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The perfect playground - 3 tips on how to collaborate with nature

The hardest thing you can do as a gardener is… nothing. As human beings, we are used to always intervene when something is not to our liking. It's just in our nature. Our gardens are pre-planned green areas where there is no room for the spontaneous character of nature. Often we want to keep the garden as it was conceived and there is absolutely no room for wild flowers. But it is precisely by playing with nature that special, exciting and beautiful combinations are created that you would never have seen if you had mercilessly shoved everything away. In my garden, I try to observe what is happening as much as possible and to deal with everything that grows and blooms playfully. A bit of myself and a bit of nature... How exactly this works and what the result is, you can read here.

Een beetje van mezelf en een beetje van de natuur
A little bit of myself, and a little bit of nature


Last fall, I took the plunge to radically change my borders. Not because I wasn't happy with the planting, but because I wanted to try something new in our garden before we move here (we are looking into moving back to Zeeland with a large piece of land). I removed 90% of the planting and for that I planted back a completely different type of planting with a completely different atmosphere. The basis of the garden now consists of a somewhat lower planting, of which 70% is ornamental grass. In between are some flowering perennials such as Sanguisorba 'Pink Brushes', Salvia 'Blauhugel', Rudbeckia 'Little Henry', Sedum and Perovskia. I have removed my beloved Anemone cylindrica and Thalictrum aquilegifolium 'Album' has also moved to a new garden. These light seeding plants, smart as they are, have left behind some small children with the result that a few seedlings have sprung up here and there. Some of them I put in a pot, and others I left to see what the result will be. Because the seedlings have chosen their own place in the garden, the image of the garden looks a lot more natural. Playing with seedlings is great fun to do, and as long as a plant doesn't spread aggressively, as the Foeniculum 'Giant Bronze' can do for example (depending on the winter we've had), it also remains manageable. In the photo above, you can see a Thalictrum seedling in the foreground. Nice and fluffy.

TIP 1: Play with seedlings of perennials and ornamental grasses. Inform or educate yourself in advance about the sowing behavior of the plants so that you know what to expect. Let the seedlings do their thing where they have the space to do so.

Camassia 'Semiplena' en de wilde Silene dioica
Camassia 'Semiplena' and the wild Silene dioica


As a gardener, it's important to get to know the plants in your yard, but it's just as important to get to know the weeds, aka the wildflowers. In general, the same thing always comes up in my garden; fireweed, springwort, dandelions, the wild Geranium (also very beautiful!) and chickweed. But now and then something starts to grow that I don't know exactly what it is. And precisely because I don't know, I just let it grow until it blooms. And when you do, you get spontaneous combinations that you didn't come up with yourself, like above and below in the picture. This beautiful native Silene dioica has settled here in the garden without consultation, but I am grateful to her for that. The bright pink flowers come out beautifully in partial shade and combine well with the fern Polystichum setiferum and the white flowers of Camassia 'Semiplena'.

TIP 2: Get to know the plants that spontaneously seed in your garden. The better you know your wildflowers, the easier it becomes to 'play'. Sometimes you leave things, sometimes you take things away. Observe and look closely at the plants. When you know the plants, maintaining the garden becomes a lot easier (and therefore more relaxed).

Polystichum setiferum met Silene dioica
Polystichum setiferum with Silene dioica

Rumex (zuring)

Another plant that ended up here without an invitation is this sorrel. I have no idea what species it is because there are so many of them, but it provides body and structure in the border next to the still small, new plants that were planted last fall. I honestly think it's a very beautiful plant that fits perfectly into the overall picture of this border. Especially since she chose the best spot against the hedge.

Three years ago, I planted Geranium 'Philippe Vapelle', pictured below. Due to oppression of too strong neighbours, she never got the chance to grow and bloom. Now that there has been some air in the border again, it appears that she had not died yet, but waited obediently until she would get more space. Nice to see her again after years!

Geranium 'Philippe Vapelle'
Geranium 'Philippe Vapelle'


I keep saying it; the perfect garden does not exist. And fortunately, because something that is not perfect is legible. If you know what I mean. A garden with a neatly trimmed hedge and golf course grass may seem perfect, but it tells you nothing. The imperfect border with a broken flower of the Camassia, on the other hand, tells of the nice weekend I had with my cousins ​​who stayed over, the wild flowers tell us that we are in Western Europe, the crooked plants tell how the sun moves over the garden and the new seedlings of the Anemone and the Thalictrum and the returned Geranium tell something about the short history of the garden. The imperfect garden is definitely my favourite place to stay.

TIP 3: Lose yourself in gardening in a playful way. Develop a creative outlet in the garden that not only ensures a good result, but also the chance to live to a healthy age of eighty. Forget perfectionism and welcome patience.

That was it! If you have any questions? Leave it in a comment :) Love, Linda

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