Theresa Baumgärtner is living her dream. The well-known TV chef, food blogger and book author, who regularly organises online live cooking, baking and craft workshops, has fulfilled her heart’s desire with the beautiful country garden of her farmhouse Hazelnut House in Luxembourg. Here, workshops and retreats take place on a regular basis. In nature, she literally finds her way back to her roots.
Dear Theresa, have you always had a green thumb or where does this passion for gardening come from?
THERESA BAUMGÄRTNER My grandfather had a garden nursery on his father’s side and my grandmother and mother are passionate gardeners. The love for gardening was practically laid into my crib. I grew up in a house with a large flower garden south of Hamburg, and I loved to wander through my Mum’s garden as a child and create the most beautiful flower bouquets. Indeed, my first research paper at school was all about English gardens!
Since then, the subject has always accompanied me. When I came to Luxembourg in 2013, there was a magical moment when we created the small garden of our house “Rosehill.” The location on the top of a hill in the city and all the roses we planted in the garden gave our home that name. At that moment, planting all those roses back in the day, I had the feeling of putting down roots here in Luxembourg, and to have really arrived.
I created a large perennial border in Hazelnut House during the lockdown. It was exactly the right moment to do something new for the future. A border of dreams!
Where do you get your inspiration and especially your information – for successful gardening is a skill. Do you get advice, and if so, from whom? Do you accept help, or do you do it all by yourself?
THERESA BAUMGÄRTNER In terms of gardening, I follow my heart and let my intuition lead me. Further, I love being inspired by England. The Brits are known for their dreamy cottage gardens. I love romantic nature gardens with lots of perennials for the bees and insects. As children, we often spent time in Cornwall with my parents – that really inspired me. Even now, I still bring back new ideas from my travels. The pictures of my garden first grow in my head, then I sow and plant all the wonderful perennials and annual summer flowers in the ground. I like to play with colours, such as in this very long perennial border. It starts with a white blue that turns to light purple and goes over into a luminous dark at the end with shades of sage. My tip for an impressive effect is to not choose too many plants but to select a few varieties and plant a large number of each. I actually planted fifty or even a hundred catmint plants in a row, and the end effect is like a composition. It’s very similar to art, really, like drawing a picture. You start simply and the idea of what is to follow will come from alone. The secret in creating a wonderful garden is the love for plants. Just like everything else in life…
What advice can you give those who want to start growing their own vegetables, flowers and herbs in their garden but don’t know where to start?
THERESA BAUMGÄRTNER You don’t need a lot of space. I would start by sowing summer flowers and vegetables. For example, cosmos are beautiful summer flowers. Radishes and potatoes are great vegetables to grow for beginners! It’s always special to sow the seeds, water the seedlings and watch them grow and dream of summer. This process creates an incredible appreciation for the ingredients that we use in the kitchen. Potatoes that I’ve planted and harvested myself are, for me, one of the highest forms of happiness.
When I’m in the garden, I have the feeling to be grounded, I’m completely centred. And I notice that nature, the garden, is the source of all my accomplishments. I can trace so many of my ideas back to the garden, where I’m inspired by the seasons, the herbs currently growing or the fruit that can be harvested. The most satisfying thing about a garden is that you can quickly see the fruit of your labour. I can really urge anyone from the bottom of my heart just to make a start! In the city I have thus founded a community garden. School children come with their teachers to grow vegetables, young families meet and tend to beds with spades and rakes. Gardening unites!
Next workshops : www.hazelnut-house.com/workshops