggling with various mental issues and illnesses, I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, an autistic spectrum condition. My most dominant co-morbid illnesses are depression and anxiety.
Born in Copenhagen, living several places throughout Denmark in my life, I’m currently settled in Northern Jutland, in the rapidly growing city of Aalborg. Here I worked a handful of years as a manager in high performance environments, until a mental break down in 2017.
Rocking the Spectrum is not a knowledge base on autism per se, but rather a peak behind the scenes, showing the life of someone autistic – in the hopes that it will help conversations and understanding along elsewhere on this blue planet.
I am not a professional health worker and any views and statements must be viewed as personal opinions and experiences only.
My special interests are languages and codes, music, books, urban gardening, animals – and writing is my way of breathing.
Proceed into the blog with caution – I swear a lot. Don’t blame my parents – they HAVE tried to improve my behaviour!