MY SWEDISH TEST GARDEN

Sixteen years ago, I moved out of Copenhagen, and acquired my first garden, on a peninsula in the middle of a Danish nature reserve. Ever since that day, I’ve felt the need to get out and work in the garden. It affects me on many levels, and has many different functions, depending entirely on how I feel.

Today, I live in the countryside of southern Sweden, surrounded by nature that is protected by UNESCO. This is where I keep my atelier: a professional kitchen and an office, plus a cold greenhouse, which is an extension of the atelier. Over the past eight years, I have tried to create a garden that does not feel like a ball and chain or a theatre stage, but a source of inspiration that makes me better at everything I spend my time on. It’s a kind of cloister garden, minus the convent, the nuns, and the high protective walls, but full of rare herbs and medicinal plants, plus berries, several types of cabbage, and other fruits and vegetables, especially old heirloom varieties.

I’m greedy when it comes to scent and flavour, and in the greenhouse and surrounding garden, I have a chance to be satiated. There are exotic and mysterious plants, handpicked from all over the world, and every day is like standing in a perfume laboratory, because the top notes are so concentrated. These are fleeting moments and filled with the finest aromatic compounds. The fragrance of fully blooming flowers disappears after just a few hours, unless it’s pinned down in a substance. And the most precious flowers do not give up their innermost secrets easily. This makes working in the kitchen a fascinating business.