by Andrea ( Bea )Vonk • 15/07/2014

Photo's: Andrea ( Bea ) Vonk  Styling: Andrea ( Bea) Vonk

by Andrea ( Bea )Vonk • 11/07/2014

Photo's: Andrea ( Bea ) Vonk  Styling: Andrea ( Bea) Vonk

                                             THE HAMPTON COURT FLOWER SHOW 2014- THE FLORAL AND ROSE MARQUEE

This time of the year is the time of the Hampton Court Flower Show, one of those unmissable events. 
If  you've never been, you must go . Although I have to say, the trip into London , which usually takes an hour and a half  from here took us four hours instead due to all the traffic and visitors to the show, , so that was a bit of a  drag. Just so you know -forewarned is forearmed ! Pack some sandwiches and some water for eating and drinking in the car, would be my advice.

There were a few lovely new varieties of  plants which you can see here and some of the displays were breathtaking. I would say there was a lot of white and blue/purple, both in plants inside the marquee as also in the showgardens.I asked one lady who  was a stylist and had constructed an absolutely amazing display , how long it had taken her.Four days she told me .And then everything still looks as fresh as a daisy, in spite of being in a rather warm marquee.

There is too much to show you, really. I will do some more posts about the show gardens and also all the outside things you can see , in the next few posts so you don't feel left out.
Believe me, it's great to visit. 
But also great to be back in my own garden !

by Andrea ( Bea )Vonk • 30/06/2014

Photo's : Andrea ( Bea ) Vonk  Styling: Andrea ( Bea) Vonk

                                                                            LAVENDER MATTERS

This month I had the plan to write a short post about lavender and how great it is to use in as filling in small ( needle) cushions . And that it's a really 
problem free plant, especially if you have a sunny corner in your garden.

And also to urge you pick your own lavender as soon as you can so you will have a good supply of gorgeous smelling dried flowers for all your arty / crafty projects. ( For instance, to make your own lavender water and other things like lavender sugar ) .
 But seeing these small tortoise shell butterflies yesterday descending en masse  and feasting on the open lavender flowers has given me pause for thought.

I wish you would have been there .You could hear their wings flap slowly while they were drinking and  they were going from flower to flower, sometimes hanging upside down , just to get the nectar out of the buds.It was just such a a life affirming experience.and to think if I would not have planted the lavender, and would not have left the flowers on, I would never have lived to see this happen.

Last year I picked my lavender as soon as the flowers opened, dried them ,and
have had a great supply of dried lavender. 

I would , by all means, still  urge you to plant loads and loads of lavender.It's a really easy plant and you can even grow it in a big pot on your terrace if you live in the city.

But keep some flowers on the plant for the butterflies.It seems more and more butterflies seems to disappear and become extinct. There's a  really good article about why butterflies matter here on the Butterfly Conservation website.

A few good reasons which you can find there, for me at least are :

Conserving butterflies will improve our whole environment for wildlife.
Conserving butterflies will enrich the lives of people now and in the future.

The life cycle of the butterfly- from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis is one of the wonders of nature.

Butterflies are beautiful.
People love butterflies.

So keep on planting your lavender- but keep some flowers on if you can ! And leave a whole patch of nettles as well ( as I do as I am not that tidy ) as this seems to be attractive to them too.

by Andrea ( Bea )Vonk • 26/06/2014

Photo: Andrea ( Bea ) Vonk  Styling: Andrea ( Bea) Vonk

This month ( June)  has been spectacular so far for our roses, but sadly, at the end of June, it very often is the end of the rose abundance. Just a quick tip just in case you love roses as much as I do: it really is worthwhile  to keep on deadheading. to keep your roses going as long as you can.This rose, the " Albertine" has just had most of the roses that had finished flowering, removed- and as a result I can see a whole lot of new buds starting.Keep snipping and keep them going !! 

by Andrea ( Bea )Vonk • 20/06/2014

Photo: Andrea ( Bea ) Vonk  Styling: Andrea ( Bea) Vonk

                                               GARDENING- ROSES I HAVE LOVED

This year has been fantastic so far for our roses.Last year was terrible - it was so very hot that the roses all dropped off or turned brown .But this year is really astounding.So I thought to show you some quick shots of my front garden and drive which I took last night while my other half was dozing in front of the football on the telly ,The quality of the pictures isn't that great as it was getting dark but it's just to give you an idea.Most of my roses are at the front of the house and I always have some favourites that I plant wherever I live .
I love the “ Albertine “ rose- it's such a good performer .It's got a lovely delicate rose scent ( some quite vicious thorns mind you ) and it's a great climber . The flowers themselves are a lovely soft pink colour when the rose is open, and the shape is like a rose on a cover of a 1950's romantic novel- a bit like a mid-century summer dress with a tight bodice and a wide skirt .The buds are a striking rose-red   before they open up. And a great contrast to the soft pink flowers.I grow it on a rustic trellis attached to the front of the house .The trellis I found discarded outside an old florist's shop .

I love the “ New Dawn” rose, too, it's my mum's favourite.Everywhere I live I plant one to remind me of her as we both live in a different coun try and are so far away from each other.It's a delicate rose, not so vigirous as the “ Albertine “ but the colour is a really delicate sort of pink, like the inside of the ear of a fluffy cuddly white kitten.

There's a white rose at the entrance of the drive that was a standard rose with a lovely peach colour, but the standard died off, and the root of it turned into a white rose with huge clusters of roses with a lovely scent.So I can't tell you what rose it is, but it certainly means to it's a good idea to leave your dead standard roses in the soil if it dies as you never know what might happen.

The “ Peace “ rose is one I inherited from the previous owner/gardener, and it's a really gorgeous delicate yellow rose with pink edges, just beautiful. Also a great favourite, I once had a standard “ Peace” rose which my mother gave to me for my birthday..

My last rose at the front is “Teasing Georgia” - soft yellow, and looking like one of those old fashioned roses you see on paintings.. ( but it's more healthy as it's a David Austin rose, bred to be more disease resistant.)Although not as strong as the “ Albertine”, it's a beautiful rose I can really recommend.

by Andrea ( Bea )Vonk • 09/06/2014

Photo: Andrea ( Bea ) Vonk  Styling: Andrea ( Bea) Vonk


If you are looking for a cute baby sized plant that carries lovely berries for your breakfast cereal, you may want to get yourself some wild strawberry plants.
Wild strawberries flower from April to June and you can grow them in a pot on your
balcony or in your garden.I think it's a great plant as it covers acres of soil that would otherwise be covered in weeds, what's not to love ?
Plus add the benefit of those cute little strawberries and I think we're in business.
Sweet Paul has just done a great summer berry pie, and you can easily translate that into a wild strawberry tart.

Here's the recipe below

1.Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
2. Stir flour, baking soda and baking powder together in one bowl.
3.Cream the butter and sugar together in a second bowl.
4.Beat in the egg and vanilla in the butter/sugar mixture.
5.Blend in the dry ingredients into the buttery/egg mixture
6.Roll out the dough onto a layer of baking paper, then turn this upside down in a baking tin that you have buttered.
7.Bake dough for 10 minutes or till golden.Cool.
8.Separate the eggs and whisk the eggwhites to a soft peak.
9.Whisk yolks and sugar till light sand creamy, then add the mascarpone
10.Add vanilla and egg-whites and mix.
11.Pour mixture into piecrust.
12 Add wild strawberries and serve.

by Andrea ( Bea )Vonk  • 06/06/2014 • Gardening,

Photo: Andrea ( Bea ) Vonk  Styling: Andrea ( Bea) Vonk


If there’s one flower that we see at this time of year when we go for a walk in the English countryside , it's the Dog-roseI't's such a pleasure to come across it, as it holds  for us both links to the past and to today.The dog rose was the stylised rose of medieval European heraldry and  according to the Victorian language of flowers, symbolises pleasure and pain. Dog roses, with their innocent and modest  open flowers seem to hark back to a simpler and better time and I feel privileged every time I come across them .In autumn, it produces bright red rosehips that are often eaten by birds.It can also be a useful plant in your garden too - the nectar -filled flowers attract many insects. The fruit is noted for it's high vitamin C level and is used to make syrup, tea and jam and I fondly recollect the rose-hip jams my mum used to make when I was a child .It certainly is worthwhile trying to re-create these this autumn.   I’ve included some more details below on this adorable flower.   xo, Bea

Additional Information about the dog-rose :
  • Full NameRosa Canina
  • Varieties: There are many species of thw wild rose, which are all very similar , they all have white or pink flowers, throns and red hips in winter .
  • Size: Dog-roses grow as a scrambling shrub, and can span from 1-5 m, though sometimes it can scramble higher into the crowns of taller trees.  

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