Monday, 28 April 2014

Pointe shoes. Dancing through the garden.

At this moment there is a series on Dutch television about the National Ballet. Appropriately it is called " blood sweat and blisters". After seeing several episodes of that series I hardly dare to write this story. Mind you I have really have an infinite admiration for ballerinas. But here is my story .....

At this moment it is time to deadhead the tulips in my garden. As you will know deadheading means removing the faded flower heads. In a border 5 m wide, filled with hundreds of tulips, it is not an easy job. It is almost impossible not to tread on the existing flowering ones.

Whilst doing so I imagine myself toddling through the border on pointe shoes, gracefully bending over whilst deadheading one tulip after another without – because of these small pointe shoes on my feet - damaging the ones still in bloom. Of course this is all my imagination. The reality is that I “carefully” step into the border on a pair of clumsy boots. How is that for carefully trying to avoid damaging existing flowering tulips?

Pointe shoes. I wonder what those would feel like on your feet? Painfully, says my eldest daughter. Nevertheless, I want to try some. Of course, I do not dare to go to a store and ask. They will probably mock me. Garden Woman wants to fit pointe shoes! So instead, I have ordered them on the Internet and a few days later they arrive by mail.

Of course I cannot wait to try them on immediately. Let me describe the process to you. The front of the shoe is very tough and can hardly be bent. It feels as if your foot is pressed into a tiny flowerpot! Next step, I try to stand on my toes like a real ballerina does. I have to support myself by holding one hand on the kitchen counter and the other on the kitchen table. Painfully? That is an understatement, it is just impossible to describe how much these shoes hurt!

Conclusion: Only in my imagination I can deadhead tulips on pointe shoes. In reality, I will have to stick to my clunky boots!

                                        Info about the garden, click here:

Deadheaded tulips in a basket.

Tulip border.
Pointe shoes. I keep dreaming....


The reality. My work boots.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Apple blossom.

The apple trees in my garden are flowering! How idyllic it would be to write a blog under the blossoming apple trees? However the flowering period of fruit trees is a short one, so I will have to be quick.

I have some old-fashioned varieties, with funny names like ' Red Boskoop' and 'Sweet Hollaers’. Just because I am to lazy to spray them every week, I do not use any pesticides on them. Now and again a caterpillar in the core of your apple, who cares. Meat for free!

I understand that in Japan people will have a party during the blossoming of the cherry trees. I have read this in a book by Bertus Aafjes, a Dutch writer who spend some time in Japan. Japanese families picnicking together under the blossoming cherry trees. Is that not a fantastic initiative?

From that same book I remember how the Japanese divide the flowering period of the cherry trees into three days.
Day 1: the day of the promise.
Day 2: the day of the rapture.
Day 3: Day of remembrance.

How true that is!

I think of these three days every year when the fruit trees are blossoming.

As I look at my two apple trees, the 'Sweet Hollaers‘ is in its day of promise, whilst ' Red Boskoop' is already in its day of rapture. Fortunately, the day of rapture often lasts more than 24 hours!

The pear tree on the street side has already stopped flowering. It blossomed overwhelming last week, but that is only remembrance now.

That's why I try to enjoy this period as much as possible. Before you know it it's over. Over?

Read this classic Japanese haiku*:

Look, apple blossom!
Now we only have to wait
For the apples.

* The haiku is a Japanese form of poetry.


The garden is opened: April 24, 25, 28, 29 and 30. May 1, 2 and 3. from 10.00h- 13.00h.

                                            Info about the garden click here: 

Me, writing under the appeltrees.

Apple 'Sweet Holloars'. The day of promesses.

Apple blossom the day of promesses.

Apple 'Red of boskoop'. The day of rapture.

Apple blossom, the day of rapture.

Pear tree, the day of remembrance.

Cherry blossom in Japan.

Japanese families picnicking together.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

A trip to the Keukenhof.

"Would you like want to go to the Keukenhof this year?" My husband asks me. " Of course !" I replied.

It is about a two hour drive from our home to Keukenhof. ( After we arrived we walked straight to the Historic garden. That is my favourite spot at the Keukenhof. Sitting on the benches against the wall heated by the sun, you can observe the crowd passing through. All kinds of nationalities come by and they all take pictures of the same bed with red tulips in full bloom. This flowerbed looks like a red coloured roiling sea.

The flowerbed looks like a red coloured roiling sea.
After staying a while in the Historic garden, we walk along to the sample gardens. I really do not want to miss these gardens. The so called ‘recycle garden’ was very 'out of the box' so to speak. A sea container sawed in half, is being used as a garden shed. What a super idea. The ‘cooking garden’ also inspired me. A light green colour had been used, which I liked very much. I think I still have a leftover of this colour somewhere too. I will use it to colour my jars. However, the bright green plastic pots that have been used in the same garden, I don not particularly like. Too bright; but they were used in an original way.

A sea container sawed in half, being used as a garden shed.

I like the light green colour, but dislike the bright green one on the right.

We rest a little on a special bench made of straw and listen to the chattering of Russian women who are sitting behind us. What are they talking about?

In front of the mill is a border with pink tulips, hyacinths and blue forget-me-not’s. In case you wonder how they manage to keep all the hyacinths at the Keukenhof so nice and straight; each hyacinth gets an iron stake! Just imagine how many iron stakes you need for a large border ....

Border with pink tulips, hyacinths and forget-me-not. 

All hyacinths gets an iron stake.

The mill at the Keukenhof with a wooden shoe. Believe me we don't wear them!
Because it's such nice weather we do not fancy going inside the pavilions. With one exception though; the orchid pavilion. That is because my brother is exhibiting there his Paphiopedilum orchids. ( ) Just for fun, we count the number of people that take a picture of his orchids in a 5 minute period. We have counted 32 people. Filled with pride I step out of the pavilion. My brother!

In the orchid pavilion. 

The orchids in a white/green colour

I like this color combination very much.
Then we take a look at the area around the large pond. Huge areas of blooming tulips in bright colours. It looks great. I spoke a gardener who is digging up an area of hyacinths. (All with a Iron stake of course). I asked him what they were going to replant. He replied daffodils. From the cooling though, because the visitors to come next there should still be something to see. The show must go on. With a head filled with ideas we return home.

 Huge areas of blooming tulips in bright colours.

A drift of Muscari. Always beautiful. 
Once at home, I take a look in my own garden, which at that moment is glowing in the evening light.

A splinter of the Keukenhof!

In my garden, Tulipa Blue Diamond and Frittelaria persica.

The garden is glowing in the evening light.

The garden is open:
April 24, 25, 28, 29 and 30.
 May 1, 2 and 3
from 10.00h- 13.00

information about the garden click here: