Monday, 28 June 2010


'Pandora's Box'
'Pandora's Box'

'Gentle Shephard'


'Double Firecracker'

Sunday, 27 June 2010


Now is the time for most of my cultivars to flower. I simply cannot wait to discover the new flowers. The rain stopped and I expect to have at least a week of sun and warmth.


'Elegant Candy'

'Crimson Pirate'

'Siloam's Baby Talk'


All bought in  Decora nursery

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Red Currant

I have six bushes of Red Currant ( Ribes rubrum) planted in a line at the end of my vegetable garden. The spot is sunny and sheltered from wind. They prefer well drained soil too.
Bare-rooted currant varieties are available for planting between October and March. I have bought mine in autumn 1998 and have pretty well developed bushes now. They were two year old plants when I bought them and expect hem to last at least 15 to 20 years. I always put grass clipping mulch around them. In spring, I add some well-rotted manure.

fresh picked up fruit

I will prune back side shoots now to half their length. The bush should be open centered to allow light and air to flow freely around the branches. Currants are self-pollinating plants that bare fruit at the base of one year old shoots.
Currants are easy to propagate from hardwood cutting of mature branches. They should be about 25 cm long. Simply insert about 3/4 of the entire cutting length into the ground. It can be also propagated by layering.
 A number of pests can bother the plants. I have aphids this year that cause curling and bubbling of the leaves. They are mostly on the tips of the branches and I am going to cut them off. The twigs and branches should be burnt.

aphid infected leaves

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Lilies and Hemerocallises

This rainy weather is already so frustrating! Yes, I know, in some parts of the world this is the normal weather but I do not live in Ireland or somewhere. Normally, it should be sunny and warm. But we have flood and 15°C.
My heart is aching me when I see the plants laying on the ground all around the garden. No stalking helps such unusual conditions.
Down there are the latest pictures of lilies and hemerocallises... They managed to survive these extremely high levels of water of the past week.

Lilium, asiatic hybrid

Lilium 'Purple Sensation'
Hemerocallis ' Neyrone Rose'

Lilium, asiatic hybrid

Hemerocallis 'El Desperado'

Lilium sp.; petals are damaged by the Lily Beetle (Lilioceris lilii)

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

My Peonies

Some of the peonies in my garden are already planted by my grandmother. It seems they are really long living plants and they love the soil and climate conditions in my garden. I have several herbaceous peonies and two tree peonies as well. I usually spread the range of species in my garden in autumn. It is the best time to plant them.
Peony should not be planted too deep. It may cause the bushy growth but lack of flowers. They need deep, fertile, humus-rich soil positioned in full sun or bright shade.
They may be propagated from seed which takes years to grow up a flowering plant or by division. Since they do not like to be disturbed, I rather leave them alone and buy new plants.

Peonies in my garden flower from late April until the beginning of June. Some of them need support because they have a long stems with many large flowers. For smaller cultivars I use green wire that I put all around the bush. As the bush grows the foliage covers the wire. Bamboo stalks are used for bigger plants and I usually use one for each of the stem. As fertilizer, I use compost as a mulch.

Paeonia 'Pink Hawaiian Coral' is last year purchase. It had only two flowers this year but the colour is gorgeous. Each flower has flowered about seven to ten days. It is an hybrid herbaceous paeony.

Paeonia 'Rubra Plena'

Paeonia 'Festiva Maxima' had about 80 flower buds this year! The central flowers are really large, the rest of them somewhat smaller. The flowers are white with crimson marks at their basis. I simply adore it.

The one of my tree peonies. I do not know the name. It is the first to flower in a year, this photo is taken at the end of April. It produces a lots of large pink flowers an it is always full of beetles.

Another tree paeony P. delavayi, has small dark red flowers. It is a robust bush and I need to move it away from the place it is now. I suppose it looks the best as solitary bush.

I have also Paeonia chinesis 'Alba' and Paeonia 'Rosea Plena'.
I buy my Paeonies at Decora nursery.

Monday, 21 June 2010

Herb Garden

I love to cook and use lots of spices and herbs in my recipes. I also have some medical plants. Now is the time to dry the leaves and store them in a moisture-proved containers.
Do that before flowering. The leaves should be dried as quickly as possible. I guess I have to wait for the weather to improve before I pick them up. Unbelievable, but today is summer day and it seems like autumn! It rains cats and dogs and the temperature is again below 15°C!
I use some of them as spice, the other make a nice cup of tea or cake flavour. Plants that cannot survive low winter temperatures outside like laurel and rosemary, are planted into containers and kept in the house during the winter.

My herb and medical plant list:

  Salvia officinalis
  Salvia officinalis 'Tricolor'
  Mentha piperita
  Lavandula angustifolia
  Levisticum officinalis
  Anethum graveolens
  Allium schoenoprasum
  Ruta graveolens
  Rosmarinus officinalis
  Calendula officinalis
  Monarda sp.
  Echinacea purpurea
  Laurus nobilis
  Tanacetum parthenium
  Thymus vulgaris
  Thymus praecox 'Coccineus'
  Mentha piperita
  Melissa officinalis
  Origanum vulgare 'Compactum'
  Origanum vulgare 'Aureum'
  Artemisia absinthium
  Tanacetum balsamita
               Satureja hortensis
               Calendula officinalis
               Allium ursinum
               Ocimum basilicum
               Apium graveolens

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Bad weather again

It has been raining for three days and the temperature dropped down to 15 °C! But these little fellows on the pictures keep on fighting the rain and cold weather and some hail too! The weather will be the same the next three days as but what can I do? One certainly cannot control the weather. I guess it will be lots of work in the garden once the rain stops, not to mention mowing the lawn again. Most of the roses are off and there are some climbers to be brought back to shape. Still, I am looking forward to it.
Hemerocallis 'Elegant Candy'

Hemerocallis 'Olive Bailey Langdon'
Hemerocallis 'Shola'

Hemerocallis 'Ruffled Apricot'

All hemerocallises are bought at  Decora nursery.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Hypertufa planters

I use to make these planters of hypertufa, an artificial material that looks like a natural stone. Everybody has it's own hypertufa recipe; I use peat moss, Portland cement and sand in 1:1:1 ratio. Vermiculite or perlite can be added too. The ingredients are then mixed with water. Make sure to wear gloves. Add water bit by bit, squeeze the mass through your fingers, turn and mix until you get not to runny mixture to build up around a plastic mould.

Use different plastic moulds to make the planters on the pictures e.g. empty margarine or ice cream containers. Firstly,  form the bottom, then put the mould in the middle and build the hypertufa mixture around it. It is not necessary to look neat. If it is rough it will look more naturally. You can incorporate a nice piece of stone in the planter or make handles.
Do not make lots of hypertufa at once. The next day (usually after 24 hours), when the planters are firm but still workable, you have to scratch them with a nail an brush with a steel brush. If you have made too many planters you may not have time to work them out. Let them dry completely (usually two weeks in summer). The water hole can be made immediately or you can drill one later when the planter is dry.

Plant them with Sempervivums, Sedums, Thymus coccineus and similar plants.

This bird bath is also made of hypertufa.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

In the vegetable garden

I planted bush cherry tomatoes in the pot. Like all tomatoes they are doing well in a sunny spot of the garden.

Kohlrabi is ready to harvest before it becomes woody. Tomato and other vegetable beds are mulched with grass clippings. It is a very good practice; it retains moisture on the beds, suppresses the weed growth and there is also no need to hoe the ground constantly.
Tomatoes are well and healthy. Besides the mulch on the ground I planted marigolds (Tagetes) all around it. They will protect tomatoes from pests. These metal stakes are last year purchase - a good investment. They are galvanized and about 1.8 m high. They are also not strait but spiral so I can twine the stems around them as they grow.
Runner beans are growing very slowly due the heavy rain at the end of May. It was raining for almost 12 days and the temperature was unusually low for this period of year. After the rain it was hot again. I thought they will not recover at all but they did. Though, the rain and heath that followed destroyed okra seedlings. Pity!
Yellow sticky plates keep the pests off.