Ever wondered just what the grounds of the U.S. Ambassador’s residence look like? What curiosities, quiet leafy corners, ancient statuary, or hypnotic fountains adorn the space around the grand old building? Join us as we take you on a virtual tour, brought to you in quarterly – seasonal – installments, and wonder no longer! Did you know the residence garden dates to the 18th century and was completely renewed in 2017? The geranium collection is considered one of the best in Bern with many unique varieties, and the garden is home to one of the oldest baroque style grottos in central Switzerland. That’s not all: the grotto features a natural spring. Foxes, badgers, owls, mice crows, feral bees, butterflies, and ducks all call the garden home and thanks to the tireless work of the residence gardener, the space earned Switzerland’s ProSpecieRara Gütesiegelbetrieb in 2020. It’s a special place, to say the least!
Resplendent in spring and summer, peacefully subdued in Autumn, and serenely tranquil in winter, the garden is maintained year-round by an expert gardener, who works daily to care for and nurture this magnificent oasis. On a clear day, with the alps in full view, there is no more striking view or peaceful setting in Bern. Join us quarterly, as our gardener takes us through his garden universe and along the way provides us with tips and tricks about gardening in the four seasons useful for our own yard and balcony sanctuaries.
2020 Autumn in the garden: The perfect moment to propagate flowers
Summer begins in October. No we don’t mean on the calendar, but in October preparations for the next garden season begin. In the yearly life cycle of a garden the end is often also the beginning. In autumn, summer flowers wilt and flower beds are ready to be cleaned up. This is the perfect time of the year to propagate flowers for the following summer. Like geraniums – or more precisely the pelargoniums found in window boxes and garden pots all over Bern, including in the U.S. Ambassador’s residence. Here’s a handy tip; leafy and colorful geraniums, like Mrs. Pollocks, are easy to care for and serve as wonderful ornaments when not flowering. Now in autumn the geraniums can be wintered in a bright and cool place in indoors. When cut back, many head cuttings are produced, with which geraniums can be further propagated. However, these young plants need a little more heat and sunlight than their heartier parents and love to be placed on a windowsill or even better in a greenhouse. Water the geraniums sparingly during the wintering period, otherwise there is a risk of root rot. Another tip: there are also pretty, colorful varieties of scented geraniums, such as Lady Plymouth, which was first bred way back in the 19th century. Her lemony scent is one of the best natural anti-mosquito remedies out there! Yes indeed, next summer starts now in October.
2021 Winter in the garden: The Color of Winter
Winter is said to be gray and dreary. However, I do not see it that way. Because, when I walk through the garden with my eyes open, I discover an entire rainbow of colors. Like the bright yellow bitter oranges, the red berries of the barberries, the holly, or the rose’s colorful rose hips. The purple berries of the beautyberry and the white fruits of the snowberry shine especially beautifully, both of which are a perfect match for winter. But, the garden is not only decorated by colorful berries and fruits, flowers are also found in the icy cold. For example, christmas roses, which bloom from green, to white, to purple, the arrowwood with its pink bells or the heather, alive in its many colors. And there are the evergreen plants, whose lustrous greens seem to stand in defiance of the winter cold. The ivy presents itself in green, the lavender or the myrtle spurge prefer silver while the emerald gaiety glows purple. And who can miss the tatarian dogwood, it has no fruit, flower or leaves in winter, but makes up for this with its bright red bark. I would like to invite everyone to go out into the winter garden, because winter is not gray, it just wants to be discovered.