Monday, 31 August 2015

An ode to my pear tree.

"There is a pear in front of my window," I used to sing. My two daughters immediately shouted in unison: "Grandma song!!!"

What is a Grandma song you might ask?
A It is a Dutch song, so it is boring.
B It is an old-fashioned song, so it is bad.

My daughters do not live under the same roof anymore, so I sing (without comment) in spring and autumn this “Grandma song”. I like my pear tree very much. I love its rough bark trunk, its erratic winter silhouette, the snow-white blossom in spring and the fruit in autumn. I think its enough reason to be singing about this tree.

The pear tree song is so old that it is not even at lyrics on Internet. Fortunately, I know it by heart. Also a feature of Grandma songs: You never forget the text!

A part from the song of Jaap Fisher, roughly translated:

There is a pear in front of my window
Pyrus communis is his full name
But I always call him pear
This is how our relationship is build

There is a cat walking past my window
Felix manipulata domestica is his full name
But I always call him cat
Because he wants that and therefor you do so

And every year when spring comes
My pear is so closed and my cat is gone
Why I miss them
I notice when it is spring

Then I stand in front of the open window
And watch my pear long and silently
Until he says blushing through his blossom
Probably about three weeks
I get little pears and I do not know from whom
Do you think I am very bad?

An ode to my shy innocent pear. Although he did not know who visited him this spring, at this moment the tree is loaded with fruit! Soon I will harvest the pears.

I hope I do not bother you all too much with this old song. But tonight I expect a phone call from my daughters:


The pear tree in front of my house.

I like the rough bast.

Beautiful pears. Doyenne du comice

The tree in full glory.

The tree again, in spring.


The little pot is to give insects a sheltered place. So they can hunt for "the bad guys"

Monday, 24 August 2015

Italy. About houses an gardens.

Whilst on vacation in Italy we visited the garden of Villa Garzoni. It is a garden build in1652. It immediately struck me that the symmetrical garden is not situated in connection with the house.

The first thing we saw entering the garden is a large box parterre planted with annuals. There are also two large circular ponds. In one of them lotus flower and the Victoria water lily (Victoria amazonica) grow. I'm a huge fan of these two water plants, so I am already over the moon!

The garden is on a steep hill, so up we go. The view is amazing. In the garden we discover many statues and some exceptional mosaics. At the top of the hill is a statue of an angel the size of a house. The angel spews out water.

"And, are you inspired?" my husband asks me at the top of the hill. "No, but all the time I am thinking about Le Nôtre.” (Le Nôtre was a French garden designer in the period of Louis XIV)

I tell my husband a bit of garden history:

Fouquet, the minister of finance in that time, asked Le Nôtre to design him a garden. Le Nôtre was the first garden designer who centred the symmetrical garden in front of the – also symmetrical - house. In that day it was something totally new. It gave the house and garden a magnificent perspective.

After the garden was finished Fouquet organized a big party to show off his garden. He also invited King Louis XIV ......

About what happened after that party night, several stories are being told. Did Louis XIV turn purple of envy? Or were large amounts of money from the Treasury used for the garden?

Anyway, after the party, the minister was thrown into prison and Le Nôtre was asked to design a garden for Louis XIV. And it had to be much larger than the garden of Fouquet, Louis specifically ordered! The famous palace gardens of Versailles were the result. This became the new garden trend.

And how did it end for Fouquet, the minister of finance?

Poor Fouquet. Despite several appeals for clemency, he was never released from prison!

Overview of the garden.

Box hedges with perennials.

In one of the ponds, Lotus......

........and the huge Victoria waterlily.

It will flower soon. Fainted flower on the right.

Beautiful mosaic. 

Close up, mosaic.

They also used glass in the mosaic.

The view from a parterre upstairs.

Grotto with statues. Even on a -very- hot day it is cool inside.

Large statues on top of the hill.

Look at the size of that statue!

From this side it looks not large at all. 

A bamboe garden that scares me...

How to contain a bamboe garden with stems like that?

I pondered to see the villa on top of the garden...

The garden of Fouquet. (Vaux de Vicomte)

Finally, Versailles. Even the road is part of the garden design.

Monday, 17 August 2015


On holiday. 
Next week I will be back with a new story.

Arrivederci ciao!

Colour ful kites

Breakfast on the beach.

Fantastic beach house

A little shell.

Old houses.

Pine tree....

It changes into orange in the evening light.

A bizar "sand castle".

And sleeping..

In the romantic room of La Villa Katz

Monday, 10 August 2015

Ground elder. What to do with it?

 Beautiful flowers don’t you think? Pretty, but it is the biggest enemy of every gardener! As I looked behind the fence with the neighbour’s garden l saw ground elder was flowering. I was shocked. If that sets seeds.....

Ground elder, it is a very persistent weed. The roots break of quickly and the smallest portion of root left in the soil will result in a new plant growing. In the heavy clay soil of my garden it is a disaster. I pull of leafs to exhaust the plant. But I probably will be exhausted much sooner than the ground elder does!

Ground elder, what to do with it? Recently I received some tips of a fellow gardener. She told me that you could eat ground elder! She was very culinary skilled, so I hung at her lips!

All her tips at a glance:

Cooking in a wok, wonderfully crisp.
Chopped ground elder in an omelette.
Cooked like endive.
Use it as the main ingredient of pesto.
Used as a vegetable in the Indonesian fried rice dish.

My mouth was watering. I asked her whether she had enough ground elder growing in her garden to make all these lovely dishes. But she had non-in her garden.

"Where do you get it from then?" I asked curiously. "I pick it’, she told me. “In the park."

I wish she was my neighbour!

Ground elder, not just for eating.. can also make beautiful flower arrangements.


... in a vase.