When living in Connecticut, my sons and I had a place in our backyard that we called “The Oasis”. It was a lovely little area nestled in a back corner of our yard among the apple trees and blooming perennials. There was a red bud tree, raspberries, daffodils, iris, paper whites, and gladiolas. An old stone wall ran along the side of the oasis and that was where the chipmunks lived and played. We had a glass top table and some chairs for lounging.
When the weather was seasonable, I would take my morning coffee and stay in my oasis until well after dark. It was here where I did nearly all my work and writing during the summer. When it became hard to find our way across the yard at night, we put solar lighting on the pathway.
In the oasis, I could sit and watch the rhythm of the day. There were birds of all types. Yellow, red, blue, orange. I watched them as they grew active at certain times of the day, and later I would notice when they returned to their nests and the sky and trees became quiet. There were bunnies, deer, foxes and butterflies. I have many wonderful memories of the oasis with family and friends. I miss it dearly.
Now as a city girl, my world has become concrete and cobblestoned. The birds I see most frequently are magpies and seagulls. But … we have a balcony. Balcony culture in Göteborg is resplendent. And, it is on our balcony that my fella and I are creating an oasis of our own.
As gifts to me, he has brought me lemon trees, olive trees, lavender, and begonias. There is a rapidly growing coffee plant, a jade tree, two or three chili plants, a tomato plant, and some aloe vera. We add more plants every week. Some we started from seed. It’s getting awful crowded and very green out there these days.
While I don’t sit in our new oasis from morning until night, I do enjoy a good amount of time out there. I am always accompanied by our two cats who love nothing more than to lie about napping in the sunshine. The long days of summer mean we don’t need any additional lighting, but my guy aligned three little solar lights along the rail of the balcony. It’s nice at about 1am when the sun is down … Those little lights create shadows and highlight darkened green leaves.
My first two summers in Sweden, I had a great deal of difficulty caring for foliage. Every gorgeous plant which the man bought for me I killed within weeks. This horticultural failure caused me much distress and I wrote about that experience in an essay called “Death to my Plants”. There was just something about the Swedish horticultural process that I wasn’t understanding. At the time, I wrote that maybe when I was able to create a lush green oasis in Sweden, it might just be a sign that I had finally made Gothenburg my home.
I am happy to share with you some photos of our greenery.
Writer/photographer Lisa Mikulski. Available for print or online publications and business in the Nordic region, Europe, and the U.S. Editorial, features, marketing copy, and public relations. Contact me here or at lisa @ 2sweden4love.com