Summer is coming

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Lily-of-the-valley

While I visited the little Swedish village of Flen for our international meeting, spring slowly turned into summer.

The early plant species of the season were still in full glory everywhere, but the next generation was already taking their positions. This marks the most diverse flowering period of the year, as both spring and summer flowers were giving the best they had.

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As could be expected, the farmers had noticed the countryside had moved from the starter to the main course. They used the nice sunshine for a first harvest of the hay on the lands. I was surprised this harvest could be so early in the season even this far in the north, but this region in the center of Scandinavia turns out to be highly productive for agriculture.

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For those up early enough in the morning, the meadow salsify (‘morning star’ in Dutch) showed its stunning ritual, slowly revealing its beautiful yellow flower to honour the morning sun.

Still closed at 6:30 in the morning…

… and open at 7:30!

This comfortable sun also brought plenty of insects into motion, like this splendid looking minstrel bug.

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As I realised while I looked with aww at all this natural power during my morning walks before breakfast, my PhD research is also slowly heading from spring right into summer.

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Beautiful pink silene flower

My first plans are almost ready for a harvest, while new and bigger plans are getting into motion. These three days in Sweden were as much a boost for the Swedish vegetation as they were for me. I got the chance to present some of my ongoing projects, as well as strengthening ongoing and future collaborations.

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For once, all the right people where in the right place at the right time, which sparked interesting discussions and launched exiting ideas. I had the chance to meet of some of the heroes of my favourite research papers in real life and – even better – discuss projects with them, a dream for every young scientist.

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So I decided the message of this meeting should be as hopeful as perfect spring weather: the summer of my PhD will be exciting, and the harvest plentiful.

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