Best flowers for Valentine’s Day besides roses

Valentine’s day is this weekend and it is a special day for me. Not because it’s Valentine’s day, we don’t make a big deal out of it, but because it’s a year since I started this blog! My Linzertorte recipe was the first post I wrote. One of the things I love most about blogging is reading your comments on a post. Some of you actually baked the cake and loved it. It was so nice to hear!

Best flowers for Valentine's Day besides roses: tulips - Cloverhome.nl

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Flower arranging step-by-step with hyacinths and ranunculus

Hi there!

Is it February already? I have been so busy, I have neglected my blog a little. I would like to write a blog post every week, and I do have enough blog post ideas, but I never seem to have enough time. I don’t want this blog to become a task, it should be fun. But when you don’t write regularly, it doesn’t become a habit and you can easily forget about it altogether. The more you write, the easier it gets. So, here is another try.

This week, I want to show you how to make a simple flower arrangement of hyacinths and ranunculus inspired by the Flower Recipe Book.

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Autumnal Dahlia bouquet – fresh from the garden

When I wrote about my summer bouquets back in July, I promised you to create another summer bouquet after our summer holiday, this time using the dahlias I have been growing in my dahlia garden. Today is the first day of Autumn, so it’s obviously too late to make a summer bouquet. Luckily, my dahlias are still blooming and in this post I am sharing a very autumnal dahlia bouquet. It’s made from flowers, berries and foliage fresh from the garden.

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Hold on to summer with sunflowers: market days August

Hello there and welcome back to Market Days, where I share whatever flowers are in season and available at the flower market in my hometown. This month I am highlighting sunflowers, a typical summer flower, bright and cheerful and with an unmistakable resemblance to the sun. Continue reading Hold on to summer with sunflowers: market days August

Summer bouquets: Mix and match

Hello there! Whether you are you reading this in the back garden at home or at your holiday location, I hope you are enjoying summer. To bring out your summer feeling even more, in this week’s blog post I am sharing my summer bouquets. You know you should always have flowers in your home. Research shows you’ll feel happier and more satisfied. If you are looking for inspiration for your summer bouquets, just read on.

Summer bouquets - Cloverhome.nl
Monkshood, poppy seed pod, clematis, eucalyptus, phlox

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The flower market in June: summer flowers in abundance

Hello everyone, welcome to this month’s market days, where I share whatever flowers are in season and available at the flower market. After last month’s peonies, this month’s focus is on summer flowers.

Market days June: summer flowers, nigella - Cloverhome.nl
Nigella or love-in-a-mist

But maybe I should begin with: hello, is anybody there? After all, it’s finally summer. We have had our first official heat wave, and everyone seems to be getting ready for the great escape. When the weather gets warm, people spend more time outdoors, take time off from work, have long weekend escapes and go on holiday, while watching less television and spending less time online. And that’s a good thing! I hope, you too, are taking some time off, spending time with friends and family and enjoying the outdoors.

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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.

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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

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.