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Friday
May132016

Book club: Barbara Bonisollis cookbooks.

I know what you´re thinking - she is writing about cookbooks now?! Well, rest assured this space won´t turn into a food blog! It´s just that these particular cookbooks are very much linked to gardening. Barbara Bonisolli is a food photographer who lives in the Bavarian countryside and has a large veggie garden, hens and bees. She cooks with ingredients from her garden and her first cookbook ("Barbara kocht", since renamed to "100 Rezepte aus meinem Garten") has a very unique concept where she writes about gardening in each season followed by wonderful recipes. It´s one of my top 5 favorite books probably because I can relate to it so much (very simlar life style), but also because the photography is gorgeous and the recipes are both easy and super delicious.

She now has a newish cookbook out called "Das vegetarische Kochbuch" (the vegetarian cookbook) which features, you guessed it, vegetarian recipes only. This time the gardening part is missing (probably something that works only once anyway), the layout/design of the book is simpler and the focus is definitely on the recipes. The photography is still gorgeous and I have already bookmarked a million recipes to try from the book (see first photo), which is saying something!

Like the first book this one is divided in seasonal chapters which makes it very handy for this gardener who needs to do something with her produce but needs a little inspiration in the kitchen.

A few more pictures from the book. I really love that we get to see her garden and even peeks of her home. It just makes so much sense and gives you a little glimpse in the life of someone rather than just a collection of recipes. I feel like this is a concept that could be taken further - for example, whenever I read a book about beautiful gardens I am always desparate to see the house of the gardener as well! Maybe someday I´ll write a book like this.

So in conclusion, big recommendation! Barbara Bonisolli´s new book has its own website which you can find here. Thank you Callwey for sending over a review copy!

PS: I think these books are only available in German for the time being so sorry for my international readers, but I thought you might enjoy this post anyway! (Update: I hear they are available in Dutch!)

Monday
May092016

A garden update. 

So, at long least a garden update! Let´s start in the walled garden. Not too much happening here yet, but the tulips are out. I made an effort last autumn with the tulips in here, it was mostly mix and match before and I wanted a more unified look. In the process I relocated the hot pink tulips to another part of the garden, only the one you see above must have escaped my attention! 

I planted white, soft pink and dark violet tulips in the four main beds. They are still developing right now but I can already tell that I like the look. Will plant more this autumn. 

And of course the forget-me-nots are blooming! A favorite of mine. These are so gorgeous in reality but somehow it´s hard to catch the beauty in a photograph. You´ll have to trust me! 

I love this picture! Anyone know what kind of bee this is? (It is a bee, right? God I am so helpless at these things. Why don´t we learn useful things in school?). Anyhow, our apple trees started to bloom last week.

Our lilacs aren´t quite there yet, but it´s only a matter of days now... can´t wait. 

This is a bed beyond the walled garden where I planted one hundred of those gorgeous white tulips and tons of muscari two years ago. Sadly 80 percent have been eaten by the voles, but what is left has developed nicely. 

In the veggie garden, things are very slowly coming along. We had a few terrible days weather wise two weeks ago with hail, ice rain and hard frost in the night and while thankfully nothing perished, it was a major set-back. 

Garlic! And to the left and the right are *supposed* to be carrots which refused to germinate until a few days ago. I had already gotten used to the idea of a year with supermarket carrots, but thankfully it looks like we might have some after all. 

Lots of baby plants which will go in the beds in the veggie garden very soon. My tomatoes are still so tiny because back in March one of my tomboy cats managed to send a tray of just germinated tomatoes flying and I had to start them again. Ah well, we´ll get there eventually.

It was a gorgeous evening when I took these pictures. May really is quite something. Feels so good to finally be on the other side of winter. 

Wednesday
May042016

Gone fishing. 

Hello! I remembered I had a blog... I am so sorry for the radio silence! It´s just that life is insanely busy right now and the blog sadly has to take the back seat. But I promise an update for next week as well as a new installment of "book club". Two posts in a week, can it be true? We´ll see.

For those in Germany, have a very happy extra long weekend!

(Photo by Nicola Holtkamp. Is it summer yet?)

Monday
Apr182016

A slow spring.

So far we are having a coolish spring with lots of rain which is good for the garden. We´re still ways behind in the walled garden, but it will catch up soon enough. I love working in the garden at this time of the year when everything is green and fresh and there are no mosquitoes yet that could bother me! I´m done with spring-weeding all my flower beds in the walled garden and beyond and it looks like most plants have survived the winter just fine.

The picture above shows a new border beyond the walled garden. This is prime real estate for plants since it gets a massive amount of sunlight and the drainage is good. Excited to see how it develops!

Have a good week, I promise once all the spring garden work is done I´ll be back here more often!

Monday
Apr042016

Early spring in the garden.

I always get so impatient with the garden around this time, especially when I see pictures of warmer climates. Garden envy! Spring usually comes late around here. My husband returned from a trip to Western Germany three weeks ago and reported that the narcissi were done there already. Haha. My narcissi haven´t even started to bloom yet! 

The walled garden is particularly late with everything because it has its own microclimate. This space has a Northern exposure so it doesn´t get any sun until Mid-March. It´s cold, wet and dark during winter. This all changes in summer though when there´s plenty of sun and all the walls really store the heat. Right now though the only things blooming are pulsatilla, pulmonaria and hellebores. All of them I love dearly, especially hellebores. Sadly they don´t thrive in the walled garden, or not in this soil at all really. Sigh. (I remember that in "my" garden in Vienna hellebores were everywhere around this time. It´s funny how this space has shaped me so much garden-wise).

The hammock is back for another summer, yay! I think we got that hammock in the summer when we bought the house, so it´s almost five years old. Back then I thought I´d get a nicer one at one point but this one is holding up so nicely! It´s from Ikea and while it´s not the prettiest, it´s super sturdy and comfortable and it can even go in the washing machine! So I think we´ll have this one a little while longer.

Fluffy chicken butts because how could I not? I let them roam in their "summer run" for the first time today. Did you know that chickens will destroy any kind of greenery if you let them? They have a large winter run which the three of them managed to bulldoze completely. Chickens! Hysterical sweet nasty lovely creatures.

I´ve worked a lot in the veggie garden lately... all beds are prepared for the season and I´ve already planted some seeds (carrots, salads, herbs) plus onions and garlic. We really need to get the irrigation system up and running next weekend... always so much to do in spring, my list goes to the moon and back. 

Here´s a thing that´s already growing in the veggie garden: The rubarb is looking good!  

Last but not least, here´s my garden "help" Ludwig. He looks a bit sombre here but he was just busy chasing some birds. Oh to be a dog!