woensdag 25 januari 2017

10 most essential plants in the garden

A member of the gardening group I'm a member of on Facebook asked the question "Which plants are essential for your garden?"

And that made me think.
I think there are 10 plants that no garden can do without.

First of all: Roses

Every garden needs at least one rose. A rose is the most essential plant in the garden, the queen of plants and flowers, the centre of attention, and I can't think of any flower that matches her beauty.

2: Hydrangea
 Whether you prefer the neat look of a row of Annabelles or the nostalgic look of an ordinary blue-ish, purple-ish, pink-ish hydrangea, I think no garden can do without these beauties.

3. A tree
 Preferably a fruit bearing tree. Blossoms in spring, watching the fruits grow during summer, enjoying pies, muffins, marmalade etc. during fall. I think even the smallest garden has room for at least a little apple tree. Also, the vertical shape of a tree gives the garden a three-dimensional look. And don't forget, a tree provides shade on a warm day, and a place for the birds to stay. 

4. Foxgloves
 Like the above mentioned tree, foxgloves add vertical shapes to the garden. They make the garden look less flat. Also, they attract bees, bumblebees and other insects. And of course they're simply beautiful. Very easy plants too. If there's one on a spot you don't want it, just dig out the shallow roots, move the plant to a more appropriate place in the garden (sunny, shady, the plant doesn't mind - it's originally a forest plant), make sure to water it daily and it will continue happily on it's new spot. Just keep in mind all parts of this plant are poisonous, so wear gloves or wash hands.


5. Composite flowers
 Ask a child to draw a flower and it will draw you a composite flower. It's the most basic form of flowers and therefore I think it should be in every garden. There's enough to choose from: daisies, asters, coneflowers, sunflowers, even dandelions if you like.


6. Spring bulbs
 Could anyone imagine a spring garden without tulips, daffodils or crocuses? Me neither. So plant those bulbs in September/October, and surprise yourself with a sea of colours in spring, when all other plants are still asleep.



7. Phlox
 Is there any flower more connected to summer than phlox? To me it's the ultimate summer flower. When the phloxes are blooming, it's truly summer. They come in many colours so they fit in any garden. And they're easy plants, too. Plant them once and clip off the old branches at the end of winter or early spring, they'll return every year without ever complaining.

8. Lady's Mantle
 This is a modest plant. Pale green foliage, yellowish flowers. But nevertheless, I think they belong in every garden. They bring an atmosphere of calm and peace, and no other plant is able to hold dew drops as photogenic as they do.

9. Lavender
 I used to own a garden with acid soil and no lavender was able to survive there. And all those years I felt like something essential was missing. So I'm very glad I'm able to grow lavender now. 

10. Clematis
 Better even to plant two: one that flowers early, like cl. Montana, and one flowering during early summer. Clematis brings colour on places that were previously dull, like your side of the neighbour's fence, a boring shrub, a bare wall.

zondag 22 januari 2017

Winter is here

Still winter. And from what I've heard, that's not quite the case everywhere, so I consider us lucky, for we've had the most perfect winter's weather for over a week now and apparently there's more to come.
Lots of sunshine, no wind and just above zero during daytime, and frost in the nights. Winter cannot be more perfect than this!

Here are some photos I took this week, in the garden and walking around our village.

First we had some days with fresh snow

The pansies were covered but didn't give in

So cute: Cat prints in the snow

Hydrangea "Annabelle" - this is why I didn't remove the faded flowers yet

Hibiscus seed pods

This brave little rose, Guirlande d'Amour, still has fresh leaves, despite the cold

After a couple of foggy nights everything was covered with hoarfrost, one of nature's most beautiful miracles

Frost on every single rose thorn

Still cloudy though and no sunshine, but all of a sudden we had this sunset. And there's a saying which I'll roughly translate from Dutch: red sunset brings beautiful weather

And so it did the next day, and immediately everything looked a lot more friendly

There was even some warmth from the sun.

Which unfortunately turned out to be the hoarfrost's nemesis.

Still there was enough to enjoy, this amount of snow won't vanish so quickly with only 2 degrees above zero

And without wind it was excellent weather for long walks around our village

Everything is so beautiful with snow and blue sky

This is the old quarry, it's now a small lake

The best walks are those where you unexpectedly meet a cat in the woods

Could winter be any better than this?