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Sunday
Mar262017

And finally, spring.

Warm enough to work in the garden without a jacket! We spent pretty much the entire weekend out there. So much to do, but I couldn´t be happier. 

On Friday evening we visited my favorite local pottery and among other things I got this giant bowl from their huge pile of reject pieces. Whenever I am there I have the hardest time to not buy aaaalll the things.

I baked this bread today and it turned out pretty. 

My Emma girl in the garden. 

A new place to sit under the walnut and the cherry tree and admire the new raised flower bed. One day we´ll have proper furniture for this space but with a little paint, this is good enough for now. Grey for the table, blue for the chairs/bench? (The chairs are pretty cool though right?). 

A rare picture of my husband on this blog. My boys!

Freed all the potted plants from their winter sleep in the barn. Looks like we had no losses. And the walled garden is slowly becoming greener... Have a happy week!

Wednesday
Mar222017

My favorite garden books.

Many of you seemed to like the idea of a post about my favorite garden books, so here goes. For the sake of simplicity I`ll provide links to Amazon (UK/DE), since it will provide you with all necessary information like publisher, ISBN etc. (these are no affiliate links, and I am not encouraging you to buy anything on Amazon). 

I have promised five books but I ended up with eight, divided into three categories: "Coffee table" garden books that are inspirational and just a pleasure to look at, "Hands-on" garden books in the sense of "how-to"-guides and "Grow & Eat" books which combine gardening and cooking. (Related: Whyyy are there no books that combine garden and interior design?)

 

Coffee Table

1. The Gardens of Arne Maynard. This book is absolutely breathtaking. My review is here.

2. Gardenista. A very beautiful, carefully curated book featuring a multitude of gorgeous gardens. A big favorite of mine, much as Remodelista is in the interiors department. 

3. Virginia Woolf´s Garden. My favorite for a long time, even though I have since visited the actual garden and it sadly couldn´t quite keep up with the book. My review is here.

4. Traumhafte Landgärten durch die Jahreszeiten. I feel like there are a gazillion books about country gardens out there and they are all more or less disappointing. This one gets it right. My review is here. 

 

Hands-on

1. Genial gärtnern. (I think the English title is "The complete gardener".) The book with which everything began. Our very first garden book, bought when we first got an allotment back when we still lived in Western Germany (waaaay before this blog). It´s still a favorite. Full of practical information and yet a joy to look at, including a complete tour of Monty Don´s beautiful gardens (actually, does he still live there?). Anyway. Love it. 

2. Der Biogarten. If you can read German and want to know everything about organic gardening, then this is your book, and the only one you´ll need*. Want to start a garden and don´t know how? Buy this book. 

 

Grow & Eat

1. 100 Rezepte aus meinem Garten. Still a big favorite. My review is here.

2. Genießer-Gärten. Honestly not a book I would´ve bought because of the cover, but it was a recommendation, and a good one. I don´t think the recipes in here are insanely relevant, but the featured gardens are beautiful. 

 

So what do you think? Anything to add? What are your favorites? I´d love to hear! 

*This is probably going to sound ungrateful but I have a bit of a pet peeve: When people buy me books about "basic gardening", "gardening 101", "how to create a garden from zero" and the likes. If you have a friend who already has a garden, don´t do that. It´s like getting a serious hobby cook a book on how to cook spaghetti. Just saying. (Not that I know everything. I know nothing. But these books are mostly terrible).

Sunday
Mar192017

Still not spring.

I can´t really decide whether this time of year is really nice or really shitty. On one hand it does get lighter and warmer and you know that spring must be around the corner, so that´s nice! But on the other hand, it isn´t spring just yet anyay, and I am maybe the most impatient person in the world, and why is this taking so looong? And why did we decide to move to an area that is basically Siberia, climate-wise? These are my issues with March. 

Completely off-topic: If you are a long-term reader you might remember the tiles in the picture above. I kept them when we ripped out the old stove in our kitchen (no use hating me for getting rid of the thing, it´s long gone, just saying) and recently I finally had an idea how to use them and now they live on my table as coasters and I think they look beautiful.

Also I painted my living room a darkish blueish grey. I love it. I´ll take more pictures soon. (Paint color is Plummet by Farrow & Ball but I had it color-matched at our local Bauhaus. Sue me.).

Emma says hi. She is still very fluffy but I judging from the cat hair that is *everywhere* in my house, it will indeed be spring soon.

From yesterday when it was super stormy and sometimes sunny and all around quite lovely (I do love a good storm as long as everything and everyone stays intact). We´re doing a bit of spring cleaning these days in the garden and a few trees had to come down, that´s why there´s a pile of branches in the picture. Also spot the dog?

In other news! We got three new chickens! From left to right, meet Luzia, Hanne and Lore (yes we´re so funny). I love white chickens so I had to get Luzia, who now has the hardest time because for some reason white chickens are always getting bullied. I hope things settle down soon, because she is the sweetest thing really. Lore is supposed to lay green, Hanne dark-brown and Luzia white eggs (while my two "old" hens both make brownish eggs), so I am really excited about that too! Chickens: Silly creatures, but I do love them so. 

In the veggie garden, I did get some things in the ground already: Carrots in all shades of the rainbow (!!), plus garlic and onions and the trellis is for sweet peas. 

And look, there´s something growing already! Chives! Yay. Now come on spring, let´s do this.

Tuesday
Mar072017

Book club: Traumhafte Landgärten durch die Jahreszeiten. 

We had a glorious spring weekend and I actually remembered to take a few pictures in the garden, but when I looked at them on the screen they felt really blah to me. Let´s be honest, there isn´t anything to see yet. So let´s look at pretty pictures of other people´s gardens, yes? There´s a new Callwey book out these days called "Traumhafte Landgärten durch die Jahreszeiten" which means something like "dreamy country gardens throughout the year". 

The point of the book is the seasonal approach: The "spring" chapter shows gardens during spring, the summer chapter shows summer gardens and so on... and a few gardens are actually featured throughout the year. I think it´s a lovely concept and one that is (strangely?) quite unique. 

So are the featured gardens dreamy? Yes they definitely truly are. The pictures are lovely too, and there´s plenty of space (meaning several pages) for every garden - something I am often missing in other garden books. Also I really like the writing, it´s entertaining and in-depth and provides the relevant information. Overall, a job very well done I´d say. Very much recommended!*

"Traumhafte Landgärten durch die Jahreszeiten" by Martina Meidinger, pictures by Evi Pelzer, is out now. It has its own website here. Thank you Callwey for sending over a review copy! 

PS: Would anyone be interested in a top 5 of my favorite garden books?

*PPS: If it seems that I am duly excited about every sponsored book I review, it´s actually the other way around: I only review books that I´m truly excited about. I reject most offers and out of the books I do get sent, I really only review the ones I like. Just so you know!

Monday
Feb272017

Not quite March, not quite spring.

I am back, and I brought you tulips. I know it´s technically still February, but today felt a bit like spring, so it seemed fitting to wake the blog up from its winter sleep. So how have you been? Survived February okay? 

Here´s one of the very few pictures I took with my real camera during the blog break (which goes to show that I need this blog as a motivation to pick up the DSLR). It´s from February 2 and quite beautiful, which is why I wanted to include it here. 

However I am very grateful that today, the same view looked like this. We had a decent weekend weather-wise which I mostly spent working in the garden (so exhausting!) but today was just really really lovely. I had a regular work day but the sun still makes all the difference. 

The cats enjoyed it too, even grumpy Miss Marlene joined me for a photo session. She blend right in, doesn´t she? 

The chickens send regards as well. They got through the winter just fine and recently started laying again. I want to get two more hens soonish but as Germany is still affected by the bird flu it is proofing to be difficult to buy any hens at all. Patience. 

In other news, I am still baking bread! Seriously I think this is what got me through winter. This, my rekindled love for my sewing machine and "Please like me" on Netflix (Have you watched it? I loved every single second). As for baking bread, I know I won´t have as much time for this once the days get longer, so I try to have as much fun with it while I can! (Recipe 1, Recipe 2).

But what´s also really fun is planning this year´s garden... and plans we have plenty. One of them involves a massive dahlia border! These above just got here today via mail, and more coming next week. I can´t wait. 

Bonus picture, because today the evening sun was streaming into the kitchen just so. 
Have a good week!