Bring colour into your garden with rhododendrons

Rhododendrons are the perfect spring-flowering shrub for bringing colour into your garden. They come in all colours of the rainbow and most produce many clusters of flowers. They are easy to grow and low maintenance. No need to prune them unless they grow out over a sidewalk. They look especially wonderful in large gardens or parks where there is space for them to grow. A large rhododendron in bloom is a spectacular sight.

Bring colour into your garden with rhododendrons -
Rhododendron Madame Masson

Continue reading Bring colour into your garden with rhododendrons

What’s blooming in the garden: May

And suddenly, it feels like summer. After a cold and wet spring, with even some snow at the end of April, temperatures are in the twenties. The warm weather has made a big difference to my garden. Lots of things are emerging; leaves, flowers, and unfortunately, slugs. May is a busy time in the garden. I have been weeding, and removing dead leaves and slugs hiding under the leaves. Obviously, I should have cleared up the leaves months ago but I didn’t. I bought some new plants and planted them in the garden and made a wigwam for my sweet peas. What have you been up to?

Continue reading What’s blooming in the garden: May

What’s blooming in the garden: April

Hello, I hope you are enjoying spring! We had some nice days and cold nights. Spring is later this year but is now well underway. Last week I wrote the cherry blossom trees were not in full bloom yet, they are now! The magnolia flowers are already starting to fall on the ground.  It’s such a shame that the spectacular flowering trees only bloom for such a short time, don’t you think? Luckily, there is much to look forward to these days. It won’t be long before the azaleas and rhododendrons start blooming. They are not as sensational as the cherry trees, but they come close.

Continue reading What’s blooming in the garden: April

Dahlia garden review

The meteorological winter has begun and in the Netherlands, everyone is excited about Saint Nicholas, or Sinterklaas, coming to town this weekend. He brings his gifts on the evening of December 5th, riding the roofs on a white horse, delivering presents by the chimney. The Dutch took this tradition to America and Sinterklaas evolved into Santa Claus. Gift-bringing at Christmas is gaining popularity each year, but Sinterklaas is still more popular. Because my husband’s family is German we both exchange gifts at Sinterklaas and on Christmas Eve. Our children must be the happiest kids in the world.

Continue reading Dahlia garden review

The arboretum: where every leaf is a flower

Autumn is coming to an end and the holiday season, starting with Saint Nicholas’ Day, is just around the corner. November has been really warm until this week. We had our first frost at the beginning of the week and all of a sudden it feels like winter. I visited the Von Gimborn Arboretum weeks ago when leaves were still on the trees. I am a big fan of photographing interesting trees and the arboretum is just the right place to do that. As we say goodbye to autumn, take a last look at these beautiful autumn colours.

Continue reading The arboretum: where every leaf is a flower

Het bergje: a small mountain in the Low Countries

I live in a country called ‘Nederland’, the Netherlands. In France, they call it ‘les Pays-Bas’, the Low Countries.  And it’s true, the landscape is mostly low and flat, with large parts of the country (ca. 26%) actually below sea level. Knowing this, would you believe I live on a mountain? The area around my neighbourhood has been called a mountain for centuries though it is really only 44 metres above sea level. This means it probably only qualifies as no more than a hill.

Continue reading Het bergje: a small mountain in the Low Countries

5 things I learned about garden photography

Last Saturday, I attended a garden photography workshop hosted by Modeste Herwig at the Botanical Gardens in Utrecht. The weather forecast for the weekend didn’t look very promising. Fortunately, it didn’t turn out as bad as predicted. So I spend most of my day outside, in a beautiful garden, doing what I love to do most: photographing flowers.

Continue reading 5 things I learned about garden photography

Dahlia garden update: my favourite cut flower dahlias

Hello there, welcome back to my blog! After my long break, I am happy to take up blogging again and share my love of flowers with you. Today, I am taking you to my dahlia garden and I think it’s about time! We have been back from our summer holiday for two weeks now. Those weeks rushed by unpacking and doing the laundry. I have been trying to catch up  in the garden and my boys have been getting ready for school.

Continue reading Dahlia garden update: my favourite cut flower dahlias

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 -

Continue reading My top 3 flowering trees to enjoy spring blossom

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 -

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 -

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.