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Time to say goodbye


...Not from you, of course... and not from the profession, but from the test garden... Ten seasons ago I started my test garden on this piece of land in Zeeland (South of the Netherlands) with great enthusiasm. The goal was to learn more about plants, try new plant combinations, learn how to properly maintain a garden, and I hoped to learn things I didn't know I would learn yet. Maintaining and studying a garden of 500 m² has brought me a lot; knowledge, a first garden book and a hunger for more... Then why say goodbye to the test garden? The reason I'm saying goodbye is anything but sad. The plants in the test garden are moving! My boyfriend and I bought a piece of land in Zeeland where we have more than enough space to accommodate so many plants. In this blog I will tell you one last time about my experiences with the test garden, I will show you the most beautiful photos, I will tell you my three favourite combinations and I will show you the new garden plans! Enjoy reading :)


Studio Linda Lavoir, tuinarchitect rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinontwerper, the power of plants, Tuinontwerper rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinen, beplantingsplannen, studio linda lavoir
Two months after planting

Studio Linda Lavoir, tuinarchitect rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinontwerper, the power of plants, Tuinontwerper rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinen, beplantingsplannen, studio linda lavoir
The test garden of Studio Linda Lavoir is moving!

WHAT DID I LEARN?


Over a period of 2.5 years I have tried a lot. Things almost always went right, but there are also many things that went wrong. Think of the sowing experiment where, of the hundreds of seeds I scattered, I only saw three plants emerge. Or the newly planted flower bulbs that were eaten massively by mice. The prolonged drought in the summer of 2022 resulted in the death of many plants above ground and the weeds continued to grow undisturbed as if they were not thirsty. There were also plant combinations that were anything but beautiful and I sometimes tried plants that turned out not to be a good idea because they were proliferating enormously (Euphorbia Fens Ruby' for example). And even though these things "failed," they are just as valuable as the things that did go right. Both the bad and good things have brought me a lot. Sometimes I don't even realize how much I have actually learned because it has become so self-evident. So here's a quick summary: • The vigor and vitality of the plants in different conditions (wetness, drought, wind). • Understanding the spatiality that plants create. • Combinations in texture & color tones of the leaf. • Different cultivars among the same species. • Flower bulb types and combinations. • Sowing perennials and ornamental grasses in the open ground (never again). • When is the best time to plant (or not). • The experience of the different seasons. • Why a natural garden is important. • How to best maintain a natural garden. • The progression of the plants in growth & flowering through the seasons. • Different planting techniques. • Understanding what maintaining a natural garden entails; it always changes. A garden is not a permanent fixture. • Learning to play with plants. Make it fun! • Having a garden makes you realize that you live on this planet. This may sound a bit strange, but due to the daily hustle and bustle and the bubble in which we live, we sometimes do not realize what an extremely special place we actually are. While gardening, you step out of your bubble and have time to take a look around you. We sometimes think we are alone, but we share life on earth with many other organisms. Gardening has made me cherish this more than ever. Let Elon Musk go to Mars, I'll stay here forever.

Studio Linda Lavoir, tuinarchitect rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinontwerper, the power of plants, Tuinontwerper rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinen, beplantingsplannen, studio linda lavoir
The spreading Foeniculum 'Giant Bronze' & Cephalaria gigantea

FAV COMBI 1 - A girlie combo with soft colors Eryngium yuccifolium Sedum 'Matrona' Stipa tenuissima Pycnanthemum virginianum

Studio Linda Lavoir, tuinarchitect rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinontwerper, the power of plants, Tuinontwerper rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinen, beplantingsplannen, studio linda lavoir
Eryngium yuccifolium, Sedum, Pycnanthemum en Stipa

THE MOVE


This coming winter, I think in one of the colder months of December or January, I will move all the plants to our new place. I made an inventory (which was necessary haha) of the plants in the test garden and redrew them, along with new types of plants that I want to try. There are no combinations I have now in the test garden that I will repeat in our new place, but will of course try new things. There are five types of planting plans that I have made around the house, the shed and the outbuilding where my new office will temporarily and partly be located. Temporarily because - hopefully - our new house will be located here and partly because I will also be working in the office in Rotterdam. The planting plans will look as follows: • Driveway - this is where mainly tall types of perennials and ornamental grasses will be planted, consisting of groups and solitary plants. The intention is an overwhelming welcome ;) • Shade - a lower matrix of shade plants will be placed around the house and shed. • Sun - the three borders that are more in the sun consist of lower groups and solitaries. • Large border - the outbuilding will have a mixed border where the light of the sun will play a major role. Especially the rising sun. Stipa border - this will be a simple but effective planting that should be beautiful all year round. A little further in this blog you will find a favorite combination that is a good example of this way of planting.


Studio Linda Lavoir, tuinarchitect rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinontwerper, the power of plants, Tuinontwerper rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinen, beplantingsplannen, studio linda lavoir
Plan around the existing house, shed and outbuilding (temporary new office)

Our new spot

What I really look forward to are the special moments when I can look at the plants. Consider planting in the low morning and evening sun. The moments when there is fog or when it has frozen. I often miss these most beautiful moments because the test garden is simply too far from Rotterdam.


Studio Linda Lavoir, tuinarchitect rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinontwerper, the power of plants, Tuinontwerper rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinen, beplantingsplannen, studio linda lavoir
Eryngium yuccifolium, Achillea 'Moonshine', Echinacea 'White Swan'



Studio Linda Lavoir, tuinarchitect rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinontwerper, the power of plants, Tuinontwerper rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinen, beplantingsplannen, studio linda lavoir
Echinacea pallida, E. 'Hula Dancer' en Sporobolus wrightii
FAV COMBI 2 - something I really appreciate in a planting is 'simple & effective' combination Briza media Achillea ptarmica Dianthus carthusianorum

Studio Linda Lavoir, tuinarchitect rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinontwerper, the power of plants, Tuinontwerper rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinen, beplantingsplannen, studio linda lavoir
Briza media, Achillea ptarmica, Dianthus carthusianorum

WHAT DO I WANT TO LEARN?


Of course, you never stop learning, and at the age of 33 I hope to still discover a lot. Since we now have the space, I hope more to: • Develop innovative planting techniques. • Play with combinations, volumes & heights, size of groups. • Get to know new plants. • Cross and breed plants. • Get to know trees better. • Understand the behavior of nature better and better. • Combine different seasons (think of combinations of in bloom and finished bloom).


Studio Linda Lavoir, tuinarchitect rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinontwerper, the power of plants, Tuinontwerper rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinen, beplantingsplannen, studio linda lavoir
Flower bulbs in the test garden


Tulipa 'Sping Green' & Camassia
Tulipa 'Sping Green' & Camassia

Studio Linda Lavoir, tuinarchitect rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinontwerper, the power of plants, Tuinontwerper rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinen, beplantingsplannen, studio linda lavoir
Winter in the test garden


FAV COMBI NR 3 - Absolute favorite Alcea rosea 'Sunshine' Foeniculum 'Giant Bronze' Echinops ritro Perovskia 'Little Spire'

Studio Linda Lavoir, tuinarchitect rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinontwerper, the power of plants, Tuinontwerper rotterdam, natuurlijke tuinen, beplantingsplannen, studio linda lavoir
Alcea, Foeniculum, Echinops en Perovskia, the combination that made it the cover of the book

If you don't have the book The Power of Plants yet... Then I would definitely order it! Shipping world wide.



Lythrum 'Pale Form', Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty' and Campanula 'Prichards Variety'

Alcea, Foeniculum, echinops en persovkia!
Test garden

This is such a special moment with the setting sun


While writing and looking at the photos, I feel a little sadness inside. Over the years I have become very attached to this place where I spent so many hours alone. I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to do this at this location. Fortunately, many beautiful new things are taking their place. Because you may have already seen it on Instagram, our new place offers opportunities to receive larger groups of people. I hope to start a number of master classes on natural gardening this summer and to share the things I have learned with you in more detail. So who knows... See you then! Love, Linda


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