Our second week in Germany was spent visiting several family members in different cities. My brother Michael had to return to California but Mom and I were lucky to be able to see quite a bit more. Our experiences with the German rail were wonderful, not as timely as we were led to believe but they were clean, safe, comfortable and fast.
Leaving Hamburg we headed south to Hanover to my cousin Gudrun's house. Gudrun and I had met only once as young children and then last December we met in Florida, almost 40 years later. I think if we lived in the same town we would be the best of friends, we have many of the same likes and dislikes.
The opening photo was taken outside the entrance to the Schloss Marienburg and Gudrun is the one without an umbrella. She and I even look alike!
If you are in the area of Hanover, I highly recommend touring the Schloss Marienburg. If it hadn't been raining so hard I would also have loved to tour the grounds and sit outside and have lunch in this amazing courtyard.
After spending a morning at the castle, Gudrun took us to the most delightful city of Hameln where the story of the Pied Piper is to have taken place. Unfortunately we were in quite a downpour for half of the day so I don't have as many photos from this town as I would like.
Rather than show lots of building facades, I wanted to show off Gudrun's delightful garden in this post (and yes, credit also goes to her husband Winfried).
The very first thing to catch my eye was the largest butterfly bush I had ever seen. Two years ago I saw a number of Buddleia's in England and Scotland although they tended to be lavender and white. Germany was filled with these lovely shrubs too but the predominant color was dark purple. Gudrun's shrub had to be over 3 meters (9 feet) tall and possibly 4 meters (12 feet).
Globes were in many of the gardens that I had seen and sure enough Gudrun had them too. Too bad they were too heavy to pack and bring home, I saw many varieties in the stores we visited.
Look carefully at these containers, do you see what caught my eye?
Here's a closer look. I was amazed at the combinations Gudrun chose for her planters. Impatiens with Peppers, Sunflowers and Strawberries, Tomatoes with Impatiens too, something that would never work here in America.
The higher heat and lesser rain water we have here in New York makes our containers dry out much faster. Gardeners around here water container plants once or even twice every day. Impatiens in the sun just droop too quickly, we use them as shade plants but in Gudrun's garden, they were just wonderful with her sunny vegetables.
Phlox was just beginning to bloom in the garden, I have quite a few of them here too and have been taking photographs of them for a future post. Some of mine have terrible powdery mildew and others are perfectly clean like this one in Gudrun's garden.
I was just green with envy when I saw this delightful Asian inspired pond in the corner of the garden. It was filled with goldfish and the sound of the trickling water was exactly what the relaxing gardener would want to hear.
Outdoor eating areas were a prerequisite in any German home with a garden and Gudrun and Winfried had a perfect set up. Two solid walls and a roof kept out the weather when it was cold or raining but two open sides let in all of nature.
Here you can see the view that one had while sitting at the table. Our first evening there we had supper outside. As the sun sets quite late in the summer (about 10:00 pm would be my guess), sitting outside with cold cuts of meat, thick slices of fresh bread and lots of tomatoes and mozzerella cheese makes a heavenly way to end the day.
Hydrangeas were very popular in many of the gardens. These were right in front of Gudrun's house and you can see how pink they are. Our soil here is much more acidic and my Hydrangeas all turn deep blue and purple.
Lavender was another plant we saw in just about every garden and again, Gudrun had waves of it planted in front of her house. It was a sure sign that the German winters were more mild than what we get here on Long Island.
Long Island gardens near the ocean (with sandy soil) can grow lavender like this but it does not overwinter well at all in my area.
Ok, next post will be a biggie, as just minutes from Gudrun and Windfried's home is the most spectacular botanical garden I have ever had the pleasure to visit.