Flowers, plants & trees

Sweet Scented Geranium

by Rob on

Sweet Scent Geranium

A few days ago I was at Patricia’s house. While we had a very good conversation, I noticed this very beautiful big and healthy Sweet Scented Geranium again standing in her living room. A strong and full grown plant, a pleasure to look at.

The Sweet Scent Geranium is also known as the Rose Geranium. In Dutch the plant is called “Citroenplant” or “Citroengeranium”. The offical Latin name is “Pelargonium graveolens”.

Most people will know this plant because of the very nice lemon scent the plant spreads when you touches it leaves. And it is very well known that this lemon scent is very effective against all kinds of insects. This made the plant very popular.
And yet, for some unknown reason to me that popularity faded away.

Already for some time I have been looking to find a place where I could buy this plant, but without any luck.

So when talking with Patricia, I asked her if she could remember where she bought this Sweet Scented Geranium. Maybe they would still sell them and I could get one. But sadly, she told me that the plant was a gift from someone and that she had no idea where the plant was bought.

We changed the subject and continued our very nice talk. Patricia is a good person to talk with. Intelligent, sharp and fast conclusions, never hateful and a good sense of humour.

Just before I wanted to leave for my home, she walked up her kitchen to get a scissor. She looked at the Sweet Scent Geranium and very determined she did cut one branch from the plant.
She turned to me and told me to put the branch in a glass of water, put the glass on a light spot and made sure the water stays clean. After some times the branch would start to grow roots…. And I would have my Sweet Scent Geranium.

So simple! I have done this many times before… But so many thanks to Patricia for giving the branch to me!

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Oh wow…

by Rob on

When I just was taking care of my plants, I noticed something at the cacti that I have next to my computer desk…


Yes, one of them is growing flowers!

It is the first time ever that a cactus that I own grows flowers. I am really surprised to see this happening.
Apart from that, it is winter! Yes sure, my house is heated when I am home, but it the period that the cactus should be in rest, I reduced to the amount of water it gets now accordingly.

Really awesome. I will keep a close look on the cactus and its flowers. And maybe I will add some more photo’s to this article when the flowers grow!

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The Christmas Cactus (or “Lidcactus” as it is called in Dutch) is a very popular plant for indoors. They belong to the genus Schlumbergera (part of the Cactaceae family). Its origin are the coastal mountains of Brazil.

Cultivars of the this plant can have white, pink, yellow, orange, red or purple flowers. It is an easy to keep plant with low demands.

If taken care of properly it will bloom around Christmas (hence the name) and/or Eastern.


So why an article on this plant?

Well, in 2014 we had a family reunion (from my father’s side). It was very nice to meet all these people. A very enjoyable day. There was a special gift, a cutting from a Christmas cactus that once belong to my grandmother. My grandmother passed away just before I was born (March 1963).
I have to say that I was very happy with this cutting.


Sorry for the low quality of the photo above, but it is the only one I have of the cuttings.

In the months after the reunion the Christmas Cactus started to grow, so it showed it was a healthy plant. And as said, I was happy to have it. Then, a few moths after the reunion, a nephew posted a photo of his Christmas Cactus with a beautiful flower. So I was hopeful that mine also would bloom soon. But no, nothing happened.

And since then, the plant was growing, but no flowers.

Lid cactus

Until a week ago, when I noticed that, the plant started to grow flower buds. Now, more as 3 years later, my Christmas Cactus starts to bloom. And such beautiful flowers!

Over the winter I will take some cuttings from the plant. You know, just in case!

Lidcactus Rob
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Chlorophytum comosum is a well known houseplant. The common name for this plant is spider plant, but is also known as airplane plant, St. Bernard’s lily, spider ivy or ribbon plant. In Dutch the plant is known as “Zebragras” or “Graslelie”.

It wants a light place, but preferably not too much direct sunlight. Apart from that it is an easy plant to grow. Regularly water and once per month a little fertilizer is all that is needed.

The plant is also known for it air-filtering capacities and for these reason NASA is interested in this plant.

So why an article on this weblog about this rather common houseplant?

Well, during the last years of mothers life, she had a “Zebragras” plant in her house. A nice big and healthy plant.

When my mother was taken in to a home because her health didn’t allow it to live on her own any more, the house where she use to live needed to be cleaned and everything removed from it.
Among other things, I took the “Zebragras”-plant with me to my home.

Since then, this plant was standing in my living room, growing strongly.
That is until summer this year. I noticed the plant stopped growing and clearly the heath was getting weak. I realized that this plant was slowly dying and nothing would stop that.

Luckily, many plants have a special way to multiply: Rooting plant cuttings. Basically this means you take a healthy sprig of a plant and put it in a glass of water. If everything goes well after some time the sprig will start to develop roots. When there enough strong roots the sprig can be placed in potting soil and with a little luck the sprig will start to grow.

Even more luckily is that rooting from cuttings is mostly successful for the “Zebragras” plant.

So some weeks before our holiday to Greece, I took the two most healthy sprigs from my mothers plant and placed them in water. Already after a week the first roots started to grow. One week before we left for Greece, I placed the two sprigs in potting soil.
3 Weeks later on our return the sprig had started to grow and formed new leaves.

I waited two more weeks and the sprigs had grown into strong healthy young plants. The plant I had taken the sprigs from was really almost dead. And the time was there to replace the old plant with the young strong sprigs.

I am happy that I could save the “Zebragras” plant that once belonged to my mother this way and that there is now a strong and healthy plant again, as can be seen on the photo at the top of this article.

The white ceramic pillar and pot on the photo belonged to my parents and was given by my brother, my sister and me to them for their 25th wedding anniversary. The “old plant” was also placed in this plant pot.

Happy that it worked out this way!

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Basil (or in Dutch “Basilicum”)

by Jennifer on

As people may know plants, herbs and flowers are my big passion. A part of the garden and the green house behind our house is reserved for herbs. It is great fun and very satisfying to grow herbs. Specially when you have, like us, a green house so you can have certain herbs all through the year. This to great pleasure of Miranda, who uses many of the herbs that I grow in the kitchen. I wanted to tell something about a well known herb called Basil (or in Dutch “Basilicum”). As said, a well known herb and yet there is so much to know about this plant.


Basil (Ocimum basilicum), also called Saint-Joseph’s-wort, is a herb of the family Lamiaceae (mints) that is often used in the kitchen. The herb is also called the “King of Herbs” (Dutch: “Koningskruid”). The name “basil” comes from Greek βασιλικόν φυτόν (basilikón phutón), which means “royal/kingly plant”.

Basil is possibly native to India, and has been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years. It was thoroughly familiar to the Greek authors Theophrastus and Dioscorides.


Basil, in particular the species Ocimum Basil is an herb often used for cooking. It has a strong odour and flavour and is mainly used in the Italian cuisine and tomato dishes. Basil is used to make pesto.
But as Miranda always says: Use your fantasy and dare to try. You may discover wonderful combinations with a great taste. And if something really has a bad taste, it is a lesson learned and nothing more then that.

But talking about tomatoes, it is said that it is good to grow basil together with tomatoes. Basil would keep pests and diseases away from the tomatoes. In my experience this is correct.


Traditionally basil was used for skin problems, for colds and other infections, cough, headache, nausea and as an insect repellent, but also to calm the mind as well as improve mood.

Today, many of these applications are also scientifically explained and we know which components provide certain medicinal effects. See here the top 5 health benefits of basil:

  1. Basil is due to the high amount of eugenol an excellent anti-inflammatory and suitable to kill bacteria and to expel insects.
  2. Good for the heart-and-vascular system because of the high content of carotenoids and antioxidants which protect the cells against the damage of free radicals. Furthermore, the large amount of magnesium in basil it stimulates a good blood flow and healthy veins.
  3. The antioxidants in the form of flavonoids and carotenoids in basil protect the body against certain forms of cancer.
  4. Several essential oils in basil are effective in the treatment of a dry skin, acne and psoriasis.
  5. The tannins present in basil have a germicidal and wound healing effect on mouth, nose, and stomach, intestinal mucosa. Basil is therefore also ideal for use in all kinds of digestive disorders and inflammations in the gastrointestinal tract.

But whatever the positive effects of Basil and how a nice plant it is to grow, I am afraid that the main use here in our house will be food :-)

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The flowers are back…

by Marion on

Now the Christmas decorations are removed again, the flowers are back…

The flowers are back

And I have to be honest, how much I liked the Christmas decorations, I am happy the flowers are back again. They brings so much nice colours and wonderful scents into the house. With flowers in the house there is always a little piece of spring around. Flowers are for Rob and me part of the every day’s life in our houses. And because of that I am always very glad that when we go to my house that my mother always makes sure that there are nice fresh flowers on the table.

Sometimes people make the remark that when you have so often flowers at your home, flowers cannot be used as gift any more. That is not true, flowers are always a welcome gift. And is it so hard to come up with something else as a gift?


There is something else I really like. This afternoon Rob and I were reading in the living room. Rob always put on some very nice music (As “Oxygen” of Jean Michel Jarre or “Wish you were here” of Pink Floyd). On his TV he loads a slide show with his most beautiful photo’s (and he has quite some).
So when you reading, you just have to look every now and then up from your to listen to the music. And then you look almost automatically to the TV that displays photo’s that hold so many memories.
I really like this kind of afternoons together.



(Credit photo’s: Marion)

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Bloemen 26 November 2016
Also this weekend bought a wonderful bouquet flowers again. It is amazing how every weekend there is a nice bouquet on his dinner table again.

This is so far a nice weekend. Sanne, Marissa and Richard are visiting us. Jennifer and Miranda also wanted to come, but Jennifer should still keep rest with her knee. And even while Jennifer protested, Miranda decided not to travel. And we think that is a good decision. As soon Jennifer is all up again, we will plan a new weekend together.

Tonight we will go out for dinner with the whole bunch. The plans for tomorrow are still unclear




(Credit photo: Marion)

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by Marion on

(Click on the image to zoom in)
Almost every weekend Rob buys a beautiful bouquet of flower. Always a very good choice of colours. He has a good sense of picking which flowers fit well together. The conversations he has at times with the florist are real fun to follow.

I agree with him when he says that flowers bring warmth and atmosphere into the living room.

I though it would a nice idea to post the nicest bougets here the weblog *SMILE*



(Credit photo: Marion)

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Check mate and about cactuses

by Rob on

This weekend Sanne was visiting us. For those who don’t know, Sanne and Marion are already since they went to school very close friends. And nowadays I am happy that I can also call her a very good friend of mine.

Sanne and I share a passion together: Chess.

Now several years ago Sanne asked me to help her to raise her skills in playing chess. In the past I played chess on competition level, so that is why she asked me. So I did.
Over the years Sanne turned into an opponent to be reckoned with. Something I really like, because that makes a game of chess so much more interesting.

(Click on the image to zoom in)

So when Sanne visits us, mostly we will sit down for a game of chess. And so we did yesterday evening. So while Marion enjoyed herself with a good book and a glass of excellent wine, we played our game of chess. It was a good game, exciting to the end. It looked for the longest time that Sanne would sweep me from the board, but then she made a small mistake and everything changed. I was able to restore my defence and opened a new attack. The result was that I could force Sanne to a check mate. But this only because of this small mistake she made and this is exactly what I like about the chess game: Nothing is set until the very end.

When Sanne and I play chess, we agree on forehand on a reward for the winner. If I would have lost, I would wash and clean Sanne’s car. But luckily I didn’t lose and now Sanne will be my guide on very early morning photo-trip into the “Haaksbergerveen” (The “Haaksbergerveen” is a large and beautiful moor in the eastern part of The Netherlands and Sanne knows her way very well around there as she lived for the most of her life almost next to it).

(Click on the image to zoom in)

Also Sanne bought a small gift. She overheard me saying that I needed a new plant for on the coffee table. She also know that I always liked cactuses and nowadays they are quite popular again. So when she saw the this scale with cactuses at a local store she bought it for us. And I have to say that I really like it. It looks very nice on the coffee table.

And so we had a very nice weekend with the three of us. Of course we did a lot more than only playing chess. We had dinner a very good steakhouse here in town, we made a nice long beach walk and we had many laughs together.

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(Click on the image to zoom in)

Rob bought beautiful flowers for his dinner-table again. He really has a great taste for that. Without any problem he picks the flowers that fit well together.
I fully do agree with him that flowers add to the atmosphere of the living room.

Anyway, another thing I want to mention is that I really like the idea that Rob opened up his weblog for his closest friends and allows them to post here. At first only Sanne and Marissa were interested, but now our complete group of close friends showed interest. And that makes it an interesting mix of people.

The current “crew” will be:
Marissa, my niece (daughter of my father youngest brother). She works at an law firm and is studying law. I only can call her naughty and very playful.
Richard, the boyfriend of Marissa. Works at a garage as an mechanic and is very passionated about cars and sailing (and about Marissa of course :P). Good relaxed guy with a great sense of humour.
Miranda is the partner of Jennifer. Miranda is working as a chef cook, a profession she handles with great passion. Apart from her work, she enjoys volley ball a lot.
Jennifer, as already pointed out, she is sharing her live with Miranda. She is taking care of their house and garden. Flowers and plants are her greatest hobby. She can be very often be found in the garden or in the greenhouse behind their home. Parts of the garden and the greenhouse are dedicated to herbs, which she takes great care of. This of course is something Miranda is really enthusiastic about as she can use these herbs for the food she prepares.
Sanne is working as a teacher at a public school. Apart from teaching she is very skilled in Taekwondo. A sweet and caring woman. Strongly believes in the equality of humans, no matter what or where they are.
Rob is the owner of this blog and above my all my partner in crime and love. He is working as a software developer for international operating company in the payment business. He has many hobbies and interests. To name some of them: Science Fiction & Fantasy books/movies, photography and cooking.
And then me, Marion. I am working as account manager for an pharmaceutical company. Although the title account manager doesn’t really cover the job I do. Anyway, I love travelling and can enjoy a good book. Good wine and good food have also my interest. Rob and I like to go out for dinner and that we do quite often.

That as basic introduction of everyone. They can add more to this themselves.

So there is quite some different people with even more different backgrounds on Rob’s blog. And that is what makes it very interesting, I think. I am sure there will be many amusing and funny articles written, but I expect also that interesting and handy to know things will be place and also that at times very serious subjects will come up.
And no, I don’t expect that everyone will write very week an article, but it will be fun!

Funny thing is that I just realize that we all have one thing in common: We are all convinced atheists! Oh duh… :-)

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