back home

Wow, the last 8 weeks have been a little busy!!! We are now back in the Garden State and happy to be home. Of course we already miss the lakes, mountains and wonderful friends we made in Bavaria but life is good for us right now, right here. We are still living without our household items (held up at customs?) which includes (among a 1000 other things) my garden tools and furniture. So now is my chance to slowly take in the state of the garden I left behind four years ago, seeing what has grown (or not) and what I’m missing. Surprisingly this list is not as long as I feared but there is much work to be done as any gardener will tell you.

But before leaving Munich I did have a chance to visit the display gardens of the Weihenstephan agricultural college. This scientific teaching garden was a nineteenth century villa garden and is now a public park. It includes habitat-based plant combinations with drifts of herbaceous perennials, a rock garden and water garden. It’s all on a small scale but it surprised me to see these habitats so similar to what can grow in New Jersey. Although… not sure I would see someone with hair to match the flowers of canna in my back yard. Look closely and see if you can find her!

garden show

This year’s Garten München was as disappointing as ever. Most of the focus being on decorating the garden (mostly lawn!!!) with oversize lounges and pillows which are really not practical anywhere with summer downpours. I spent most of my time in the last hall (of six, which includes the Handwerkmesse) and came across some very innovative design exhibitions including jewelry, ceramics and textiles.

Something oversize I do covet for the garden, is one of these giant urns handmade from imported Greek clay but…(this darn climate!) not frost-resistant. Wonderful to watch part of the production process!

spring hint

Maybe soon, looking at this image of some lonely snowdrops. Although, had I photographed the crowds eating gelato in the sun this past weekend it would sure seem Spring has “sprouted”.

In New Jersey we always claim February the longest month of the year and this first of March brings hope of green grass and spring blooms. Here in Munich the snow can last well into April and possibly May. But that doesn’t mean spring fever cannot be celebrated on the first days to reach double-digit temperatures (celsius). Even the garden centers are participating by stocking lots of forced bulbs and frost-resistant blooms like Helleborus and Primula. So let’s celebrate the beginning of the gardening season today and ironically, the anniversary of this blog.

i spy

A snowy diamond suspended…

and diamonds in the snow…

The rolling hills of the Bavarian landscape are so beautiful covered in white, especially when the sun pops out. It’s the most “wintry” of the past winters we have spent here and funny enough the one I’ve enjoyed most. And not just because of the great skiing!

straight thinking

When people find out what I do for a living “back home” (New Jersey) their first question often is, “Do you work here in Munich?” My immediate answer is usually “Not at the moment because I cannot design in straight and perpendicular lines only”. Often people look perplexed and change the subject, which is fine by me. Most people do not understand what a garden designer does and I’m not always in the mood to explain it. But my response holds some truth. In a gross generalization, Germans do think in straight lines in all aspects of design. This can be the result of their strong engineering culture. My husband, who works in 2D Design, complains a lot about this phenomena.

Mostly however, it is the very straight, perfectly manicured hedges, which define the linearity of a private property. And within those, most homes are painted stark white. I believe it was Penelope Hobhouse who said, “It’s like planning a garden around a giant refrigerator”.

So my answer is “No” I have not attempted to start a new business during our temporary stay in Bavaria. But I have been a great observer of gardens and the landscapes I have visited.

Now that we’re approaching the end of our stay here I feel that I’ve learned a lot during my “sabbatical” and look forward to incorporating many new ideas in my future projects.