August 02, 2009

Lazy Sunday

Today the weather was quite nice, and I spent the day pottering away in my workshop, and strolling around the local markets. They usually have quite a good selection of Norwegian mid-century enamel and crockery, and although usually quite pricy, lovely to look at!

I bought a berry picker (is that what it is called in English?) made from a tin can during the war, and a pillow case with beautiful hand stitching. I have now used this as a print pattern on some stoneware hearts I am making as decorations for my brother’s wedding later this month. Not sure how they will come out yet...will keep you posted.

August 01, 2009

Backyard trees

The apartment building that I live in was built in 1924, which means that it is 85 years old this year. It has a fairly large closed-in back yard, at least by inner city standards, and this is one of the real perks of living here.

When the building was new, 4 silver birches and 4 rowan trees were planted in the back yard. Over the last few years they have gotten old and frail, and we have had to cut down 6 of them, the last one this summer. This has left the back yard a bit sad and barren, and we have been looking for suitable trees to replace them with. We wanted a mix of larger and smaller ‘hard working’ trees, trees that would be interresting to look at throughout the seasons, that could cope with the Norwegian climate, that would not give too much shade or cause too many problems for hay fever sufferers… the list got longer and longer as we tried to decide. Last year we planted two beautiful ash trees, but were later told by the city that there is an ash ‘plague’ spreading in this area, so no new ash trees should be planted. This meant that we had to remove them again this year, which was sad for us and even sadder for the trees. But, a few weekends ago we got 16 itsy-bitsy apple trees and a Katsura tree (‘japansk hjertetre’ in Norwegian) planted in, and there is more good stuff to come next summer! Hopefully these first ones will survive the winter, prosper and grow fast!

The Katsura tree is a new one to me, and I’ve been checking the internet to find out more about it. The picture below is taken from Wikipedia. Oviously ours is a mere twig still, compared to this mature one.

And this is what the Kew Gardens site said:

"Its flowers are small and subtle despite being closely related to the more obviously flamboyant magnolia and tulip tree. As if to make up for this oversight the leaves of the tree are, if rather small, spectacular throughout the season. Starting out pink in the spring, the heart-shaped leaves turn to bright green in summer before various shades of yellow, orange and red take over for the autumn, often with several colours overlapping. Interestingly the autumn foliage can smell of burnt brown sugar, or candy floss, which adds to its appeal."

This tree sounds great! Can’t wait for the smell of burnt brown sugar to fill the air!
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