my own hybrids
|'Park der Gärten' Germany
|ASA Convention 2003
|Dutch Rhodo. Society
|"Indian Summer" in Maine
|wildflowers Costa Blanca
|Bernhard Knorr rhodo's
|Hans Hachmann Rhodo's
|Joe Klimavic azaleas
|Gardening is one of the most fascianting hobbys, certainly if you have a quite large garden and the possibilities for it. It is good for body and soul when you are healthy or want to become so. It demands creativity and inventivity and sometimes patience, when things are not going as you wish. It gives you the enjoyment about what you have achieved and sharing this joy with others makes it even more valuable. And the membership of some garden clubs and plant societies, like the RHS in the UK or the ARS and ASA in the USA etc. gives you more knowledge and skils in gardening. Moreover it can bring you friendships, that sometimes last very long. This page tells and shows you, how my wife and I practised and enjoyed gardening during many years. May be you can find some new ideas or creations to use for your own gardening.
The soil there was pure sand, so we had to mix in a lot of peat, leaf mold, pine needles, pine straw etc. But after some dry weeks I had to water a lot of course. However, the plants grew very well and soon my garden was crowded with plants and seedlings and I had to thin out. Here I started with a heather garden, about which an article appeared in a regional newspaper with the title: "Huisman paints with heathers". But as you know, heathers need wind and a lot of sun, and we had many trees and growing rhododendrons, and so the heather plants got fungus diseases etc. Therefore I went on with Rhododendrons and Azaleas and found out, that it is quite easy to hybridize with them with marvellous results! Since then I got more 'devoted' to these wonderful plants. You can see the results of my 'hybridizing obsession' on many pages of this website. For a first impression of my gardens in Hattem and Nijensleek you can see my album: album my garden 1 (with a slow connection you need some patience sometimes)
In 1997 we moved to a village, Nijensleek, in the province of Drenthe and here we have layed out a garden of about 4 acres, where there was only meadowland before. Draglines and shovels put away the graslayers onto a hill on the west side of the garden because of the strong winds from the west. In several stages we developed the garden around the house, dug ditches where the soil was too wet because of the density of the soil. In the back yard we dug a pool for toads, frogs and lizards which developes naturally with willows and rushes.
The Ph of the soil here is around 5, but the structure is very dense with small soil particles. So, in times with a lot of rain the rhododendrons have some trouble to grow well. But with the right care they do fine now! Conifers and trees grow rapidly like also daylilies, hostas and grasses! We have a magnificent view on the meadows and woods around our property. Cows graze in the landscape around, and we see foxes, dear, hares, though the last 2 sneak from our azaleas. A better 'option' are the owls and buzzards: they eat mice! Beds in the back of our garden for rooted cuttings and many seedlings for testing. From March on the garden is a great flower-paradise! Not only the rhododendrons and azaleas put in an appearance, but also all kinds of bulbs, daylilies, grasses, ferns, perennials, shrubs and trees! With an additional show in fall with the brilliant colours of Acers and Ginko biloba, just to mention some. And in winter the hoar frost on the plants, very photogenic!
During many years I have raised many seedlings of rhododendrons, azaleas, trees and shrubs. Many of my new rhodo hybrids are being tested at a nursery in northern Germany, for hardiness, health, growth and of course fine flowers. For me it is increasingly important, that the plants themselves look great! For at least 90% of the year they are not flowering!! Most plants in my garden are (my own) rhodo hybrids and evergreen and decidious azaleas. But I also have special shrubs and trees, like several oak species, (Quercus), ashes, (Sorbus) and Acers. In 2002 and 2003 we cut down quite some trees around the house, replacing them with rhodos, azaleas etc. and we built a new terrace. Now we have a better view from the house on the fields around. 2004 and this year I mulched a lot with pine bark chips and this is a great thing to do against weeds and drying out of the soil.
Last year 2004 we created a new large pond at the end of the garden. The hole
for it has been dug already in 1999, but it was fully occupied by willows.
This pond looks great, with some stone banks and a plank bridge, where I often
sit in the evening to enjoy the plants, dragon-flies, frogs etc.
Meanwhile the garden is complete or actually too full of plants and trees. They are growing too close together. So, I am just digging out, taking away or cutting down many shrubs, trees, bamboos etc. I 'delete' conifers, which served as protection against the wind. Most of the material I chop and use this as mulch for the rhodos and trees. This all results in a better view through the garden and improves it very much! More or less the garden is ready. I don't hybridize that much anymore - just because I have no place for the seedlings.
And what does this mean for myself and my wife? From now on I can really take all the time I have to enjoy the result of 8 years of hard work? May be, we'll see. For me a garden is mostly a place to work and create! Doing something. May be I have to learn, that enjoying without 'working' is a great thing to "do".
Anyway - I hope, that with this short survey - especcially with the albums - I gave you an impression of our garden and its history. For the rest of it I refer to the other pages of this website and to my albums:
album my garden 2 album my garden 3
Now also with albums about plants in my garden:
Album plants in my garden 1 Album plants in my garden 2 Album plants in my garden 3
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