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

AUTUMNAL HAPPINESS | Or 10 perfect reasons to fall in love with fall

Baby Elephant

It grows each year: my love for fall. Not to go too dark on you here but it shows us that life is somewhat fleeting. Autumn's arrival can take us by surprise, all dark and gloomy, making us swap flip-flops for boots. Bye-bye balmy nights and hello wind whipping around the house. The ground is covered in leaves and the outside world feels cold and uninviting.

But: it’s also a time for truly special moments of happiness that only this time of year brings. Fall is colorful and mystical and that li...

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

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...

My Gardening Tips

A DRY TOPIC? | How to water your garden

Baby Elephant

Bright sunshine, beach weather and long balmy nights sitting outside – it's a summer right out of a picture book. As lovely as it all is though, there's just one thing missing: water. Prolonged (extremely) dry spells create an enormous amount of extra work for gardeners and farmers. For the latter, it can threaten their livelihood when crops suffer. Photo: Janina Laszlo It has – phew – rained a little here from time to time. For me, that's sufficient because I brazenly claim that I don't really ...

My Gardening Tips

QUINCE CHEESE, QUINCE JELLY & QUINCE JUICE – 1 batch of quince, 3 delicious recipes

Baby Elephant

I have Provencal roots – at least on my mother’s side of the family. Come autumn, my French grandmother would fill the house with the wonderful smell of homemade quince cheese (Pâte de Coing). Although, I always think "cheese" is a weird word to use – quince candy would be more accurate. The quince cheese was dried in the attic and then served as one of the traditional 13 desserts at Christmas. Luckily, my grandmother wrote all her recipes down in a little notebook – and since our quince tree sp...

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

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 turn your garden into a sea of blooms, it’s time to take a closer look at cosmos. Cosmos are the perfect flower for beginners, they're easy to grow and look after. They bloom in abundance from May (if they've had time to germinate indoors beforehand) through to October, are heavenly as cut flowers and, in a nutshell, just make me oh so very happy. Just a little bit of their story: cosmos found their way t...

My Gardening Tips

DELPHINIUMS

Baby Elephant

They seem like they’d be a cottage garden staple, right? I can see why people think that. Delphiniums add an instant touch of enchantment and romance to any garden and are a great way to shake up an otherwise monotonous landscaping design. However, there are few plants that cause me so much misery (and from listening to your feedback and desperate pleas for help, I get the feeling that I'm not the only one). Delphiniums, these towering human-sized perennials, are apparently not as easy to grow a...

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