Book tip: Sun in a pot

Book tip: Sun in a pot

Mediterranean plants in a pot, by Eva Rönnblom (Ica book publisher).

Eva Rönnblom is one of those amazing people who is genuinely curious and whose curiosity is contagious. For many, many years she has answered questions and written manuals in All about Garden. The subjects have varied and Eva's field of knowledge is very wide.

But there is one thing she is so passionate about and that is Mediterranean plants. I dare say that she knows most of all in all of Sweden about how to grow these heat lovers in our harsh climate. That's why it's extra fun that she's now coming up with a book that shows how everyone can succeed with olives, the pomegranate, caprice (!), the lemon and many more.

As always when Eva writes, it is fact-packed and knowledgeable and you know that you will succeed if you do as she writes.

In the extension of our terrace we have had as an open gate, but with dogs and chickens in the garden there was a need to block this escape route in a simple but nice way. I imagined a dreamy and shy pot plant with the fragrant pea Earl Gray, giant verbena, and flower for the day. I sowed the scented peas on 15/3 cultivation advice that you can read about here. At the beginning of May it was time to plant them out and then I do this:

Immerse the whole pot with the plants in a vessel with water so that they can stand and soak for a while. Then I divide the about 20 plants that have grown in the plastic pot. If the roots are very long and complicated, I cut them off with sharp scissors. It is said that sweet peas have sensitive roots, but I have not noticed that.

At the bottom of my 50-liter pot, I put a sausage of leca balls. I make it by taking a pair of old worn-out tights and filling with leca balls and tying. That way, I can reuse this leca ball sausage for many years to come. I then fill the pot with U-soil, which helps to retain moisture but which also contains good nutrition to give the peas what they need the first time. Since scented peas are wonderful climbing plants, I place a plant support in the bed from the beginning and plant the four scented pea plants, one at each support leg.

It may seem very pitiful just when it is newly planted, but both the giant verbena and the olfactory peas are growing at a furious pace. To make it not look too naked, I supplement with pots of lace hat and pansies. I prefer to plant a variety in each pot because you can then easily change according to season and mood.

The pots at the end of May 2020. Pansies and lace hat give a little flower coloring.

The pots in July. Giant verbs, scented peas and flower for the day have formed a wall!

When growing sweet peas in pots, you must be careful with both watering and fertilizing. I put a handful of pelleted chicken manure in a watering can that I leave nearby and water about once a week. You can also fertilize with other nitrogen-rich fertilizers such as nettle water, but it can smell a lot when you have the watering can standing near the dining area on the terrace. The pelleted chicken manure I buy in sacks smells very little, no one in the family has actually protested against it! Water, the pots like to get a splash both morning and evening.

Even if the pea starts to turn a little yellow in the bark at the bottom, it will continue to bloom well into September! When it gets too high in the pot, I cut off long tendrils of the pea, it responds by flowering even more and more vigorously! I try to pick the flowers completely about every three days to continue to stimulate the plant to form more flowers. The combination of the giant verbena, the scent pea Earl Gray and the flower of the day really became a joy, not only for us humans, but here it was full of both butterflies and hop buzz. Beyond the pots, I placed a low water-filled barrel with a few stones in it for my flying friends to find water up close. Imagine being able to create a small mini-oasis on such a small area that helps to promote biodiversity! These pots are placed in a position with wandering sun, some parts of the day it is completely in the shade and some hour during the day it is full sun. I could probably recommend you with a balcony to do the same as I have done here.

The key to getting a successful cultivation of sweet peas in pots I would like to say is:

A really big pot, with good soil.

Keep an eye on the watering, do not be careless!

Top up with the fertilizer during the season

…and finally! Pick, pick, pick a lot of smells, take in and enjoy in the vase!

Hope you liked this blog post and get the urge to try growing fragrances in pots! You are very welcome to click in "like" below because then I get an indication of what you like to read about and then I will write more about it of course!


Nils Åkerstedt with one of the many roses he has propagated cuttings, the modern discount rose 'Friesia'. The durable weather-resistant flowers have a sweet scent. The specimen in the picture grows in clean sand and is nourished by the Eco Mixture.
Photo: Eva Åkerstedt

It is also possible to put cuttings of potted roses and of the roses you grow outside. If you take the cuttings during the summer when the rose plants have leaves, you proceed in the same way as with the cut roses.
You can also take cuttings from the twigs that are cut off by roses in the spring. Then it is not necessary to carry a plastic bag over the cuttings in the pot, provided that they are showered a few times daily.

When a rose cutting, whether it comes from a cut rose or a uterus, has started to grow after it has been planted in a pot, it should stand bright and in 15-20 degree heat. Then there will be flower buds pretty soon. At best, they can flower 5-6 weeks after the cuttings were planted.
To get a strong rose plant, you should cut it down immediately after the first flower has withered. It should then be cut so that there is only about 10 cm left above the pot.
The rose cuttings that are planted in July and later should not be cut down until next spring.
If you have access to a greenhouse, the roses can stand there after cutting until it is summer. If you do not have a greenhouse, it is good if they are allowed to stand either in really bright windows, out on a balcony or other warm place outdoors during the day. They do not thrive indoors for longer than a couple of months, unless they are allowed to stand in really bright windows and it is not warmer than 20 degrees. A shower 2-3 times a day increases both flowering and longevity.
After just over a month from the cutting, they start to bloom again if they are showered and get good nutrition. Fertilize them with nettle water once a week if they are not planted in Eco Mixture. Another way to add nutrients is to place a couple of centimeters thick layer of stored grass clippings on top of the soil or sand in the pot. First remove 2 - 3 cm of the top soil layer and place on grass clippings and then a thin layer of soil or sand on top of the grass clippings.

Planting - preferably in clean sand
When the risk of frost is over, it is time to put the roses that have been propagated by cuttings early in the year in a flower bed or other suitable place where they can stand and bloom and grow during the summer. Those that are propagated by cuttings during the summer should stand in pots for about two months before they are released.
It is a great advantage for the growth and flowering of rose plants during the summer if they are put in clean sand instead of soil. Remove the pots and lower the plants so that they are slightly deeper than before, and then place 10 cm of grass clippings over the sand between the plants. After a month, a new equally thick layer of grass clippings is added. No other nutrition is needed.
Water and shower all summer so the rose plants thrive well.
After a branch has finished flowering, it is cut off so that there are only two leaves left on the part that has grown after the last pruning. This is continued as long as the plant grows.

Winter roses in the basement
Although the propagated roses that have been planted in flower beds during the summer may still be green and in full bloom, it is time to plan for their wintering.
Regardless of whether they are to spend the winter in basements or buried in the ground, they should be allowed to remain on the growing site until there has been real frost for several nights. Some autumns may take some time before that frost comes. If you pick them up too early before they have matured, a process that is accelerated by the frost, there is a risk that the rose plants will rot in the winter storage area.
If possible, make sure that there is not too much water to the plants now in late autumn, but that they get a little drier on the roots. But if it is sunny and hot, they must not dry completely.
When the leaves start to turn yellow and fall, it's time to pick up the cuttings.
Some varieties can actually cope with the winters outside really well if they are planted in sand. So I have e.g. the variety ‘Egeskov’, (‘Lill Lindfors’) whose propagated seedlings have survived several winters outside despite the fact that it has been about minus 30 degrees. But if you have cuttings of cut roses, you should definitely pick them up for winter storage in a safer place.
If you want to bring in some rose cuttings from time to time during the winter and spring, they should be stored in the basement so that they are easy to access.
If you have several rose plants, it is easiest to shake off the soil from the roots and then put many plants together in a larger bucket or pot and fill with sand between the plants and water.
Fold shoots that have not lost their leaves and are juicy green should be topped so that the softest part is removed.
Even older rose plants that can have difficulty coping with the winters outside should be treated in the same way when they are set in the basement or other cool space.
Depending on how hot and dry the basement is, these roses should be watered occasionally during the winter months. If they are in sand in a vessel with a hole in the bottom, there is no risk of them being damaged even if they are watered a little too much. If, on the other hand, you have put them in peat soil mixed soil, you must be very careful not to suffocate the roots.

Winter roses buried in the ground
If you know that the basement is too warm in winter, it is safer to bury the roses outside in a place where any snow may remain and there is no risk of rainwater in the autumn and meltwater in the spring collecting.
Dig a pit about 50 cm deep and so that the plants can lie horizontally and there is still at least 10 cm between the branches or roots and surrounding soil.
Place a 10-15 cm thick layer of sand in the bottom. Lay down the roses then the remaining leaves and weak shoots are cut off. Also remove the pots from the plants that have grown in pots during the summer.
It should be 15-20 cm from the roses that are at the top up to the ground. Fill with sand so that it is about 10 cm higher than the surrounding ground. Level the sand surface so that it is really flat and then place 5-10 cm thick ground slabs over the entire sand surface. Both the ground plate and the sand should go about 50 cm outside the pit, especially where there is usually some snow in winter.

The hydrangea wants light but does not thrive too warm, and above all not in direct sunlight. In nature, hydrangeas like to grow in the shade. To give the hydrangea extra power to the flowers, you can remove some of the large green leaves.

The best way to overwinter a hydrangea is to either, if you live in the southern parts of Sweden, plant it out in the flowerbed, or to put it in a pot. Just remember that it must be carefully insulated so as not to be frostbitten. The hydrangea is very difficult to overwinter indoors.

The hydrangea should be placed at room temperature and as bright as possible. Keep in mind that it does not thrive in direct sunlight during the flowering period. Ideally, the plant should be kept cool at night.

Hemerocallis ‘Happy Returns’

Product information

Categories: Perennials

Info: Vegetatively propagated

Growing method: Discount, pot. Nice as a cut flower.

Appearance: Yellow flowers. Blooms in May - September.

Size: Height: 30 cm.

Plant position: Thrives in sun-half shade.

Zone (hardness): A

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A dining table that can be made longer for spontaneous dinners on a long summer evening with everyone you like. A lying bench where you can meet the morning sun with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. A resting place in the shade where you can sink down with the whole stack of paperbacks. And snooze away. In other words - make sure you have different furniture islands that suit your different needs.

Bulge up with lots of pillows, cushions and lovely rugs to wrap around you when the temperature drops. Soft details make a big difference to the cosiness factor on the patio.


Once upon a time, many centuries ago, Thengil the Evil went out to the wilderness and sold his soul to the Devil. He became the forefather of the Ice People. For wealth and power, one of his descendants, in every generation, would be cursed to serve the devil and perform evil deeds. Their distinguishing feature would be yellow cat eyes and they would possess magical powers. Some say they will never be free of the curse until they unearth the urn containing the potion that Tengel the Evil used to summon the Devil. It is said one day a child of his blood will be born, gifted with knowledge and wisdom the like of which the world has never known before who will end the family curse. So says the legend but no one knows if it's true.

In the 16th century, a cursed child of the Ice People was born. He tried to turn evil into good, and therefore he was called Thengil the Good. This saga is about his family.

The story begins in Trondheim, Norway in 1581, with the story of Silje Arngrimsdotter, and how she comes into contact with the Ice People, a community of outcasts living in an isolated valley. From there on it follows the Ice People through the centuries, with members of the clan migrating from Norway to Denmark and Sweden. Other members of the clan wind up in or visit various corners of Europe and Asia over the course of the series.

The Ice People are cursed with a terrible forefather, Tengel the Evil, whose actions resulted in at least one cursed individual being born in every generation. The cursed individuals were born with magical and mystical abilities, but also the potential for bottomless evil. The cursed men have yellow eyes, malformed shoulder blades and Mongol features, while the cursed women have yellow eyes, but are otherwise beautiful. Some cursed individuals fight their tendency for evil, whilst others embrace it.

Each book tells a separate story, very often the story of one or a few individuals of the clan. Quite often the protagonist of each book is a female, sometimes of the Ice People, but sometimes one who will marry into the clan. Many of the books also focus on the cursed individuals, their battle with their evil tendencies, and also how they utilize their powers, be it for good or evil.

Throughout the series, the cursed and their helpers steadily increase their efforts to rid the clan of the curse from Tengel the Evil. But the beastly forefather is not dead, he is merely sleeping, awaiting a special signal that will wake him up and allow him to take over the entire world with a reign of terror. Before this signal is played his descendants must find a way to defeat Tengel and rid themselves and the world of his curse. The end battle will require the birth of a very special individual as well as the help of some powerful mythological creatures.

Stage Edit

In 2008 stage productions based upon the first three novels in the Legend of the Ice People premiered, receiving positive reviews from critics. [3]

Television Edit

In 2011 it was announced that a television adaptation of the series was being planned, with an estimated length of 200 episodes. [4]