14 August 2011

My pride and joy

I want to share something that’s been very close to my heart and that I have been as passionate about as cooking. Or maybe not as much, but it’s taken a good second place…my yard!

We moved to this house end of 2009 and spring this year we finally did our back yard! My hubby, parents and uncle worked their asses off to put tiles in the yard and to make enough space for me to plant stuff.

I love to go to nurseries almost as much as I love to wander around markets and supermarkets. So of course the first thing I did after the yard was ready was to buy some plants. I’ve been planting lots of trees, flowers, bushes and herbs and now the yard is at its best. Let’s see if you can identify some or all of the stuff I grow.

This is the first time ever that I grow dahlia flowers. I googled on dahlia flowers and mine didn’t show up…yet. So that tells me that my dahlia is a special one. I bought one dahlia root for just one euro and this is what happens after a couple of months. It even has more flowers waiting to blossom, but this is the very first one.
Did you recognize these? Let me give you a hint…it is great in tomato sauce and most people use the dry version. It is oregano! I use to grow this bush in a big container on my balcony and it has survived 2 very cold winters. As a reward for still being alive I replanted it in my yard. Anything that survives the winter deserves a spot in my yard.

I bought some plants online, for the first and last time. The plans were delivered in one big box and were thankfully still in one piece. The only turn off was that they were small. Very small, smaller then the pics online showing when I bought them. I should’ve known so I was happy I didn’t spend too much money on it. I don’t mind to nurse plans from “scratch” but it helps when they are more developed.

These were bought online, 3 mini kiwi trees. When I got them they had a couple of leaves and were tiny! Now 2-3 months of love and lots of water later they grow to this, or at least 2 of them did. The 3rd one didn’t do much and still is as small as when I go them. So I bought another kiwi tree, this time a regular one. As you can see the kiwi on the third bamboo stick looks different; bigger leaves and bigger stem. Not much of a climber. I heard it is darn difficult to have your kiwi produce fruit and that it can take up to 3 years or so before you get any. So I need to be patience and pray that they survive the winter!
Anyone who grows mint knows it; if you don’t quarantine them they will spread everywhere. If you have a big yard and that is what you want it is not a problem. But if you have a small yard and you want to plant as much plants as possible it is better to give them their own space. So this is my little mint circle. It has 4 kinds of mint, pineapple mint, strawberry mint, chocolate mint and pepper mint. I also “found” 2 sprigs of mint growing in the same container as my oregano but I haven’t plant them there so who knows where they came from and what kind it is. But as they smell like mint, they are also here with the rest.
One of the mints tried to overpower the others so I "bonsai" them. Meaning that I will decide where they grow and in this case I wanted it to tangle around the bamboo sticks.

I haven’t tried eating any of them yet, but according to the tags they will taste great in salads or desserts.
This is a very special one. Every time I see it, it takes me straight to my roots. Did you recognize it? It is a papaya tree! It is in the yard now, but as soon as the temperature drops, I will put it inside and pray that it will survive.
Hydrangeas come in all sizes and colors, although I haven’t seen them in yellow or red. I have 3 types of hydrangeas and this is one with white flowers. As the flowers are a bit too heavy for the little stems I had to tie them to some bamboo sticks. We had some heavy wind and rain last week so they all went horizontal, my poor babies. The hubby even had to go out in the rain to rescue them aka tie them to the fence!
Another little herb corner of mine. In the back some Vietnamese mint. I bought the herbs, ate most of the leaves and then put them in a cup with water so they could grow some roots. After the roots filled the cup I moved them outside. They are easy to grow and only last for one season. Can’t wait to use some for my chicken salad.

On the left some chives and on the right some lemon thyme. I have 3 kinds of thyme, the lemon thyme, the regular thyme and the silver thyme and I only used the regular thyme so far. But I can imagine that the lemon thyme will go great with fish or in salads.  
This hydrangea’s name is limelight, named after the color of the flowers. Apparently the lime colored flowers will change color in autumn!
Aren’t they just beautiful! Can’t wait to see what happens later this year.
Snapdragons are so cute! When I was young I use to squeze their “mouth” open. They come in different colors and sizes.
Due to all the rain my lemongrass was drowning in their pot so I temporary put them in this one. Not as pretty as the old one, but at least they they roots will stay dry.
I am not a big fan of fuchsias but this one caught my eye. Another plant I bought online…on the picture it had white and blue flowers and when they first bloom they were indeed blue.
But after a couple of days they turned lilac. When I just bought them they were about 15 cm and now they have doubled or tripled their size so I am quite pleased with that.
Another snapdragon. When I bought them the bottom flowers were different colored then the top flowers.  
Now you can only see a slight change in color.
Anyone recognize the plant in the container? These leaves are used a lot in the Thai kitchen, especially for making tom yum soup.
It is a keffir lime tree! They have lots of thorns but the leaves are so frequent! Every time I tough a leaf it makes me wanna make tom yum soup.
In this container I have a lemon tree, a lime tree and a mandarin tree. Since I am not sure if they can stay out for the winter I have them in a container.
I bought this one when I didn’t even had a yard yet. At first I planted it in a container and even then I was able to eat some of the fruits. People say that you will have to protect them when winter comes, but I found out that even unprotected it will survive.
I started this year with quite some baby figs. From all of them I think about 4 made it to this stage. Fig trees tent to have baby figs one year before they finally ripen so I am afraid the little fig on top of the pics will not make it. It is to “big” to survive and not big enough to ripen in time. I will let nature take its course and see what happens next year.  
These are all one year bloomers and unfortunately I don’t know what they are called. But they are pretty and bloom pretty much from April to September.
This gladiolus just bloomed and they are gorgeous!
So now you have an idea of what my yard looks like. I can’t wait to plant some more next spring.


  1. Wow - Lilly this is AMAZING! I am horrible and growing plants, but my hubby and I are determined to have a garden next year. Your herbs are beautiful and we l-o-v-e figs.

    Stunning and you should be rightfully proud....

  2. Wow, Lilly, you have one fantastical botanic garden there! I love the way you know every detail and history of each plant and fruit tree you have growing in your yard. My mum will LOVE you as she's an avid gardener too and has thousands of species from all over the world. Unfortunately, I didn't inherit her talent at all but I do enjoy looking at other people's plants :-).

    Btw, thanks for wanting to participate in Gina's pretzel challenge. It's going to be so much FUN having you there!

  3. Ann: I believe water and love will do the trick. I never had green fingers, but I found out that it helps to know more about your pants, their likes and dislikes. Most of the time it is trial and error.

    Maya: I would love to see your moms plant collection! I haven’t showed the pics of my orchids I grow in my windowsill yet…some plants I have since we moved in the house in 2009 and they are still blooming!


I’m curious by nature so please share whatever is on your mind.