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Wednesday
Sep172014

A cloud of butterflies.

The walled garden has always attracted lots of butterflies, but right now there are so many of them it´s insane. It´s one big flutter. I don´t have the right lense for close-ups like this and I know the exposure in these pictures isn´t ideal, but I thought I´d show you a few of these beauties anyway. 

Is there a butterfly expert among my readers? I´d love to know whether there are rare ones among these guys? 

Sunday
Sep142014

Apples and asters. 

Apples and asters: When they´re ready you definitely know that it´s autumn. The apple trees everywhere in the village are full of red-cheeked beauties and hardly anyone cares. Sob. I know it´s very much the city girl in me who thinks that every single apple must be harvested, but well. It´s just such a shame. 

We only have one old apple tree on our land and my neighbor keeps telling me that we need to fell it because apparently it has some kind of tree cancer. Which may very well be but as long as it produces the most beautiful apples it will stay. It´s a small tree so the crop is manageable and the apples store well. I have no idea what variety these are but I think some kind of cooking apples, they´re pretty tart. 

As for the asters - so pretty. They add so much color to a garden that is, at last, a bit tired. Have a good week! And promise me to take care of your apples. 

Friday
Sep122014

Friday question: What to do about the kitchen shelves.

Remodelista recently posted a tour of UK housewares shop Baileys Home and Garden and I can´t stop thinking about the shelves in these pictures. It´s now been 1.5 years since we remodeled our kitchen so I had a lot of time to think about the shelves situation (to recap, read the comments in this post).

I´ve known for quite a while now that I want a set up exactly like in the picture above - two rows of open shelves to either side of the sink. Now I don´t have a window or anything above my sink, but maybe I could have a painting there or a mirror or even some kind of old window frame? That´s probably too kitschy, but you  get my point. I want to "break up" that wall visually and make the sink more of a focal point.

As for the shelves, I know I said back then that I don´t like these kind of brackets but well, maybe I´ve changed my mind? They look wonderful here. Of course these are much nicer than anything I can find. I´m toying with the idea of white brackets and oak shelves, or vice versa. What do you think? Do you have a great source for shelf brackets?

Here are my options so far: Option 1. Option 2. Option 3. Help!

Edit: Pretty sure the brackets are the Ikea ones named Valter, my option 2. I think they may have white-washed them? Anyway, yay for Ikea. Thank you Laura for your comment! 

(Photography by Rich Stapleton via Cereal Magazine.)

Monday
Sep082014

Harvesting potatoes with Ludwig.

This weekend, it was time to dig up the first potatoes! Of course, good farm dog that he is, Ludwig helped. 

So many potaotes! (This is about one fifth of the entire crop). 

It´s a good thing we have Ludwig to do all the hard work. This dog, he is the best. He truly has brought so much joy into our lives. Have a happy week! 

PS: Exactly one year ago today I wrote a post about Ludwig´s heart condition and surgery. For those of you who wonder: He is doing fine. He is being examined regularly and the vet is always very happy with the results. Phew! 

Wednesday
Sep032014

The making of a garden. 

The walled garden is still looking good these days, which kind of amazes me. I think it´s all the pruning I did after the summer storms - everything has come back with renewed vigor! This space has been such a joy this year. It is truly my happy place. 

A few people have emailed me asking whether I had any recommendations when it comes to starting a new garden. I thought I´d share what I have to say here. I am by no means an expert but maybe it helps to know what I did. Now I guess a good thing to start with is the layout of your garden. I started planning the walled garden before we moved in, heck even before we closed on the house. I knew I wanted a rather formal layout but otherwise a wild, lush tangle of plants. Here´s the final sketch I came up with in spring 2012. 

This is a no brainer, but the most important factor for the well being of your plants is good soil. In our case, we knew without any fancy tests that it was lacking, which is why be brought in lots of good soil and compost for the beds. Also, before you start shopping for plants, you should have an idea how much sun your garden gets... and you should know that these things can change dramatically with the seasons. The walled garden is a really dark place in winter, so I thought I needed many shadow plants. Wrong. Come summer, this place is really sunny and warm. The bed you see above started out as a shadow bed except there is no shadow. It took me two years to figure out which plants could stay and which needed to be replaced. 

As for the plants, here´s a confession: I was so overwhelmed with the choices that I simply got a collection of perennials from here. Not very creative but I have no regrets. It was way cheaper than if I´d bought the plants seperately and it was a great starting point. I made many changes over the time - for example I completely banned everything red and orange - but many, many plants from the original package are still there and thriving. I think for beginners this is a great way to start a garden - you get a lot of plants for not much money and by working with this starter collection you get a sense of what you like and not like and then the real fun begins. Shopping for plants is addictive! By the way nowadays I buy most of my perennials from here. My roses are from here and here. And you should never understimate your local nursery where I usually just go and peruse the damaged goods section. A few weeks ago I bought 10 delphiniums for 1 Euro each. Not bad! 

So... what did I forget? Enjoy the process. A garden, much like a house, is never really finished. Because, where would be the fun in that?