As devoted gardeners, we do not like winter, and we always feel it takes so long till the first snow drops come out. This year winter in Europe came very early with lots of snow. We live close to the Rhine and usually do not see much snow, but this year there was so much that we thought our boxwoods were going to break. We were lucky, and it seems that the only plants that died were the big bushes of rosemary that were not close enough to a wall or to the house. At the moment the snow is gone, and everything -- even the grass -- has remained green. In spring we have a lot of narcissus in front of the hedges and in the flower beds, but the garden is at its best when the roses bloom in May and June. Once this is over we are always a bit sad since the nicest part of summer is over and we have to do with summer flowers.
This Christrose, as we call it in German, or in English Christmas Rose (Helleborus) is framed by a hedge of boxwoods leading out to the street. Over the years we have planted a lot of boxwoods, which are very popular in Europe. They make a wonderful contrast in winter. You can plant boxwoods in huge pots or in your flowerbeds and, of course, they look especially nice when planted as a hedge along your garden path. You can easily cut them into shapes like balls or squares. With so many evergreens in the garden and ice or snow on top of the shapes, even a winter garden looks nice and not at all depressing.
Our property at the back of the house is directly next to a huge wheat field. The view out of our kitchen window is beautiful all four seasons. This winter view is every bit as lovely as in summer.
Here is another view of the field from our sun room at ground level. Again, the boxwood hedge is wonderful in summer and winter alike.
We also love birds and feed them when it is cold. As our back garden goes out to the field, we often have pheasants coming into the garden. This winter there were usually four of them. The males are very colorful; whereas, the hens are just brown. As soon as winter is over, they are gone and you do not see them again until the next winter comes.
I saw the first snow drop coming out yesterday, so spring cannot be too far!
Maria & Dieter
We are a German couple living near the romantic Rhine valley and the cities of Cologne and Bonn in Germany. Three years ago we met Susan through the internet and have become great friends. We have so much in common and share a passion for antiques, good food and traveling, that it is fun to meet and do things together. Over the last 3 years we have met Susan and her sister Eileen in Paris, Germany and the USA. We are already planning our next trips to Provence and Prague and Dieter and I feel honored to provide photos, comments, reports and recipes from Europe to Susan and Eileen's blog.