Monday, 23 February 2015

Pruning willows. A truly Dutch job.

Today I will not tell you about my own garden, but those of our friends instead.

Because, what do you do when you have to prune 20 willows and you have little time at your hands? Well, you send your friends an invitation to get together and work a little in exchange for a delicious meal. Of course we all accepted. Pruning willows, is it not truly Dutch?

On the scheduled day the sun was shining brightly. We could not wait to get the work started. After a short briefing over a cup of coffee in the kitchen, we all started right away.

First of all the branches of the willow were cut off with a chainsaw. The so-called “drag team” lugged the branches that came off into the yard. Subsequently, some of our female friends readily cut the branches to size.

The thicker pieces were kept for the fireplace; twigs were for the wooded bank. The “pruning team” stripped long straight branches with infinite patience. Following this stripping, the bald straight branches were brought to the “braid team”. They put these branches into a wicker fence around the vegetable garden. An enormous amount of work was done.

At the end of this sunny day all willows were pruned, the branches cleared up and the kitchen garden had a new fence. Satisfied and exhausted we sat down on the couch and toasted to our friendship.

A friendship as old as the pruned willows themselves!

Willow, before...

And after pruning.

After pruning the woman get started!

Here we are making a wooded bank.

Oeps, Girl power. And I see a new garden trend: Garden Uggs! 

Lunch time.

Soup with meat balls in it.

20 willows already done.


In the evening sun ......

....a truly Dutch scene.

Vegetable garden with the new fence.

Close up, old willow.

Also truly Dutch: wooden shoes. Just for decoration!

The sun set. 

A lovely day of working and friendship.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Friday, 13 February 2015

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. February 2015.

February. The garden looks brown. But when you look closely, the first tulips have emerged from the soil. I grow them in a blue painted tin and put them on the table in front of the kitchen window. I cannot wait to see colour in the garden. Below the first flowers that are blossoming at the moment.

Have a Happy Bloom Day!

A warm welcome to all new followers.

Botanic tulips.

Beautiful together with ranonkel.

Helleborus orientalis.



Just one Anemone.


Just one Anemone blanda.

Helleborus orientalis.

Helleborus corsicus.

Flowers of hazelnut.

The first Crocus.

The first puskinia.

Euphorbia 'Redbud'.

All new followers a warm welcome!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Sulphur on grapes. Knowledge from my grandfather.

A picture from the family album; my grandfather’s grape conservatory.

In early 1900 my grandfather was a professional grape grower. So he had many grape conservatories. In those days, to battle the fungicide in the grape gardens, sulphur was used. Today my younger brother still has - In a torn, brown paper bag - a remnant of sulphur from that time.

Each year I ask my brother a little bit of the sulphur from that bag to treat my two grapes with. Last year however, we used the last remains of that old sulphur. So, what to do this year? My brother found the solution. He bought a new bucket of sulphur and gave it to me as a birthday present. I was over the moon!

The knowledge how to use the sulphur goes from father to son (or, in this case daughter). I learnt the trick of the trade from my father too.

"Make a paste of equal parts of sulphur and yogurt. It may also be custard, just look what's in the fridge." My father was a practical man!
"Stir briskly so that it becomes an even paste. This paste is than brushed thickly on the grape buds. Do this every spring before the buds start to grow."

Last week I have smeared the grapes again according to the old "family recipe". After the treatment, the grapes looked rather curious. Every year I have to explain visitors why they look that way. While I am explaining this, my mind wanders off to the grape garden of my grandfather.

The knowledge from my grandfather has not been forgotten and I still cherish it!

Foto Hans van Arnhem

Sulphur is a natural product. Here two pictures of a volcano that my sister and her husband visited.
Foto Hans van Arnhem
 Sulphur from a volcano, somewhere in Indonesia...

Let's start. Sulphur, yoghurt and a jar

Smear the past thickly on the grape buds.

Do it every spring.

After the treatment, the grapes looked rather curious. 

Summer. The grape in the back garden looks rather healthy after the sulphur treatment!

All new followers a warm welcome!

Monday, 2 February 2015

How to “multiply” snowdrops?

The snowdrops in my garden are now in full flower. I have all kinds of varieties: large-, small-, stuffed-, early- and late ones. Personally I like the large snowdrops best. They really stand out! But a garden full of snowdrops is what pleases me most. How to achieve that? Time to get started!

It's actually very simple:

Get your fork and dig up a large clump of snowdrops.
Separate the clump into smaller portions.
Find a spot where you do not dig too often. (For me this is the hardest part of the process, because I dig everywhere in the garden!)
Plant out the small bunches of snowdrops directly in the garden itself.
Water them.

The snowdrops do not seem to bother that they are in flower whilst being transplanted. They just will continue to grow. And if growing conditions are favourable for snowdrops, you will soon have a garden full of them.

So many snowdrops in your garden makes it possible to pick some for a little vase. It is surprising how something so small will have an immediate, hugely positive, impact on your mood. However, snowdrops tend to wilt in a vase quickly, but I really cannot be bothered.

Because I have divided snowdrops for so many years, I now have a garden full of them!

In a smal vase,

it looks fantastic.

I have many different varieties. 

This is Galanthus 'G 71'

Galanthus 'Ophelia'

Galanthus 'Scissors'

A nice clump Galanthus nivalis.

Dig them out.

Divide them.

Plant them out.

And in few years time, you will have many for a vase!