Year of Grace, Day 154. Two gardens in Bonn

I’ve been having the privilege of viewing some spectacular private gardens recently. It’s the perfect season to enjoy them, as they are mostly planted with the stars of spring at the peak of their beauty – rhododendrons, azaleas, Japanese maples. Although my own taste for my garden leans towards the English cottagey style with their eclectic mix of ornamentals and edibles, all higgledy-piggledy, I was captivated by these.

And as usual, more than the planting and the design in themselves, I always wonder about the person or persons behind them. I wish I could meet her or him or them and sit down over a nice cup of something (or a wine glass) and chat about favourite plants and how to care for them and just ramble on — each comment leading on to the next, whether apropos or not. I cannot imagine a lovelier way to while away a sunny spring morning or afternoon 🙂

Year of Grace, Day 132. Spring’s succession of colours

I find it interesting that the earliest of spring flowers to bloom are white and blue, then yellow, followed by pink. I’ve often wondered why that is so. I would venture that it is co-evolution at work here — the pollinators of these precocious spring bloomers dictate the succession of colours, and vice versa. Which came first is difficult to say. I say “venture” because at this hour of the morning, I am not up to doing any research, online or otherwise. But please feel free to write in and share any relevant scientific explanation — this (momentarily) lazy but always curious gardener would be very much in your debt.

At Bonn’s Botanical Garden, following on from the white snowdrops and blue crocuses, tiny blue stars are blooming at the foot of shrubby peonies, mingling with white and pale pink wind anemones. Although these are not as spectacular as English bluebells, nevertheless they are equally lovely, and from afar, look like slices of sky flung randomly about.

When I lived in Dottendorf, there was a flower bed lovingly tended by my neighbour under a huge Kanzan cherry tree, and I looked forward eagerly to it every spring. Her design began as strictly blue and white, and I admired it very much. Over the years, she added yellow accents. I miss the joy of seeing this enchanting spring flower bed. I could never be as rigorous in limiting the colours in my own garden.  But I do love and admire how other gardeners can be so disciplined.

Year of Grace, Day 111. Bonn’s best attraction

Yesterday at Bonn’s Botanical Garden, the crocuses were at centre stage. Glorious! Spring has indeed sprung. Under a brilliant sun, the crocuses shared the limelight with snowdrops and other spring flowers. What a lovely setting for an al fresco lunch, and there were a few who were enjoying sandwiches and pizza. The Botanical Garden never fails to lift my spirits, and it is, for me, Bonn’s most attractive feature. And what’s more,  it’s free!  On Sundays there’s a minuscule charge and Saturdays it’s closed.

If you haven’t had lunch on a lovely sunny day at Bonn’s Botanical Garden surrounded by spring (or other seasonal) flowers, you’re missing one of the best bits about studying at Bonn Uni and living in Bonn. Go now and enjoy these spring ephemerals at their peak.

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