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Tuesday
Apr182017

A cold Easter.

Easter is my favorite holiday and I always get terribly disappointed when the weather doesn´t cooperate - like this year, sadly. It´s so so cold! I can take the capricious April weather (we need the rain after all), but I am having a hard time getting used to wearing winter coats again. Anyway this Easter was mostly spent slaving away in the garden - we finally got a robotic lawn mower and it took forever to get the garden ready for it, and it involved lugging around lots of stones and soil and on Easter sunday I might have had a little meltdown because I was just so exhausted but anyway we got the roboter (we named him Fred) up and running yesterday evening so all is sort of well. Maybe I´ll write about Fred in detail another time, it´s quite the saga, and maybe helpful for other people?

(Fun little Fred story: All our precautions notwithstanding, Fred managed to fall head-first in our little stream today, and when I came and rescued him he displayed the cutest/sadest error message "steht auf dem Kopf" which literally translates to "standing on my head". Aw Fred, I like you already). 

Despite the cold the garden is very slowly evolving. In the walled garden, everything takes longer than elsewhere because we only have had sun in here for a few weeks now (it´s a Northern exposure and in winter the sun disappears behind the house). Anyway look at that tulip, I have never seen anything like this, so elegantly wrapped! I´m curious to see how it develops. 

These pictures were taken a week ago or so but you can still go ahead and marvel at the fact that my daffodils are just starting to bloom when they are already done most anywhere else (we folks from the East have proper winters, you know).

My tomato babies don´t like the cold, no surprise here. I am trying a new approach this year where I put them out way sooner than in previous years in the hope that they toughen up a little more (another nice side effect being that not every inch of my house is covered in baby plants). We´ll see how that goes. So far they´ve grown maybe half an inch in two weeks but they do look happy and healthy, so there´s hope.

The light is really nice though these days. I like this picture. Particularly because of the clothespins.

Bonus picture that doesn´t really fit in with the rest, but I love forget-me-nots so much and have been trying to get a decent photograph for years, and this is the first one that I really like. Have a happy post-Easter week! 

Wednesday
Apr122017

Book Club: The thoughtful gardener by Jinny Blom.

I quickly have to tell you about a new favorite garden book so that you can still buy it for someone special as an Easter gift! "The thoughtful gardener" by Jinny Blom is a total stunner. Jinny is a well-known British landscape/garden designer and in this book she tells us all about the methods and principles she applies when designing gardens.

I love how the book is structured, very unusual but once you start reading (love her writing style) it totally makes sense. She covers all the aspects of a well-designed gardens, providing plenty of examples from her own work.

The pictures in this book are gorgeous. These are my kind of gardens, and even my color schemes! There´s a quote in the press release saying that Jinny´s gardens are "a delicous mixture of order and abandon", and I completely agree. This is a garden style that is so beautiful but so hard to get right! Also the book makes me want to sow wild flower meadows... which I can´t because our soil is too rich... but good lord they are so beautiful. Anyway - a big huge recommendation for this one.

The Thoughtful Gardener: An intelligent approach to garden design by Jinny Blom, published by Jacqui Small, is out now. Many thanks to the publisher for sending over a review copy! (All pictures except the first one sourced from Amazon).

Sunday
Apr022017

A summer prelude.

24 degrees Celsius on April 1st: No April´s joke. When life gives you summer temperatures at this time of year, you make the best of it and spend the entire weekend outside and do all the things (and overdo it, and as a result, feel pretty under the weather by Sunday evening). 

Suddenly there´s color out there... and smells. Our neighbor to the left has several giant old mirabelle plum trees in her garden and they are always the first to bloom. The second picture is a flowering currant in my garden - very pretty but sadly smells like cat pee which every single year I only remember once I have put up a few branches somewhere in the house. 

Since it was so warm I decided to get a head start to spring cleaning. I cleaned the chicken coop, the deck and all our garden furniture with the pressure washer on Friday evening (btw if you want to know what a real shitstorm in the truest sense of the word is, come and clean my chicken coop with a pressure washer after a long winter #somuchfun). Once it was all dry some of the garden furniture and the railing of our deck got a new coat of paint (remember those chairs from the last post?). I love how fresh it all looks now. Sadly when I look at the weather forecast we won´t use all this much in the near future since it´s supposed to become freezing again but oh well. At least it´s all cleaned up and ready for summer. 

Ludwig took his first bath in our little stream today and then he couldn´t decide which one of his identical toys he wanted to play with. Right now he is snoring next to me reeking of mud. To have a dog´s life. Oh and speaking of Ludwig, it´s been four years since we brought him home! Here´s a post with a few pictures of tiny Ludwig. Goodness me. They grow up so fast! ;)

Last but not least a picture of Lutz doing a staring contest with the chickens. I told him the day he he attacks one of them would be his last day with us but he wasn´t very impressed (And in case you think this is far fetched, he killed all of our neighbor´s chicklets last year. I am still terribly embarrassed.) Anyway happy to report all of our new hens have settled in nicely and Luzia and Hanne have already started to lay... we´ll have lots of eggs this Easter! - Have a happy week!

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).