Thursday 20 June 2013


"Man ist dem Himmel nirgendwo naeher als im eigenen Garten"
Rainer Maria Rilke

"One is nowhere closer to heaven than in one's own garden"


My tree peonies -  from buds to blossoms:


on March 24th

  3 weeks later on April 14th

 on April 25th

28th of April

This enormous semi-double peony is sweetly scented; 
deeply curved large flowers of light pink.

Each petal is darker at the base 
and curls around a center of golden stamens. 
An early bloomer. 

  here in full beauty...


 ...beginning of May, only a few days later....

...very sadly - rained off.

Tree Peonies
"Embroidered garden, everywhere there, fettered with famous flowers;
My steps are blocked by the red tiers of budding crimson
I ponder on your favors, which resemble the colors of springtime-
Upon tree peony branches, indeed their glory’s profuse."
Lu Shusheng (Ming Dynasty 1368-1644)

 'Mai Hoko'
first shoots  - on march 24

 29th of March

first buds - getting ready for the "show"...

...I cannot wait....!

nearly 4 weeks later...on 22th of April....

...and after another week....

27th of April's raining, raining....

...every day....

but then with...

 ...just a little bit of sunshine on 1th of May...

When are they open up?  

Showing me all of their beauty?

Here we are - a few days later on 6th of May



Back to "normal" - back to rain....

on May 9th....


Why am I so fascinated by the tree peonies?
I'm not the only one.

In China, 
tree peonies have been objects of aesthetic fascination 
since at least the Sui Dynasty (589-618 CE). 
Painters and poets have worked to capture the ephemeral beauty of the blossoms.
see also my post "Ode to the Peony"    here

Tree peonies are also used to evoke female nature, love, prosperity and status.

The Blossoms of Luoyang
"My lover is like the tree peony of Luoyang,
I, unworthy, like the common willows of Wu Chang.
Both places love the spring wind.
When shall we hold each others hands again?
Incessant the buzzing of insects beyond the orchard curtain
The moom flings slanting shadows from the pepper tree across the courtyard.
Pity the girl of the flowery house, who is not equal to the blossoms of Luoyang."
 Ting Liunang (Tang Dynasty, 618-907)

Peonies at Jixing Temple
"Springtime radiance, gradually, gradually where does it go?
Again before a wine jar, we take up a goblet.
All day we’ve questioned the flowers, but the flowers do not speak.
For whom do they shed their petals and leaves, for whom do they bloom?"
Emperor Yang (Sui Dynasty, 569 – April 11, 618 )

middle of May...
bye bye....until next year.


“Gardens are poems where you stroll with your hands in your pockets."
(Les jardins sont des poemes ou l'on se promene avec les mains dans les poches.)
 Pierre Albert-Birot, The Cubist Poets in Paris: An Anthology

"Blue moments"

 2th of May                                                     4th of May

Iris  Germanica

9th of May





Clematis -  26th may

 In June....

Campanula persicif.ssp.sessiliflora

"Blue Bloomers"


"It is a golden maxim to cultivate the garden for the nose,
and the eyes will take care of themselves"
Robert Louis Stevenson

in February, March and April

 Choisia tarnata  -  Mexican Orange

 in May:

white Lilac

creating a scented white 'simphony'

lifting up our rainy gray spring days...

in June:

 the heavenly 'jasmine-like-scented' Viburnum came into flower...



"Moments of Happiness"

"Japanese Honor" peony

lifting and brighten up this year's spring,
a rained-off, gray spring which I call "a green painted winter"!

Oriental Poppy - just that little color spot...


our "Back-wall-rose"....
middle of May...

and in June.....

...when rain continued...


...“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in--what more could he ask?
A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables  

 Papaver orientale

giving a 'pre-taste' of summer

together with Lavender and "Curry-plant"...



 Papaver somniferum


rain - rain - rain....

"gone with the rain"...

Phlomis fruticosa - Jerusalem sage





Deutzia  is named after the 18th century Dutch patron of botany,
Johann van der Deutz.


Nature's own design and creations:

in May....
Clematis Montana

giving an interesting contrast 
together with the brownish leaves of the Hazelnut tree,
climbing/spreading over - not yet flowering - other shrubs...

in June, after the flowering Clematis:

 evergreen Firethorn  Pyracantha coccinea
and evergreen  Fatsia Japonica


Pyracantha coccinea is the European species of Firethorn
that has been cultivated in gardens since the late 16th century.
The evergreen shrub/tree has small white flowers.
It produces small, bright red berries in autumn.


If I could only paint....! 

  heavenly scented
Festiva Maxima







Japanese Honor




"This morning the green fists of the peonies are getting ready
to break my heart 
as the sun rises,
as the sun strokes them with his old, buttery fingers
and they open - pools of lace - white and pink

and all day the black ants climb over them,
boring their deep and mysterious holes into the curls,
craving the sweet sap, taking it away
to their dark, underground cities -

and all day under the shifty wind,
as in a dance to the great wedding,
the flowers bend their bright bodies,
and tip their fragrance to the air, and rise,
their red stems holding all that dampness 
and recklessness gladly and lightly,
and there it is again - beauty the brave, the exemplary, blazing open.

Do you love this world?
Do you cherish your humble and silky life?
Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath?
Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden,
and softly,
and exclaiming of their dearness,
fill your arms with the white and pink flowers,
with their honeyed heaviness,
their lush trembling, 
their eagerness
to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are nothing, forever?"
by Mary Oliver


Drinking with Friends Amongst the Blooming Peonies
We had a drinking party to admire the peonies.

I drank cup after cup till I was drunk.

Then to my shame I heard the flowers whisper,

“What are we doing, blooming for these old alcoholics?”
–Ling Huchu (Tang Dynasty)









Throughout the world there are many different gardens that people have designed. 
In a Japanese garden, every tree is perfectly pruned, without a leaf out of place. 
Nothing is planted without forethought as to the exact place appropriate to it.
There are English gardens that are famous for their roses and perfect lines of shrubbery. 

The number of garden types are too numerous to mention.


One thing is true of all gardens: 
It is joint creation between man's intention to create a space of tranquillity 
and nature's ability to comply. 

...and tomorrow is the first day of summer....

Until then....