Friday, 8 October 2010

C is for Cactus - Mrs. Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday-Round 2 - C

Photo Copyright Christina Wigren

Today is Friday and high time to link to Mrs. Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday, Round 2, before the link is closed!!! This week we are looking at words that start with the letter C. My C-word is Cactus. As you can see in the very first picture, I am going to show you lots and lots of small and some larger cactus-plants, in an outside park. How is this possible?

Photo Copyright Christina Wigren

Where are we? Could it be true that my ship came in and we have taken a trip to some southern location? Spain? Arizona perhaps? No, dear friends, we have not even left our home town, Norrkoping. These cacti are planted temporarily in an outside park in Norrkoping, Sweden. (These shots were taken August 7th. When I post these photos, it is October 8th, and all of the cactus plants here have been moved inside to a special green house for the winter.)

Photo Copyright Christina Wigren

Here are Erik and Elisabet to prove it. We are not on a trip to some far off land. We have just taken a walk. (I walked. Erik rode his scooter and Elisabet sat in the stroller when she felt tired of walking.) We took a walk to the Carl Johan Park, not far from the railway station (in case you make a short trip to Norrkoping, sometime between July and September, and only have time to see this amazing tourist attraction.) Each year the Municipality of Norrkoping lets the town gardeners make a special picture made up of different cactus plants for different jubillees. (The designer is this case is Jana Douda.)

Photo Copyright Christina Wigren

This year an image of the town hall was made to commemorate the fact that it was built 100 years ago. See the image of the town hall rendered in cacti?
I was fortunate enough to able to meet Jana Douda, from the city of Norrkopimg's park service, who has designed the different commerative catus garden-images for many years and is going into retirement next week! Thanks to Jana Douda who gave me a copy of Stig Hellerstrom's book, Kaktusgruppen i Norrkoping (Norrkoping 1996), I was able to find out more about the history of this practice of decorating with cacti to make a garden-image to commemorate something worth celebrating by 'painting with plants.'

Photo Copyright Christina Wigren

Where do all the cactus plants come from and how did they get so far north? (Norrkoping is on approximately the same latitude as Canada or even Alaska.) Seeds and bulbs have been purchased in Great Britain and Germany, where there is also a great interest for cactus-gardens.

Photo Copyright Christina Wigren

We are standing in the same park, Carl Johan Park, that I featured for the French Obsession. We have our backs to the statue, when looking at the cactus-garden.)

The statue of the king, Karl XV Johan, was erected 1846 and is the first site of a planted garden of summer flowers that later became a cactus garden.

Photo Copyright Christina Wigren

In 1908 a builder, Mr Anders Carlsson, donated a large number of cactus plants that he had been given by a sea captain from his travells around the world.

Photo Copyright Christina Wigren

Mr Carlsson's wife did not like dusting around these sharp plants. Stig Hillerstrom does not say this in his book, but it seems that Mrs Carlsson gave her husband a choice, an ultimatum.

Photo Copyright Christina Wigren

And luckily for Norrkoping, he chose her and let the prickly plants go.

Photo Copyright Christina Wigren

Using cactus plants for these outdoor decorations, has an advantage over greener plants that must be weeded, watered and trimmed. The cactus-garden needs only some weeding.

Photo Copyright Christina Wigren

They don't change during the short time that they are on display in the park. It's only if the plants are physically damaged or removed that the garden has to be repaired. Sadly, it has happened that some plants have been stolen. This is why there is an iron fence around the cactus-garden.

Photo Copyright Christina Wigren

Elisabet and Erik have been good sports and let me take pictures.

Photo Copyright Christina Wigren

They are tired and want to go home. But we are happy to have shown you this yearly practice of making a cactus-garden to commemorate something here in Norrkoping. After all these years, it has become a tradition.
(The photo below was taking from a crane! It is not my photo. To see more from Norrkoping please visit the municipal site.)

Photo Copyright Norrkopings Kommun

Best wishes,

To visit other posts about the letter C, please go to this site.

Jenny Matlock


Rachele said...

Who knew that cacti could be so pretty? What an amazing job they've done of arranging the different types. Looks like a fun and interesting walk. I bet the kids enjoyed it too.

Tracy said...

What an amazing display I love the last one is it an agave

Pondside said...

Once again, the best thing about blogging is the opportunity it gives to learn things that would never have crossed ones mind. That was so interesting! I also had a peek back at the posts I'd missed since last week - I think I'm going to have to follow so that I don't miss more.

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

I didn't realize cactus was so charming? The ones around my house are just prickly!

Judie said...

I live in Arizona, so I see cactus every day--never as beautifully presented as yours, though!

mub said...

I love the gorgeous display they've created with the cacti!

Ann said...

What a fabulous garden. I love how they can "paint" with plants. Your photos are all so beautiful, I imagine that must have really spectacular to see.

Splendid Little Stars said...

Amazing! Awesome! Fabulous! What wonderful photos! What a cool garden--as Ann above said--painted with plants. Fun to see your children playing among the cacti!

Brenda said...

This is great. We live in Michigan but I do have some cacti n my house. I enjoy them more than my other house plants because I do not have to worry about not watering soon enough.

EastCoastLife said...

C is for cool! I'm amazed how beautiful a cactus garden can be. I'm going to try making one.

Lourie said...

Wow! Not just cacti, but art as well! And your kids are so beautiful!

Grampy said...

The prettiest flowers in the garden are your children. They are gorgeous. What a great idea of having a cactus garden in a cold climate.Also a lot of work making the garden and keeping up with the cactus.I would love to see it.

Jenny said...

I cannot even imagine planting and then unplanting a cactus garden...

The layout of the gardens are really lovely but the loveliest of all are these precious children.

Thanks for sharing this lovely stop on our journey through Alphabe-Thursday.

You made me smile!


Anonymous said...

This was absolutely fascinating. It's amazing how detailed and beautiful their cactus designs are.


WillOaks Studio said...

Truly an amazing and one of a kind sort of project! The plantings are so beautiful and that's fascinating that those "pictures" change every year! But planting with cacti can be quite painful...I've done you have some very brave gardeners there for sure!! Nice to see the children!

Annesphamily said...

Fascinating! I really did enjoy this post today. I am still catching up. Anne

Tina said...

wow that layout is fab. what a refreshing change from a usual flower arrangement. Love cactus'!

Tina from Mummy Diaries

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