A very hot afternoon with brilliant sunshine took us to the garden, Jardin Manaoutet, made by Gertrud and Hannes Reimers on a short drive from Tostat. Inside an inviting, enclosed and mysterious courtyard packed with interesting plants, pots and objects, Gertrud introduced us to their imaginative and individual garden, organised in a fluid way to take you down into their valley and back up again, through a series of linked ‘rooms’ and different planting experiences. In and out of the bright sunshine, through shady paths and arches, the garden wraps you into a world of mystery and almost enchantment.
It feels as if they started planting and experimenting, and just carried on, gradually linking the garden together as a whole- and then, perhaps, surprising themselves when they arrived back at the house and central courtyard. It brings out the child in you, the excitement of not knowing quite what is round the next corner.
Gertrud is the plantsperson and Hannes describes himself as ‘just the worker’, but as a combination, they have taken some extraordinary plants, such as the beautiful Gingko biloba planted when they arrived in 1999, and some ordinary plants that we all use and love, and made a great blend of planting, with a strong naturalistic and slightly chaotic style that heightens the intimacy somehow.
Many of their plants have been grown from seed or cuttings and gifts from friends, and there is nothing expensive or consumerist about their approach to their garden. The objects in the garden have all been made by them and are both whimsical and thought-provoking. I loved the blend of practicality and imagination that they both possess and have inscribed in the growing of their garden. One of Gertrud’s home sculpted figures is pictured below.
Some parts of the garden have gone their own way as Gertrud and Hannes’ ideas have changed and evolved. The lavender garden was once more formal, but is now is a romp of naturalistic planting, which hummed with insects on that hot afternoon.
We were there just as the last of the roses flowered, approaching the rose garden through an arch draped with Clematis florida ‘Sieboldii’, which looked stunning emerging from the green shade of the pathway.
Two roses really caught my eye. Rosa ‘Giardina’, bred by Hans-Jurgen Evers in Germany in 1997, was a baroque splendour of tumbling pink, cream and butter-coloured generous blooms, and the opulently-named red rose, Rosa ‘Astrid,Grafin von Hardenburg’, another Hans-Jurgen Evers introduction in 1997, it was a shyer star in the semi-shade. This rose is a quite unique red, almost black at the edges of the petals and a sumptuous deep red that the camera doesn’t catch. A modern tea rose, I fell for it and bought one of Gertrud’s potted-up cuttings, which is looking pretty good with me now, despite the heat. I know where it’s going in the garden.
A lovely and individual garden. It was a real pleasure to be guided around by Gertrud and Hannes- great spokespeople for their own style and handicraft.