Our first day in Iceland we took off on a long drive around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. (I must confess that we still haven't figured out how to pronounce Snaefellsnes, even though we tired to memorize it every time we heard someone say it, so we dubbed it the SniffleSneeze Peninsula. Only when no one was listening...) We collected beautiful pebbles on a rugged beach, climbed the side of a massive crater with a killer view, explored a lava cave, admired a glacier, gazed at vast fields of wildflowers, counted literally dozens of waterfalls (including one hidden in a cliff that we had to hike up to), stood agog at moss-covered lava fields, saw herds of Icelandic horses running free, counted rugged, fluffy sheep by the hundreds, stood at the edge of a lava cliff overlooking a turbulent ocean, explored an unmarked dirt road to the most remote, gorgeous, untouched place I've ever experienced, and pretty much fell completely and madly in love with the whole place. This was all in the first day! Even now, my heart starts to race again and I want to go back immediately, if not sooner. I'm telling you, you must go. Please. Do it. As I told Ramon recently, it's expensive, but worth every single krona. (See just a few pics of these sights HERE)
The next day we decided to decompress for just a bit (whew!) and spend some time in the town that was our home base, Borgarnes. On the way into the local visitor's center, we stumbled upon a nursery, Gleym-mer-ei! It was pretty quiet, being August, so we had the place to ourselves and were able to have a long chat with the owner, Sodis Gudlaugsclottir. I know I spelled that wrong, and forget about pronouncing it... But while the Icelandic language baffles us, botanical Latin never lets us down! Sodis knew a bit of English, and when that broke down, we just started looking at plants together and spouting genera. As you can imagine, Sodis carries a lot of alpine plants for Icelandic gardens, including impressive collections of sedums, dianthus, campanulas, and sempervivums. I fell in love with a couple of gorgeous plants I'd never seen before, both in shades of blue. Sodis also had a large collection of annuals and tropicals for sale. She says that since the economy in Iceland collapsed a few years ago, less people own their land, so they're planting more containers rather than perennials, so she's had to adjust accordingly. But no fear, gardening is alive and well in Iceland!
Sodis sent us home at the end of our visit with a homemade jar of strawberry rhubarb jam (which we ate on toast for breakfast the next day--delicious!) and a request: she's a huge fan of mints, and has a big collection, including orange, chocolate, pineapple, and apple, but she's desperate to find a lemon mint. Anyone know of one? I'd love to send her seeds!
Want to see more of Sodis' nursery? Visit her Facebook page HERE.
And that's just about all I have that's garden-related from our trip. I hope you've enjoyed the tour! Don't forget top send me pics of your garden and your garden travels! Michelle@gardenygoodness.com. Thanks!