Several years ago, I bought the former rectory ("presbytère") of the St. Martin's church in Heuchin. This provides a unique setting for a country garden. One of the nicest things about buying an old place is the discovery process of allowing the plants to come forth from their respective hiding places. As the first year progressed, I met the old inhabitants of the garden: tulips, peonies, poppies, lilacs, and so on.
Winter works bear fruit in the spring. Philippe worked very hard to remove the red gravel driveway in front of the garage, replacing
it with paving stones. I subsequently sowed grass seeds (twice!) before they finally sprouted. The horrible concrete borders
are finally gone and now the garden has a more continuous effect that only requires mowing.
Seen from the sidewalk.
My long term plan of relying more and more on perennials, interspersed with annuals, is beginning to take shape. I was told
by a British acquaintance that this is the definition of an English cottage garden.
Intense blue color provided by "Johnson's Blue" perennial geranium. I transplanted this one from our garden in Hoeilaart
and am happy to see that it is perfectly adapted to the new surroundings.
More color contrast with the "Coral Reef" poppies, lamb's ears and cornouiller sanguin "Cornus sanguinea" in
the background. Hans, my Dutch gardening neighbor, gave me a start
of the lamb's ears and I have used them here and there throughout the garden. They're so soft...
New development near the pergola. With Philippe's help, we completely redid the left bed, first moving the huge cornouiller sanguin more towards the center. The crater that was left was filled in with heath-peat, and there I planted my "magnolia alexandria". It made it through the harsh winter that we had, but unfortunately some garden pest has found the leaves tasty. A slow start, but signs of recovery are clear. In the back corner, I planted a ceanothus, which is not yet visible. This area is full of narcissus and tulips in the early spring, after which I mulch it heavily with grass clippings.
The rambling rose and Mississippi honeysuckle are both in full bloom, each sharing one side of the pergola.
The rambling rose, whose name I've forgotten!
The honeysuckle that my aunt Nannie brought to me several years ago. It has really adapted to its new climate.
Latest developments in the front garden this year include more activity around the fishpond. Thierry has a new pump, filtering
the water through a UV filter, in hopes of clearing up the water more. I've worked on the edges of the pond where the hibiscus
has been moved, and where I have planted several types of day lilies, accentuated with more perennial geraniums. Here the small, blue
iris is blooming as are the water lilies. The perfect bell-shaped fountain is a favorite with the fish since it is silent.
My favorite rose in Heuchin is a climbing rose that grows near the garage in the front flowerbed. It is a most pale pink, almost white, with
a very delicate, distinctly rose smell. I wondered if it could be of the "New Dawn" variety...
The new planting season has started! We've had fantastic weather the last few weekends and I've been setting out plantlets that I grew in the greenhouse over the winter: campanule, lin vivace, carpatica nain. The front bed has been completely reworked, with last year's compost mixed in.
Some "nain de jardin" has crept into the garden and painted that horrible satellite dish an agreeable dark green.
Here's the head gardener at work. Notice the reuse of Alec's abandoned skateboard as a handy garden stool.
Even Moïse, desperately seeking the source of that peep-peep-peep...
The forget-me-nots spring up everywhere in the garden but I almost always
leave them in place.
They quickly fade away until next year, and I clean up after the show.
Hidden among the jacinthes is a lone tulip waiting to burst forth.
I watched for it and found it a week later, in hues of yellow and red.
Juggling plants between two gardens is one of my frequent weekend activities.
Here's a bucket full of lilacs, paper narcissus, and "charmilles".
The latter is destined to become a small separating hedge in the City Garden.
These were given to me by my neighbor and friend, Nathalie Maniez.
I find the poppies most astonishing. They literally burst open
with the first morning rays and are soon frequented by the bees.
I have several varieties of peonies, all well-established in the garden
long before I came along -- a most romantic flower.
This pale, creme-colored one has a very faint parfume of roses.
The roof over the playroom and the garage has also been redone, removing
asbestos panels and replacing them with the old tiles.
We've also raised the roof line to be the same as the rest of the house. Here's the roof line in transition:
As a last minute design inspiration, we requested that the roofers add a "belle voisine" (dormer window) onto the
end of the roof. While the scaffolding was in place, I managed to get my nerve up enough to do a bit of painting.