Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A "little" Spring-Garden Report

"It was one of those March days 
when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: 


when it is summer in the light, 


and winter in the shade." 
~Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


Needless to talk long about the weird weather of this year's Spring....!
Freezing cold, Siberian winds, snow showers every so often....
...allover the world!
The coldest Spring I can remember,
and in Germany it was the coldest March since 1883!
Not to mention first half of April!

I can count on two hands the sunny days we've had during the last 6 weeks,
but when the sun came out and the sky was blue -


what a great pleasure!

 And it needed only a little bit of sunshine here and there,

with some higher temperatures,
for the awakening of our garden.

Viburnum carlesii
one of our earliest flowering shrub


While the blossoms of this tree are fading nicely away....

new life is coming up on every corner....


the earliest flowering tulips - can't wait!


On 26 March it still looked and felt like winter....

.. ignoring the cold - a perfect day for garden work, weeding - digging...


...cutting down a circa 60 year old cherry tree, not all that old....
but it hurts me, the tree belonged to La Pouyette and its history

sorting out the wood....what to keep or....
so difficult for me to trow old wood away

...and then my lovely helper created at the end of the garden
a little bench for me.

  More weeding....


 I nearly hacked into this little one!

A common toad which we call in German Erdkröte,
she survived and I've covered her with earth again,
but I must admit that I had a little shock! 
Well, that's gardening...
"meeting" all kind of creatures,
rain worms, toads, frogs, snails etc...
 As I have the need to feel the earth in my hands I always work without gloves
and really hate to touch with my bare fingers
 any of these creatures....GRRHH....

but back to weeding...
 clearing all the beds which were completely overgrown
by grass and weeds...

...bringing them back into "order"

We don't have all that many flowering perennials,
our soil is very poor and full of calcaire (lime),
but the few ones, dotted around here and there,
 are even more special for me.
Because they all flower in different times,
somehow one after the other,
  there are always new shoots to discover, 
to admire, especially during Spring. 
So exiting!

These Narcissus (Märzenbecher or Easterbells in German)
came in full flower - just in time for Easter!

 Here are my "Toughies":
 the Hellebores....
 - no matter the weather -
they just keep going - since January/February....


In April:

4th of April
 A lot of trees and shrubs are still a bit sleeping...
but these two evergreen shrubs of Osmanthus are in full flower,
also: "no matter the weather"!

OSMANTHUS - Oleaceae
Relations of the olive:
in appearance somewhere between olive and holly.

Genus of evergreen shrubs and trees,
grown for their foliage and small fragrant flowers.
Fully to half hardy, tolerates sun or shade and fertile, well-drained soil.
Restrict growth by cutting back after flowering.
Fragrant fillers rather than the focus of a garden.
But pleasing all year round.

 Osmanthus (Siphonosmanthus) delavaji 
Ht, Spd: 8 ft+  -
can be cut into shape without any problems
from my own experience
(in front of the above image)

Osmanthus (Osmarea) burkwoodii
dense and slow-growing, height to 10 feet, a bit more tree-like

(in the back of the above image)

Ten days later - 14th of April:

 Viburnum carlesii
sending out its lovely scent....whenever I pass nearby


 The earliest flowering tulips:

"Ebony Queen"

 a bit late this year....

but living in such a poor soil for 16 years by now....
and without being "feed"..

...they come up every year... beautiful and reliable - year by year!

A genuine blossoming spring meadow  

with thousands of daisies.....
 "Gänseblümchen".....(little geese flowers)



 This Camelia has survived the winter - just about!

But the white one is suffering....
 ...suffering from the second hard winter, poor thing!


A later flowering Narcissus

In Greek mythology, the narcissus originated from the drowned youth Narcissus
Another Greek myth finds Persephone, daughter of the goddess Demeter
lured to her doom by the god Hades while picking a narcissus flower

In ancient China, a legend about a poor but good man holds 
he was brought many cups of gold and wealth by this flower. 
Since the flower blooms in early spring, it has also become a symbol of Chinese New Year.
 Narcissus bulb carving and cultivation is even an art akin to Japanese bonsai. 
If the Narcissus blooms on Chinese New Year, 
it is said to bring extra wealth and good fortune throughout the year.


'Mexican Orange'

17th of's getting warmer... just a few degrees...

Choisya ternata - Mexican orange flower
Highly recommended rounded evergreen and aromatic shrub.
Flowering in early spring and intermittently to December - January.....

"carpets" of daisies
and first flower buds on the Judas Tree


in German Kuechenschelle (kitchenbell) or Kuhschelle (cowbell),
a must in every old fashion German Bauerngarten - farmer's garden

The genus Pulsatilla contains about 33 species of herbaceous perennials
native to meadows and prairies of North America, Europe, and Asia.
Common names include pasque flower (or pasqueflower), wind flower,  
prairie crocus, Easter Flower, and meadow anemone.
Several species are valued ornamentals because of their finely-dissected leaves,
solitary bell-shaped flowers, and plumed seed heads.
The showy part of the flower consists of sepals, not petals.
The genus Pulsatilla is sometimes considered a subgenus under the genus Anemone.

Pulsatilla patens is the provincial flower of Manitoba, Canada
and (as P. hirsutissima) is the state flower of South Dakota, USA. 

Pulsatilla vulgaris is the County Flower for both
Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire in England.  
Pulsatilla vernalis is the county flower of Oppland, Norway.

File:Pulsatilla vulgaris-700px.jpg
 Pulsatilla vulgaris
unfortunately we've lost the blue ones some years ago....

Pulsatilla vulgaris var. alba

 Pulsatilla pratensis subsp. nigricans
 Pulsatilla pratensis subsp. nigricans - would love to have this one!
It is used in traditional medicine in Europe to treat a range of ailments.
In the late eighteenth century, Anton Freiherr von Störck (1731 -1803),
physician to the Austrian empress Maria Theresia,
was one of the first people to attempt to quantify the effectiveness of this remedy in clinical trials.
In his career, Störck investigated medicinal properties of several poisonous European plant species.
Pulsatilla might be able to fight pain, fever, spasms, and bacteria.
It also might  have calming effects like a sedative.


 some of the peonies are coming up...
 Hosta ( syn. Funkia) is a genus of about 23–45 species of plants
commonly known as hostas, plantain lilies (particularly in Britain)
and occasionally by the Japanese name giboshi.
Hostas are widely cultivated as shade-tolerant foliage plants.  
The name Hosta is in honor of the Austrian botanist Nicholas Thomas Host.
The rejected generic name Funkia,
also used as a common name, can be found in some older literature.

 Hostas are native to Japan, Korea, and China

and were first imported and grown in Europe in the late 1700’s.

Hostas are edible by humans and are called "urui" in Japanese cuisine.
The parts eaten and the manner of preparation differ depending on the species;
in some cases it is the shoots, others the leaf petiole, others the whole leaf.
Younger parts are generally preferred as being more tender than older parts.
The flowers are also edible
Hostas are eaten by deer, slugs and snails,
which can cause extensive damage to collections in gardens.
Some varieties seem more resistant to slug damage than others.

Unfortunately our Périgordian snails just love them!
So, I only can have my Hostas in pots, placed on a high position,
at least a meter off the ground!


something wild....

Hellebores are still flowering....yes!


The seasons are what a symphony ought to be:  
four perfect movements in harmony with each other.  
~Arthur Rubenstein

With the Black Bird's songs every morning and evening,
 the cuckoo's call during the days....
what could be better than listening as well to 
Vivaldi's - Spring

by Itzhak Perlman and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra


A week later - 22th April:

  Choisya 'Aztek Pearl'
different, star-shaped leaves, also evergreen and very aromatic....

 ...and with the lovely scent of..

...the semi-wild lilac...

 the air is filled with "spring-parfume"

24th April:

Finally - the apple tree!

And just like over night - the whole nature is now awake!



 Clematis 'Montana'

25th April:

My black tulips

"Queen of the night"

 Black tulips take you to a land of mystery and elegance. 
Black tulips symbolize power and strength. 
They are royal flowers that make you think of misty novel stories, 
with big castles and foggy graves.

 Black tulips are rare and mysterious. 
They are hybrid flowers, never pure black, but more deep purple,  
maroon or wine red in color. Sumptuous beauties!


They have that hypnotizing royal shade 
that captures your attention and intrigues you to look closer 
or to admire more and more intensely.

Black tulips are elusive. 
They are craved by hybridizers and admired by gardeners. 
They inspire supreme elegancy and impose power. 
Black tulips are beyond belief!


  "The black Tulip - La Tulipe Noire"

 "The black tulip" is also the name of a famous novel
by Alexandre Dumas, the French historical novelist,
best known for "The Three Musketeers".
Set in Holland, it tells the story of the de Witt brothers and
their dramatic death at the hands of their fellow countrymen.
It can be said that the mystery of the black tulips
is truly in the eye of the beholder. 

However - this so called "little" report is getting far too long,
somehow I've got carried away....
....or lost myself in the garden and history. 
so, I'll continue with the last days of April
and the Tree Peonies...

  sometimes during this week.....

Wish you all a wonderful and sunny May-Day!

Until then......


  1. Dear Karin. Fabulous post and fabulous photographs. I loved every step dscovering your garden, day by day. ox, Gina

  2. Liebe Karin,
    bei uns ist der Frühling etwas *langsamer*!

    I love your garden diary!

    ♥ Franka

  3. Mais, qu'est-ce que tu fais Karin? Tu nous rends fous avec les photos d'un jardin de rêve , d'une nature généreuse malgré les caprices du temps, d'un paysage sans encombre...Je pense pourtant que c' est à travers ton regard que tout cela s'anime et s'embellit. J'ai pleinement joui de ce tour printanier dans ton univers, j'y ai passé un moment tout à fait agréable et particulier.
    À bientôt! Olympia

    1. J'aime la nouvelle ouverture du blog! C'est plus frais ! ...

  4. It is such a pleasure seeing LaPouyette each year is she blossoms forth. I love what you said about the cherry tree, it is part of the property and well loved. I'm going to go out and get some hostas as I have just the spot for them. And, tonight in Texas it will be in the low 40'sF, so yes it's cold everywhere. This will be a record low for us this time of the year, and tomorrow night as well. But doesn't that contradict global warming?
    Are you ready for "Camelot?" xxxxx's

  5. Wonderful photos, looks like spring is well on its way in your part of France. Love your choice of plant combinations, everything seems so much more vibrant with the right companion.

  6. Dear Karin,
    Now THIS is a garden post!! Thanks for this tour, my friend. Beautiful photos along with all your descriptions / narratives. I am so impressed with your Ebony Queen tulips....16 years? That is amazing! The squirrels and other critters keep digging up my bulbs. I'm lucky if mine come back the next year. Actually most of my daffodils come back, but not the alliums or tulips. I love your Choisya....what a specimen!

  7. PS - Happy May Day. I'm celebrating with little arrangements of lilies of the valley from our garden :)

  8. I loved this post, my friend! So glad to know Mr. Toad is okay!
    I just posted my gardens but they are nowhere near as beautiful as your own!
    I adore the bench made of the cherry wood!



  9. Dear Karin,
    What a great garden post. You have many lovely shrubs and flowers. I hadn't heard of the Osmanthus but love those creamy flowers. The pulsatilla is also very pretty.

    Happy May Day. Here, the bluebells are in bloom and lilac fragrance wafts through the air.

  10. Such amazing images!

    I host a weekly party called Seasonal Sundays. I'd love to have you join. The link goes up at 7 pm EST on Saturday evenings.

    - The Tablescaper

  11. Que du bonheur en photos... Il y a tant à faire dans les jardins en ce moment... Plus l'herbe à tondre, encore et encore avec la pluie et la neige qui sans cesse tombent... et cela devient une dure tâche. L'herbe est trempée !
    Gros bisous

  12. Rien n'échappe à votre oeil si attentif à la vie végétale quelle que soit la saison...Magnifique post, tout y éclate comme dans les jardins en ce bizarre printemps fait d'amplitudes déconcertantes ! Merci Karin

  13. Dear Karin, this is a lovely post and garden tour....the cherry tree seat, really hit home with me...last year one in our woods was uprooted in a storm. It created the same effect with me....I used the lichen covered branches in table arrangements I designed for a wedding...I felt better still enjoying it's beauty and gifts...your hellebores and tulips are beautiful, as is so much in your garden...always a pleasure to visit you Karin, N.xo

  14. It is great post i like it very much dude

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  15. Oh Karin those deep purple tulips are my favorite! I love the mounds of ? like art in the middle of the field...your garden is so wonderful!