The Danish plot is all about trees, but it’s hard to resist flowers, too

Allan Jenkins
·2-min read

It took us years to add flowers at the Danish plot. An aesthetic thing to some extent. It is, after all, a simple piece of land by the sea, surrounding a black wooden beach hut, or summerhouse as they call them. There were already delicate wild hepatica, clumps of cowslip and campion, and carpets of celandine and cow parsley.

We planted a crimson rugosa, an echo of the beach-side banks that colonise this coast. Next, a pale-blushed clambering rose, an old Danish variety.

Lily of the valley, set in clumps by tree roots, is quietly in keeping with the woodland feel

Here is where we mostly plant trees, replenishing the birch and beech, the larch and pine and fir that grow everywhere. Our first flower for its own sake: a shy naturalising species tulip that promptly disappeared for a few years. Next, Henri’s birthday lily of the valley, set in clumps by tree roots, quietly in keeping with a woodland feel to the plot. But then the species tulip showed and spread, and we were lost in admiration. Most years since, we have added to them, though always in small numbers. Sometimes we’re there when they’re at their best. Other times, we simply find the fallen petals.

Our most recent tulip plantings: in late September, pale ‘Coerulea Oculata’ and a more exuberant T acuminata in the longer grass. We also added our first snake’s head fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris from Farmer Gracy) that we dotted though patches of the meadow. These all still in modest amounts.

Then, as we were leaving, Henri’s missing parcel arrived with Sarah Raven border tulips and another tall French mix. I blame lockdown loneliness and the siren call of online shopping.

I suspect we may stop. Though this year I’m trialling overwintering, calendula covered by clear storage boxes. For now, our thoughts turn to a Danish family Christmas and bright spring. A few more scattered flowers by a northern sea.

Allan Jenkins’s Plot 29 (4th Estate, £9.99) is out now. Order it for £8.49 from guardianbookshop.com