Monday, 28 March 2016

An inspiring garden.

Villandry
An inspiring garden.

Long time ago on a holiday in France, we visited the Renaissance vegetable garden of Villandry. The garden is located in the near Tours, in the Loire valley.

The garden is planted with box hedges in geometrical patterns. In between the box hedges, all kinds of vegetables have been planted. Every vegetable is selected on texture and colour. For example, you will find red and green lettuce, leeks and red cabbage. The topiary pear trees provide a vertical accent. I had never seen such a beautiful garden.

I was so inspired that I wanted to go home straight away and change my garden. But as we were on the road for only three days, that was not a viable option. To dispel some of my anxiety I bought me the French garden magazine “Mon Jardin & Ma Maison”. Maybe I was hoping to find a garden design. Ah, I knew so little at that time ......

Years later I know that gardening is a passion. Gardening is changing every year, improving and trying again. Gardening is reading stacks of books, visiting many gardens. But gardening is also full of surprises. Like I discovered last week.

Last Tuesday a thick envelope falls in the mailbox. After opening the envelope, I discover the April magazine of Mon Jardin & Ma Maison. On the cover: my garden!

Above the report it says: “Jardin d'inspiration”. Unbelievable this is really about my garden.

Come full circle ...... Once I was inspired by a French garden. Now, after all these years my garden is presented as an inspiration to others!


It makes me speechless.



The garden is opened to the public April 22 and 23 see link below



An old holiday picture.


The garden of Villandry is huge!


My interpretation of Villandry. Just before box blight ruined the garden. 


Two years later, after the box hedges were excavated.


My picture......


.....and the cover of mon garden & ma maison.


The magazine on the kitchen table.


Jardin d'inspiration. An inspiring garden. 



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Monday, 21 March 2016

Tree peonies. It must be love.



After the sunny spring weather of the past few days, the tree peony buds appear. In my view these buds are the most beautiful in my garden. Actually, everything about the tree peony is beautiful!

Despite the name though, it is not really a tree. It is more of a large shrub, almost 2 m high.

Please keep in mind that I'm very in love with the tree peony. Where to start describing this beauty? First the salmon pink colour of the foliage, the large flower heads full of promise, or at the huge flowers with a diameter of 20 cm in the most beautiful colours?

O yes, there is certainly a downside to the tree peony. It is the short flowering period. After one or two weeks, the flowers are already gone.

Therefore if you have a small garden, it is not the best of choices to make. On the other hand, if you're in love with this plant, do reserve a spot in the sunshine for it. But be careful with late frosts. They can damage the buds.

Frostbite, after the long wait for the flowers, that would be a pity. But even then you could enjoy the beautiful foliage that looks waxed. Early in the morning with the dew drops on it and the sun shining through ........

Tree Peonies. It is a love story.

I see it all through rose-coloured spectacles!




March. Tree peony bud.


The flower bud is emerging.


Beautiful.


April. The salmon coloured foliage. 


Mid May. A flower bud.


Beautiful in the morning dew.


A bud full of promise.



May. What can I add?


A pink and a dark red colored tree peony.


Look at the colour. Mmmm.


Tree peonies are now for sale in the garden centre.

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Monday, 14 March 2016

"The sad flower syndrome".



I have come to the conclusion that I suffer from the "sad flower syndrome". This syndrome applies to someone - like myself - who always keeps the last remaining displayable flower from a bouquet, a blown off rose or a bruised daffodil in a vase. I think these flowers are sad.

Although the flowers are in a vase, these vases with flowers are not that aesthetic. Tall flowers are placed in too small a vase and more often than not the colours do not match. I could not be bothered. I keep the vast majority of these "flower arrangements" next to my computer. Out of sight!

So far, nothing special. I think many of you gardeners will recognize this syndrome. But hold on, it is getting worse.

Last week I went to the market. At the greengrocer, I saw heads of lettuce with the roots still on them. The idea behind this is that lettuce stays fresh for a longer period. (I personally think it is kind of laziness of the grower) Anyway, I felt an uncontrollable urge to buy and re-plant that lettuce!

And so I am left with two heads of lettuce in my bag. Back home again, I put them in a pot immediately. The plants struggled to start, but after some days the lettuce was growing again. At this moment they are on my kitchen windowsill. Fresh, juicy and saved!

Looking back at this operation I am wondering, do I not only suffer from the "sad flower syndrome" but from the "sad plant syndrome” too?


Maybe it is time to make an appointment with the shrink!


The garden is opened to the public April 22 and 23. See link above.


Sad flower next to my computer.


The last remaining flowers of a bouquet.


 Gerbera. They have flowered over two weeks!

Another "arrangement"


At the market. Lettuce with roots on them.


In my kitchen windowsill.


Are we going to eat those "sad plants" as well?

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Monday, 7 March 2016

My experiments, what happened to them?


Last week I received an email from Ingeborg. She wondered whether the Ligistrum hedge I had pruned off till the ground in the summer of 2014 had already grown back. She wrote: "I wonder if the main branches will create new twigs with leaves again. What do you think, should I gamble or do you from your experience advice, no! do not! ....?

That is what happens if you leave your readers without information about your experiments. So I decided to dedicate this blog to all the answers. Then you will no longer have to struggle with these questions and loose ends.

Let me start with the Ligustrum hedge. (Read more) in late August I pruned the hedge to the ground. The following spring the hedge was already starting to sprout. Nowadays I keep the hedge at a height of 40 cm. This gives a more spacious feel to the border.

Up to the following notable experience. (Read more) Last year the house next door has been demolished. Six weeks ago they have started with the construction of the new house and look at that! It's almost finished already!

In autumn I told you about the beautiful Italian terra cotta pot that I bought on impulse. (Read more) The crocuses I planted in this pot bloom profusely! Just enjoy the combination of those beautiful colours together.

Late last December I experimented with not prepared hyacinth bulbs. (Read more) The hyacinths have had a cold period in the barn. After six weeks in the dark and cold barn, the differences are considerable. Some hyacinths are in flower, whilst others still need to grow. So it works, but with prepared bulbs it is much easier.

Then the Alpine meadow. (Read more)You have asked me for a photo with the flowering crocuses on it. That happened just this week. I regret I did not plant more crocuses. But it's nice though. The 50 Anemone blanda I planted in the alpine meadow have not emerged yet. Maybe they have rotten due to this wet winter.

So much for the experiments. You are now aware of the progress.

And what about Ingeborg’s question, whether to prune the Ligustrum rigorously or not, I gave her the advice: just do so! 

Ingeborg, You go girl!









Ligustrum hedge before cutting down to the ground.



Next spring.


Next summer, green again.


House next door. Last summer.


Another has been build.


Terracotta pot. Bought on impulse.


No regrets!


Experiment with not prepared Hyacinth bulbs.


Some are in flower now.


My "alpine meadow".


Crocuses and some snowdrops are flowering.

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