Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Germany, Part Five, Gudrun's Garden

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.

Till then...


Sunday, August 03, 2008

Germany, Part Four, Faces and Facades

Wow, what a tough time it's been the last few days. First blogger locked me out of this site with a notice telling me that my blog was considered a possible spam site. I almost had a heart attack when I read the notice that they had the right to erase my entire blogging history. Thankfully though somebody did a review and they released the blog back to me.

Friday night we lost power to half of our house, how strange is that? The only thing that kept me sane was the fact that the kitchen still had power so we could make coffee :-)

Today's post is a total mix-up of faces and facades. For my family members reading in Germany, a facade is the "face" of a building.

The opening shot shows the facade of the Parliament building (Rathaus) in Hamburg and the face of my brother Michael.

A totally different facade caught both Michael's and my attention when we visited this delightful looking building only to find out that it housed "Wok In", the Chinese restaurant in Geestacht. Really, with me living in New York and Michael in Southern California we thought we had cornered the market on Chinese restaurants.

The facade of this church was a "must take" photograph because this is the symbol Michael would like to have as a tattoo! Well, only if he got a tattoo...

Another face and facade, a farm house in the small town of Krukow. I wish I could take this photo again without the gray boxes blocking the little boy on his toy tractor.

Michael and Mom against a pretty awesome structure in Hamburg.

Another farm house in Krukow, I totally fell in love with these red tile roofs.

Michael again, yes, in Hamburg...

What's this? Another charming farm house in Krukow. Just look at those ivy geraniums spilling out of the window boxes.

Michael and our cousin Andre'. These two men had met just three days before this photo was taken and I think it was instant karma, they look more like brothers than cousins. My wish for them is that they can spend time together again some day.

Back to Krukow, if memory serves me correctly, this is my aunt and uncle's, neighbor's front door.

Finally, a few messages here. To all you gardeners, don't despair, there is lots of gardening information building up in my head just about ready to bust out of my ears. Here's a sneak peak at one of the upcoming gardens I visited my second week in Germany.

To Edith and Andre', I love getting your comments! If you have a chance, please send me an e-mail using the address on my card. I don't have your e-mail address with me here.

Last but not least, to all of you who have been writing, calling and e-mailing, thanks for the good wishes. Our flight to Germany was a long trip made worse with a 2.5 hour delay here in New York. My mom developed a blood clot in her leg from sitting so long and it's been just the first sign of a number of health issues. Luckily mom is a trooper, and has always been careful with her diet and faithful to her exercise so I just know she'll get this all straightened out.

Back again soon (going to go out to photograph some summer flowering shrubs).