This is the garden that belongs to my friends Anja and Machiel. Their garden is dominated by a lot of trees which make it a very shady garden. Because of all that shade and the stiff competition their plants would get from the trees for water and nutrients Anja and Machiel decided to create a garden where everything is in harmony with each other, instead of fighting to the death.
So they created a woodland garden where many plants and bulbs flower in late winter/early spring before the trees get their leaves.
And it all looks wonderful. I took these pics from early til the end of February and as you can see there is so much to enjoy already.
Hellebores and oodles of snowdrops in flower.
Beautiful Hellebores and snowdrops
Some more snowdrops
In this garden there are snowdrops in flower from October till end of April as Anja and Machiel are both suffering from a severe case of Galanthofilitis. It's not an illness that is bad for your health although the same cannot be said for your bank balance. Some rare snowdrops cost as much as 30 to 50 euro ( 45 to 75 USD/CAD) per bulb.
A gorgeous Witch hazel
Hellebores, winter aconites and snowdrops
Dark maroon Hellebore
Another beautiful Hellebore
Christmas box or Sarcococca with a heavenly scent!
It's such a delight to go for a stroll in this garden as there is already so much in flower from early February onwards; it really lifts the spirit on a bleak winter's day.
But it is difficult to show you how delightful this garden really is as I can't take any overview pics because the blooms fall away then. The planting is so subtle in this garden.
The winter aconites are very happy in this garden and they have spread like wildfire.
They also have quite a collection of Hellebores which is quite sensible of course, one can never have too many Hellebores.
I think this garden is a wonderful example of going with what is there, instead of trying to force the wrong plants to grow where they have little or no chance to succeed. In a garden like this you can't expect lots of summer flowering plants because they need a lot of sunshine and that is never going to happen in a garden full of trees.
So the highlights of the gardening year in this garden are in early to late spring and in autumn when the trees have little or no leaves.
Anja and Machiel have shown with their garden that it is possible to have a garden full of blooms in one of the most difficult situations; lots of shade and even worse, very dry shade.
copyright 2008 Y.E.W. Heuzen
Gardens are places where we can connect with the weather, the seasons and the natural rhythms of plants and animals.
Monty Don, My Roots, 2005