Marty's Gardening Journal, September 19th, 2012


The weather is just unbelievable; sunny and warm, then slowly turning a bit cooler. A day of drizzling rain, the kind we call “moth rain” or “motregen” as the drops are so fine it feels as if moth wings softly brush your skin.


A visit to the Floriade, more than just a flower show, which takes place only once every ten years. A visit to the Gardens of Appeltern with over 200 display gardens for ideas and inspiration. Just a day to walk around was not enough, but it had to do. Then, walking around cities and towns looking at gardens everywhere and taking pictures left and right.

 As always, bikes are part of the Dutch landscape. Bike paths are everywhere and I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more bikes in Holland than Dutchies. People drive cars but they are just as likely to jump on their bike to go to the store or just for a ride on the weekend.


Bikes used to be pretty much the same when I was growing up in Holland, but lately bikes in Holland have changed in design and they made me want to go out and buy one, or two.  I love the ones with the cart attached in front; kind of like the old fashioned bakery bikes when the baker came by with fresh bread every day. Others are like granny’s bike, but updated, way updated. Although I still treasure my Peewee Herman bike, in great condition as I have only had it for about 20 years, these Dutch bikes made my heart beat a little faster, even before getting on them. 


But how do the Dutch find their bike when you have a couple of hundred parked in front of the train station? I always tried to remember where I parked my bike; say sixth row, ninth from the left. A little personalization on the bike usually helped too when you weren’t quite sure where in the sea of bikes you left yours. Walking through the Vondelpark in Amsterdam this past weekend, I came across a bike which was personalized to a T; this bike belonged without ANY doubt to a gardener favoring purple (my kind of woman!) and flowers. And even if she wasn’t a gardener (yes, it was a lady’s bike) as there isn’t much room for gardens in Amsterdam, she would be if she had the space.



 Now, back again State side, I look around. My neighbor took very well care of the fuzzy children – the ferrets –, the wet pets – fish – and the plants. Leaves are falling here and there and it is much cooler at night. Fall is right around the corner, but I can still find plenty of color in the garden. An orchid in the gazebo has two flower spikes with about 30 buds, one of which just opened today.

The compost heap started in spring is yielding great compost; a great way to use garden refuse such as leaves, grass clippings, plants that were cut down (and some that were dug up and discarded) and paper from my shredder (bills, offers for credit cards, all the stuff identity thieves would love now becomes gardener’s gold – compost). And even if it has not decayed completely, the few bits and pieces will do so over time and add additional nutrients to the soil. Or, you could use a large sieve and take out those bits and return them to the compost bin.

composting bins 

































compost finished

























There are still a few months to garden before we put the tools away; make the most of it while you can and enjoy it before the enforced hiatus of winter is upon us.