Bernhard Feistel

About Bernhard Feistel

Gardener and academic in rural England and sometimes also in his native Saxony, Germany; special interest in herb, maze and wildflower meadow designing and gardening. Norfolk, UK

Of mice and man

We savour the privilege that we are gardening under old fruit trees of substantial age of whom we sometimes don’t even know the name, although we do know the great-granddaughter of the people who planted them. As far as possible we keep old and rotting trunks, which, without bearing fruits any longer, have an amazing structure and “artistic appeal”, even though moving (or sleeping) under them can be a little precarious. However, despite the fact that the survivors are still heavy croppers, we have to re-plant. Continue reading

Eating experiment with roasted dahlias

Living in a vegetarian household (at the moment) might reduce some delicious seasonal cooking options for the omnivorous, sometimes vengeful gardener (see pictures) but has the advantage that one is being forced to try new things to come out of one’s comfort zone. Yet, I like experimenting in garden and kitchen anyway and am not restricted by antipathies or allergies, at least in the latter department. Continue reading

‘My’ open garden

When one helps people re-establish their private gardens and they decide after a period to start opening the area to the public, the gardener can feel a little re-assured. The barrier is instantly raised and one receives a wider audience with some excitement, but also hoping that beside a general oohing and ahhing there will be some in-depth appreciation together with critical advice about what might be improved or changed. Continue reading

Xylothek – a touching, reading adventure

As we can read in this forum or elsewhere, gardening from a distance is far from easy, if not mad; awkward to plan and yet full of surprises. Last week I travelled to Germany for not entirely gardening related reasons but thought I might as well take some rare English bare-rooted fruit trees with me to incorporate into our orchard project there, which we have called our English corner or English fruit circle already. Over Christmas there were spring-like temperatures and I was hoping for a similar winter gap in February. Continue reading

A typical gardening day?

Even in European gardens things can develop so quickly during the growing season that one can rarely afford to stick to an intended plan and carry out what one was planning to do. Or is this due to my ill developed management skills? Although I normally start with a certain list of “priority jobs”, which will already be modified after a morning’s excursion around the area, I often end up doing completely different things than originally planned. Continue reading

How to enjoy your weeds

Some plants have unfortunate if not unjust names like Helleborus foetidus (which to me doesn’t stink at all) while others with the name weed in them might frighten off people. I found this experience when suggesting Centaurea montana also by its common name Knapweed to people. Yes, it is weedy and sometimes difficult to eradicate from unwanted positions, but for gardeners with some space or gaps to fill, this spreading habit can be an advantage (for a time). Continue reading

A new herb garden

One is neither a Winston Churchill just by consuming a lot of whisky, nor does one become a Christopher Lloyd just by removing an old rose garden. In fact, I was rather ignorant that the great Lloyd provoked the English gardening world (or loved to think so?) when he dug out his old roses and replaced them with exotic plants. Continue reading

The gardens of my childhood

The gardens of my childhood, Karl Foerster and a belated homage – when I think of myself as a keen gardener now I wonder why my path to this has not been a direct but a rather winded one, since I could have learned it virtually from the cradle from my almost fanatically gardening parents. Continue reading

Marital companion planting

Political gardening systems and marital companion planting – from all political systems, monarchy also seems to be best in the garden, provided we are kings or queens ourselves. There is enough oppositional mischief and revolutionary danger from the animal world already, let alone climatic caprices, to allow for democratic antics with liberal or conservative experiments in turn. (Labour is involved in any case.) So I plead for a hereditary iron hand with green fingers and a soft touch. Continue reading

A turf labyrinth – a bearable version of grass cutting

Spring has been a disappointment for sun loving human beings in this part of the world so far. It has been constantly cold, wet and dull almost since Easter. Yet, many plants (although not the garden vegetables, which are now severely behind) seem to enjoy this “wettest drought on record”, as long as they are able to hold back their flowering activity. Continue reading