My name is Bilgehan Ogel, and I live in Ankara, Turkey. Yes, a difficult part of the world politically, but also very rich in terms of nature. We do not have too much rain, 380mm (15 inches) per year, and the average temperature is 11°C (52°F). This means that watering is important in summer, and winter can be intense.
I have a small garden, 65 feet by 82 feet, with a small house in the middle. So I don’t have a lot of space for a beautiful garden design. However, I have learned a lot from Fine Gardening. I just love to watch the flowers at high magnification, so I am a fan of macro photography. Also, wildflowers take my attention a lot.
I love bulb flowers. I try to design my garden so that there will be flowers throughout the early spring and summer.
Winters can be cold in Ankara, sometimes –15°C (5°F) at night. The first blooming flowers in the spring are always the wild ones. Wild crocus is always the first one to bloom, even coming up through the snow! In late February, I always drive to the location where they bloom, which is 200 km (124 miles) from Ankara.
Iris reticulata (Zones 5–9), brave member of the garden—that’s not my description, but I love it. It blooms just after the wild crocus, even in late February through the snow.
Now it is time for the narcissus and my favorite crocus, the striped crocus (Crocus vernus, Zones 3–8).
Bellis perennis (Zones 4–8) flowers are so tiny (only 5 cm, or 2 inches, tall) that I can’t believe how they resist the winter. I grew them from seed, but they continued to flower for years. I took this photo on April 14. They are under a tall pine tree, so I think they love shade. (Editor’s note: Bellis perennis is not widely grown in the United States but is best grown as a winter or early spring annual in most of North America, as it doesn’t thrive in hot summer temperatures.)
Inverted tulip (Fritillaria uva-vulpis, Zones 3–7) is native to Anatolia. I purchased a bulb three years ago. She loves cool, damp soil, which I don’t have in my garden. However, she gives me two blooms every year—but only two blooms, never three! The flower is only 1 cm (0.4 inches) in size.
When June arrives, it is time for the princess of the garden: iris. After a strong winter, the irises are happy! This is the bearded iris ‘English Cottage.’ I was surprised when I looked at this flower closely and saw how beautiful the bluish-purple lines on the petals were.
The bearded irises: Iris ‘Sen-Lac’
Iris ‘Pink Taffeta’
When June arrives, it is time for lilies and dahlias. Lilies are very sensitive. I have to protect them in cold weather with mulching. I think Asiatic lilies are more resistant than Oriental lilies.
By the end of June, it is time for dahlias. They are a bit more demanding than the daffodils and irises. Watering is important. However, if you water too much, then mildew can be a problem, especially in hot weather. However, I love especially the dinner plates. This picture is of dahlias and my daughter.
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