Monday, 28 November 2016

Bad timing.

I have cut all the summer flowers from the garden and put them in a vase. Whilst doing so, I ponder about last summer and the exuberant flowering of these flowers ....

First rose ‘Marie Pavic’. This summer the shrub has been rarely without flowers. Next I put rose ‘Golden Border’, with pale yellow flowers in the vase. This is always the first in flower. Moreover this rose blooms to November. Then I put Geranium 'Rozanne' in the water. Your pretty blue flowers, is it really over? ......

I realise I can write a poetic blog about these November flowers. I take my camera to make some pictures of this colourful bouquet. Unfortunately, there is too little light! Most pictures are blurry.

Next day is not any better for photographing. Moreover, I promised to visit my mother in law today. As I return in the evening I look at my little bouquet in the kitchen window. Right away I see the freshness has gone. To make things worse, next day I see a few faded flowers.

Well, here I am with my post about "November flowers." Next to me a vase full of wilted roses. Bad timing Hetty!

Yet I am writing this blog. Because I realize these wilted roses symbolize the end of the summer.

I have to face it: it is the end of November and little light. No light, no pictures and certainly no summer flowers!

The last summer roses.

a little blurry, but fresh.

The summer bouquet

A few days later..... summer is over!

Monday, 21 November 2016

Recommended, flower bulbs in pots!

Maybe you do not feel the same need as I do to perforate your garden and planting bulbs in them. However this should not stop you from having flowering bulbs in spring. Just plant them in pots!

When I do so I plant the bulbs not directly into the terracotta pot, but in a plastic container that fits exactly into the terracotta pot. That gives me the opportunity to switch. Once one species have finished flowering I put another container with bulbs in its place. Mind you: The large bulbs of tulips and daffodils do better in a larger container pot. So think big!

Which bulbs to use?

In my experience all types of bulbs can be used for this purpose. Not only tulips and daffodils, but also small bulbs, like anemone and Puschkinia thrive in pots. Note: narcissi in pots can easily suffer from frostbite. So, I always put the pots with daffodils free from the ground, on a piece of wood or something like that.

How to proceed?

Put some soil in the plastic pot and plant a layer of bulbs. Cover the bulbs with a layer of potting soil and plant/place another layer of bulbs on top of that. Cover the bulbs with soil. Do not forget to label the container. Believe me, after 6 months you will not remember what you've planted. Planting bulbs in pots is quickly done. Faster than I can type this blog!

Can I still plant bulbs?

It's not too late yet. You can plant tulips in pots until mid-January (provided the soil is not frozen). It is already too late to plant snowdrops and imperial crowns. Buy good quality bulbs to avoid disappointment. Not at the hardware store or supermarket. My bulbs supplier (Jan Deen) would say: "Do you buy a steak at the fishmonger?"

So start planting! I can highly recommend it to you all! To inspire you I add some pictures of my spring bulbs in pots.

Narcissci in terracotta pots

Puschkinia in little pots. 

Botanic tulips.............

.......they look great on the table.

You can also plant tulips in baskets........


Or even better, two baskets.

No pot left? Wrap them in a piece of brown paper.

I also use the old dustbins.

Crocus in terracotta basket.


Bulbs in pots. Recommended!

Monday, 14 November 2016

What I learned from Marilyn Monroe.

Recently I visited the exhibition "Happy Birthday Marilyn" in Amsterdam. Whilst passing by the windows with her personal belongings, I learn a lot about her life. How she constantly practiced before the mirror to perfect her pose. Oh Marilyn, I wish I had done the same!

Why, you might think. Well, I will explain.

During my garden tour in England last summer, I received an email from the Dutch magazine Landleven (Country Life). They wanted to feature my blog in the November edition. Could I send a recent photo of myself? I promised to mail one as soon as I got home.

Alas, the day I came back home it turned out to be 35 degrees in the shade! However a promise is a promise. So I do my hair and put on some makeup. And as this picture is asked for the November edition I put on my turtleneck sweater and a jacket. Dressed up like this I sit myself on the garden bench for the photo shoot.

"Am I sitting upright?" I ask my husband, who is the photographer for the occasion. Oh no! Rather impatiently he starts turning my head and shoulders. In the meantime, sweat runs down my spine! I kindly smile to the camera. My husband takes five photos. That should be enough.

"You look a little bit tired," my husband says, as we look at the photos on the computer. No surprise, I just returned from a busy trip! And to make things worse, the photographs are very much overexposed. As I don’t want to do the session in winter clothing again I send one of the pictures to the magazine.

Now three months later .....The November edition of Landleven is in store. There's a nice feature about my blog. But no picture to go with it!

That would never had happened to Marilyn. Her perfectly posed picture would probably have been on the cover!

In case you are curious about my failed picture, sorry, I'm not going to post it. First I will have to practice posing. In front of the mirror, for hours and hours!

My blog in the magazine.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Tulip bulbs and the neighbour’s cat.

“Don’t you ever get fed up with planting bulbs every year?”, a lady asks me. Fed up? I just cannot wait! As soon as the boxes are delivered from my bulb supplier (Deen bloembollen) it feels like birthday, Santa Claus and Christmas all together. I start planting immediately.

As I mentioned in a previous blog (click here), I have re-worked the backyard. Planting in a newly shaped garden area is the nicest thing to do. The heavy clay soil is well prepared and deliciously crumbly. Planting 500 tulips in colour shades of white, green/ white striped and dark red is easy. Another box ticked, you might think. Alas reality is different!

Every day I find unearthed tulip bulbs in the back yard. They are scattered all over the place. How can this be? Well, it turns to be the neighbour’s cat. This cat knows exactly when I have prepared the soil. The next day, that particular piece of soil is used as a litter box. I can assure you that it is quite smelly and dirty if you have to replant a bulb.

For that reason, I hunt for the cat. So regularly you can see me sprinting from the house into the garden, angrily hissing, kssst ksst. Rotkat!

So I am never fed up with planting flower bulbs, but the uncivilized neighbor’s cat; I'm totally FED UP with that beast!

P.S. Dear cat lovers, please don’t feel offended, I reckon your cat never do such things.

The boxes in the hall way.

I start planting right away.

The back yard. 

In this crumbly soil planting is easy.

I plant dark red ones.....

This colour make the combination more powerful.

White ones with green stripes....

.....And simple white ones.
We just have to wait for 6 months...

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