Oslo Garden

A blog about gardening in Oslo, Norway


Av små frø blir det store tre – from small seeds big trees grow…. (A Norwegian proverb).

Hi I’m Nicola and I began this blog to chronicle my gardening adventures in Oslo.

I moved here from Southern England with my family in 2012, and up to that time had never experienced such long winters or long summer days. I started out gardening with just a few pots to inject some colour into the garden and as a creative outlet.  Winter came and I held my breath. To my amazement, as spring emerged from under the snow so did new growth on my plants and it spurred me onto growing even more.

As I don’t have a patch of garden to call my own, my main focus is on growing in containers without a greenhouse, using equipment that you can typically find in non-specialist shops. As I’m discovering, there is so much you can do with a small space and in this environment.

I’m interested in the idea of community gardening, making gardening accessible to everybody, and food growing initiatives. I have a background in community environmental work, have studied horticulture with the Royal Horticultural Society and have a Diploma in Garden Design.

If you would like to get into gardening or bring gardening into your community- school, nursery, residents’ committee- then please get in touch! I’d like to help you get started. Or if you are already gardening and have experiences to share, I’d love to hear from you.

Welcome to my blog, and happy gardening wherever you are!


18 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Nicola,

    I’m also from the South of England and enjoy gardening on my south-facing balcony on Fornebu. I grew monster tomato plants last year. I didn’t remove the sideshoots as I had heard that it makes the plant more sturdy. It worked a treat and I was overloaded with tomatoes. I grew Sungold, Gardener’s Delight and Balkonzauber. All were very tasty but Sungold was the best. I used 50% Simonsen kukompost and 50% Simonsen blomsterjord, plus tomato feed once a week. They went a little out of control so this year I will keep them a bit tidier from the start. They were a bit of a pain to get rid of after they stopped producing fruit and I was considering buying a kvistkverner and composter but ended up just taking it all to the recycling plant. Might try composting this year though.

    • Fantastic to hear from you J.T! That’s really interesting, thanks for sharing. I also grew tomatoes (Matina variety) for the first time last year. We had to uproot them in the end as we were going away for høstferie in mid-September but they were still going strong, albeit the fruits weren’t really ripening anymore. I ended up making green tomato chutney from the tomatoes that were left! I’d really like to start composting too but as yet just rely on home-made leaf mould. One day! Keep me posted on how things go for you this year!

  2. Pleased to meet you. I spotted your blog address on the Events list. 🙂

  3. I don’t suppose you are studying at the uni in Ås are you? I’ve been thinking about studying plantevitenskap there but am just in the early stages of consideration. Can you elaborate on what you are studying? I’d be very interested 🙂

    • Hi J.T! I’ve met Linda Jolly from UMB (Norwegian University of Life Sciences) to discuss how school gardening is being approached in Norway. However I’m not too familiar with the courses themselves. I myself began studying the Royal Horticultural Society courses online. It’s been very thorough, giving a foundation in botany and practical horticulture. If you go down a virtual route, I’d really advise supplementing it with as much practical hands-on horticultural experience as possible as this really helps to cement the academic study. Studying in class with the potential of ongoing practical asssigments has an obvious advantage in that respect. Courses do vary enormously and it’s probably best to be clear in your own mind as to whether you’d want a scientific or academic or business course, or one with more emphasis on something more hands-on with plants. Good luck! Keep in touch- I’d be interested to know what you end up doing!

  4. Thank you for following my blog… I’m looking forward to following yours and seeing how plants fare in a place more cold and dark than Scotland! Joanna

  5. Hello Nicola,
    Moving to Norway next year (Drammen) and will have a garden!
    Done a fair amount of vegetable gardening in the UK, including having an allotment, so very interested to know how vegetable growing fairs in a slightly different environment?

    • Hi Jim, thank you for visiting my blog, great to hear from you! Growing here (I presume you are in the UK) differs in a few ways. The growing season tends to be shorter, between May-Oct. However there are longer daylight hours in the summer months, and depending on your garden, you may find you can create a nice sheltered warm microclimate. I’ve been able to grow lovely crops of tomatoes outside. The other main difference is the variety of crops here. Generally speaking I’d say you can find fewer varieties on offer here but it’s by no means limited. Other than that, I’d say growing here really isn’t that much different. Check out my old blog entries to get an idea of just some of the kinds of things I’ve tried growing, and check out the useful links page for general useful information, and links to online plant retailers so you can see the kinds of things that can be sourced. Growing in a different environment throws up new and exciting challenges so I wish you all the best and by all means visit again to update me with your growing adventures!

  6. Hi Nicola, many thanks for your reply. I’m really looking forward to getting “stuck” into the garden as our new house has a reasonable sized plot. The current owners have strawberries, raspberries etc so part of the work, other than the looking after, has already been started.

    Looking to move in during April so it should be an ideal time for preparing and planting.

    I’m sure that it will take a few years of trial or error to get things sorted but its a great challenge.

    Whereabouts are you based?


    • April’s a great time to get here to watch everything begin to unfurl and wake up after winter. Sounds exciting! I’m currently based in Nordstrand (south east Oslo), having moved to this area in August. There are noticeable differences of humidity and temperature between different parts of the city, so it’s worth taking time to observe your garden this year, look out for microclimates, sun patterns etc etc and have fun giving things a go 🙂 Keep in touch!

  7. Hi Nicola, it is very nice to see someone can offer the whole process of gardening. BTW,I am a Chinese student who are now preparing a landscape competition related to Oslo and my focus will be the relationship between extreme freezing weather and ordinary local plants in Oslo,cause the climate in China is so different from your place and I am afraid that I am not familiar enough with botanical garden in Norway which may badly affect my future project. What I really want to do is to build up an ideal public place for local residents as well as to solve some micro climate issues in botanic methods for cities. So I really need some help from local people.Can you give me some tips or methods to get access to the local botanic knowledge in Oslo or some climate effects on your life?I will be so grateful if you can offer some help!
    Thank you so much!

    • Hi Alex, many thanks for your message. Your project sounds really interesting! As a starting point I would recommend the Oslo Botanical Garden as a good resource. Their plant collection is online (https://nhmbgoslo.gardenexplorer.org) so you are able to see at a glance the kinds of plants that are there and can be grown here. Norway has a temperate climate and, by and large, shares many plants with other northern and continental European countries, with additional species you don’t see so much outside of this region. I am not an expert in botany so it’s worth doing some research if you want to see specifics. The main difference is the length of the seasons. The winter can extend from December (with frost or snow flurries in November) to March and the growing season is really only reliably active between May-end of October. Winter temperatures in Oslo can occasionally drop to -20 but daily on average hover between -1 to -6C, sometimes going down to -12. However, the summer days are long and the plants are well adapted to leap into action once the weather starts to warm up in Spring. Summer temperatures are around the early to mid 20’s. Check out my ‘Get Involved’ page for links to the Botanical gardens (find staff via the About tab) and other organisations/websites that might be useful in your research. Fundamentally, as long as you choose hardy plant specimens then there is a lot of scope in terms of landscape design in the city. Good luck and let me know how the competition goes!

      • Thank you so so so much!!!!! I really appreciate that you can reply to my question!!!
        This international competition is really essential for discussing the possibility of “common ground”, which means our goal is to build a better urban environment for the local people to have some place to gather around, relax, or even adjust the microclimate. Before your response, I was really worried cause I have never been to Norway or Europe before so it is hard for me to know more about locals without really get in touch with them. And I was also wondering how can I use your native plants or nature components to solve the problem(maybe some pollution or bad microclimate issues, too cold or not enough sunlight, something like that), which could really disturb the Olso people. And we also want to use some special tec or methods to solve the snow problem in winter, like make the snow into a design material to diversify and enrich the experience of living in Oslo.
        And also I noticed two plans (actually I don’t know whether they are true or not and wish you can tell me a little if you know). One is that the Olso government hopes to recover the population of bees by building some cans on the roofs or streets so they may help in the local crops or botany. Another is less or no parking and using vehicles in the center of the city. Do these proposals can really have an apparent positive effect on your life?
        BTW, I have not decided yet that which issue I should really focus on and I desire to do some change in a good way for local people, maybe a little, which can be quiet meaningful for me. And if you can have some suggestions for my future design or just rise up some confusions of Oslo residents, I will be very appreciated for that because it really means a lot for my future project. BTW, the competition will end on April 25, which means I have a month to prepare for it. Really hope you can give me some suggestions Oslo and I will be very happy to listen to some local people’s voices!!!!
        Thank you again!!! (BTW, please excuse my poor English if I made some wrong expression)

      • In terms of the projects you mention, I’m not familiar with the bee one, and I haven’t looked into the specifics of the car parking proposals. If you are looking for opinion then I’m sure you can find debate online. However, if you can find original research on these topics or talk to those people involved directly with policy then that would be preferable. It will give you a better understanding of the ideas and the reasons behind them. You might find it useful to check out Oslo’s Environmental department webpages: https://www.oslo.kommune.no/politikk-og-administrasjon/miljo-og-klima/. More details of the city’s initiatives and projects are provided in Norwegian and English. Also you might find like-minded landscape architect professionals worth speaking to directly at Oslo’s School of Architecture & Design (https://aho.no/en/landscape-architecture). They may have useful insights into current issues/challenges. My Get Involved page lists most of the local action groups in the city so, depending on your theme, they also may be useful to contact in your research. Good luck!

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