The final post of 2020 from the Moosbach Garden/Garden Pictures of Summer

I often find myself , in the depths of Winter, longing for those glorious days of Summer when the garden is full of wonderous flowers and is teeming with wildlife. I think, as humans, we always want what isn’t readily accessible. In the heat of Summer I long for the cool of Winter and in the Winter I long for warmth but the contrast is what gives one hope, something to look forward to.

Every gardening year is unique

And so it should be, it is stagnation that is our downfall, we all strive for that elusive something, it is what has driven mankind. How many gardeners try year after year to successfully grow a plant that isn’t suited to the garden, to the soil, to the aspect, to the Winters. We endeavour, against seemingly unsurmountable odds and sometimes we shrug our shoulders and admit defeat. As gardeners we make mighty plans of what we are going to do differently next year but we often forget that mother nature has her own plan. The life of the gardener is to plan, to strive for perfection, to grow a more beautiful garden than last year, to produce better crop yields but sometimes the cards are stacked against you and you have to think that maybe next year is better. Every gardening year is a story of successes and failures, of moments of wonderment and awe at the beauty of a flower, at the comforting drone of bees and somehow feeling that you are making a difference.

Symbiosis is self-preservation

As I get older I am becoming a more and more committed environmentalist. I’m not even sure that I can call myself an environmentalist, my sins against nature are too numerous, but I am trying. I often wonder what would happen if we all tried, could we really make a difference to local economies, to the environment. Could we slow down or even reverse global warming and prevent the extinction of yet more untold species?

I wish I had the self-discipline to be 100% committed to the saving of the planet but isn’t that the crux of the problem? We are all so used to getting what we want and are not prepared to compromise, to give up what we want, even if that means that we destroy the planet. When I was looking through my photo library to select pictures for this article I was reminded of how beautiful nature and this planet is, my inner Buddhist reminds me that every plant, insect and animal has its place and has a right to be. I know that I need to do more, that will have to be my New Years resolution. For in saving the planet we are saving ourselves.

The power is in your hands and mine

I have written before about the power that we have as consumers and it is so true. If you are waiting for governments to change laws and save the planet then you will be waiting too long and have left it too late. Look at Greta Thunberg, now there is a person who has raised her head above the parapet but she cannot save the planet on her own. She needs us to step-up and so does the planet.

We already grow a large proportion of the fruit and vegetables that we consume here in the Moosbach Garden. We love it, no chemicals, no road miles and always in Season. Yes, we do preserve much of our own crops for the Winter months but the carbon footprint is minimal. I am going to make a commitment, to you, to myself and to the planet. I am only going to buy produce that has been produced locally, that is in season and that has no plastic packaging, if you like let’s call it environmental shopping. If we change our buying habits then companies will stop producing food in environmentally unsound packaging, if we only buy locally produced items we help to support local farmers and communities.

Here in the Moosbach Garden, we are spoilt. we have enough space to grow vegetables and fruit but not everybody has that luxury, perhaps in towns and cities we need more allotments and community gardens. I think that community gardens are a great way to get exercise, to meet new people, to feed your soul and to ensure good mental health.

What has 2020 taught me?

Well, it has shown me what a fragile and precarious state we are in as a species, we are too dependent upon the import of food and how dependent we have become on supermarkets. Many more people have starting growing their own herbs, salad and vegetables out of a fear that they will not be available or too expensive. Whether the fear is driven by COVID 19 or Brexit is unclear, perhaps it is both but it is a wakeup call. We need to teach our children where food comes from, how to grow it and instil an understanding of the environment, of conservation and of kindness, not just to our fellow human beings but to wildlife and the planet. Teach our children the peace that comes from the non-immediate, from the anticipation of food and seasons to come, of shared experiences with friends and that imperfection is normal and not to be rejected. Above all we should not be focussing on our differences but on what we have in common and how we can help and impower each other. I wish you all a healthy, happy and fulfilled 2021. For those who have lost loved ones, my deepest condolences. This pandemic will come to an end, the sun will shine again and we will heal out hearts and our bodies.

The In-between time

It’s a funny old time, that period between Christmas and New Year when we are supposed to lay dormant and do as little as possible. It many ways it is a gift that should be treasured but for many of us whose lives revolve around the hectic demands of “The Job” it can be challenging.

I have another week to go before I return to work and if I am honest I miss the routine that a working life dictates. This last year has been a hectic one with studying, exams, dealing with 50 plus emails a day, untold numbers of telephone calls and an ever-growing to do list. I really need to work on my life-balance. I will go the the corner of the garden and give myself a jolly-good talking to later.

Walks in the snow

Walks in the snow can be reviving, feeding the soul and providing the body with much needed exercise. I have to admit that our border collie “Luna” is always much more enthusiastic than me. She reminds me, at times. of Mr Schofield, my secondary school geography and Physical education teacher. She just needs a hockey stick to smack the backs of our legs for not making more of an effort and not running at a speed deemed appropriate. I secretly mock her comedy ears as she runs (I thinks that she suspects, a dog can say a lot with a look). Yesterday, I decided to take a different walk from the dog/PE instructor and have some alone time and it was lovely to me submerged in my own thoughts.

We have had quite a bit of snow over the last few weeks and we awoke on Christmas morning to a fresh covering of snow which has transformed our area into a magical Narnia-like world. Please note Mr Tumnus was nowhere to be seen but it was reminiscent of the story as the snow was melting, the tricking of mountain streams could be heard and it was evident that the Evil Queen was no more. It has to be said that I am definitely a Spring and Summer person, I am happiest when the plants are flowering, the bees are busily buzzing around the garden collecting nectar and birds are rushing around finding food to feed their ravenous broods. I turn into “The Grinch” around Christmas time and no amount of inducement will persuade me that it’s lovely and we’ll have such fun, maybe I should hibernate like a bear and re-appear in acceptable society when it’s all over.

What I do admire in the Winter months is natures calm acceptance of this quiet period when nothing much is happening. As the snow melts and the soils begins to warm, the plant life doesn’t get all English and say “oh look there’s a bit of sun let’s put on some shorts”, instead it bides its time and awaits for a prolonged period of warm weather before venturing forth. I have to admit to looking for signs of swelling plant buds, I know, of course, that we have another 3 months of Winter before life returns to the garden but I cannot help myself.

Such lofty plans for next years garden

The internet is awash with enticing offers and my inbox is full of emails tempting me to order wonderous perennials and here in the Moosbach Garden we always dream big. As I have said before, gardens take time, first is the hard-work creating new areas (terraces in our case), digging new beds and planting new trees and shrubs and then the waiting game. Trees, shrubs and plants need time to establish to get their roots in the soil before they really start growing. I read a book once about an English garden and the creator of the garden said ” I wish we had planted more trees and hedges in the first year” and it is so true. We have Magnolia trees that were planted 5 years ago and they are only now beginning to grow in earnest. We are growing more Dahlias and Delphiniums in 2021 and they work really well with our ever increasing number of David Austin roses. I don’t think that my loves of roses will ever fade (unlike the blooms) and every year we add new varieties to our garden. For me the zenith of the gardening year is that special time in early June when all of the roses flower for the first time. This year we are adding a nature garden, where we are encouraging natural wild flowers and grasses, more dense planting of steep areas to create more intimate and secluded garden areas and the new hydrangea and rose gardens should come into their own. Our garden terrace will become more of a sales area where we will have our wide assortment of wonderful David Austin roses that are for sale and we shall be starting with a few hand selected perennials in our shop as well.

Who knows what 2021 will bring but we have to fill our hearts with hope and positivity

It is fair to say that 2020 has been a very challenging years globally and for many people younger than myself (that’s the majority of the population) it is the first time when hardship and restrictions have been experienced. It is so hard not to feel down-hearted by it all but we have to believe that this is a temporary period of our lives, that the sun will come out again and we can start returning to normal, whatever that is.

The power of positivity is a wonderous thing and laughter really is the best medicine. A very dear friend of mine is feeling very down after months at home where all the projects possible in a small garden have been completed. I think that you can only watch so much television before your brain is turned to mash potatoes. I will tell you what I told them, it is a very difficult situation that we all find ourselves in but every cloud has a silver-lining. Why not use all of this time to learn something new, there are so many free resources on the internet. I think it does several things, it engages the brain, it gives a sense of purpose and add new skills and knowledge for the future. For me, everyday is a school day, it’s part of my evolution and one day I will emerge from my chrysalis as a beautiful butterfly. And please spare a thought for people in your community who might be alone right now, sometimes a telephone call can be a lifeline, even if you don’t solve world peace.

So now a little something to tempt you

We have increased our range of wonderful David Austin roses that we have for sale and we now ship products as well. We will be continuing with Picnics in the Moosbach Garden and overnight stays will be available (Corona permitting) but hey we have to hope that this pandemic is over soon – right?

So all of our roses, rose feed and vouchers for picnics and overnight stays can be found by clicking here.

As I look out of the window I can see that it has started snowing again, so I am off to flick though catalogues of plants that I really don’t need but will probably buy and pretend that Spring is starting next week. If you have any gardening questions please send then via email to

The time of seed catalogues, bare root roses and forward planning

The garden has finished its exuberant display of flowers, it is no longer filled with the melodic droning of bees and you have cut back the growth of spent perennials. The air is filled with the satisfying scent of Autumn bonfires and the compost bins are completely full of the ingredients of future compost, that in itself is an investment in the future. The Winter months, when nothing is growing in the garden, presents some opportunities for the gardener. It is a time when you can reflect on the last 3 seasons and cast a critical eye on your own garden and you can look forward to next years garden, for now is the time of the seed catalogue and the bare root season is upon us for shrubs, trees and roses. So crack open a bottle of wine sit-back, relax and peruse those catalogues and websites, one word of caution though, never place orders when the wine bottle is almost empty. If you ever wondered why you ordered so much of that seed you will perhaps know what I mean. I have enough Delphinium seeds to start a national collection.

The smell of Autumn bonfires

There is nothing so distinctive as the smell of an autumnal garden bonfire, the smell is unique and reminiscent of childhood days and of grandparents. Once the Perennials have been cut back and the beds mulched and manured, the produce harvested and preserved, the onions dried and stored, the pumpkins hardened off, the final ritual awaits, the burning of what cannot be eaten or composted. However, if you have the space please don’t forget to leave some habitats for insects and hedgehogs to over Winter under. The future resides in our hands and in moving away from chemical solutions to sustainable garden ecosystems. I always start a small bonfire and add material to it, in this way it is easier to contain and you do not roast any unsuspecting wildlife.

Manuring, Mulching and compost bins

We are lucky enough to have a large garden and it produces enough garden waste to feed our compost piles. We don’t have constructed compost bins, we have huge piles that decompose over a 3 year period and they produce fantastic compost that we sieve and use in the garden. If you have a smaller garden space then you can buy or construct smaller Compost bins or cages, you need 3 for the process to be effective. In the first year you fill the first bin, the next year you move the compost from bin 1 to bin 2, the process helps with the breaking down of the garden waste and in the 3rd year you move the contents of bin 2 to bin 3, from bin 1 to bin 2 and the new material goes into bin 1. In year 4 you have perfect garden compost and moving forward you will always have excellent compost, it’s free and has a small impact on the environment. For the really eager gardeners amongst you, you can also make leaf mould compost, for this you need either a contained wooden bin, wire cage or heavy duty plastic sacks. Simply fill with fallen leaves and cover with an old bit of carpet and wait until it has been broken down by the worms. You can mix both types of compost together and this will give your soil a real boost.

Our soil was fairly tired when we first moved here and we expect a lot out of our garden both with edible produce and with stunning floral displays from April through to the end of October. It’s a big ask. You cannot just take, you also have to give a little in return. We are lucky that our neighbours have horses and every Winter we drive backwards and forwards collecting well-rotted manure and covering all of the flower beds and vegetable gardens with a dressing of manure at least 8″ thick. All of the goodness of the manure is leached into the soil over Winter and provides feed for the plants, improves the composition of the soil and encourages good micro organisms. Healthy soil equals healthy plants, it’s not rocket science. The organic matter that is incorporated into the soil enhances the soils ability to store water and we improve this situation in the Spring by applying a bark mulch to a thickness of 6-8″, anything less is a waste of time energy and money. It reduces water evaporation through periods of hot weather and windy weather, you will find that plants thrive.

Casting a critical eye and forward planning

Magical gardens don’t happen overnight, they take time, energy, money and thought. We change things every year here in the Moosbach Garden, I think it takes quite a few years until you find the final home for each and every plant. Sometimes the plant will tell you that it’s in the wrong place by not thriving and sometimes it will shout out at you every time that you walk past it that it’s the wrong colour or size for where it is. This is normal and you have to take your time with these things, you cannot really expect to have placed every plant in its perfect position at first attempt. One trick I use is to pretend that the garden is not mine (we can be a little precious about our own), I pretend that it is a garden that I have paid to visit and view it as critically as I would somebody else’s garden. But be kind to yourself, if you find areas that just don’t work in your garden just make a note and tweak things.

Part of this review process is thinking about what you do differently next year, about what plants you lift and split, which plants to move and what new acquisitions need to be made. Your post box should be awash with seed and plant catalogues, seeds can ordered, delivered and can sit in your potting shed awaiting the warmer weather of Spring. There are, however, things that need immediate action, trees, shrubs and roses can be ordered and delivered between November and March. They can be planted straight away as now is the perfect time to plant whilst the soil is still warm enough to encourage new root growth without the stress of supporting leaves, flowers and new stem growth. We only plants shrubs and trees in the Autumn and have found that they settle quicker and don’t struggle as much in the first year as those planted in Spring.

The Moosbach Garden Online shop is now open

As you would expect from gardeners who are so obsessed with David Austin Roses we have a wonderful new Selection for you to choose from. As well as the many new varieties that we have for you this year, we have some favourites returning and due to the sheer volume of requests from customers we have added 4 varieties of standard roses all of which are stunning. Bare root roses are available now, as are potted roses. Also don’t forget that we offer overnight stays at the Moosbach Garden that include a 4 course evening meal including produce grown organically here in the Moosbach Garden. Dates are available from December onwards. Next Spring will see the return of the hugely popular Moosbach Garden Picnic hampers, which can be enjoyed in the Moosbach Garden. Gift Vouchers can be purchased via our website for roses, overnight stays and picnics.

So let’s talk about roses!

Standard roses

We have chosen 4 varieties that we know are totally amazing. Gertrude Jekyll (Pink) has the most glorious perfumes and is our top selling rose, Darcey Bussell (red) is stunningly beautiful, Desdemona (White) is one of my favourites with a beautiful form and lovely perfume and Graham Thomas (Yellow) is one of the best Yellow roses around, it has a beautiful flower and perfume.

Climbing roses

We have the following varieties available: Gertrude Jekyll, Graham Thomas, Spirit of Freedom, Strawberry Hill, Tess of the D’urbervilles and Wollerton Old Hall.

Rambler Roses

We have 3 varieties for you: Bobbie James, Francis E Lester and Paul’s Himalayan Musk. Moosbach Garden tip, if you want to attracts Bumble bees to your garden, Francis E Lester is the perfect rambler, is stunningly beautiful and our favourite rambler.

Rugosa Roses

We have Roseraie De L’Hay for you which grows 2 Metres tall and wide, repeat flowers and is simply stunning, if you want a staement plant then this is a good choice.

Bush Roses

Ok, now you may need to buy a new garden to accommodate the varieties that we are offering you this year, there are so many that I am going to list them by Colour.

Pink Roses: Boscobel, Brother Cadfael, Emily Bronte, Gentle Hermione, Gertrude Jekyll, James, L Austin, Jubilee Celebration, Olivia Rose Austin and Wild Edric.

Red Roses: Darcey Bussell, Falstaff, Munstead Wood and Thomas A Becket.

White Roses: Desdemona, William and Catherine , and Winchester Cathedral.

Yellow Roses: Golden Celebration, Jude the Obscure and Vanessa Bell.

Orange Roses: Lady Emma Hamilton, Lady of Shallot, Summer Song, The Lady Gardener and The Lark Ascending.

You can order all roses on line by clicking here. You can collect your roses in person or we can post them out to you.

Why not order a Gift voucher for a rose, overnight stay or a picnic as a Christmas gift.


As the gardening year draws to a close

Rose hips of Madame Gregor Strachlyn

The majority of the jobs in the November garden include cutting back the dead growth on perennials, pruning roses and shrubs, mulching and manuring and taking stock of the gardening year that is fast spent. Many of us have spent much more time at home this year and as a result, more time in r gardens. I hope that you have had time to reconnect with your garden space, that you were able to stand and stare and to see the wonder, not only of the plants, trees and flowers but at the ecosystem that your garden supports

Here at the Moosbach Garden we have harvested the pumpkins which have been left in the Autumn sun to harden off, the beetroot, beans, courgettes. pickling cucumbers have all been preserved in jars, the potatoes and carrots have been stored in a cold cellar in sand. The fruit has been either turned into jam or stored in a cold, windowless cellar and should see us through until the end of February. It feels natural and fitting in this climate of uncertainty to have this bounty stored in our cellars like a squirrel storing hazelnuts for the winter ahead.

There are some jobs that you can get on with now if you haven’t already done them, here in the Moosbach Garden we are running behind with these jobs. Here are some things that you can do now.

Tidying up dead growth on perennials

Dead summer growth on perennials can be cut back and added to the compost pile. To keep the correct balance between maintaining the health of perennials and providing places for insects to overwinter follow these simple guidelines. If the dead growth is likely fall and rot on the crown of the plant then it should be removed to reduce the risk of damage to the plant crown, likely candidates are delphiniums, rudbeckia, echinacea and perennial peonies ( don’t cut back tree or intersectional peonies). It the growth is rigid and likely to stay so then leave it as a place for insects to overwinter, likely candidates are Phlox and other plants with woody stems. Remember that our gardens are mini eco systems and by welcoming this bio diversity we are helping the planet rather than hastening its destruction. Please consider leaving piles of twigs, old branches and logs for wildlife too, it all helps.

Plant spring flowering bulbs and plants.

Wallflowers are one of my favourite springtime flowers, we grow a variety called Persian Carpet from seed. Wall flowers are biennial plants, meaning that you sows the seeds in the first year and they flower in the second. Wallflowers should be big enough to plant out now and this is usually done once you have put the garden to bed for winter. In the UK you should be able to buy wallflowers cheaply at most garden centres and I would recommend the variety Persian Carpet if you can get it for its rich hues of red, gold, orange and yellow. Wallflowers are also an invaluable source of nectar for early bumble bees and insects.

Plant trees, roses and shrubs

Autumn is the perfect time for planting trees, shrubs and roses. The soil is still warm enough to allow for root growth and as these plants are not having to support leaves they can put all their energy into producing healthy root systems. You can buy bare trees, shrubs and roses from November onwards and they are usually a little cheaper than their potted counterparts. For our part, the Moosbach Garden will be offering a wonderful selection of bare root and potted David Austin roses from December. Please click here to see our selection.

Add organic matter to improve soil structure

The addition of well rotted farmyard manure is one of the best gifts that you can give your garden. All of the goodness it contains will leech into the soil and over the winter the worms will incorporate the remaining material into the soil improving the structure and the soils ability to maintain moisture. Find a local farmer or stables and apply a good manure mulch, I would recommend at least a depth of 4 inches. Supplement this feed next year by making your own comfrey or nettle tea to feed your garden. Avoid using manmade chemicals if possible.

Move plants around whilst they are dormant and split any perennials

The best time to move and divide perennials is whilst they are dormant, as long as each section of plants has some root you should have viable plants come the Spring. Moving and dividing plants in their dormant phase is less stressful for plants as they are not in active growth or supporting leaves. Prime candidates are Phlox, rudbeckia, echinacea and peonies.

Plant sweet Pea seeds and Christmas flowering daffodils

You can still plant sweet pea seeds and once they have germinated they can be overwintered in a cold frame and once the warm Spring weather kicks in they will romp away. Christmas flowering miniature white daffodils can be potted up and once they have poked their heads through the soil can be bought inside for flowering at Christmas.

Don’t forget the birds this Winter

Winter can be very hard for our feathered friends, leaving out a good supply of nuts, sunflower seeds, fat balls and water is essential in ensuring their survival. Here at the Moosbach Garden we grow a selection of berry trees to provide Winter food for birds, including holly and Crab apples. We also leave the last roses so that the rose hips can develop and provide food for the birds. They also look great when the garden is frosty.

New to the Moosbach Garden shop

Following the success of our David Austin roses and the numerous requests from our customers we have expanded our selection to include 4 standard roses. We are offering the following varieties as standard roses:

Gertrude Jekyll (Pink)

Graham Thomas (Yellow)

Desdemona (White)

Darcy Bussell (Red)

We only have limited numbers though but you can pre-order both standard and bsuh roses on our website.

Saturday morning garden snapshot

Good morning to you all.  Here in the Moosbach Garden the sun is shining and my heart is filled with hope.  No sign of rain on the horizon so we are keeping a close eye on all of the pots, next week the forecast is for windy weather and this can dry pots and soil out as quickly as sunny weather.

Here are some photographs that I took this morning after breakfast.

Gala Apple Blossom.

We applied a good measure of well rotted chicken manure to all of our fruit trees last Winter and the trees have thanked us with a wonderful display of blossom and hopefully in the autumn, plentiful fruit.

Quince Blossom is exquisitely delicate and beautiful

Quince come in a variety of forms, here in The Moosbach Garden we have 2 types, an apple quince and a pear quince.  The can take quite a few years to get going but once they are fruiting well you can make jam or chutney from them.  The chutney is especially good with game.

Apple blossom

With young trees like this it is best to thin out the fruits once they have set as the thin stems on young trees will not support the weight of too much fruit and may snap.  It is best to give fruit trees a good soak once a week, this is preferable to daily watering and better for the trees.

Cardoons are great for adding structure to a garden

Cardoons are a really good addition to a garden or flower bed, they add a ‘wow’ factor with their spiky leaves and grey/silver foliage.

Viburnham Aurora Carlesii

I can’t think of a more perfect shrub at this time of year, each floret is a flawless work of art and it is worth shopping around and getting one with heady perfume.

Tree Peony Buds

Peonies come in 3 types, perennial, trees and intersectional.  Most people know the perennial varieties that disappear beneath the ground every Winter and then magically pop their dark red buds through the soil in Spring. Less known are the other 2 varieties, namely tree peonies and Intersectional.  Tree Peonies can grown up to 2 meters tall and wide and are a real show piece in a garden.  They have large exotic flowers that grow on the previous seasons growth, don’t be tempted to cut them back or you’ll get no flowers the following year.  Finally there are intersectional peonies that are a cross between the 2 other types, they also have hard wood that stays above ground all year and these come in a stunning array of colours.  For best results fertilize with fish, blood and bone in the winter.

Climbing roses are best trained in a fan shape

Climbing roses should be trained with their stems replicating a fan pattern, think of a male peacocks feather display and you are about right.  The most productive zone, referred to as the goldilocks zone, is from horizontal to about 45 degrees.  When you train the stems in this way they produce lots of lateral shoots (as shown above) and each of these will produce a cluster of roses and create a stunning display.

Olivia Rose Austin

Roses (depending upon where you live in the world) should be putting on vigorous new growth and producing the rose buds for that first flush of flowers.  My tips for success with roses are to feed when the first leaves appear and then again after the first flush of flowers has finished, obviously well-rooted manure in Winter is the perfect solution.  My second tip is to water the roses well from the base of the plant from the moment the first buds appear until Autumn (October time here).  Roses don’t like to sit in water but neither do they like to dry out.  Remember water and nutrients are the building blocks of life, deprive them of either and they will not perform as well.

I wish you all a very pleasant weekend and don’t forget that when the restrictions are over we will be open for dinner, bed and breakfast.  Fantastic food, organically grown in The Moosbach Garden, local wines and fresh laid eggs from The Moosbach Garden Chickens. You can wander around the garden of relax on a bench with a good book.  Overnight stays include pre-dinner drinks, a 4-course menu and breakfast with homemade bread and jams.  To book visit The Moosbach Garden

Also check our website for dates when the garden is open to the public.

Strange Days Indeed, He Mused….

Olivia Rose Austin

If it feels like absolutely ages since I last posted then you are quite right.  I have to confess at not being a particularly disciplined person, I have to be in the moment, in the mood to create.  When my headspace is not in a creative mood I just don’t seem to be able give myself a good talking to and get on with it.  So I guess that you will have to be patient and like me, wait for my brain to be in a compliant mode.  I’ve been at home for 4 weeks now due to a combination of factors not any of them Corona Virus related.  That in itself is strange in these surreal times.  There have been some major changes here in the Moosbach Garden, some personal and many with the garden, especially how we manage and develop it.

It has been 6 full years since we arrived and in gardening terms they have been very challenging, harsh winters and then very hot, dry summers.  As you would expect, these years have been dotted with successes and failures but that as they say, is the gardeners lot.  This is the first year that we have really noticed how much some shrubs and trees have grown, perhaps we have just been too busy to notice until now or is it because we are getting better at knowing our garden and it’s limitations?

So what has changed I hear you ask?  Well out of necessity there have been some role reversals, I have had to go and get a proper job, yes I know gardening is a proper and noble occupation but sometimes you have to be sensible.  For those of you who know me, sensible is not something that I have EVER embraced.  I still believe that running through a populated area with your arms outstretched like the wings of an aeroplane is liberating (very much frowned upon in Germany).  I am 52 this year and I intend to keep doing it until I die.  Embrace my uniqueness or move on, that what I say. Who wants normal, really?

When I lived in England my occupation was Information Technology and I did this for 35 years, I never went to college but learned on the job and got by through acquiring the necessary technical skills and by being able to talk to people.  When I came to live in Germany with my Partner, I gave up the corporate life as we had a guest house and restaurant.  We have lots of land so there were no limitations on garden size and most of the locals got used to my uniqueness, there were a few raised eyebrows and muttering about he’s from England but no drama.  For the first 5 years I fitted gardening around waiting on tables and we got a reputation for having a beautiful ‘English’ garden albeit a work in progress (what garden isn’t a work in progress I ask?)  I had always gardened as a hobby in England but now I had the space and the time to really give it a go and I did.  Monty Don and all of the experts say that gardening is extremely good for life balance and it is certainly my ‘Happy Place’ and always will be.

Last year, we had to make some changes and it was decided that I should go and get myself a job.  I had always worried about getting a job in Germany as my spoken German is not good although it has improved a lot.  I once asked a male customer if he wanted a kiss when I meant to ask if he wanted a cushion for his chair, he wanted neither!

I never imagined when I left England that I would end up working in Information Technology again and initially I got a job working for a supermarket dealing with the plants and cut flowers but in the long-term it wasn’t the mental challenge that I needed.  I went to an employment agency in Offenburg (never again, please) and registered for work and in the same day was asked by a customer if I would be interested as working as an IT Manager.  It seemed too good to be true, I dropped off my Curriculum Vitae (that’s Latin you know) and thought nothing would come of it.  A week later I was asked to attend an interview with said Company and then a second interview and then got offered the job.  I started in November and admit to being rather apprehensive not having worked in Information Technology for over 6 years. One of the requirements of the job however, was to study and acquire a Microsoft qualification, an MCSA.

I realised that working full-time and studying would mean that I had no time for gardening as my employers wanted me to get the qualification as quickly as possible.  At home discussions were had, things were said and it was agreed I would have to give up my gardening duties, along with my chicken and geese duties.  My Partner was not a gardener when we met but he is a quick learner and he has had 5 years as the under gardener at the Moosbach Garden.  He has now assumed the position of head gardener, Under gardener and general dogs body.  It has to be said that he was always very good at structural things, you know cutting down trees, building walls etc but now he has good plant knowledge so he is a more rounded gardener than me.

Over the last 6 years we have become fanatical environmentalists and we don’t use any chemicals in the garden,  we apply well-rotted horse manure to everything in the Winter, mulch in Spring with bark and water with a drip-feed watering system from March to October.  We are lucky to have the space and over the last 6 years have increased the amount of fruit and vegetables that we grow here.  It has stood us in good stead for the current and horrendous corona virus pandemic and we are growing even more this year as we suspect that everything will be harder to source and therefore more expensive.

I think everybody is considering trying to grow something for the table this year and it also highlights how dependent we have become upon Supermarkets.  Maybe one of the after effects of this period of tragedy and hardship is that we will stop importing as much food and instead grow and source seasonable produce.  I think when you grow your own fruit and vegetables it can rekindle the love affair with really good food, did you know that fruit and vegetables lose 80% of their taste and goodness in the first hour after they have been harvested?  What better than to pick salad leaves, vegetables and fruit just before you are going to eat them?

We have sown seeds for all the salad, fruit and vegetables that we will be serving fresh from the garden to our overnight guests once the restrictions are lifted.  Sometimes I think that we live in a paradise with a beautiful garden, fresh organic produce from the garden and organic eggs from our happy chickens.  One of the upsides to the restrictions is that we have had much more time to get on with garden projects and I don’t think it will be long before we see the first rose, lilac and peony flowers.  Currently flowering in the garden are the viburnum Carlesii Aurora which are filling the garden with the most glorious scent which I wish I could share with you all.  For me one of the joys of gardening is the ability to share it with friends but that time will come again soon I am sure.

Today is gloriously warm and sunny and what I really want to do is go outside and get on with some gardening but I am afraid that I must study for my next exam.  I hope to see some of my local readers when we are allowed to open the garden again but in the meantime I wish you all good health and happiness.


Viburnum Carlesii Aurora 



New Overnight stay in The Moosbach Garden


We are pleased to announce that you can now come and enjoy an overnight stay at The Moosbach Garden.  Guests can enjoy leisurely walks in the surrounding forest and then return to The Moosbach Garden to enjoy a fantastic evening with a 4-course dinner.  This is an intimate affair with freshly cooked food sourced either directly from The Moosbach Garden or in the local region.  We have four bedrooms and therefore a maximum of 8 guests at any one time, all of our guests eat together sitting at one table and enjoy an evening of pleasant conversation and wonderful food.

A wonderous experience at any time of the year

Obviously, The Moosbach Garden is famous for its garden and there is always plenty to see in the garden, especially from May through to the end of September but a visit in the Winter is also wonderful when the garden and mountain are covered with snow. There is plenty to see within an hours drive including Straßburg, Freiburg, Freundenstat and Gengenbach.

The evening 4-course menu

The evening starts at 18:30 with pre-dinner drinks and food is served at 19:00.  Everybody sits together and eats the same food.  The food is exceptionally delicious and freshly prepared by Thomas, fresh ingredients grown in the The Moosbach Garden are the inspiration for our menu.  House wine is included with the menu but we also offer other drinks which you can buy.  If there are foods that you can’t eat then you must let us know at the time of your booking, we will always try to accommodate special requirements but this is not always possible. We also have a guest lounge with comfortable sofas and armchairs.

How do you book your stay?

You can either book directly with us The Moosbach Garden or via

Please be aware the The Moosbach Garden is a strictly non-smoking site and we do not allow pets.  We have a dog, a cat, sheep, chickens and geese so there is no need to bring an alarm clock.

How much does it cost?

Prices start from €129 per room including the overnight stay, the 4-course menu and breakfast.  Maximum occupancy per room is 2 guests. For more information about our overnight stays please visit our website  To book via





October Is The Perfect Time For Planting New Roses

End of season sale €21,95 per rose, reduced from €28,95.  Collection only.

IMG_7028 - Kopie

The ever fabulous David Austin Rose “Gertrude Jekyll”, the scent is unbeleivably powerful and although this is a bush rose you can also grow it as a climber, it all depends upon your pruning regime. We have this rose available for collection from The Moosbach Garden (only 6 left).


Another glorious rose “The Lark Ascending” is simply beautiful and we have stock available.

Thomas A Beckett, The Lady Gardener, Roald Dahl and Jubilee Celebraton are also available but we only have a few of each available.  Please note Collection only.

The above pictured climbers and ramblers are also available.  Paul’s Himalayan Musk, Francis E Lester, Bobbie James, The Generous Gardener, Strawberry Hill, Spirit of Freedom and Etoile D’holland are also available.  If you would like to buy any roses please emaail us at

The Throw Away Culture Needs To Be Thrown Away


I’m a child of the late 1960’s, now aged 51 and whilst I may be creaking a little, I still have my uses and don’t need to be replaced by a new shinier version of me. When I was young, (yes, my memory goes back that far) people made do, people saved up and bought things that were previously owned, second hand -it was the norm.

Somewhere along the line we were convinced that buying everything new and on credit was the way to go.  I’m not sure exactly when it happened but it did. Anyone who has tried to sell something that they don’t need anymore will vouch for how difficult it is to sell something that isn’t brand new and shiny.

My views on the environment are well known to all by now ( or at least I hope so).  I like sustainable methods for farming, for horticulture, for gardening, for living.  The Human Race is far too wasteful and is rapidly destroying the very ecosystems that sustain us and every other form of life on the planet.

Growing-Up in Rural Herefordshire in the 1980’s

My mother, my sister and I arrived in rural Herefordshire in 1980, we were homeless. We had been living in the New Forest in a house my older brother rented and when he left  to get married the landlord didn’t want a divorced mother with 2 young children as tenants.  This was not an unusual state of affairs in the late 1970’s and 80’s.

By chance, we attended a funeral in Herefordshire in the village of Vowchurch where my mothers ancestral family home was.  We were met with such kindness from the local community, not so much from the family who probably thought that we were after a handout, which we weren’t.

The community persuaded a local farmer with an empty farmhouse, somewhat delapidated, to let us live there and in exchange my mother would do some work on their fruit farm.  It was a frugal existence but we managed.  Local farmers would leave sacks of vegetables anonomously for us at night and when there was any farmwork availabe they always thought of us.  Families Price and Jones really kept us alive.

When something was needed or broken we asked around and bought stuff second hand, including a volkswagon beetle for 50 pounds.  When people no longer needed something they usually asked us first.  The rural farming communities of the Golden Valley in Herefordshire were the most kind-hearted people.  We were never made to feel like second-class citizens.

My point I guess is that people can live on a shoe-string, people can make do and not everything that you buy has to be brand new just brand new to you. When you look at in context with how we save the planet and ensure that the global resources that we have are there for our grandchildren we should make the things we have last for as long as possible and not resign them to the landfill.  I have ladders and tools that belonged to my father, which I look after and repair when needed, clothes we repair and repair until they can no longer be repaired and when we need things for the home or garden we look in the “for sale” sections on social media and the Internet.  For example, we have bought external doors for sheds from people who are renovating houses.

We all know that the environment on the planet surface is suffering but what about the planets resources that are below ground, they are finite as well.  We have to understand that at some point they will run out, surely it is better to take less now and ensure that what there is remains to sustain the generations ahead?  I don’t think that the Human Race will be in any position to launch an Avatar style space programs to harvest these resources from other planets any time soon, so we need to look after what we have got.

Of Course There Will Be Capatalist Arguments Against This Thinking

One of the problems that this thinking has is that big commerce will not allow governments to make these radical changes, it’s not in their interest to do so, these large corporations have incredible influence over government.  These changes would drastically affect economies but we need this drasticly differing approach if we are to save the planet and ourselves. This is why governments around the world haven’t acted to turn the frighteningly horrifying situation around.  I am afraid that it is down to the everyday Joe, us consumers to vote with our feet.  We have to change our purchasing patterns, our life choices.  If you don’t like what is happening to the planet (it’s not our planet we just live on it fleetingly) then take positive action to change things.  I don’t mean protesting, it’s been overdone and the powers that be don’t listen, what they do listen to is money.  When everyone stops buying produce wrapped in plastic they will stop making it, when you only buy local produce in season then they won’t import food from the other side of the world at a huge cost to the environment.

Next time you need to buy something for the home or garden ask yourself do I really need it to be brand new or do I need it to do a job.  Can I make do with something that is not shiny and fresh off a production line.

#PeoplePower #ConsumerPower

I’m off to make a list of things that I can do differently to help the planet and it’s not even lunchtime yet!