My Gardening Tips

110,000 EURO FOR ONE TULIP | The tale of Tulip Mania

Baby Elephant

Once upon a time… Isn’t that how all good fairy tales start? Only this one isn’t fiction but actually happened all the way back in the 17th Century. There was a time when tulips were two-hundred-times more expensive than… gold! That in itself seems entirely crazy. Almost unimaginable is that the highest demand was for ‘infected’ tulips – but more on that later. These days, seeing tulips poke their little heads through frosty soil, announcing that spring has arrived, is an entirely ‘normal’ occur...

My Gardening Tips

COOL KIDS | When the going gets tough, the tough get going

Baby Elephant

So, here’s a perfect example that you never stop learning in life – and the garden. Last year was the first time I stumbled across Hardy Annuals, also called Cool Flowers. It’s a concept that’s little known here in Germany, even though nature shows us how it's done every year. Sweet Pea "Hi Scent" And the best thing? Right NOW, when we’re lovingly looking at the last of our summer blooms and longing for spring, when we can start our annual seedling Kindergartens all over again – THAT’S when the ...

My Gardening Tips

THE JOY OF UNAPOLOGETIC SIMPLICITY

Baby Elephant

I imagine most people think of France as a modern country with all the amenities one has come to expect. Is that true of everywhere in France, though? Weeeell – it just so happens that I know of a little, picturesque village in the Champagne region that would vehemently argue that it isn't. It's right here that you'll find the tiny house that once belonged to my great-great-grandparents. And I mean tiny. It has two rooms. One of them is the kitchen (and also the entrance and living room). I ofte...

My Gardening Tips

40 PLANTS THAT SLUGS & SNAILS WILL LEAVE WELL ALONE

Baby Elephant

I’ll never quite understand the purpose of slugs and snails. What was evolution thinking! The gastronomically-savvy French probably have some kind of garlic and parsley soaked answer for snails, but what about slugs then? On a side note: the marvelous Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage fame really did go all out and, with an enormous amount of patience and creativity, bravely attempted to transform slugs into a delicacy. It didn’t work. The Burgundy snail Even the fact that hedgehogs a...

My Gardening Tips

THE CHELSEA CHOP | Bring those plants in line

Baby Elephant

Ladies and gentlemen: it’s time. Time for the Chelsea Chop. It’s the English gardener’s miracle cure, the secret to a long flowering period, and the way to get compact, bushy plants. So, grab your clippers and read on. The Chelsea Chop is a pruning method for certain herbaceous plants that you carry out at the end of May/beginning of June – around the time of the legendary Chelsea Flower Show. It makes herbaceous plants, like phlox and stonecrop, grow much bushier and significantly extends their...

My Gardening Tips

COPIOUS COSMOS | Make your summertime garden sing

Baby Elephant

If you're looking for flowers that will bring you joy all summer long, are easy to grow and transform your garden into a sea of blooms, it’s time to take a closer look at cosmos. Cosmos are the perfect flower for beginners, both in terms of growing and care. They flower in abundance from May (if they've had time to germinate indoors beforehand) through to October, make delightful cut flowers and, simply put, just make me happy. A bit of history: they found their way to our shores around 200 year...

My Gardening Tips

DELIGHTFUL DAHLIAS | A sea of color for your garden

Baby Elephant

It’s confession time! I never used to like dahlias. I felt they were somewhat old-fashioned and a bit ‘stuffy’. Fast forward a while, and I’m now one of their biggest fans. Sure, it could be that my taste has changed – a little like I used to loathe the avocados I now adore. I’m pretty certain though that it’s more down to the incredible range of new varieties bred over the past few years. There are over 30,000 to pick from! And I, for one, am utterly smitten with these vibrant, late-summer bloo...

My Gardening Tips

PRUNE YOUR ROSES WITH CONFIDENCE | Top tips from an expert that anybody can try

Baby Elephant

An interview with Christian Schultheis – owner of Germany's oldest rose nursery Every year, without fail and right before the forsythia starts to flower, I have a short but intense panic attack. It's time to prune the roses. With over 60 roses (and three kids, a job, a household to run and all the rest of it) you might think it's the amount of time involved that has me in a state of frazzle, but that's not it. In reality, it's that feeling of standing in front of my colorful medley of proud, whi...

My Gardening Tips

MY COTTAGE KINDERGARTEN | It's seed(l)ing time!

Baby Elephant

It's time to get sowing! I know, I know – it's only the end of February and there are many who would call me a hopeless optimist and remind me that it can still snow at Easter... buuuuut just look outside: The days are getting that little bit longer. I'm waking up to happily chirping birds. Snowdrops and winter aconites are poking their little heads out of the ground. Not that it’s a good thing but I’ve encountered the odd person (those suffering from hayfever) sneezing. It’s seed(l)ing time! Bu...

My Gardening Tips

EARLY SPRING & WINTER BLOOMERS | Bye bye dreary days

Baby Elephant

Who needs early bloomers when you look out the window right now? That's what you would have heard me say last week. Up until then, our world wasn't the muddy sludgy brown mess it is right now, left behind by melted snow. Instead, it was swaddled in a thick and beautiful white blanket. Every noise muffled and the (few) persistent colors popping brilliantly against their white canvas. At least that's how it was down here in the South of Germany. Of course, things were even better in the good old d...

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