In a Vase on Monday: Snowballs

The Viburnum opulus in our hedgerows is flowering beautifully this year, prompting me to pick some for a vase this week. In German this shrub is called ‘Schneeball’, as the white flowers shine out from the hedgerows like balls of white snow. 😃

And here is the vase.

 

On a whim the cow parsley just the other side of the fence was picked too. And a few grasses from the hedge and the garden were also added. 😃

 

 

 

Close up you can see the ring of outer petals on the Viburnum, attracting the insects to the tiny inner fertile flowers. The berries in autumn are beautiful too – a bright shiny red.

 

I have never looked at cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) so closely before – they remind me of lots of tiny stars.

Some parts of Germany have had terrible storms over the past few days, but we have been lucky so far…. fingers crossed. Tonight another round of thunderstorms is forecast, but let’s hope for the best!

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting this meme. And thanks to you for visiting. 😃

 

In a Vase on Monday: Totally Tangerine!

I am totally in love with Totally Tangerine!

I had been looking for this Geum for years, seeing it regularly (with growing envy! 😉) on other blogs. It seemed unknown in Germany. But the choice of plants here slowly improves each year, and more and more nurseries in the north of Germany have websites and online shops. A couple of weeks ago I finally tracked one down… well, actually I ordered three!

I was so surprised that they arrived in flower too. 😃

Naturally, one had to appear in my vase this week, as I join our host Cathy, at Rambling in the Garden, for this weekly meme.

The tulip is Ballerina, which can hardly be beaten for a splash of red/orange in May. The seedheads are Pulsatilla, and the foliage is Heuchera and Alchemilla.

I had to rinse the pollen off the Heuchera leaves, as everything is coated in a thick layer thick of it. Can you see it on the Pulsatilla?

It is not so much the oilseed rape at the moment, but the evergreens… in this photo below the oilseed rape is a pretty picture, but can you see the clouds of pollen in front of the dark evergreens? (Click on the photo to enlarge)

(Anouk has yellow legs most of the time! 😉)

I love the fiery colours of Geums and they have done well for me in the past, so I have sown seed of Fireball and Red Dragon this spring. They are coming along well. I also have a few other Geums in the garden; Blazing Sunset (grown from seed several years ago), Gold Ball, Mai Tai, Scarlet Tempest and Red Wings. Do you grow any?

May is such a busy month, but I will try and take time to enjoy the garden today instead of just rushing around weeding, sowing, shuffling seedlings around, etc.

Hope you have time to enjoy your gardens this week too. Happy Gardening!

 

 

In a Vase on Monday: Summer Memories

Isn’t it nice to look back at photos in the realization that spring is not far off and soon our gardens will be performing again like last year? My arrangement this week brought back memories not only of my own garden, but also of the garden show I visited in Ingolstadt last September. (Above photo)

The crystal bud vase is filled with tiny porcelain flowers and butterflies I bought there, which I intend to give away eventually, one by one. But for now they are still sitting in waiting. 😉

And the pink dried flowers at the base are Helichrysum bracteatum ‘Silvery Rose’, grown two summers ago and saved. The three purple ones are Xeranthemums, which I grew last summer under the impression they would be like traditional strawflowers. They are much smaller though.

I was not terribly impressed with them actually, as they are flimsy plants which lean at the slightest breeze and make little impact in terms of flowers; only one or two opened at a time. I am returning to the original Helichrysum this year, with some more freshly ordered. 😃

Many thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting. 😃 You should visit her blog to see what Cathy and the other participants linking in have found to put in a vase on this Monday, which is, by the way, the last of January! Yippee! (Detect my dislike of January there? 😉)

Hope you have a flowery week and a good start to February!

🌷🌷🌷

Happy Christmas!

Another old Christmas carol has been popping into my head the last few days  – ‘God rest ye merry gentlemen’ – with the line ‘comfort and joy’ seeming just perfect for the kind of Christmas I would like this year. A few days of cosiness, with good food, music, and some relaxation. So I wish you all the same: Comfort, joy, a happy and peaceful Christmastime and all good wishes for the New Year!

🎄🎄🎄

Winter Solstice in Bavaria, Krampus et al

About 250km to the south of us lie the Alps, already covered in a good thick layer of snow at this time of year. The mountains have always been fascinating to me, and seeing them awakens that same childish pleasure as when I catch the first glimpse of the sea on the way to the seaside.

Summer near Berchtesgaden

And the traditions find it fascinating too.

Before the age of digital photos I would occasionally drive there, either for some sightseeing of the beautiful lakes and mountain passes, or for a day of skiing.

Life in the villages and remote farms in mountainous regions used to be very hard in winter (and still can be), and many superstitions arose, particularly regarding this time of year. Some of these are rather sinister, with evil spirits and fearsome creatures playing a role. One of these is Krampus, often depicted as a hairy horned man-like figure, who frightened children into being well-behaved. This is one of the least frightening photos I could find. If you search ‘Krampus’ online you will see even scarier images!

Photo from National Geographic

Similarly, in Bavaria ‘Knecht Ruprecht’ was an evil man dressed completely in black, who supposedly ate naughty children. Here he is depicted as part animal, resembling the devil…

While, on December 6th, the good children receive gifts from Saint Nicholas (the original Santa!), naughty children were tortured; I remember a student of mine (an adult at the time) telling us how he was still filled with dread on December 6th when he recalled how he was collected by Krampus/ Knecht Ruprecht every year and put in a sack, convinced he was going to die!!

Another myth involves evil who people make a pact with the devil during these dark days and turn into weirwolves, threatening humans and animals alike. It was common to burn incense in the stables and barns over Christmas, to ban evil spirits. One of the superstitions I have heard is that the animals in the barns are suddenly able to speak, and foretell the future. Should, however, anybody hear them, he or she is destined to immediate death. (Not sure how that one can be explained!) Another story is that on New Year’s Eve the animals can air their complaints to the ‘house spirit’ about the farmer if they have been mistreated, and he will then be punished. (I like that one!)

All of these myths and many more have become tradition and are remembered, re-enacted or celebrated in December, mainly between Thomas Day (today, December 21st) and Epiphany (January 6th) – the so-called ‘Rauhnächte’ – varying greatly from region to region. The appropriate clothing, masks and paraphernalia are passed down through generations or carefully preserved by communities. I love the fact that so many truly ancient traditions are still alive here today, mostly with pagan origins, being then rearranged around Christian holidays and adapted or extended over the centuries. I am sure, though, that children nowadays are not tormented as much as my student was 50-odd years ago. 😉

And now some nicer images… of my garden on a frosty winter solstice day. 😃

(Click on any image to open a slideshow).

Wishing you a happy Solstice day.

❄️☀️❄️

Bavarian Horticultural Show, Ingolstadt 2021

 

As many of you know already, I live in Bavaria in the south of Germany. Bavaria is one of 16 federal states in Germany, and every year each has their own regional horticultural show. The 2020 show was postponed last year, but took place this year instead, and was in Ingolstadt (known perhaps best for being home to Audi car manufacturers). This is just a 90 minute drive from us, and having lived there for many years I could not miss this opportunity! So I picked up a friend on the way and we made a day of it. 😃

Here are some of my impressions…

There were some long beds of perennials leading off the main square like sun rays and I was impressed with both the dramatic planting and the size and vigour of the plants…

(Click on any photo to enlarge)

A lot of lilies were still flowering, and the combination with Coreopsis, Agastache and Heleniums made quite an impact.

The first asters were also flowering. Grasses played a major role in all the gardens, which appealed to me in particular.

A few beds along pathways were reserved for annuals. And these were amazing!

Color themes were red and orange, orange and blue, or grey and pink…

Some of the small show gardens were really imaginative…

I really loved this view…

 

A few were nothing special, but there was always an element for inspiring, such as the raised bed idea here, and the firepit using decorative stone and paving with a cute little bench…

Inspiration…

Not sure we need one of these…

But one of these is on my wishlist. It rocks gently, and of course we tried it out! 😉

And this grass is on my wishlist too: Panicum virgatum ‘Northwind’…

So many lovely vistas, flowers and ideas…

The show is being held all summer and covers 23 hectares on the edge of the city, with large open expanses, and a small lake on one side. It will remain a park after the show, and will be such a treasure for the city dwellers. I do hope more trees will be planted there, making it into a haven for birds and insects as well as people.  😃

Have you been able to visit a garden show this summer? (I might even visit this one again soon! 😉)