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Denmark/Germany 2022 - Part 1


This is the first of my informal illustrated reports on the delayed Society visit and meeting to Denmark and Germany in 2022, postponed twice from 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID pandemic.

A full set of articles by members of the group will be published in the next journal, Clematis International 2023. To those attendees, I hope the wait was worth it, and this set of personal reports will bring back happy memories. To others, perhaps it will encourage you to join us on a future year.

In this first report I will cover our visits on day one of our meeting, Sunday 10th July 2022. If you wish to read the second report, please click Denmark/Germany 2022 - Part 2. For the third report, please click Denmark/Germany 2022 - Part 3. The fourth report can be found at Denmark/Germany 2022 - Part 4.

Introduction

The original idea for a visit and meeting to Denmark came from Ton Hannink around 2018. Ton had several clematis contacts in Denmark and thought it would be good for the Society and for our Danish members to hold a meeting there. In 2019, Fiona and I planned a visit to investigate various gardens and work out a suitable itinerary for a meeting. Unfortunately, Ton said he wasn't able to accompany us on our visit, but he gave us details of his contacts and various suggestions of places we might visit.

Our planning trip went well, if a little hectic as we managed to survey more than twenty potential properties in five days. From our notes and experiences we constructed an itinerary for the meeting and passed it to our chosen travel company, Brightwater.

Everything was looking good and we had a good response to the initial offering, and then, of course, COVID appeared. It was obvious the meeting couldn't take place in 2020, with group meetings banned and travel virtually impossible. We looked again in 2021, but there were still significant restrictions on movement or people, so once again it was deferred for another year.

And so it has eventually taken place. There were not as many attendees as had initially signed up, but nineteen was still a good number, from five countries. We were also pleased to be joined in Denmark by some of our Danish members and on the last day in Germany by two other Society members.

For this meeting, we stayed in the Scandic Aarhus City hotel, Aarhus, Denmark, for 5 nights followed by the Holiday Inn Hamburg, Berliner Tor, in Hamburg, Germany for 2 nights.
Scandic Aarhus City hotel©Ken Woolfenden

Scandic Aarhus City hotel

The allotment garden of Lotte Hansen

For the first visit of the programme, we travelled to the outskirts of Randers and the Gardening Association Vasen allotment gardens. Since many Danish people live in apartments, allotment gardens are very popular. They provide outdoor space for people, to relax, to garden, to enjoy the peace and calm of nature. Lotte Hansen had invited us to look around her allotment garden, and we agreed that it would be best to divide our group into two, half to enjoy her space whilst the other half wandered past the other allotment gardens, looking at how differently they were being used. I was with the second group so my first photos are of the other allotment gardens.
Danish Flag, flying in several gardens©Ken Woolfenden

Danish Flag, flying in several gardens

A typical Danish allotment garden, neat, tidy, with a greenhouse and another building©Ken Woolfenden

A typical Danish allotment garden, neat, tidy, with a greenhouse and another building

Take a book, read a book - the local library!©Ken Woolfenden

"Take a book, read a book" - the local library!

Immaculate lawn and arranged planters©Ken Woolfenden

Immaculate lawn and arranged planters

Number 34 - we were invited in to look around by the very friendly and proud owners.  Apparently they live here during the summer, the house looked spacious and very cosy©Ken Woolfenden Well planted garden with a selection of fruit, vegetables and flowers©Ken Woolfenden

Number 34 - we were invited in to look around by the very friendly and proud owners. Apparently they live here during the summer.
The house looked spacious, very cosy and well appointed with a good kitchen and comfortable living area.
The garden was planted with a selection of fruit, vegetables and flowers (see above and below)

Well planted garden with a selection of fruit, vegetables and flowers©Ken Woolfenden

Finally, it was our turn to visit the allotment garden of Lotte Hansen. It was fascinating to see how different her style was, and also very refreshing. Her garden is definitely for plants, lots and lots of them, for flowers, fruit, vegetables, in fact anything and everything that one can grow, as well as the birds and insects that thrive in these settings. She welcomed us in, telling us to go where ever we wanted. Impressively, Lotte had a list of everything she'd ever planted, so we were able to query any plant we didn't recognize. She lives on the allotment for periods over the summer. She's a great believer in re-use and her greenhouse is a wonderful example of this. Made from old windows, it's a masterpiece of recycling. It was fitted out with a very practical potting bench and numerous storage fittings.

Whilst the other allotment gardens were very neat and tidy, I felt that this one was made by a true plantsperson.
The garden is open - welcome©Ken WoolfendenLotte talking with Fiona©Ken Woolfenden

"The garden is open - welcome", Lotte talking with Fiona

A mass of plants©Ken Woolfenden

A mass of plants

The veranda, it looks very relaxing©Ken Woolfenden

The veranda, it looks very relaxing

Looking past the veranda to the greenhouse©Ken Woolfenden

Looking past the veranda to the greenhouse

Greenhouse constructed from old window frames - a masterpiece of recycling©Ken Woolfenden

Greenhouse constructed from old window frames - a masterpiece of recycling

Well fitted potting bench©Ken Woolfenden

Well fitted potting bench

C. 'Hagley Hybrid'©Fiona Woolfenden

C. 'Hagley Hybrid'

The topiary and sculpture garden of Kirsten and Ingolf Nielsen

The next visit was to the garden of Kirsten and Ingolf Nielsen, only a few minutes away as they also live in Randers. They speak little English, so they were joined by their friend (and fluent English speaker), Birgitte Dennis.

Their garden is a complete contrast to the allotment garden we'd just seen. It is laid out in a formal design, with beds of flowers, shrubs, trees. All through the garden there are stone sculptures, made by Ingolf. Many are of animals, often with a humorous expressions. Ingolf is a very skillful craftsman.

Whilst much of the planting is green foliage, there were a few clematis, but seedheads only.
A large gunnera in the centre of the front lawn greeted us as we entered their garden©Ken Woolfenden

A large gunnera in the centre of the front lawn greeted us as we entered their garden

A first view of their garden©Ken Woolfenden

A first view of their garden

Curved beds cut into an immaculate lawn, very architecturally planted for shape, height, colour and texture©Ken Woolfenden Curved beds cut into an immaculate lawn, very architecturally planted for shape, height, colour and texture©Ken Woolfenden

Curved beds cut into an immaculate lawn, very architecturally planted for shape, height, colour and texture

Beautifully sculptured bird - made by Ingolf©Ken Woolfenden

Beautifully sculptured bird - made by Ingolf

Ingolf's sculptures were all over the garden, like this fun family group©Ken Woolfenden

Ingolf's sculptures were all over the garden, like this fun family group

More curved and sweeping flower beds cut into the lawn©Ken Woolfenden More curved and sweeping flower beds cut into the lawn©Ken Woolfenden

More curved and sweeping flower beds cut into the lawn

A wise old owl surveying the garden©Ken Woolfenden

A wise old owl surveying the garden

Note the wonderful stone pergola pillars - handmade by Ingolf©Ken Woolfenden

Note the wonderful stone pergola pillars - handmade by Ingolf

Left to right - Jeff Jabco, Ingolf Nielsen, Kirsten Nielsen, Birgitte Dennis and Fiona Woolfenden©Ken Woolfenden

Left to right - Jeff Jabco, Ingolf Nielsen, Kirsten Nielsen, Birgitte Dennis and Fiona Woolfenden

Lunch at Laden and Vejrup's Have

In order to maximize our time visiting gardens, we'd opted for a packed lunch today. We'd found a large garden, Laden and Vejrup's Have, which was open to the public and had both benches throughout the garden and also a covered space should we need it. What we hadn't realized was that, as part of our group admission fee, we would be provided with a wonderful selection of Danish open sandwiches, plus beers or soft drinks. It was very tasty.

The garden itself is large with a good variety of plants, planted with similar colours together in discrete flower beds. Trees planted around the perimeter provide a wind break and create a beneficial microclimate. There is also a nursery and a shop with new and used horticultural items.
A tranquil pond in Laden and Vejrup's Have©Ken Woolfenden

A tranquil pond in Laden and Vejrup's Have

Busy flower bed©Ken Woolfenden

Flower bed full of plants

Neat stand of trees©Ken Woolfenden

Neat stand of trees

Bamboo clump, not as well confined to a single clump as a first glance would suggest©Ken Woolfenden

Bamboo clump, not as well confined to a single clump as a first glance would suggest

Hot flower bed©Ken Woolfenden

Hot flower bed

Very busy bees!©Ken Woolfenden

Very busy bees!

The Garden of Jette and Lars Jensen

Jette and Lars Jensen have been growing clematis for many years. However, when Fiona and I visited Denmark in 2019, they were in process of moving house. They'd dug up most of their clematis and stored them at the home of Jette's parents, Margit and Vagn Elgaard, so we weren't exactly sure what their garden would be like. We'd seen some pictures on social media, but in real life, things can be different.

And different they were, but in the best possible way. It seemed incredulous that Jette and Lars had created this garden in the last 12 months or so. It was full of plants, some clematis were very mature specimens, and looked as if they had been here for many years. I think they'd worked very hard to get it ready for us, but it had certainly been worth it.

They gave us a brief introduction to their garden before opening the gate and letting us through. Lars is still a baker by trade, but now he works closer to where they live so he gets more time in the garden than before. This statue was carved by a friend as a birthday present - it is very imposing!

There were lots of clematis in flower including a number of more unusual varieties. We were happy clematarians!
Jette and Lars Jensen welcome us to their garden©Ken Woolfenden

Jette and Lars Jensen welcome us to their garden

Lars Jensen and his baker statue©Ken WoolfendenWelcome to the Clematis Baker©Ken Woolfenden

Lars Jensen and his baker statue - "Welcome to the Clematis Baker"

The garden is looking well established©Ken Woolfenden

The garden is looking well established

Interesting use of steel mesh to provide support for clematis©Ken Woolfenden

Interesting use of steel mesh to provide support for clematis

A fine example of C. 'Evipo112' AYAKO™©Ken Woolfenden

A fine example of C. 'Evipo112' AYAKO

A young bed with clematis over the arch©Ken Woolfenden

A young bed with clematis over the arch

Flower beds in various shapes and sizes©Ken Woolfenden

Flower beds in various shapes and sizes

Seating area made from bits of an old tree©Ken Woolfenden

Seating area made from bits of an old tree

Manfred Westphal Strasse©Ken Woolfenden

"Manfred Westphal Strasse"

Fleming Hansens Alle©Ken Woolfenden

"Fleming Hansens Alle"

The slope of the rear garden allows a good view across the garden©Ken Woolfenden

The slope of the rear garden allows a good view across the garden

Happy Clematarians!©Ken Woolfenden

Happy Clematarians!

If you'd like to continue to read about our meeting and visit to Denmark, including the walking tour of Aarhus and garden visits to De Kreative Have and the garden of Elmer and Lissy Aagesen, please click Denmark/Germany 2022 - Part 2. For the third report, please click Denmark/Germany 2022 - Part 3. The fourth report can be found at Denmark/Germany 2022 - Part 4.


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