How to Herbarium: The beauty of pressed flowers

Do you remember your biology lessons back in school? Did you and your class at any time go outside to collect plants and flowers to dry and study? Most kids didn’t take this project too seriously. Of course, I did. And I still like to collect leaves and flowers. I often press them between the pages of the dictionary or in my flower press. Sometimes I display them in a frame.

Continue reading How to Herbarium: The beauty of pressed flowers

Holiday inspiration: Rhodes

With summer just around the corner, I thought it was time for some holiday inspiration. The school year is almost over and everyone is making plans for summer. For most people, planning a trip is half the fun, where to go, what to see and, of course, what to eat? You can spend hours browsing through travel websites and blogs looking for holiday inspiration, drooling over pictures of turquoise waters and deserted beaches, a hammock hung between two palm trees, okay, stop. You get the picture.

Holiday inspiration Rhodes: fishing boats - Cloverhome.nl

Have you booked your summer holiday or are you waiting until the last minute? If you are stuck in the office, looking outside at the grey sky, I hope these images of our trip to Rhodes will get you in the holiday mood. Continue reading Holiday inspiration: Rhodes

The flower market in May: buying seasonal flowers

Are you wondering what seasonal flowers are available at the market in May? Why won’t you join me and visit the flower market? Let’s take our bikes and cycle to the old city centre. Whatever your favourite flower is, I’m sure you will find it here. I’m always looking to buy seasonal flowers and hurray, it’s peony season!

Seasonal flowers: peonies - Cloverhome.nl

Peony season is in full swing and the flower market is full of different peony varieties. Peonies have a relatively short blooming season, peaking from late spring through early summer, which makes them all the more special. Peonies have large, sumptuous blooms. The bright, ice cream, colours make them the perfect prelude to summer, so get them while you can! Continue reading The flower market in May: buying seasonal flowers

The language of flowers: a novel

The best thing about a holiday is that you finally get to read all the books that have been piling up on your nightstand. I love to read, but find myself reading less and less. As a mother of four, there is always something to do and these things, or persons, always seem to need my immediate attention.

So when we went on a holiday to Rhodes, the sunshine island in the Aegean sea, I not only packed holiday essentials such as summer dresses, sunglasses, and bikinis, but also a stack of books. My boys need lots of food, and they love to swim. We stayed in a hotel with a swimming pool and a breakfast and dinner buffet with great food, so the basics were covered.

The language of flowers: hydrangea - Cloverhome.nl
Hydrangea, dispassion

We explored the island’s beautiful beaches, swam in the turquoise blue sea, strolled through the picturesque streets of Rhodes town and ended our days besides the pool, with a book and a beer. I managed to read two books, cover to cover! Continue reading The language of flowers: a novel

My top 3 flowering trees to enjoy spring blossom

Is it spring where you are? If so, does it feel like autumn where you are? We have had a cold week, with rain and winds, thunder, lightning and even some hail. It really has been an unusually cold May.

I went to the market this morning. The vendors were complaining and ordering soup from the lady with the coffee and soup cart. I bought peonies! If you’d like to see them, have a look at my Instagram account.

On such chilly, grey days, it feels like we have skipped summer altogether and it’s autumn all over again. To remind us that it is, indeed, spring, I thought it would share my top 3 spring blossom trees.

Spring flowering trees: cherry blossom - Cloverhome.nl

Continue reading My top 3 flowering trees to enjoy spring blossom

Market days: a look at the flower market in April

April seems to be the month the flower market changes the most. In February and March tulips in all colours and varieties dominate the flower market. In April, more and more flowers come into season and make an even more colourful display at flower stalls. So, let’s have a look at the flower market in April.

Plants at the flower market

I know this post is long overdue. I’m sorry. We were on holiday for a week, without WiFi. After that, my laptop crashed, again! Thank you, HP. I really don’t want to go into that, just so you know: it’s frustrating and I am frustrated. Back to the flower market. Continue reading Market days: a look at the flower market in April

The joys and sorrows of gardening

Three weeks ago my friend Bex nominated me for a Liebster award. The Liebster award is all about discovering new blogs to follow, so I was very happy to pass it on to three newer bloggers whose blogs I love.

Purple aquilegia

As a flower lover and aspiring gardener, of course, I chose my nominees among like-minded flower enthusiasts.

One of the bloggers I would like you to discover is a fellow countrywoman, Marieke Nolsen. She is a florist and a gardener with a lush floral blog. She doesn’t have much time to write, but she shares lovely pictures of her garden flowers. I especially love the collages she creates, with pictures of yellow and white spring flowers, different kinds of small purple flowering plants, or a variety of purple pansies. She really has an eye for colour and a distinct style.

Wreath with blue and white pansies - Cloverhome.nl

Violas are her favourites. I told you in my market days March how people are anxious to get some colour in the garden, they can’t resist the happy faces of the pansies. This lady certainly didn’t hold back!

Marieke hosts floral workshops using seasonal flowers, preferably from the garden, creating natural floral arrangements. She also has a passion for gardening and gardens as she arranges flowers or vice versa. I would love to join one of her workshops one day, I definitely need to practise my flower arranging skills, but for now I had to settle for a visit to her garden.

An old farmhouse in white, yellow and dark timber

Marieke lives in an old farmhouse that used to be part of an estate, Den Treek. The estate consists of woodland and heather, it’s very popular at weekends. We like to take the kids there for a walk or even a picnic in summer.

A meadow with two horses
Cuckoo flowers, or pinksterbloemen, in the meadow behind the house

The garden surrounding Marieke’s house is divided into four ‘rooms’ each with a separate identity. The garden was designed to fit the characteristic farmhouse, the flowering plants carefully selected to match the colours of the house.

The farmhouse was built in 1887

The garden consists of several flower beds, full of perennials and shrubs. Because she loves to work with fresh-from-the-garden material these are mostly flowers and foliage for cutting, like crab apples and hydrangea.

Last autumn Marieke went to a visit a large flower bulb grower and exporter. The flower bulbs were reasonably priced, she just couldn’t resist them and bought 1500 bulbs! It took two days to plant all the bulbs in the garden beds.

Blue and white pansies on garden table - Cloverhome.nl

Several times a year the garden is open to visitors. Marieke, of course, was anxious to have the garden ready for spring. She was hoping for flowers beds overflowing with tulips and visitors enjoying the bounty of spring bulbs. But, of course, you can’t fight Mother Nature.

This spring has been unusually cold and dry. As a result, blooms were about a month late. Only a few of the 200 tulips or so that were planted in autumn started blooming. Did they suffer from the cold, or did the voles (woelmuis in Dutch) get to them? These are the sorrows of gardening.

Despite these sorrows, there was still plenty to enjoy. The tulips that were in bloom, were beautiful, with large flowers on sturdy stems.

Flower bed with tulips, Muscari, daffodils, aquilegia

The combination of daffodils, white Lunaria, Muscari and yellow aquilegia in the front garden perfectly matches the white and soft yellow of the house. The aquilegia was planted to fill the gaps of the missing tulips. In my garden, it doesn’t bloom just yet.

Pots with white pansies and daffodils

The pots filled with white pansies, narcissus (Thalia) and dark green, almost black, holly made a very pretty picture.

I hope you enjoyed this garden tour as much as I have. I can’t wait to visit it again in summer and see the hydrangea in bloom! I promise I will take you there again.

Today being the last day of April, I hope to see you again next week for Market days April.