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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Your macro photos are stunning, Bilgehan. It is gratifying to see the subtle color differences and the details in texture when one gets the chance to become immersed in the close up a particular bloom. Your daughter is a beauty and is well suited to be surrounded by equally gorgeous flowers.
Thank you Michaele
I love your photos! Here we are interested in native flowers. Your bulbs are your natives. How lucky can you be to have such wonderful flora!
Thank you so much
Beautiful flowers and pictures!
Thank you very much
Wonderful post- your macro photograph is outstanding. Interesting to here about gardening in another part of the world and an area that gave us many of our flowers.
I was thinking the same, when I read the Fine Gardening :)
How wonderful to learn more about gardening in Turkey. I was interested to see that I grow some of the very same plants here in Massachusetts! Your close-up photos are beautiful...you have such a good eye for tiny details. Thank you for sharing these lovely photos.
I'm so inspired to see your fabulous photography of your garden's flowers- especially of the Crocus tommasinianus, aka woodland crocus, aka Tommies!
I'v been looking up info on them for plans to plant the in the lawn.
I've been looking for the most "blue" shade of the crocus such as that first one you posted at the top.
Is that one a Woodland Crocus? and can you (or anyone who knows) share the name of it? or recommend one in that color I tried to describe?
Such a perfect shade of bluish-purple!
And oh I wish I had a young photo of myself with a giant flower just like that one!
Great portrait! Great photography!
Thank you :) The flowers are beautiful. I only try to reflect their beauty
Such beauty! Love the crocus stubbornly seeking the sunlight even through the snow. I had many varieties when I lived and gardened in northern New Jersey and the sight of those blooms in late snowfalls always lifted my heart. Thank you for sharing these astonishing photos, especially the dahlias and your lovely daughter. Blessings!
Thank you :)
Really loved learning about your specific experiences there in Turkey.Botanical history teaches us that so many flowers originated in your country and region.
Thank you so much.
The interesting thing is that most of the bulbs are imported from Netherlands! Science is an important tool. To know how to propagate :)
When we hear about Turkey in the news, it is usually not good news so it is lovely to know about your garden. The pictures are beautiful. I'm in Manitoba, Canada where the crocus is our provincial flower. Its appearance in spring is a sign of spring after our cold winter.
As I said It is a difficult part of the World politically. Close to petroleum fields unfortunately. However, the crystal clear sea water, the generous nature is our happiness (At least for most of the Turkish people)
Bilgehan, I love, love, love seeing gardens from other countries. Thank you so much for sharing yours!
Thank you Treasuresmom :)
Beautiful, thank you for sharing! Right now at the school where I work in Vermont, we have an exchange student from Turkey!
Thank you. I hope the student is a hardworker :)
It is wonderful to hear from a gardener in Turkey. Beautiful flowers, photos & daughter !!!
Thank you :)
Almost thrilling to see this from Turkey! Once again, we see how much more we are alike than different from our neighbors around the world. Here in Washington state, I, too, grow some of the same flowers- Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful photos!
Nature is wonderful. and full of surprises. I hope the poeple will recognize this in the future. Then they will share flower photos not weapons :)
Bilgehan, I'm so excited to see your beautiful photos and to learn that we grow the same kind of plants!!! I live in the mountain part of North Carolina and garden with a passion too. My crocus are just starting to bloom as well as daffodils, snow drops and, one little iris. Spring is arriving a bit too early here but i'm loving every bit of the new growth popping up. I would love to see a long shot of your gardens with your beautiful daughter planted in the middle. Thank you so very much for taking the time to share!
Thank you very much. Spring arrives to Ankara this year very early as well. The daffodils and crocus are not affected but the fruit trees will definitely. Because, most probably in late march the temperatures will go below zero for a couple of days and all fruit flowers freeze. I wish a colourfull spring to your garden :)
we're having much the same concerns here in zone 5b/6a (Central IL) - I have a couple of peach trees and am hoping it stays cold enough to keep them dormant. Last year we had a late freeze and it was heartbreaking!
Beautiful shots! Especially the one of your daughter with dahlias. Thanks for sharing, so interesting.
Bilgehan, these photos are stunning and reflect your passionate interest in gardening. The world is full of beauty and it's a wonderful thing to see! I especially love that inverted tulip - and the photo of your beautiful daughter amidst the beautiful dahlias! Happy Gardening!
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