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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Germany, Part Three, The Bountiful Garden

To begin my third post on German gardens, I chose this wonderful shot taken while standing in my cousin Ingrid's garden. Ingrid is a popular name in my family and I have an aunt and two cousins with this name. This photo was taking in Ingrid and Egberts garden in Krukow, just down the road from my Tante Inge & Onkel Heinz's charming farmhouse.

Imagine having a view like this every day, pure heaven.

Ingrid and Egbert have a wonderful collection of plant material. A huge assortment of beneficial herbs, a top notch collection of tropical plants that they overwinter in a lovely garden room attached to their house and most importantly, a dazzling array of food plants.

My brother Michael and I were just astounded with the wealth of food that we found in each garden. Michael lives on the West coast in California and I'm on the East coast here in New York but we both had the same impression of this garden. We were just so impressed with the practicality of growing trees, shrubs and plants that look great in the landscape and at the same time offer a bounty of food.

Here you can see one of my favorite snack foods, red currents.

Just in case you don't believe how much I love these little gems, here's another photo :-) It seems I took quite a few photos of red currents, they looked so lovely hanging on the many bushes. The funny thing is I knew for sure I've never seen these in my local gardens. When I came home I did some research and found out that many states have laws against growing, buying or selling the various current bushes.

Thankfully, New York does not have that law and I'd really like to add some to my garden here.

Another favorite were these black currents that are extremely high in Vitamin C. Yesterday I found Black Current juice at a local health food store and I bought a bottle home to try. I'd much rather get my hands on some bushes and plant them in the garden too.

Apple trees were everywhere. Not one kind of apple, many different kinds. If I remember correctly, Ingrid had 5 different varieties in her garden and she told me that it was her favorite snack while she was working outside.

It seems I also took quite a few photos of apples in Germany, none of them show insect damage on the apples and I forgot to ask if they are sprayed at any time during the season.

This year's apple crop was so huge that a whole limb came off a tree while we were at the farm. It was just too heavily loaded with apples for the tree to hold upright.

Today is a "two for one" day with a second garden included. This is my cousin Mirko's garden. Mirko has a "many-hundred" year old farm house along the Elbe river with the most amazing views. I don't know why I don't have a photo of those views, you'll have to take my word for it.

We spend a delightful Sunday afternoon sitting in the rare sunshine having cake and coffee. It doesn't get any better than this. When we arrived we found this charming scene waiting for us, tables loaded with flowers, fresh juice, coffee, and lots and lots of cakes :-)

There are 4 or 5 different buildings on this large expanse of property. Mirko has been restoring the historic buildings and now has several appartments in one of them. There were lots of nooks and crannies in the garden so that different groups of people could enjoy the outdoors and yet have total privacy. They are thinking of eventually opening a Bed and Breakfast on the property for the many cyclists that tour along the river.

I fell in love with this rough and tumble country garden with the distinctive beach chair. While walking around you could see why some areas were left to grow wild. Parts of the ground were quite marshy and wet due to the nearby river.

Right before I took this closing photo a pair of Storks flew over head. Neither Micheal nor I were ready with our camera (phooey).

Here's my mom, my brother Michael (smiling at the camera), Paulo (Mirko's 15 year old son) and just the back of Mirko's head (sorry!). Mmmm, what I wouldn't give for another piece of that delicious cake...

More to come soon, sorry for the long delays between posts. We have been going through some health concerns here and the typical summer crazies.


Gail said...

I love rough and tumble gardens best!

Don't you think that eating outside in a garden like you were in is the best way to dine?


Dave said...

Sorry to hear about your health concerns. The pictures of the fruit looked great. It would be interesting to know what sprays if any they used on the apples. Are currants considered invasive?

sisah said...

Hey Melanie is in Germany ..... I only find out now! I hope you will enjoy your time here, but by the looks of it it seems so. I never thought you have so many relatives here in Germany!
If you travel it bit more east you might come for a visit into my small garden, Melanie!
Your relatives seem to have wonderful orchards with plenty of space. For some reason the village´s name Krukow sounds familiar in my ears, I don´t exactly know, why. Is it possible, this place is known for organic farming??
Viel Vergnügen in Deutschland!

Katarina i Kullavik said...

I love both red and black currents, and i grow them both in my garden. And I was intrigued by laws against them...I wonder why?

Nice shots - you all seem to be one big happy family!

joey said...

I can't possibly visit your lovely tour without leaving a comment. Joy and love for family and the earth speak through your beautiful photos and heartwarming posts ... thoughts are with you regarding health concerns that embrace every loving family. Enjoy the remains of your visit, Melanie.

garden girl said...

Melanie, your posts on your visit to Germany are just wonderful. The photos are beautiful, and it's lovely feeling your fondness for your family and their homes coming through your words.

Christian said...

Thanks very much !
For a french boy coming from the south of France, it's a beautiful garden !