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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, 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 (oh, and if you like the zinc watering can, you can find it right HERE ? It has – phew – rained a little here from time to time. For ...

My Gardening Tips

THE CHELSEA CHOP | A haircut for your perennials

Baby Elephant

Fellow gardening friends: 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 some herbaceous plants at the end of May/beginning of June – around the time of the legendary Chelsea Flower Show in London. It makes herbaceous plants, like phlox and stonecrop, grow much bushier and seriously extends their flowering p...

My Gardening Tips

FLOWER ABUNDANCE IN PARTIAL SHADE – The best plants for shady corners

Baby Elephant

Do cottage gardens work in partial shade? Or even in full shade? That’s a question I get asked again and again. And guess what – there actually are plenty of wonderful flowers and plants that bloom even in a garden that’s on the shadier side. Photo: Syl Gervais You may remember that I had a vole infestation a while ago? Thanks to those wily critters, I had to completely redesign one of my flower beds and realised (a little perplexedly, I admit…) that it had meanwhile turned from full sun to part...

My Gardening Tips

22 DRY HEROES | An abundantly blooming garden with drought-resistant flowers

Baby Elephant

What would it be like to enjoy a magical garden, filled to the brim with flowers but without having to constantly worry about watering? In times of climate change, with hot, dry summers, that’s a conundrum worth thinking about. Photo: Syl Gervais Whenever I’m asked if I spend my early summer mornings roaming the flower beds, armed with watering can and hose, my simple and honest answer is "Nope". I only water pots. The plants in my flower beds usually have to look after themselves, and many of t...

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 colours 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...

My Gardening Tips

SWEET PEAS | Happiness & the scent of summer

Baby Elephant

The world doesn't just need love, it also needs more sweet peas! At least, I think so. And it seems like it’s not just me. In England, there’s an entire society devoted to them: “National Sweet Pea Society”. Now that’s what I call dedication! Photo: Flora Press/Visions So let me tell you a little about these beauties. True to their name, sweet peas are closely related to the vegetables we see on our plates. Don’t let that stray your imagination to a plate full of bright green ‘balls’ (or if you’...

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

SPECTACULAR SPRING | All you need to know about planting spring bulbs

Baby Elephant

It’s that strange in-between time of year where summer is not quite ready to say goodbye yet and fall is slowly starting to sneak in. Sunshine and t-shirts one day, gray clouds and thick jumpers the next. The garden is glowing while it makes one last big push before winding down for winter. The most beautiful colors everywhere I turn, from glorious dahlias to asters, Japanese anemones, the last of the roses and plenty of cosmos. I love the changing seasons and, after a long hot summer, the thoug...

My Gardening Tips

AGEING FLOWER POTS | Terracotta with a sprinkling of Homemade Patina

Baby Elephant

What an utterly lovely new flower pot: beautifully clean, orange, smooth – and sterile. Is that really what we want in a cottage garden? That'll be a hard 'No'. What we're looking for are items with soul that tell stories instead of looking all "shiny & new". Especially with flower pots though, I'm often required to switch over to brand-new models. I need too many to be able find enough combing through flea markets. So I buy new ones and then they just sit there as I wait, season after season, f...

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...

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