Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bulb-a-licious Dutch Bliss

Designed by Jacqueline van der Kloet for the Efteling.

If you haven't planted them yet, there still is time to stuff your garden full of bulbs as long as the ground isn't frozen solid. I'm still in the process of planting mine. I've put in quite a few so far but need to put lots more in. I don't know about you, but every spring I feel that I should have planted far more bulbs than I actually did. For some reason there are never Too Many Bulbs but always Not Nearly Enough.
Bulbfields in South-Holland

I was born in Leiden and lived in next door neighbour Oegstgeest (I know, impossible to pronounce but not to worry even Dutch people have problems pronouncing Oegstgeest) for 15 years. And every spring my heart would leap up at the sight you see above. It has its advantages to live close to bulb farmers; fields stuffed to the gills with tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, as far as the eye could see. Just a spin on the bike away from where I used to live. Utter Bliss!
Designed by Jacqueline van der Kloet for the Keukenhof

And Lisse, where you find the Keukenhof, the world largest spring park, was very close by then too. If you want to see millions of bulbs in flower (and who wouldn't?), this is the place to go. Next year will be its 60th birthday and the theme for 2009 is New Amsterdam/New York, 400 years. Amongst the many displays there will be a statue of liberty made of 250,000 bulbs.
Jacqueline van der Kloet

Now that you've seen what I have been exposed to from a very early age, as far as humongous amounts of bulbs are concerned, you will forgive me for being totally underwhelmed when a fellow garden blogger, who shall remain anonymous, ordered 20,000 bulbs, or when other fellow garden bloggers bragged about having put hundreds of bulbs in her/his gardens. A piffling couple of hundreds of bulbs? Rank amateurs, the lot of them! ;-)
Dutch garden design

Most of you have heard of the Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf but does the name Jacqueline van der Kloet ring a bell too? If not, then you've missed out on something good. Take a close look at the pic above. Gorgeous isn't it? You can find this wonderful flower display in the Keukenhof and it's one of my favorite designs by Jacqueline. Why? Because it reminds me of this:
a beautiful wild flower meadow.
But if you can't come to the Netherlands (how very remiss of you, really, you should try harder) then you could perhaps visit Battery Park in New York (pic above) and the Lurie Garden in Chicago to admire some of Jacqueline's work.
The Tea Garden in Weesp, is Jacqueline's own garden and very much worth a visit. I've been there myself once or twice. ;-)

Favourite bulbs

I'm Dutch so perhaps you're thinking that my favourite bulb is the tulip but frankly, my taste is not that glaringly obvious. ;-)
This is what I love most of all, zillions of snowdrops,
drifts of wild daffodils and
blankets of winter aconites.
The winter aconite is such a cheerful flower and brightens up even the dullest, bleakest day. And days usually are pretty dull and bleak in January/February when the winter aconite flowers. If you haven't got the winter aconite in your garden, please go away and hide in the nearest broom cupboard. Really, what where you thinking of ? Buying loads of bulbs and no winter aconites at all? What a sad person you must be. But, all is not lost, there is still time to put a few (and by a few I mean zillions) bulbs in. If you don't, you'll be sorry.

Some sound financial advice

Yes, yes, I know, buying zillions of bulbs is not cheap but what else could you possibly do with your money that would make any sense nowadays? Buy a house, or bonds and shares, put money in the bank? Don't make me laugh! Investing in bulbs makes far more sense because each spring you will be guaranteed a great return on your money: lashings of joy and gleeful rubbing of hands while your inner smugness level goes up a notch or two at the glorious sight of spring flowers galore in your garden. You know I'm right.

copyright 2008: Y.E.W. Heuzen

The farmer looks at winter with spring in his eyes. So does the good gardener.
Ministry of Agriculture, Allotment&garden Guides, October 1945

Monday, November 24, 2008

White Magic

Yesterday afternoon it started to snow for real. We had a bit of sleet before that day, but then we got down to the serious work. It's been quite awhile since we last had snow, real snow. The kind that crunches underfoot and is so good for having snowball fights and making snowmen.
What is it about the whole outside world being covered with a layer of white stuff that makes the mundane suddenly look so magical?
And the world feels smaller somehow as sound is so muffled, even the light seems different, drained of colour.
It wasn't only snowing but quite stormy too. All in all we had about 10 cm of snow (about 4 inches). I can't remember when we last had that amount of snow.
The front garden, white again, due to snow this time, not roses.
Although there still were some roses in flower, like the lovely Moonlight that was having a hard time.
The birds were having a hard time too but luckily there is always somehing to munch chez Bliss. There may have been quite a snow storm going on but I still had a little puppy that needed to go for walkies, so out we went. Would widdle Tara like the snow or hate it?
Tara's first steps in the snow. Perhaps steps is not the right word for it. ;-)
Snow love or hate? What do you think, gentle reader?
Irrefutable proof that there was magic involved as Tara suddenly sprouted an extra leg.
Rooting in the snow with her little nosey, like a pig for truffles.
Oh look, it's Quintus, another puppy, let's play!
Happy little puppy up to her belly in snow.
Meeting up with her giant friend Bernie, a wonderfully gentle Golden Retriever. Tara is in safe paws with him.
We spent an hour playing in the snow but then it got too cold, my hands were frozen, it was getting dark and we were in dire need of some sustenance.
And while outside the birds were braving the inclement weather, little Tara was snug as the proverbial bug on a rug, or in this case cushion, happily munching a biccie in front of a roaring fire.
And to get defrosted I had a bit of this; mulled wine, cheers!
Then it was time to light the candles, a magical, fun filled day had come to an end.
Sweet dreams little Tara!

copyright 2008 Y.E.W. Heuzen

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Devil in Disguise

Watching Tara today I felt a song coming on, an oldie but goodie by Elvis Presley. Want to hear it too? Click the video bar on the right hand sidebar and don't forget to crank up the volume.

She looks like an angel,
Walks like an angel,
Talks like an angel
But I got wise

She rolled my paper hankie and then shredded it; my puppy is a pickpocket!

She is the devil in disguise
The Bliss team : Oh yes, she is
The devil in disguise

Tara with ex Frisbee

She fooled me with her kisses
She pick pocketed and she schemed
Heaven knows how she lied to me
She's not the way she seems
Beheaded pink cow

She's the devil in disguise
Bliss team : oh yes, she is
The devil in disguise
I thought that I was in heaven
But I was sure surprised
Heaven help me, I didn't see
The devil in her eyes

You're the devil in disguise, oh yes you are, the devil in disguise.
Tara : The devil in disguise? Me? Surely not?

Tara is12 weeks old today.

Friday, November 14, 2008

November Blooms for GBBD

I know I'm one day early but I don't have time to post on Saturday as that is usually the busiest day of the week for me and is also my mothers birthday tomorrow so it has to be today for my contribution to GBBD.

For those of you who have been living in deep dark holes under the ground for some time: Garden Bloggers Blooms Day is held on the 15th of every month. It's the day when many garden bloggers from all over the world show what is in flower in their garden. Why? Well you should ask Carol that. ;-) During some months of the year it is also allowed to show what is in flower in your home as not every gardener has something in flower outside all year round. So, it would be according to the rules to show you what's in flower inside in my home, but I am not going to. Why not? Because I still have quite a lot in flower outside so I'll show that instead.

In flower in the potager:
Primulas in yellow and white
A flowering leek, lilac
Nasturtiums in red, orange, yellow and cream
Borage in white and blue
Cobaea scandens, with several flowers and still producing buds. It's an annual here.
And this was a surprise; the blackberry was in flower too, can you see it? Here's a better look at the flower.
In the Victorian greenhouse:
Assorted Pelargoniums and Solanum crispum
One tomato plant
and a hot pepper.

In the front garden:
rosa Guirlande d'Amour,
rosa Sombreuil,
rosa Moonlight, still going strong and producing lots of buds,
rosa Madame Alfred Carriere
the last Asters in lilac and purple,
Jasminum nudiflorum,
and violets in blue and yellow, white and purple.

In flower in the back garden in pots and baskets:

Camelia, deep pink
Violets in pink, burgundy, white, blue, purple and yellow
Skimmia japonica

In the borders:

Verbena bonariensis; we are down to the last few flowers.
Spirea japonica Anthony Waterer, just the odd bloom here and there.
Malva Park Allee
Leycesteria formosa
Gaura lindheimeri, still full of flowers
Salvia greggii Stormy Pink, also full of blooms
Eupatorium rugosum Chocolate, covered in flowers
A passalong plant, no idea what this one is called but it's been flowering for months now.
Geranium, I'm amazed that its delicate flowers can stand the autumn weather.

The last of the Mohicans:
Sweet pea
Japanese Anemone, it self seeded, its parent is a double pink.
Dolgan, Russian Blue kitten
He's Willow's and my grandson, we're very proud of him and he is the latest addition to our ever extending cat family. No, he doesn't live with me but with his breeder Gerti.