I hope to add some more about the differences between gardening in the UK and Belgium later, but for the moment here are some of the interesting plants which came with the house. The soil in Belgium is a very heavy clay and winter rain turns the ground into mud which sets to a brick like hardness in the spring sunshine.
The photographs here were taken with a Kodak DC-120 digital camera and resized for the web. Clicking on some of the images will provide a larger image with more detail.
I am rather hazy on identification of shrubs so if anyone can offer identifications or species or cultivar I would be grateful. I have had a look through the RHS Encyclopedia, but aware of it's shortcomings in the species I know about reckon it is probably easier to put the tricky to identify and prettiest plants on a web page and hope someone will ID them and tell me. I really would like to get some of these shrubs for my own garden in the UK.
Japanese flowering cherry cv Amanogawa - literally "milky way"
Yellow iris in the pond are one of the early indications it is spring.
The majority of the shrubs flower in late spring to early summer and a few are unknown to me. I never was very good at identifying shrubs and trees. So if anyone reckognises these please let me know.
The first pair of unknowns are clearly similar species but with white and pink flowers. Forming a shrub to 6-8 feet high and covered with a profusion of small clustered double blooms which make the branches look feathery. They are very striking in flower with the contrast of textures against the lush foliage.
I would guess at a Spirea from the curved form and shape of the bush but the flowers a lot more fussy than any I have seen before.
The next unknown is a tree like plant with long vertical branches covered in very simple white flowers with yellow stamen. The flowers are pure white against clear green foliage and the perfume is excellent. I think it may be a variety of Philadelphus delavayi.
Detail shot of flowers of the tree against the blue sky. It is covered in flowers and perfumes the garden in the warmer evenings.
The flowers are a very pure white and cover the entire tree, causing branches to arch and sag.
Absolute unknown plant but with very small yellow flowers on angular spikes and deep purple red brown foliage. I might guess at some weird cv of Acacia or Cotinus but I doubt that is right. Branches are all curved like antlers and it is slow growing. It has set seed so perhaps I can grow some without finding it's name.
Unknown fruit of plant which I mistook for a mega gooseberry. It has slightly ornamental yellow flowers and now red fruit. It is clearly separate from the gooseberry bush it is growing out of. Perhaps some sort of ornamental current or ribes family I don't know. We also have some wierd thornless gooseberry bushes or at least I thought they were until I discover the fruit were jet black fruit when ripe. Lots of red currants but no black currants here.
I am trying to create a small arid zone in the garden to plant some cacti and succulents outside. I doubt that it will be possible to leave them outside in winter as it rains far too much in Belgium. Possibly it is wetter than the my old location in North Yorkshire where I did manage to grow some cacti outside under a south facing bay window.
Parts of the garden are moderately well groomed, but further away from the house it gets a bit wilder. These plants might well be considered weeds, but they are striking enough for now that I have left them to grow. I may come to regret this decision next year.
This branching Euphorbia is probably a weed rather than an ornamental
Anyone able to provide an ID ?
Also in the wilder end of the garden a spiky teasel has managed to establish itself in among the herbs.
Common mesembreanthemum bedding plants like Mesembryanthemum crinifolium (Ice plant) are pretty tolerant of dry heat, and some of the related mesemb species like Carpobrotus edulis (Kaffir fig) have naturalised in parts of the UK. The daisy like flowers open wide in the sunshine.
M. crinifolium - likes it hot and dry.
Hybrid echivarias are freely available at garden centres and seem to like my new well drained bed. Nursery grown plants from Holland seem to be a lot cheaper on the continent. Another new plant in my dry bed, the soft nursery growth now being replaced by a tight compact rosette and new pups coming from the base as the clump develops.
|Echivaria species (hybrid)|
The deep metallic red of the Castor Oil plant makes a splendid architectural display growing to 4 or 6 feet from seed with exotic foliage and flowers. They are very poisonous so be careful where you grow them.
These are not mine. They are plants bedded out in the botanical gardens at Leuven (Louvain)