You must have a favorite flower. Everybody does. Some love tulips or sunflowers, others melt with the scent of roses. For me they are too average. It’s Echinacea or Cone Flower that stole my heart. They just do it for me. I think they are embedded in our genes since every child draws a coneflower if they are asked to draw a flower. They are the flowers amongst flowers. Their fair shaped paddles, their bright colors, their yellow to brown cones. They resemble the architype of a flower.
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If you spend a lot of time in your garden, you know: Gardening is therapeutic. It liberates, revitalises and de-stresses. Whether it’s the flowers, the green or the dirt, the humming of the bees or the combination of these facts, we will never know. Being outside, picking weeds, seeing flowers bloom and seasons shift, I think it’s fantastic. You recreate nature to indulge in its beauty.
One man who is currently a rising star in landscaping knows how to recreate nature. This weekend I’ve visited his gardens in Hummelo, the Netherlands. It’s a must see for garden fanatics. His view on gardening with unimaginable combinations of Continue reading
The best time for having 6.000 square meters of land is Spring. I’m totally amazed by the transformation of the soil, the plants, the trees and the view.
Only a month ago the land was still grey and depressing but like a miracle overnight it changed into a bursting of life vivid green. The fruit trees are blossoming, the fresh green leaves are popping up everywhere as well as the first weeds 🙂 But this year we will turn the garden into this Eden of Experimental Gardening. With our friend Hendrik Dekker who is a professional Landscape Architect we are planting a complete new ‘biotope’ like the picture here taken at De Boschhoeve.
Let me explain the new set up of the gardens… Continue reading
To our big surprise, Tourteron has been awarded with ‘one flower’ by the Village Fleuri committee. Of course we’re delighted about the news! There are special guided tours offered through the Flower Towns of France–though sometimes it’s not more than some cranesbill next to the city name sign.Still, we wanted to thank and show our appreciation to the town of Tourteron, so we sent this letter to the town hall:
Dear Town of Tourteron,
On our arrival in Tourteron for Christmas we noticed the ‘Village Fleuri’ sign for the first time. Is it true our lovely town is awarded with one flower? We’re really happy about it since we had the wish to help our city with this. How is it organized? Is there something we can do to help maintenance? Is there a budget to make Tourteron look better with the flowers? If there’s anything we can do to support, please let us know.We have one suggestion for Christmas next year. In Brandeville (Meuse), the town offers electricity for the decorations and the town gardener places all the Christmas trees. The community helps decorate the trees. We’d love to help.Your new and proud inhabitants,
Marco and Hugo.
In French it’s translated like this:
Chers ville de Tourteron,
A notre arrivée à Tourteron pour Noël, nous avons remarqué le signe «Village Fleuri» pour la première fois. Est-il vrai que notre belle ville est récompensée par une fleur? Nous sommes vraiment content de ça depuis que nous avions le souhait d’aider notre ville à la présente.Comment est-il organisé? Y at-il quelque chose que nous pouvons faire pour aider à l’entretien?Yat-il un budget pour faire Tourteron plus belle avec des fleurs? S’il ya quelque chose que nous pouvons faire pour soutenir – s’il vous plaît nous le faire savoir.Nous avons un sugestin pour l’an prochain Noël. En Brandeville (Meuse), la ville offre l’électricité pour les décorations et le jardinier de ville place tous les arbres de Noël. La communauté aident décorer les arbres. Nous serions ravis de vous aider.Vos nouveaux habitants orgueilleux,
Marco et Hugo.
The winter is coming, and that means it’s prime time to clear the fields. The past summer we’ve been fighting the nettles and wild berries. Over two-thirds of the garden was nothing but thorns and stingy things. Not a place where you can play a nice game of football or sit and relax to read a magazine.
We tried to destroy them manually and chemically. But nature is just so strong-willed. The weeds kept on returning. Of course, that’s no surprise if you keep in mind that the previous owners left the fields unused for 30 years.
At the end of autumn we came up with the final plans for the 5700 square meters of garden. The first part, the orchard, will more or less remain the same. The second part will be turned into a flower garden. The third and biggest part will become grassland which is good for football, soccer, running, playing…whatever kids do when they go wild. The second and the third part have been wild terrain for a long time. We could not do it with just our bare hands so we bought –back to basics– a plough! 🙂
Let us introduce our new hero by the French description: “La motobineuse SARP S55B2 est équipée d’un moteur Briggs & Stratton de 190cc développant 5.5cv, ses commandes sont par cables et bénéficie d’un guidon réglable en hauteur. La largeur de travail d’origine est de 60 cm mais peut en option (FL) être portée 90 cm. Puissance, simplicité et robustesse pour cette machine de fabrication française. Conforme aux normes C.E.”
I must say: It’s a Killer Machine 🙂
glasshouse |ˈglasˌhous| noun [Brit.]
a greenhouse, |ˈgrēnˌhous|, a glass building in which plants are grown that need protection from cold weather.
This weekend we found our inspiration for the flower and veggie garden. This strange, neck-shaped piece between the orchard and the field has always been a bit of a struggle for us. We had no idea how to turn it into something of value. Should it be a playing ground? A beautifully simple grass field? A kitchen garden full of savory herbs?
Since we’re living in the fast lane, we actually do take time to enjoy the good moments of life. So one sunny Saturday we went to Staverden Castle (Kasteel Staverden). We only had thoughts of some wine and finger food, but…
There it was! The Victorian Glasshouse.
The metal structure painted white with its elegant, cave-shaped roof grabbed our attention. We went inside over and over again. It was warm, comfortable, useful, inspiring! And it had absolutely dazzling character. This was exactly the eye-catcher that this part of our garden cried out for! If we build a glasshouse like this at the end of the heart line, we’d have a perfect ‘folly’. It would bring great perspective to the flower garden and drive people right into this part of the garden where they could wander between the blooming beds and enjoy the scents of nature.
The glasshouse could also be used as a winter shelter for citrus trees or as a greenhouse for orchids, or even a nursery for our the indigenous plants of our garden. With just a few seats and a heater it would make a fantastic place to sit in early spring or even late autumn. Can you imagine reading a book surrounded by the smell of orange blossoms with buckets of rain pounding on the metal and glass above?
Our only problem was where to get one?! 🙂
We placed an ad on the Dutch eBay. The copy we placed translated as: “There’s no match between our house from 1813 and a modern aluminum glasshouse. Therefore we’re looking for an ancient Victorian glasshouse between 20 square meters and 40 square meters which has a brick substructure. Who has got one or knows somebody that has got one and wants to get rid of it? It is not a problem if it is a bit broken; it can be a renovation project. We’ll come to pick it up wherever in the Netherlands and Belgium.”
If you are from the UK and you have one to offer, don’t hesitate to reply. 😀
We’ve started working on the court and the orchard. They are around the mill and there is grass there that needed to be maintained anyhow. It’s logical to start here and –mind you– a good garden needs at least three years of work. The first year is for shaping and planting the new collection. The second year is for (re)planting, growing and maintenance. And during the third year you’ll be (re)planting, growing, maintenance and enjoying.
So this is the year of The New Collection. We bought some plants in France, but they are way too expensive! We’d rather buy the plants in the Netherlands for example at Abbing (Zeist) … I just love to search around that huge nursery.
So far we have planted the following:
Achillea millefolium ‘Cloth of Gold’
Ajuga reptans ‘Catlin’s Giant’
Aquilegia chrysantha ‘Yellow Queen’
Aster ‘Monte Cassino’
Brunnera macrophylla ‘Jack Frost’
Campanula addenda ‘Blue Star’
Centaurea montana ‘Grandiflora’
Clematis montana ‘Rosebud’
Festuca glauca ‘Intense Blue’
Iris ensata ‘Diamant’
Iris japonica ‘Variegata’
Papaver orientale ‘Perry’s White’
Parthenocissus tricuspidata ‘Robusta’
Pennisetum ‘Karley Rose’
Primula ‘Gold Lace’
Pulsatilla vulgaris ‘Alba’
Rosa ‘Penny Lane’
Verbascum ‘Raspberry Ripple’
We had a draft vision on how we’d like to landscape the garden. Here’s the big idea.
1: The Court in front of the house is the entrance to the property. Grass, a terrace and arches define it. The limestone color of the house needed a blue touch to lighten things up a little. The main colors will be pink, blue and purple with drops of white. To preserve the grass we keep it car-free. 🙂
2: The Orchard will look like untouched fields planted with grass and wildflowers. The waterside will be covered with foliage plants and irises. We’ve planned these streamside beds with open spaces left at certain points to make it easier to access the water. The colors will be white, blue and red, with some yellow in spring.
3: The sun side of the orchard up against the ramp will be place for a wildflower border filled with one set of plants equally covering the whole ramp of 6 meters by 40 meters. The colors will be white, blue and yellow.
4: The big field of around 4000 square meters will be used for the pool and field. This part of the garden will get a traditional hedge. The hedge will be made out of a mixure of three local species: Carpinus betulus (hornbeam), Malus sylvestris (apple), and Crataegus monogyna (hawthorn).
I hate to admit it, but YES, I DO love gardening. I can spend hours walking through a garden –especially the gardens I maintain– checking on every little perennial to see how everyone is doing.
The mill at Tourteron has 5,700 square meters of garden–and that’s a long walk. Mind you: That’s 7,000 square feet. But I honestly don’t mind. It’s a perfect way to start a day before the first cup of coffee. I’d do it all day if I could.
Do I talk to the flowers and the trees? There’s my next confession: I guess so. LOL!
I could talk about gardening all day and show you every single flower there is. But it’s better if you check yourself: I’ve made three galleries at Flickr only on the garden of the mill.
The (unknown) flowers at Tourteron: about the flowers we discovered in the garden.
The New Collection: about the plants we bought and planted.
Shaping the Garden: about the progress we’re making with getting the garden into shape.
So, those three galleries are enough for you to check out. The rest of the big steps will be blogged here (Flickr is only for the pics).