Belgian Pearls Blog Anniversary

/Belgian Pearls Blog Anniversary

Belgian Pearls Blog Anniversary

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.

Back terrace.

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.



Enjoy these summer days!

‘You will find me in the garden.’



All photos by me

By |2018-07-11T10:54:01+00:00July 31st, 2017|Categories: Belgian Pearls|Tags: , , , |29 Comments


  1. Donatella Monday, July 31, 2017 at 6:53 AM - Reply

    Fantastic blogpost! I really enjoyed to see how your garden developed in the last years. And it is very impressiv to learn that all was done by your husband and you. Congrats!

  2. Monica De Bonnaire Monday, July 31, 2017 at 7:31 AM - Reply

    Impressive work, Greet (and Jan)! Congratulations on the precious garden and blog!

  3. ron van Empel Monday, July 31, 2017 at 10:33 AM - Reply

    Wat een fantastisch eindresultaat! Het is duidelijk te zien dat alles met veel zorg en liefde ontworpen en onderhouden is. Ik ben vreselijk jaloers. Lieve groet, Ron

  4. Jill Sharp Weeks Monday, July 31, 2017 at 2:04 PM - Reply

    Greet – this was a fascinating journey about the process of your incredible project. So inspiring and filled with so much love. Beautiful to see how all of the family was involved in the steps and paths to make this come to life. As with all massive undertakings, it really demonstrates how having a master plan is the only way to strategize a plan that is as involved as this garden.
    Where can I locate the woven wicker or rattan arm chairs that you used in the covered area of the thatched house? I feel like Mise en Demure used to carry these but I’m not sure anymore. I live in Charleston, South Carolina so hoping to find some of these stateside. Thanks for your constant inspiration! Congratulations on the longevity of your blog! All of your accolades are so well deserved! Thank you for the time and energy it takes to create each post.

  5. ron van Empel Monday, July 31, 2017 at 2:04 PM - Reply

    Ik was zo verrukt van het mooie tuin epos…dat ik je helemaal vergeet te feliciteren met ACHT jaar bloggen!
    Felicitaties. Ron

  6. billie henninger Monday, July 31, 2017 at 2:09 PM - Reply

    It’s so beautiful, Greet. Gardens are so comforting.

  7. Mary Jane Monday, July 31, 2017 at 2:44 PM - Reply

    Congratulations on your success with Belgian Pearls! I started following you a few years back because my ancestry is Belgian, I love Belgian art and designs and your beautiful design work. Thank you for the photos of your garden. It is truly a wonderful work and very interesting to see the progress of the garden over the years.

  8. Paula Moreshead Monday, July 31, 2017 at 3:56 PM - Reply

    You have created an absolutely beautiful place! I’m very impressed by all of your hard work and planning. I’m writing this from the hot and humid southeastern US and live in Florida. Your home is lovely and the gardens look so cool and refreshing.
    Congratulations on the anniversary of your blog

  9. teresa Monday, July 31, 2017 at 4:43 PM - Reply

    As a gardener, this is my favourite post. I now have to look through the older archives to see the “step-by-step” details of this creation. Stunning beyond belief!!!

  10. Perry Monday, July 31, 2017 at 6:00 PM - Reply

    I am in awe of all the work you have done. It is simply beautiful, inspiring, lovely and so peaceful. How wonderful it must be to walk through the gardens at all times of the day. I imagine mornings as the sun rises and that part of the evening when the suns starts to set, the gardens must look like a beautiful jewel.
    Perry 🌷

  11. Amy Monday, July 31, 2017 at 6:15 PM - Reply

    Greet, I am one of your followers from Nebraska! I can’t thank you enough for all the effort you put into your Blog! Today’s post was no exception!!! I am forwarding today’s blog onto many good friends who I know will thoroughly enjoy it! Thank you naming all the plants in your garden…that took almost as much time as planting it all!!!You and your family are incredible! Wildly ambitious folk! Special thanks!

  12. Eileen Haas Monday, July 31, 2017 at 7:11 PM - Reply

    Greet, I have been reading your blog for years and my heartfelt thanks to you. It must be so much work. I love to garden, recently moved to the Central Coast of California, and have gotten much inspiration from you for my own tiny garden. Especially those big trees, which will keep out the hot sun and give me complete privacy. Congratulations again, and keep up the good work. I hope one day to visit your beautiful country.

  13. Bonnie Schulte Monday, July 31, 2017 at 8:15 PM - Reply

    I have been reading your blog, since the beginning. What you have built, your home and gardens, is beyond Beautiful. Wait…that word just doesn’t even begin to state the awesomeness of your home, gardens, urns, statutes, orchard, any of it. I cannot find the words…I think perhaps heaven looks like this..Thank you so much for sharing with your readers. I appreciate it, as I know others do too.

  14. Lady M. Monday, July 31, 2017 at 9:16 PM - Reply

    Bravo, your work paid off, the end result is marvelous and could not get better. I like the garden house too. I have a question about your boxwood plants. Ours are more than a century old and very large, they have struggled the last few years and we consulted with a specialist in Flanders when I visited my family in Belgium last year, we got great advice and bought several products to keep them healthy. They looked well and green again with no spots. I must add that we are in Burgundy, and that the 15 huge boxwoods are the special item of our very French style park,” jardin a la française”. Absent for ten days, we came back a few days ago to a disastrous situation as our boxwoods and those of our neighbors in this area are ravaged by PYRALE. How are yours? And what do you do to prevent that horrible destruction? We have bought the whole stock to be found in a garden center. Thank you Greet,
    Monique Denoncin

  15. Faith Boggio Monday, July 31, 2017 at 10:07 PM - Reply


  16. Judith Monday, July 31, 2017 at 11:07 PM - Reply

    You’ve created a masterpiece. Well done!

  17. Kay Monday, July 31, 2017 at 11:16 PM - Reply

    Just exquisite, Greet! Heavenly! Thank you for sharing all this beauty with us. XO

  18. charisse Tuesday, August 1, 2017 at 10:18 PM - Reply

    Greet, I have followed you for years but this post is probably my favorite. I am a passionate gardener and so appreciate that you and your husband took a plan and executed it so beautifully. Doing the labor yourself infuses a garden with it’s soul, and it is obvious this garden was a work of love, and your hard work in return provides you and your family with not only satisfaction and sustenance, but with beautiful vistas, and a sense of accomplishment and peace. Kudos and thank you for sharing. I also enjoyed how you named your blog.

  19. ELIZABETH WOLF Wednesday, August 2, 2017 at 2:40 AM - Reply

    Happy 8th blog anniversary, Greet. Your garden is so beautiful! I love everything you’ve done and can’t believe you’ve done it all yourselves. Truly inspirational! Your blog has been a source of so much pleasure these past eight years – can’t thank you enough.

  20. Michele@hellolovely Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 7:45 PM - Reply

    Oh, Greet! This post is lovely on a thousand levels. The labor of love blossoming into a magnificent garden, the teamwork in its creation, the fragrance of peace it affords (like your beautiful blog), and the authenticity shining even through our computer screens. Thanks for the steady flow of inspiration and heartfelt sharing of your work and leisure. I don’t ever want to miss a Belgian moment and am grateful for how you have widened my perspective while also shrinking the globe. Happy Anniversary, Belgian Pearls!!!

  21. The Hunting House Friday, August 4, 2017 at 2:31 AM - Reply

    Simply AMAZING what you and your family have created, and what you have given to the internet blogosphere all these years. ASTOUNDING accomplishment! Thank you so much for taking all this time to share your lives with us, so grateful to you for the beauty you give so freely.

  22. Maison Studio - Interiors by Dean + Curpier Friday, August 4, 2017 at 8:45 PM - Reply

    Congratulations! Absolutely stunning and magical – thanks for sharing.

  23. Francisco Valdez Monday, August 7, 2017 at 7:04 PM - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your garden journal. It is a huge inspiration to see the beauty that you and your family have created. It is definitely a heavenly place!

  24. Carlotta van Brussel Monday, August 7, 2017 at 8:52 PM - Reply

    Happy 8th blog anniversary, Greet. Your garden is so wonderful ♥ I love everything !!!
    Congratulations ♥

  25. GL Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 11:31 AM - Reply

    This is for Monique Denoncin. We have had the same problem with our box topiaries and hedges in Franche-Comté. First, the good news. Your box isn’t dead. Second, the bad news: pyrale (aka box moth caterpillar) can destroy the foliage of a large box overnight. There are two treatments. The first is “bacille de Thuringe” which comes in a powder to be made into a solution with water. It works ONLY on the young caterpillars, and you need to spray the shrub thoroughly, especially the under sides of the leaves. The second is an insecticide specifically for this pest; again, a water solution but you must add a wetting agent to be sure the spray sticks. Unfortunately, both these remedies take a few days to kill the critters, so they’ve got time to defoliate your plants before they die. The idea is to break the life cycle of the pests. But they produce three generations a year, so treating has to be ongoing from March to October. A good source of information (including 2 videos) and of products is “Tout Pour Les Nuisibles” (K3D SARL) — not cheap but I think worth it. Replacing your box is not a good idea, as the pests are now endemic in Burgundy and the cycle will simply start again. To save your existing plants, you should prune to open up the centre of the plant to light, and it will sprout again in the spring. But that means protecting it from attack by using a pheromone trap to observe the moths’ appearance, and treating 10 days later when the eggs will start to hatch. Otherwise we and you are going to have to replace the box with something else — yew topiary, for instance. Swiss suggestions for replacements, ilex crenata and pittosporum, are useless here, as the ilex requires acid soil (we’re on limestone) and pittosporum isn’t hardy here.
    A word to Greet: thank you for the fascinating post showing the development of the garden — wonderful! But a warning: pyrale is on its way to you, it spreads very fast in hot weather and is heading west and north. I’m not being nasty here, but pointing out that although it hasn’t arrived in northern France (and I assume Belgium)yet, it will, so you’ve got to be ready.

  26. Leslie Sinclair Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 12:18 PM - Reply

    I think this is one of my very favorite posts of yours!! This says a lot because they are all wonderful! How you must enjoy your gardens and I can see it has been a labor of love for the entire family! xo

  27. Christina Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 10:41 PM - Reply

    This was my very favorite blog post of yours! What a treat to witness the evolution of your amazing property and to know you did it and continue to do it all yourselves is such an inspiration! Thank you for this little gift as I have desired so greatly a garden with trees, and so many of the plants you have planted, but not the money to hire it out. To see yours grow organically over the years and to know it can be a decade long project is just so encouraging! And how delightful and exciting to know you maintain it all yourselves…something that will simply have to be if we take on a project like this. I know what you mean with your comment regarding seeing something grow that you planted and tended to. Our vegetable garden this year has been a true labor of love and the produce and plants make me smile from deep within knowing that my family did it! So very satisfying! Thank you for sharing the beauty you have created with me all the way in Ohio, USA. Best of wishes!

  28. CosmeaGardens Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 12:13 PM - Reply

    Its Awesome Images . I like this Blog . Your Garden is so excellent! I cherish all that you’ve done and can’t accept you’ve done everything yourselves. Really persuasive! Your blog has been a wellspring of so much delight these previous eight years – can’t thank you enough.

    • Greet Lefèvre Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 12:18 PM - Reply

      Thank you so very much for your kind words! You made my day!
      Warm regards,

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