Garden Diary - April 2012

Tuesday, 24 April 2012
Holland in Tulip Time: The Gardens of Appeltern - plants and gardens

Of course while on the search for fountains, pools, ponds, and the obligatory Netherlandische canals it was only to be expected that I would find gardens absent any soggy bits. Nor that gardens, wet or not wet, would have some fascinating plants.

Garden under construction. There's a note in the brochure that "In Appeltern
we do everything ourselves . . . . and of course the garden construction." Just so.

There are some innovative ideas on display, such as
this hardware cloth metal mesh gabion-like fence, or
perhaps it's a wall, partially filled with trap rock.

This is even more radical. Not a plant in sight. Striking at first glance, but a conceit
that I think would rather quickly become boring. It seems very artificial to me.

Across the canal near the platform ferry is a charming little tree house bungalow
with two story deck. I find this immensely appealing. Afternoon tea, anyone?

A low wall near the restaurant is the resting place for a collection of mossy old work boots.

Occasionally there is a brief shower. The leaves of Alchemilla mollis collect water droplets.

The pond garden near the entrance has some lovely skunk cabbage,
Lysichiton camtschatcensis. White spathes glow in the dull light.

Remember the pollarded willows in Zaandam? and my explanation
of how the withes are used? Here's an example, a grow-your-own
fence. The willows not only supply the withes, they're fence posts.

I was quite taken with this green flowered primrose. It is, I believe, a cultivar of
Primula polyanthus named 'Green Lace'. If not, it might be the very similar 'Francesca'.

Catching a glimpse of this plant from the wrong side of another garden I was determined
to work my way around and get a close up view. According to the broken label, pieced together,
it is Hemerocallis 'Golden Zebra', a chance seedling from seed sold to Malanseuns Pleasure
Plants of South Africa by Jelitto Seed Company in Germany. Flower scapes are said to be short,
barely leaf height. Who cares? I'd remove them and grow this just as a splendid foliage plant.

Tour Comments: Many of the gardens, the majority in fact, are high maintenance with closely clipped hedges and other design details that require frequent grooming. Granted, space is at a premium and these are, I think, concepts intended more for urban rather than suburban or rural settings. Lovely to look at but the manicured look is not what I like for myself, which is more country casual / naturalistic. It is, however, instructive to see so many different model gardens and perhaps plagiarize, I mean research their design options.

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