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Monday
May252015

Different, but still good.

The walled garden is teaching me a lesson these days. It´s all about accepting the things I cannot change. I do not know what happened this winter, but a lot of plants have died (like my lupins, which are dearly missed) and others just won´t grow. About half of my lavender bushes have given up the ghost. One bed is infested with mint and I can´t seem to get rid of it (listen to me: thou shall not plant mint in flower beds, it´s invasive). In one bed, the asters are sick, some sort of fungus - I´ll have to rip them out completely which will leave a huge gap. My lovely white rambler rose that grows along the wall has contracted the mildew. It´s like the seven plagues. And there´s not much I can do. 

But. Fact is, the garden looks very different from what it looked last May. But it doesn´t look bad. For example, the aquilegia are delightful this year, and I love the soft pink they add to the color palette. It could be worse. 

This bed, for example, is looking just lovely. Pictures don´t do it justice. It´s the one bed I was really discontent with last year and I´ve invested quite some time last autumn to fix it up. Looks like it payed off! Also, look at that allium! Love.

This year, saponaria officinalis has sneaked into my beds. I know it´s a weed, and an invasive one, but I just can´t kill it. I think it looks so pretty, so it will stay for now. I have a feeling I´ll regret this, but oh well. 

I repainted the deck yesterday. Still so very happy with the color. 

Aquilegia are my favorite flowers, I think. I am so happy that they finally have established themselves in my garden. When we moved into the house almost four years ago, my mom sent me some rare aquilegia seeds. All of those plants stem from this little package. Thank you mom, look at them now!  

Still my happy place, regardless of all problems and faults. 

Another post on the veggie garden coming up later this week! I know some of you are eagerly awaiting an update. 

Monday
May182015

At the garden festival.

Last Sunday, we went to a garden festival. I had looked foward to it for weeks - after all, events like these are rare around here - but alas, we weren´t off to a great start. When we got there, we were guided to a parking lot that was half an hour away from the actual festival grounds. Parking cost three Euro. When we finally made it to the entrance, we were charged an entry fee of six Euro each. Insane. I mean, I am happy to support any cultural events in our region, but in that case, you´re not getting anything back for your money. You pay so that you can buy plants. Anyway we got in and then we were hungry so we shared a tiny piece of Flammkuchen (7 Euro) which is when we realized that we had forgotten to bring enough cash. We had 30 Euro left between the two of us. So much for buying all of the plants! I may have been very grumpy. 

But it got better. The festival was actually pretty small (considering we had just paid SIX EURO) but there were quite a few nice vendors. I really want a Lutyens bench for my 40th birthday which is coming up next year. I just thought I´d put it out there. Are you reading this, birthday fairies? 

I can´t decide whether this is a spectacular or very odd color. 

There was a woman who was selling homemade jams. Admittedly it all looked and tasted very nice (quince jelly, ah! How I hope our quince tree will bear fruit this year!). She charged 4,50 Euro per jar. I totally should do this, too. 

One vendor sold hydrangeas only. Nice.

And then there was a vendor who sold all sorts of rare perennials and we left all our money there. Among others, I bought this. 

Look, there even was music. Entertainment! That´s where all the money went. 

And then we were tired and hungry and went home. 

Monday
May112015

The deck 2015.

So... I got new chairs for our deck. The ikea chairs we had here before were fine (you can see them here), but they were always a makeshift-solution because I really wanted something more comfortable and fitting for the space. Somewhen last winter I saw this picture in a magazine (I don´t know the source anymore, don´t hate me): 

Sorry the picture quality is terrible but you get the idea. I really liked this whole set-up and especially the chairs. But when I looked around I realized chairs like these are quite expensive... and we didn´t exactly have a budget for them. Still, I kept looking and what do you know, in early April I found "my" chairs on Ebay on sale. I had an Ebay voucher as well so... new chairs! Happy happy! 

I think they work very nicely here. And they are very comfortable! Also please note my cute little lavender trees on the table! I didn´t really need lavender trees but I literally stumbled over them at our local garden center and well. The husband jokes that he won´t let me drive into town anymore because every time I do, I come back with a plant. Or two. Or three. Guilty as charged! 

This year, I decided to have a few plants on the windowsill. I´ve dismissed this idea as too cutesy in the past, but I needed to have something there so that Kasimir - the neighbor´s cat who lives on our deck - won´t sit there anymore. It drives me crazy to have this cat staring into our kitchen/library and the windows are always dirty. Plants bought, problem solved. Well almost. He now sits on the table and stares longingly through the window. Silly cat. 

On the other side of the deck is a new old table that I had for ages but never used anywhere. I painted it a bright blue and love it here. So here you are, the deck 2015! I am still so glad to have this space. We´re out here all the time. 

Tuesday
May052015

A sneaky weed, pink tulips and other stories.

I promised a garden update but there isn´t really much to see yet. Well the tulips are out. That´s something, right? Funny story about that bed you see on the foreground: It looked so grown-in already and somehow I suspected that something wasn´t quite right. Then today in the morning I noticed yellow flowers emerging. A quick google search later it was clear that the entire bed had been taken over by a weed that leaf-wise could totally have passed as a geranium. Uuugh. So when my husband got up he found his wife in the garden, frantically ripping out said weed in her pajamas. I lead a glamorous life. The bed, of course, is in a total shambles. 

Here´s a wider view of the walled garden. We´re getting there, but I feel like it´s taking so much longer this year. For some reason it seems to have been a hard winter for my perennials even if the temperatures have been so mild. Also I really need to get my act together regarding the spring flowers in the central beds. Why and when I have planted those neon pink tulips (and a single white one?) escapes me. The plan is to dig out everything once they´re done flowering and plant a new generation of tulips in the fall.

Oh and for those who are curious about our passageway renovations, here is a glimpse. We´re nearly done. 

Moving on... remember how I planted 100 tulips in this bed last year and then the voles ate all the bulbs? Well it turns out they didn´t really eat all of them; they left 20 tulips for me to enjoy. Very generous. But well, it still looks pretty I guess. 

I planted this bed outside of the walled garden last spring and I have high hopes for it this year. Those white pillows are moss phlox. Looks so nice, smells so good. 

One last picture of the narcissi around the fire pit before they are gone. Ludwig sends regards. 

Mandatory shot of our old apple tree in bloom. You know it´s spring for real when the apple trees bloom. Happy happy.

Monday
Apr272015

A few outtakes. 

I took a lot of pictures for the Design*Sponge sneak peek and there are a few outtakes that I´d like to share. Looking at those pictures I am a little disappointed how little I have achieved in the house this winter. I had quite a few plans and all I managed to do is paint the living room. The cold-from-hell that lasted two months killed all my energy. 

In the dining room, I originally wanted to get rid of the paper flowers on the wall. I tried a few alternatives but I didn´t really like any of them so I made new paper flowers and that was that. I like them and they work in this room, so they´ll stay until I can think of something better. Another thing on my list was to rethink the lighting both in the dining and the living room. After much back and forth we decided that we didn´t really like the pendants in both rooms. We got an unobtrusive ceiling lamp for the dining room and in the living room we nixed the overhead lighting all together. We never used it in here anyway.

It´s amazing how much removing the pendants changed those spaces, especially the living room. It seems much more spacious and somehow more cohesive now. And I really, really like the new wall color. 

Also I am still in love with that rocker that I got for next to nothing on Ebay. 

We really need to get that grey chair in the dining room re-upholstered. Shame on you, kitties. 

A few people have asked how I like the newish kitchen shelves. The answer is, I don´t know. They´re fine. I am not super happy with them but making changes here again has a very low priority, even if I have a few ideas. I´ve come to love the mirror though! I know it´s too small for this space but I think it´s really pretty and it adds a surprising amount of light to the space.

Apart from the shelves, I really like this kitchen. It works well and it looks good. I wouldn´t do anything differently, at least not with the same budget. The entire kitchen cost 4,000 Euro incl. appliances which is tough to beat I think. Of course if we´d win the lottery I could think of a few things... but that goes for the entire house. In fact I have a long list with "things I´d do in the house if I´d win the lottery". Totally normal, right? RIGHT? 

Just yesterday I read in an interiors magazine that north-facing rooms should never ever painted cool and dark colors. Well let´s just say that I disagree and the library is the living proof. I love this room. 

That´s it! Back next week with a garden update. It finally rained today, praise the lord. I was seriously getting worried. Have a happy week!