A visit with Piet Oudolf.

Last weekend my friend and I went on a pilgrimage to see Piet Oudolf´s private garden in Hummelo in the Netherlands. If you´re not familiar with Oudolf, he is a rather famous garden designer known for his organic prairie-style planting schemes. He uses a lot of tall perennials and grasses, all planted in natural drifts. I think his gardens are very beautiful even if I prefer my garden to be more traditional. My friend and I had been talking about visiting his private garden for some years now; this being the last year it is open to the public we finally pulled the trigger. I´m so glad we did! The garden isn´t huge but you can spend hours there. Fun little story: On our way to the garden I spotted Piet Oudolf in a bakery in Zutphen (very beautiful town btw) and I was quite star struck! My kind of celebrity sightings! There was no need to be so excited though because an hour later there he was, standing in his garden and talking to the arriving visitors. Haha. Anyway I let the pictures speak for themselves. And if you´re considering to visit yourself, run don´t walk! 


The brutal summer of 2018.

I know you´re probably annoyed by me complaining about the weather by now (I am usually very annoyed by people who complain about the weather all the time!), but this summer? Worst ever. While many other countries and German regions have experienced a bit of relief in the last week or so, we´re still in the middle of a terrible drought and heat wave. Thankfully at least the nights have been a bit cooler lately.

I´ve not posted here lately for a few reasons, one of them because we were busy with our barn renovation, but mostly because I can´t bear to take a closer look at the garden right now. I´ve forced myself to weed the flower beds a little bit this last weekend and it was just devastating. So many of my perennials have died. I think by the end of this summer, we´ll have lost several hundred Euros in plants. It´s just very depressing. But! Anyway. Yesterday I took a few pictures of my zinnias which are so pretty right now and I thought I´d post them together with a few favorite pictures from the last few weeks.

This is one of the pictures which were taken a few weeks back actually. The veggie garden is no longer that lush and green, although it gets the most water (we had to set priorities).

The runner beans have been extraordinary this year. I am growing some heirloom varieties this year - white and speckled ones! Can´t wait for the harvest.

Dahlias. Surprisingly nice this year again even though they supposedly need a lot of water. Also I realized that I forgot to plant two whole cases of dahlia tubes which are still in my basement. Facepalm.

Also from a few weeks ago, the snapdragons are gone by now.

It is, of course, the year of the tomatoes. No touch of blight, lots of wonderful fruit. I only have 15 plants this year (a few years back I had about 60 which was just crazy ) but the harvest has been great so far. I am growing lots of different varieties this year (among them Auriga, Stupice, San Marzano, Matina, Harzfeuer and Tigerella) and love all of them.

Our little pear tree has managed to produce a little this year. We are however going to have a true glut of apples this year!

I have a more current picture of the same area that you don´t want to see. This is a hydrangea variety that can tolerate a lot of sun (Limelight) but this summer was too much, most blooms have turned brown by now.

This bed has given up as well in the meantime.

In the walled garden I have managed to grow corn flowers this year, and lots of poppies. Hopefully both will return next year.

Bonus picture of silly Bruno.
I´m going on a trip to the Netherlands tomorrow to see Piet Oudolf´s private garden! See you on the flip side with lots of pictures.


A trip to Western Ireland.

A few pictures from my trip to Ireland. I went together with my mom; dogs and husband stayed behind (I am happy to report Bruno did well without me). 25 years ago we went to Connemara in Western Ireland on a family trip and now the two of us returned to see whether it had changed (spoiler, it hasn´t really, but it´s definitely a lot more touristy). 

We stayed in this beautiful barn which I can fully recommend. It´s actually on the border to Connemara but turned out to be a perfect hub for exploring the region. It´s also just between Lough Corrib and Lough Mask, two very large lakes. The picture above shows the view from one of my morning runs up the Mount Gable and what you see here is not the sea, but the Lough Mask (I think. Maybe it´s the Lough Corrib though. I´m still not sure!).

Connemara is very beautiful I think, the mountains and the sea and the clouds, for me it´s the definition of an Irish Landscape. These pictures were taken in the region around Glassilaun Beach. 

Killary Fjord where we took a boat tour. 

The pretty village of Roundstone and Dog´s Bay. We were very lucky with the weather, like many other European countries Ireland is experiencing a very dry summer and we had a few beautiful sunny and rather hot days. 

There aren´t many gardens in that part of Ireland but we we did tour a few... this is Ashford Castle by the Lough Corrib which is actually a rather posh luxury hotel with a very nice walled garden. 

Kylemore Abbey is one of the major tourist attractions in the region, to be honest we were quite shocked just how touristy it had become. You can tour parts of the castle which has a newly renovated facade and looked a bit like something out of Disneyland (sorry).

But Kylemore Abbey also has a huge walled garden that has been beautifully restored over the past 20 years (this didn´t exist when we first visited Connemara!). For me this was the highlight of our trip. It´s absolutely stunning and the dimensions are just unbelievable. You´re standing in this HUGE, immaculate walled garden in the middle of wild and rough mountains, what a brave thing to dream up and realize.

Back in the day there were around 20 glass houses in this garden where all sorts of exotic fruits and plants grew (there was one house just for bananas, for some reason I find this just perfect). They´ve restored two houses so far. Very pretty.

On the last day we visited Brigit´s Garden which is small but has some very lovely corners. Also they serve excellent food and decent coffee (!!! Sadly still a rare thing in that part of Ireland) in their Garden Cafe. It´s all bit hippy-dippy but in a nice way, with a meditation hut and a tree of wishes. I really hope that plumber has finished his work by now!


Welcome July.

This has been such a diffcult year in the garden so far with the drought we´re having, the worst since we´ve lived here I think. It was pretty bad three years ago, but I think we got a bit more rain back then. I was ecstatic when it rained for a whole day two weeks ago, but since then we did not have a single drop and what is even worse, non-stop "desert wind" how I call it. Around here, it´s pretty standard that it´s very windy in June and July, for whatever reason. It makes the heat more bearable, of course, but the garden is drying out even more. We´re expecting a heatwave and I have zero water in the well... it´s going to be interesting.

Anyway. Count your blessings! The lavender is loving the weather. And the bees and butterflies are loving the lavender. So that´s good!

Let´s look at a few more lavender pictures because this beauty won´t last much longer. (Love the bokeh in the second picture).

It really did pay off to transplant all those tiny larkspur seedlings.

This is phlox paniculata "Blue Paradise" in the second picture - it´s the truest blue you´ll get with a phlox, and especially stunning in the morning and the evening. I love it and have planted it everyhwere. 

The veggie garden is mostly hanging in there, but is suffering quite a bit. It´s such a shame because everything looked so promising back in spring. Something is eating my beetroot and my cabbages (and is not responding to any treatment). The chard is barely surviving (Chard! The one plant I thought would survive the apocalypse! Turns out it´s not drought resistant though). My salad bed is non existent at this point because I can´t give it enough water, so the chickens ate what was left and I´ll re-sow once the weather cooperates. Many other plants are loving the weather though.... looks at my pumpkins and the corn in the second picture!

The larkspur though... look at this beauty.

 Lu says hi!

And the boys say hello too (see that red streak on Bruno´s ear? Heart eyes).

Last but not least! We got bees! Finally! This has been years in the making. My husband is now a proud beekeper, still lots to learn but so happy they´re finally here. After much back and forth we decided that we do want to have them in our garden (we were a bit concerned about the dogs and were originally planning to have them on a plot just opposite our garden). They now live in our chicken run, under our old apple tree. Long live the bees! Even if I got stung in the ear (!) yesterday, but that was obviously not one of our bees. Obviously.

Bye for now! I´m going on a trip to Ireland/Connemara on Saturday. Any recommendations? See you on the flip side with lots of pictures.



Aaand as promised, another post with pictures from the weekend! The veggie garden is my pride and joy right now, so let´s start here. I successfully grew larkspur for the first time last year which turns out to be a prolific self-seeder - I had a whole bed of tiny larkspur plants this spring which I very carefully dug out and transplanted. It´s everywhere now and I love it. All the other flowers in this cutting bed - cornflower, two varieties of calendula, snapdragons and clarkia - are just starting to bloom.

I love the combination of the blue larkspur and that red climbing rose! Also my cabbages are off the charts this year; and the sunflowers are seemingly getting taller by the hour.

What remains of the poppies.

I am growing corn for the first time this year. Well I did a small trial last year which didn´t go super well, but that was mostly my fault. Anyway this year I have three or four different varieties, so far so good... I really love the height and structure of the plants.

Everything is growing pretty well considering the little water I am able to give the plants. Even the pumpkins are really happy. I really want to do a huge post of what I am growing in the veggie garden and why and how; hopefully I´ll find the time to put something together soon.

Just a minute of silent admiration for rambler "Raubritter" which is getting prettier every year.

My lavender is pretty happy this year as well. These are probably perfect conditions for lavender! Also Fred is photobombing :)

My newly planted perennial beds in the walled garden are filling in nicely. I mean they would all be happier with some rain but at this point I´m just thankful if I can keep them alive. That´s it for today! Two posts in a day, when did that ever happen. Talk soon.