Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My Trug Runneth Over

In early spring the garden trug was filled with this
the first radishes, some salad leaves and herbs. Later on came the first rhubarb, lettuce, rocket salad and
in May the trug was filled with elderberry blossom to make elderberry flower champagne.
Then came June and my trug was starting to work overtime with harvests like this, gooseberries and strawberries,
broad beans, purple podded peas,
potatoes and lettuce and many more scrumptious food from my ornamental kitchen garden such as white currants, raspberries, plums, Swiss chard, rocket salad, water cress, artichoke, garlic, herbs, radishes, peas and sugar snaps.

July's harvest is bountiful as well, so far I've harvested more potatoes, broccoli, strawberries, raspberries, rocket salad, lettuce, Swiss chard, the first tomatoes, courgette, radishes, water cress, the last of the broad beans, sugar snaps and many herbs.
Of course I've been picking a lot of flowers too from early March onwards

Perhaps by now you are thinking that I have an humongous kitchen garden but I haven't. It's only 90 m2, but as you can see it's enough to grow a lot of food.

Soon it will be time for my trugs to run over with enormous amounts of tomatoes, leeks, potatoes, corn, peppers (hot and sweet), lettuce, broccoli, rocket salad, Swiss chard, cucumbers, strawberries, black berries, Japanese tayberries and after that it will be time for harvesting
grapes, hot peppers, the last tomatoes,
pears, apples, eggplant, pumpkins, courgette, Swiss chard, rocket salad,
red cabbage, leeks and the last of the strawberries.
And, of course, there is always a harvest of this
a Surprising amount of kitty love'n goodness. My trug indeed runneth over......


Due to PC trouble I've been off line for a while but hope to catch up with you all soon!


copyright 2008 Y.E.W. Heuzen

One of the most endearing qualities of gardeners, though it makes their gardens worse, is this faculty of being too easily delighted.
Henry Mitchell

Monday, July 21, 2008

Rainy Days

Rain, rain, rain, rain , rain, rain, rain , rain (ad nausea)

Rainy day!

Rainy day!

I'm standing in the rain
Getting soaking wet
It's teeming down on me
Cats and dogs .........

To soak in (pun intended) the true atmosphere of relentless rain pouring down, click here, crank up the volume and get into the zone. Especially recommended for those of you who suffer in weather of a 100 F/ 40 C and more.

This year we're having one of those typically Dutch summers that are mainly wet, windy and chilly. It's been raining a lot lately and yesterday I caught this little birdie sheltering from the rain under my grape arbour.
Poor thing, it looks a bit miserable and small wonder with skies like this.
Today it's going to be about 15 C (59 F) at most which feels decidedly autumn-y, not of the good when it's supposed to be the height of summer.
I've been working hard on creating a new border lately and people were expressing concern about my working too hard but there is no risk of that as all that rain has turned my heavy clay into a quagmire. I can't do a thing with my new border now. There's about 3.5 meters to be planted before it will be finished but ..................
with solid mud like this I can't do a thing. I will have to wait until the earth dries out.
So what is a poor gardener to do? Well, in between the relentless showers I nipped into my greenhouse for a bit of basil which I turned into yummy pesto. It's very easy to make and you'll find the recipe here.
I then sliced some tomatoes, spooned a bit of pesto on them, some freshly milled black pepper, a little drizzle of olive oil, a few black Greek olives and then you let it rest for half an hour before eating it. It's scrumptious, very nice to have for lunch with a freshly baked baguette and a chilled glass of white wine. You can also put the slices of tomato on an open sandwich, which is very yummy too.
There is a lot of lavender growing in my garden and I had so much lavender that I didn't know what to do with it, so I made a wreath and hung it in my bathroom. It looks very nice and it smells great too. It's very easy to make and you only need some freshly cut lavender and a bit of thin metal wire and Bob's your uncle.
For the finishing touch I picked a few flowers from my garden to bring a bit of much needed sunshine inside.

copyright 2008 Y.E.W. Heuzen

Rain, rain, go away

Come again another day
Nursery rhyme

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Secret Revealed

Recently I revealed that I had been working on a new border for quite some time and judging by the responses I received this whole new border came as quite a surprise to many of you. This is how it is looking now (pic above) and I'm rather pleased with it and, more importantly, so are the bees and the butterflies.
This is the latest bit I've added to it. Looks a bit bare at the mo but once everything starts growing I'll have to do a lot of pruning to keep it from turning into a jungle. I garden on heavy clay, which is not the easiest soil to garden on as it turns to concrete in the sun and mud in the rain, but it is fertile, very fertile. So together with the loads of rain we get, the moderate temperatures and the fertile soil, many plants grow with wild abandon at Bliss.

And now, gentle reader, something that you all have been waiting for, it's time for the big reveal, TADAAAAAAA, may I present my wildflower meadow to you:
Lovely isn't it, and such a butterfly and bee magnet too. I love watching my pretty meadow
with all its lovely delicate flowers waving about in the breeze.
And there are many kinds of flowers in my meadow too as you can see here.
There is something magical about wildflower meadows, don't you agree? They conjure up childhood images of warm summer days, laying on your back in the meadow watching the fluffy clouds in the brilliantly blue sky float by, bees buzzing, birds singing, the wind rustling, weaving daisies chains to wear on your head, picking posies for your Mum, and just simply being there, happy to be alive because the sun is shining and all is right with your widdle world.
And, before you get jealous, you haven't heard the best bit yet; everyone can have a wildflower meadow like mine.
See? Your own mobile bliss meadow TM, a little bit of heaven on earth, what more could you possible ask for?

And what did this little bit of heaven cost me? Less than a dollar and very little work. Does it get any more blissful than that? I don't think so. :-)

copyright 2008 Y.E.W. Heuzen

Garden art and landscape architecture rely on sensitivity to convey experiences which are authentic. Garden art and landscape architecture are the antidote to virtual reality.
Sven-Ingvar Andersson

Monday, July 14, 2008

I'm in Love with The Doctor!

Oh yes I am, madly, truly, deeply. I'm smitten. He is such a very handsome chap and I'm struck with his wild, organic beauty. Sigh! Who wouldn't fall for a guy like that? I think there should be a law against being as handsome as he is. It's simply not fair. Looking at my beautiful Doctor makes me go weak at the knees. He is so gorgeous, so tall and so mysterious.
And did I mention handsome? My Doctor is IMO the doubly-dug fantasy of many a female gardener. And he smells nice too. What more could a girl possibly want? This is the kind of Doctor whom I'd love to make house calls, to my house. ;-) I wonder what his bedside manner is like. Hmmmmmmmmm.....

Yes, yes, that's all very well YE, I hear you say, but Doctor Who?
And that's a good question. Who is this Doctor of mine that I've fallen so madly in love with? It is not the chap you've been looking at for the last minute or so.;-) Cute he may be and I really like the new Doctor Who series especially now that he, David Tennant, is playing the lead as he is so much more easier on the eyes than his predecessor was, but he's not the one that makes my knees tremble. Sorry David, I know that this must come as such a blow. ;-)

The Doctor that I've fallen deeply in love with, my Doctor, is this one:
drop dead gorgeous Doctor Jamain, Souvenir du Docteur (he's French you know) Jamain to give him his full name. The pic doesn't do him justice as his real colour is such a deep, dark, rich and velvety burgundy red and he smells absolutely divine. My Doctor is such a stunner and he's great up against a wall (ahem) and he looks good in a vase too.
Not many chaps have that claim to fame!

copyright 2008 Y.E.W. Heuzen
pictures of Dr Who courtesy of Scifi.com and the Official Dr Who site of the BBC, bbc.co.uk/drWho

Roses are for fearless hearts, the ones that bleed and bloom again.
Dominique Browning, House&Gardens, March 2001

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Piet Oudolf Re-Visited

Today I'm going to take you on a visit with me to Piet Oudolf's nursery and garden. For me it's the third time I've been there, once in October in 2006 and twice in June, once last year and again this year. I went to Piet's during my holiday in the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands. I stayed with a dear friend of mine who lives only half an hour's drive from Piet's place. When I went to Piet's last month I was thinking of Shirl who would have loved to come with me as she is a big admirer of Piet's work. It was actually through a post of mine about PietOudolf that Shirl and I met on the net. And, as regular visitors of Bliss know, Shirl and I met up recently for real in Edinburgh so Piet has a lot to answer for. :-D.
Shirl, this post is especially for you although other visitors here are very welcome to tag along. So without further ado, let's get cracking.
The weather is lovely so let's walk up the drive way to the house, nursery and garden.
Lovely plants, don't you think? We have to go to the nursery first and try to find Piet's wife Anja to buy the tickets for the garden.
Anja Oudolf is usually found somewhere near the market stall they have in the nursery. Mrs Oudolf is the one that runs the nursery.
See the little market stall in front of the farm house? Chances are that we will find her there. Now what would you like to do first? Look round in the nursery and buy some plants or visit the garden? In the nursery they do not only sell plants but there are a lot of things there that I think you would like to see. Shall I show you round the nursery first and then we will go see the garden? Okidoki!
Oodles of plants for sale in the nursery,
the nursery with in the background the new house they are building. Have you noticed those grey leafy pillars? Fun, aren't they?
In the nursery you also find the trial beds, where they try out new plants. The plants are in long rows and you are able to see how tall and how wide those plants will actually become. Most of these plants are sold in the nursery so it's very handy that you can see the plant in full maturity.

The former stable. Have you noticed what they use as a doorstop?
Ah, there she is, the one in the colourful trousers. She's always wearing outrageous trousers, so far I've seen her in Kermit green trousers, bright red leather pants and these. Mrs Oudolf is easy to spot, I'll give her that. :-D
Tell you what, why don't I go buy the tickets for the garden while you get the car so that you can bung in all the plants you bought. Finished? Let's go see the garden then, this way.
This is the formal entrance to the garden and when you come out of that tunnel you see this.
Erm, yes, I don't know quite what to make of it either. It's, well, unusual, let's leave it at that. ;-) But we are not going through that tunnel as Mrs Oudolf told me to take the side entrance so come on, let's go.
This is the first thing you see when you enter through the side entrance, lots of grasses in front of the old farm house. Right, let's walk a bit further along and then turn round.
This is the garden right in front of the house, quite close to the formal entry I showed you earlier.
As you can see, this part of the garden is rather devoid of plants, there are some but shape is far more important here than plants are.
So much for the first part of the garden which is rather austere, let's go on to the next part, shall we, behind those yew hedges.
Tadaa, very different wouldn't you say? Let's have a good look round.
Grasses galore!
Have you noticed how the yew hedges and shapes contrast with the plants and are sometimes used as exclamation marks?
If you look at the plants from a distance you see that from the use of many prairie plants and grasses that have been planted in waves and that wave about in the breeze, you get this decidedly wave-y effect. But if you look carefully you can also see the stiff hedges do the wave-y thing. See?
Piet Oudolf is not afraid to use a lot of pink in his garden and blue, purple, white and soft yellow too.
But to spice things up a bit and to prevent the garden from looking too sugary sweet he sometimes hits you in the eye with something bright red.
Tell me, looking at this garden do you get the feeling that you will never amount to anything as a gardener as you could never hope to achieve this kind of perfection? Well my dear, despair no more cause lookee here:
There, if that doesn't cheer you up I don't know what will and btw, remember once and for all that there are NO perfect gardens. It's time to go, let's have one good look at this lovely garden before we leave. It is stunning, isn't it, warts and all. :-D
Well Shirl, I hope you've enjoyed your virtual visit to Piet Oudolf's garden and nursery and I hope that we will be able to go there together for real one day. And you gentle reader, I hope that you've enjoyed tagging along too. Do come again soon for another episode of Bliss!

copyright 2008 Y.E.W. Heuzen