The weather has been very good since last Thursday with lots of sunshine and hardly any wind at all, which makes a nice change from all the rain and winterstorms we had before. Last weekend was particularly good with maximum temperatures around 15 C (59 F). The average maximum temperature for February is 5,6 C (42 F), to give you some idea. But we have had days of 20 C (68 F) in February before, so 15 C (59 F) is not all that much out of the ordinary. But ordinary or not, I'm enjoying the lovely weather and am, just like all the members of the Bliss team, basking in the sun. There's no better warmth than that of our friend the sun.
Yesterday my garden club and I went to the Arboretum Trompenburg in Rotterdam for a nice Winter walk. But because it was so warm and nice outside, it felt much more like a lovely Spring walk.
There was a lot to see in the Arboretum Trompenburg and our walk with guide lasted for 1 1/2 hours. After that we looked around the Arboretum for another hour or so. We were amazed to see how much there was in flower already. Some of it was expected of course, but others not so much.
All these gorgeous Rhododendrons were in flower already, an unexpected pleasure. Arboretum Trompenburg has a collection of 700 Rhododendrons. They also house the national collection of Hostas, about 700 of them as well. I had not realised that there were so many different kinds of Rhodo's and Hostas.
The usual suspects for flowering were present too. We saw literally thousands of crocus, snowdrops and winter aconites and we also saw a lot of these;
the lovely Hellebores. They had quite a collection of them. I do so love these plants and their gorgeous flowers. I always enjoy turning up a bloom to see what surprise it has in store for me. Take this Hellebore here. When you look at it from above the flowers look a lovely white with just a hint of green. Then turn the flower upwards and ........................
you see a lovely freckled face, so very pretty!
This is the giant among snowdrops, and they had quite a few of them too, well thousands actually. If you can lay your hands on them, go on and buy them as they make more of an impact in the winter garden than the normal sized snowdrops. BTW it is best to buy snowdrops in the green, either when they are flowering or shortly after they have finished flowering.
The Arboretum Trompenburg has quite a lot of beautiful trees; this is a gorgeous cedar tree (Cedrus), but they also have 50 different kinds of beech trees and 50 kinds of oak. Trees can look beautiful in winter too, even if all their leaves are gone. Some of them have such beautiful bark, either the peeling kind or the colourful ones or even both. It's worth taking the bark into consideration before you decide on which tree(s) to buy.
See how pretty that peeling bark is?
The dead flowerheads on these Hydrangeas demonstrate that you should not clean your garden in autumn much, but leave it well enough alone. The pic doesn't do it justice, it was in reality much more beautiful.
Unfortunately I had some problems with my camera, the battery gave out even though it was newly charged, and I was unable to take as many pics as I had hoped. All in all I managed a measly 22. Must buy a new rechargeable battery for my camera! Luckily I was able to snap a pic of this plant, a lovely Camellia with very dainty white flowers, very elegant.
They had big pots filled with these irises (Iris reticulata), aren't they wonderful? We had a wonderful time in the Arboretum Trompenburg yesterday, it was so nice and peaceful in there, even though it is right in the middle of Rotterdam, a very big and busy city. We loved soaking up the sun and walking around the beautiful Arboretum, enjoying the beautiful sights. I hope that you have enjoyed it too!
copyright 2008: Y.E.W. Heuzen
Remember always that it is the overcoming of the difficulties in the gardener's way, the determination to succeed, that gives zest to the occupation. Did everything planted grow and flourish, gardening would be too tame. A lesson must be learned from every failure; with renewed patience persevere until success is reached.
Helena Rutherford Ely, A Woman's Hardy Garden, 1903