Utilitarian: “designed to be useful or practical rather than attractive”
This definition describes our flat in Brickebacken rather well, as any would agree who has seen a picture of where we live (have a look at our photos on flickr). However, out the front there is a garden bed, about 1.5 x 5 metres in size, which was, when we moved in, overgrown with weeds. We discovered to our delight, however, that we were entitled, as new tenants, to have it planted out with new flowers, and we were given three garden types to choose from. Visions of warm sunny days with butterflies fluttering around our front verandah led us to choose the “butterfly bed.”
Today, on a typical cold, grey October day, the gardeners arrived to plant, having removed all the weeds a few weeks ago. I was just leaving for my Swedish lesson when they came, so when I cycled home a few hours later I was filled with anticipation. The bare earth had become dotted with an assortment of little seedlings, some looking decidedly withered, even sad, but it is all there – the beginnings. Perhaps it will be Spring before the potential is realized, but it is exciting nevertheless, as our little flat begins to look more like a home, even from the plain, uninteresting exterior.
Only in Sweden, I suspect, would a new garden bed filled with plants be included in the rent. Brickebacken may be thought of as one of the less desirable parts of town to live in, but to me it seems amazingly well oiled, and there are all these unexpected fringe benefits. We will have to take care of the back garden ourselves, and that will probably have to wait till next year, since everything is winding down now as the country prepares for the long dark greyness of winter. And yet even now the grass is still growing…