Friday, 31 May 2013

Trimming boxhedges.

End of May, early June, s time to trim your boxhedges. Trimming box is quite a job. Especially when you have so many as I have.

I do not cut all boxhedges in one day. I would incur an injury! I folow my schedule. Every day a quarter of the boxgarden. Furthermore, one day for the edges and one day for the topiary balls in the front yard. All the work is done within one week. In August I trim again. After that, the garden looks nice and tight during the
winter months.

All boxhedges are cut with an electric hedge trimmer. (Metabo). I have the smallest they make, that saves weight. I would like an even lighter one, but with the same powerful engine. Metabo designers, please do think about women who have to cut the hedges themselves!

Sharp blades are very important. Therefore I have two trimmers. I use one trimmer only for box, the other for the yew and other hedges. If I need a new hedge trimmer, I always keep the new one for box. With a pen I write on it: "yew" or "box."

Most of the work is cleaning up the pruning. I use a piece of canvas. I lay it neatly under the hedges. After cutting I sweep the leaves from the top of the boxhedge. I roll up the canvas and throw away the waste.

Regularly I am asked whether I cut just with gloomy weather. I do not mind. Sun or cloudy, I just keep on going. I also do not cover with old sheets, to protect against the sun. Clipped boxwood is always discoloring after trimming. That is nature.

And for those who want to see no damaged boxleaves there is only one solution: do not cut it. Then the box remains intact and delicious green.

Ready for trimming.

After trimming, sweep of the boxhedge.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Changing benches.

It started with a comment from my husband. That white bench behind the barn is really comfortable. Following his comment, I thought, why not put the bench on the large terrace for the summer?

I suggested this during supper and immediately the following issue arose. Where do we put the bench that is presently at the terrace? Behind the barn? It will definitely not suit that place. My husband suggested that it should replace the garden statue.

That thought would never have crossed my mind. What a creative solution! A nice place to enjoy the evening sun ...

After we had finished supper we went out to change it all. The bench was well suited in place of the garden statue, at the end of the sight line. The statue had to go. Outside the kitchen door would be a suitable place.

The statue was very heavy so we fetched the wheelbarrow. With all that weight, it appeared to have a flat tire. We inflated the tire and drove the statue to the new location.

Next we put the white bench on the terrace, but it did not look right at all! Far too small and delicate. No better solution than to take the teak wooden tables and wicker chairs of the kitchen terrace. That looked much better. Now the balance was back.

Knackered of all of this madness we fell on the bench.

Conclusion: All furniture is now in a different place. Besides the white bench with which it all started

The statue at the end of the sight line.

Later, the bench instead of the statue
White bench behind the barn

Friday, 17 May 2013

Deadheading tulips.

Every day I walk through the garden with my basket to deadhead the tulips. Because of that, the colour in the border is changing. First the border was pastel pink, after that these tulips were deadheaded,  the border had a different, brighter color. Nice! That is something to take notice of when I order my tulpes next year.

Deadheading tulips is a form of energy saving. By breaking down the flower, the bulb can not waste energy to seed formation. All the power goes to the bulb. I hope this results in a lot of flowers next year.

Deadheading tulips is simple. Keep the tulip in your hand and break it off just below the flower. Please note that all petals are cleared. If the leaves become moldy, that does not benefit the bulb, so I am learned.

Tulip growers deadhead their tulips too. Only this is not done by hand, but with an ingenious machine. No back pain! I can’t help it, but I always think, what a waste. All those beautiful flowers thrown carelessly in the paths.

The most frequently asked question in my garden: what will happen to all your bulbs now?

I leave the bulbs in the ground. The tulips stems are overgrown by perennials. The stems can die unseen. In autumm I plant new bulbs, about 30% to be assured sufficient bloom.

A few more days and then it's all over with those bright colors. I am not sad, soon there is something else to flourish. I have seen  columbines, bearded irises and Alliums emerge. And this morning, buds in the roses. The show must go on!

In the basket, flowerheads.

The border Pink colors

The same spot, brighter colors

Deadheading tulips with an ingenious machine

Deadheading tulips by hand

After the tulips, hundreds of Alliums emerge.


Friday, 10 May 2013

Wild garlic, makes me a softy.

Last week I saw the wild garlic buds appear. Grrr. In the garbage bin with these invasive plants! It may not set seeds.

While I added the wild garlic (Allium ursinum) in the garbage bin, I thought back to a romantic dinner I had with my husband in Budapest several years ago.

The setting. A warm evening in May. In Buda, on top of the mountain, we found a restaurant we liked. The tables were on a centuries-old courtyard. A guitarist was playing "Concierto d'Aranjuez" on his guitar. On the tables were antique plates. That colored beautifully with the gobelin tablecloth. Luckely there was a table free.

We started our supper with an appetizer. On top of the appetizer was a small flower. I ate it and thought: spicy! The Hungarian waiter did not know the name of this spicy flower. He could only tell me that it was a flower from the woods. Well, there are many in the forest.

Back home I started to work in the garden. To my surprise I was face to face with the same flower of the appetizer! It was wild garlic. Because I got only one little flower, I had not recognized it. I took a bite and thought again: spicy! It could not miss.

After all these romantic thoughts I, softy, walked to the garbage bin. I pulled out the wild garlic and put it in a vase. It's actually pretty cute.

My hopes are now pinned on a chef who reads this and wants to help me out with these flowers. They are unsprayed and I have enough for all the appetizers in the Netherlands!

Wild garlic one little flower
Wild garlic flowers
Wild garlic in the vase, pretty cute.