July 31, 2009 I wrote my first post on Belgian Pearls. Today I am celebrating the 8th anniversary of my blog.
It almost seems like yesterday that I was sitting in the garden trying to come up with that very first post! I do remember how much I struggled arranging and resizing pictures to fit into the Blogger-Blogspot template, with which I started creating my blog. And it makes me laugh when I re read the text, noticing how hard I tried to make myself clear in English.
As difficult as it was to write this first post, I had absolutely no problem finding the appropriate name for my blog.
‘Belgian’ is of course, quite obvious. Being an interior designer, born in Belgium and still Belgian citizen, I wanted to tell the world something more about all things related with Belgian design, interiors and architecture.
‘Pearls’ stands for all things beautiful. I just can’t help to be a huge admirer of pearls. To me a pearl definitely is ‘a thing of beauty, that is a joy forever’ ! So the word ‘Pearls’ in my blog’s name represents all the beauty my country has to offer.
However there is a second reason why I opted for the word ‘pearls’. I wanted to name my blog something original. My name ‘Greet’ is derived from ‘Margaretha’, that comes from the Greek word ‘margarite’, which means ‘pearl’. Because of its beauty, in ancient Greece, a pearl was a symbol of love.
As I started my blog at the same time we started to take on the landscape of our garden in the summer of 2009, I came up with the idea to share with you today the evolution of our garden since the beginning of the landscape in July 2009.
Before we started building our home (2005), we asked a landscape gardener to design a garden plan to determine all garden levels. To some extent we adopted this plan but decided to modify some parts of it.
Garden plan designed by a landscape gardener in 2005.
From the start until today we’ve done everything ourselves (to be frankly, I have to admit that the major part of the job is done by my husband), from the building of the garden house to the planting of all trees, hedges and flowers and installation of the lawn and backyard.
Even until today we still don’t have asked any assistance of a professional gardener and all gardening and maintenance we do it ourselves. It requires indeed a lot of energy and takes much of our time, but both of us do see gardening as the best way to relax and to de-stress. Gardening is good for the soul and don’t underestimate the value of gardening as therapy. It is very satisfying to watch growing what you have planted.
In my first blogpost I already posted some pictures of the garden house that we started to build in the summer of 2009.
Start of the oak contstruction. Flooring and construction was done by my husband. See him on the roof. (July 2009)
The only job we needed assistance in, was in thatching the roof of the garden house. This was done by a specialized company, because of the important traditional craft, that requires fine skills. (August 2009)
As soon as the garden house was finished, we started to prepare the land in several levels providing structure in the garden, in order to plant trees and hedges. You definitely notice here the creation of the garden path. (September 2009)
On some of the pictures you will see the young hydrangea plants that were already planted in Spring 2009.
Arrival of the trees. (October 2009)
Arrival of all privet (ligustrum) hedges. (October 2009)
Planting the plane trees along the garden path. (October 2009)
My son Anthony assisted in planting the orchard fruit trees. (October 2009)
My husband planting hornbeam hedges. (October 2009)
Garden so far. End of October 2009.
Start construction of the garden pillars as separation between the backyard and the orchard. Our dog Ralph was always around. God, I miss him! (March 2010)
Masonry of the garden pillars with reclaimed bricks, similar to the façade bricks of our home. (March 2010)
Garden layout divided into several areas ready to plant grass seed and all roses and peonies. On the right hand bottom corner, you can see the young hydrangeas that were already planted the previous year. (April 2010)
Arrival of all antique roses we selected. ‘Honorine de Brabant’, ‘Madame Isaac Pereire’ and ‘Ulrich Brunner’. Notice how the plane trees and the hedges were grown since they were planted the previous Autumn. (October 2010)
Jan and Anthony planting the roses. Notice the green look of the grass lawn (seeded in April 2010) on the left. (October 2010)
‘Madame Isaac Pereire’ roses. (May 2011)
Orchard with the very young fruit trees. (May 2011)
Start construction of garden steps, leading from the garden path to the lawn. (June 2011)
Steps are made of reclaimed bricks. (June 2011)
Jan covering the path with gravel. (June 2011)
As nowadays we really can not find the time to maintain a vegetable garden, but we would love to ever create it, we already have outlined the appropriate area for it, this behind our garden house. In anticipation of the vegetable garden, we started to create an area where we brought in lots of boxwood plants. (May 2012)
Arrival of boxwood plants. (May 2012)
All planters are our own design and were made in our workhop. (June 2012)
Plane trees along the garden path. (July 2013)
Hydrangeas Macrophylla Teller blue and pink. (June 2013)
One of the ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peonies in front of the boxwood area. We also planted ‘Karl Rosenfeld’ (red colour) and ‘Festina Maxima’ (white colour) peonies. (May 2014)
Orangery with climbing grape vine and in front of it the ‘Honorine de Brabant’ roses, surrounded by hornbeam hedges. (July 2014)
Orchard so peaceful. Best spot to relax. (June 2015)
Garden house and ‘Aspirin’ roses along the garden path. (July 2015)
Sunny summer day! (July 2016)
Hydrangeas were grown a lot since they were planted in 2009. (July 2016)
All garden pictures here below are taken this year.
View from the garden path to the back terrace.
‘Kir Royal’ climbing rose.
The tiny grape vine, we received from a friend years ago and once planted in a small planter, we planted in the ground in 2007. Look at it now!
A small apple tree is planted in each of all 4 oak planters around the garden house.
The separation to our neighbours’ property is lined with plane trees trained as espaliers.
Garden steps now covered with moss.
‘Madame Isaac Pereire’ and ‘Aspirin’ roses.
Standing in the orchard – view to the orangery.
I just love the patina of this beautiful decorated bronze planter standing since a few years in the middle of the boxwood area.
Standing in the orchard – view through the iron gate towards the back façade of our home.
The iron gate was made to measure by a local blacksmith. The spheres on top of the columns we found in the Cotswolds (UK).
We are so very proud of our orchard with the fruit trees that are doing so well and that brings us apples, pears, prunes, cherries and walnuts.
One of the apple trees.
Orchard with apple trees (Red Boskoop, Jacques Lebel & Cox’s Orange), pear trees (Doyenne du Comice & Conference), cherry tree (Hedelfinger), prune tree (Belle de Thuin) and walnut trees (Junglans). This picture was taken yesterday evening July 30.
‘Snow White’ roses along the side path of our home.
Me, gardening. Pruning roses.
I AM SO VERY GRATEFUL TO YOU ALL FOR FOLLOWING BELGIAN PEARLS !
WITHOUT YOU, BELGIAN PEARLS WOULD HAVE NO MEANING.
Enjoy these summer days!
‘You will find me in the garden.’
All photos by me