Liv Hambrett

Germany + Australia + Culture + Motherhood + Home

Life in Kiel

Gardening + Growing

Driving home today, from yet another trip to Ikea, this one sponsored by the need for terracotta pots and to give a bad-tempered child a change of scenery (as opposed to the need for any of the three million tiny things you never knew you didn’t have until you moved) I pulled over to take these photos:

Aren’t the colours just extraordinary?

And just the other night, the sky looked like this:

Days are, at the moment, full. Full of growing kids and marking exams during naptime and small house renovations and plotting novels in the shower, novels that probably won’t be written for a few years yet, because I am not one of those people who can burn the midnight oil anymore. (My darling son burnt all of the midnight oil I had in the tank, after refusing to sleep through the night for the first year of his life. I’m in the process of drilling for more.) They race and plod by and they are, of course, extraordinarily colourful. Even on those interminably long, rainy, grey days, there is colour.

As I lurch into adulthood here in Germany, I am finding I spend an inordinate amount of time at either the Baumarkt or the garden centre. Our garden is a work in progress, with things the previous owners planted, popping up here and there, often utterly foreign to my non-European eye. Oh and having to consider genuine seasons, the first frost, Winterhart, immergrün, pulling up and replanting each spring, buying annuals just for the short burst of colour they bring; my garden, like my gardening knowledge, like my adulthood in Germany, is a work in progress.

I bought dahlias today, and gardenias yesterday, the latter because the smell reminds me of summer days at my Pa’s house, the former because they were pretty and colourful and half price and I guess I may as well see what they look like in a patchy part of the garden bed. Three gentlana scabra blau joined the dahlias, because I googled them in the garden centre and they look beautiful in bloom and blue is always good. I have no idea what I am doing, but we’re learning.

July has been cool and rainy, with a few humid sunny days here and there. Now, when it rains, I say things like, ‘oh well, at least it’ll be good for the garden’ and realise how much I sound like my mother, herself a genuine gardener. Her first job upon visiting last month was to tell us how to get rid of this awful floor cover, and consult on an immergrün fence solution, and prune the apple sapling and convince my husband to leave the plum tree.

Another part of the lurch into adulthood seems to involve a sudden , keen interest in window shopping for furniture. We drove out to an antique/furniture/garden shop/cafe wonderland the other day, to get some fresh air after a day of relentless rain that had meant being cooped up all day along with the racket of the attic renovations. On the drive over, through little villages and past old farmhouses and paddocks of drowsy cows, we passed a beautiful old house with a wildly green and colourful summer garden, and a large pig quite in amidst all the blooms. What a dream; a big, blooming garden and a pig.

We traipsed through looking at stupidly expensive pieces, considered an old restored school table. Die Lüdde went looking for snails and cows and I poked my head into the garden shop that was alive with roses and Löwenmaul. God, now that I think about it, the whole afternoon felt like something my parents used to do when I was small; the horror of realising how cyclical life is!

And so the days, they race and plod by, the kids getting bigger (much, much too quickly) and the days getting shorter.  And we wait; for a hot and sunny August, for the gardenias to bloom, the grass to fill in around the newly planted pear tree. And as the garden grows, as my children grow, as much as I do not realise it, caught up in the everyday, so do I.





  1. Sabina

    17 July, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Your photos make me feel homesick…
    All your summer photos make me feel like book a flight but these really make me feel nostalgic…

  2. Cindy

    18 July, 2017 at 6:23 am

    I love the stories of your German life. – the fantastic, the ordinary, soggy and sunshiny. It paints a wonderful picture I can relate to! 💗

  3. morri

    18 July, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    I thnk we got a pretty good summer this year. perfect mix of rain and sun (and cool temps) the east wind today makes it feel like 30deg, unlike the cool west wind.

  4. Renate Barreras

    19 July, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    Love your photos makes me very much home sick. Great pig.

  5. crissouli

    21 July, 2017 at 1:25 am


    Thank you, Chris

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