News & Views

At Work and At Leisure, Part I: Gardening

1 July 2020

To mark the beginning of July, we are launching our summer series “At Work and at Leisure”. Throughout the summer, our employees will be sharing with you stories about their free-time activities and how they manage to maintain the balance between work and fun.

Communications Manager Heidi will kick off the series by telling you about her dear hobby - gardening.

How did you get into gardening?

Gardening is  actually something that runs in my family – my grandparents established a fine dining restaurant in the 1950s, and my grandfather, who was probably  ahead of his time, wanted to offer locally produced, organic food for the customers. We had quite a wide variety of useful plants in the garden at our summer cottage. During their career, my grandparents travelled abroad quite a lot with their restaurateur colleagues, and at that time there was no restrictions on importing plants, so they brought different seedlings with them to try in their own garden. So, I have basically grown up in the middle of root vegetables, artichokes, brussels sprouts, potatoes, veggies, herbs, lettuces, different beans, and other, sometimes slightly weird experiments. I also earned my very first pocket money by uprooting weeds in the garden at our summer cottage.

What kind of useful plants have you planted in your garden this spring?

Well, because more is more, I actually have two gardens – one at home and one at our summer cottage (luckily, the one at the cottage is also taken care of by my aunt). This year I have planted fava beans, green beans, peas, different kinds of lettuces, chard, zucchini, different herbs, strawberries, sweet pepper, tomato, and potatoes. In addition, I grow raspberries, redcurrant, blackcurrant, and gooseberries in both locations. At home I also have two quite large apple trees.

What are your favourite garden flowers?

My all time favourite flowers are peonies. I have a gorgeous pink Sarah Bernhardt in my garden at the moment, but my dream is to have a peony garden with some rare old species from the 17th or 18th century.

Are your kids excited about gardening as well?

They are always excited to enjoy the end result, i.e. the fresh berries, peas, and veggies, which is of course great. They are also helpful when it is harvesting time – our favourite harvesting task is to peel fava beans, because the pods are quite big and easy to handle, and the inside is so soft, like cotton wool.

What tips would you give to a novice gardening enthusiast?

Gardening is actually very easy – everything can be learnt by trial and error :) Gardening does not necessarily require a yard; a vegetable garden can be set up on the terrace or balcony. My tip would be to start with something that you enjoy. All you need is a pot, soil, and some seeds or seedlings to start growing your own, pure and organic food. It is good to be careful though – gardening is such an engaging hobby that you might become addicted to it and find yourself spending most of your time uprooting, planting, watering, and being amazed by the wonders of plants.

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