Sunday, 28 November 2010

Simple Christmas Flower Arrangement

I love nicely decorated  house during Christmas holidays and always make my own decorations. So, this is what I made this weekend...
If you too want to make the similar decorations, this is what you will need:
  • Plastic containers e.g. flower pots.
  • Moss, tree bark, thin hazel branches.
  • Diverse seed pods, fruits, flowers, dried lemon slices, pine cones, cinnamon sticks etc.
  • Golden thread, decorative tapes, raffia, hemp fibre, gold spray.
  • "Angels hair" in gold or red, small artificial apples.
  • Tools: scissors, silicon gun (hot glue), stapler, garden secateurs.
  • Small wraths made out of thin branches, semi-dried morning glory stems (I used them). The stems of Fallopia are also very good. I collect the stems in Autumn when the plant wilts. The nests as I call them, should be made immediately while the stems are still slightly moist.
  • Candles. I use the scented ones. 
Firstly, I coat each plastic container with one of the natural materials I got: moss, hazel twigs or tree bark. I have made one of tree bark and another one of hazel twigs. The bark and twigs are fixed with hot glue (silicon) to the container. Be careful not to burn fingers because the glue is really very hot! It also melts thin plastic so, take an extra care.
Place the candle in the middle. The candle doesn't have to be longer than the pot. Fix some small box or yogurt plastic container (up side down) on the bottom of the pot to level it up with the top of the pot, then glue the candle to it. Fill in the pot around it with wrinkled paper. This will hold it in place.
Make a wreath and glue it to the top of the pot. Spray with gold. Now you use your imagination to place the apples, nuts, pine cones, bows, lemon slices etc around the candle.

Twig pot, cinnamon, dried lemon, pine cones, apples, wire star, alder male inflorescence (look like small pine cones), Chinese lanterns...

Bark pot, artificial apples, ones, chilly peppers, red angel's hair, box twigs...

Terracotta plate, hemp fibres, pine cones, diverse dried fruits (follicles), small red spheres...

These two candles are attached on pieces of wood.

It doesn't has to be always a wreath...

Some of these are half-done; I will put some fresh green twigs on them (box, mistletoe, pine, holly) when the time comes...

Friday, 26 November 2010

The Winter is Coming for Sure

The winter finally showed it's teeth. The temperature drops below zero over night, the icy blanket of frost in the morning covers the garden and the wind turns the direction blowing from the north. The weather forecats for tomorrow - snow! It is already snowing in the mountain regions.
I did not cut all the flower stems. I left Echinacea seed heads for birds. Verbena and Sedum are still standing proud in their last moments. I took these pictures on a frosty morning two days ago.

Echinacea, Verbena, Pennisetum and Sedum covered with frost.

Geum cocineum leaf.

It is time to prepare bird feeders and food for our feathered friends. Feeders should be placed away form cats. I usually hang them on the terrace where they are at hand for regular cleaning and feeding.
Strange things happened yesterday. I found one Blue Tit behind the radiator in the bed room! Unfortunately, dead. The bird probably got in during the day when the window was opened. I haven't heard it or see it when I closed the window, but I noticed tiny drops on my bed linen and window! I found it during the window cleaning. I was so sorry fort the poor thing.

My brand new bird feeder.

What food I mix for my birds? Common species visiting the feeder are sparrows, robins and the three species of tits -mountain,blue and great tit. I use to leave them dried bread pieces, raisins, peanuts and sunflower seeds.
Jay and crows still find the walnuts I haven't collected.
Sparrows come in great number chasing away tits and robins. They also occupy the birdbath. But, not for a long time - yesterday morning the water was frozen!

Sunday, 21 November 2010


Yesterday evening...

Saturday, 20 November 2010

My Books of Garden Cuttings

It was raining for two days and I found this rainy days perfect to make an order in my scrap books. For more than ten years I've been keeping the record of the events in my garden. Over the years I have collected many scrap books that tell the story of my garden and serve as reference to me as well.

I bought this scrap book in the Kew Shop five years ago, when I came to London to do my horticultural internship at RBG Kew. I liked it very much at the first glance and wanted to buy it but, the price of 14 pounds seemed too much to me at the time, especially for the book like that. Three months later I paid only one pound for it! What a bargain!

The scrap book I bought in England is neat because the pages are sorted out by months. There are little drawings on the pages and different funny quotes about the garden. My other scrap books are not at all neat and tidy. But, I do not want them to be. Sometimes I have little time to make a note or paste the photo so, the handwriting is bad and sketches are rough. But, I find it important to do that or otherwise I will forget it.

I use simple school note books with no lines for the purpose. I love to draw and make sketches so, I prefer plain paper. I make the notes chronologically, by year and by month.

These are the things I make note of:  overall "to do list" for a year, planting schemes and sketches, newspaper and magazine cuttings on gardening, plenty of my own photographs ( excellent to track down how the garden changes and grows and to compare "before" and "after" look)...

... seed and plants orders and bills, plant purchases and bills from markets and shops, subscriptions to the magazines, books on gardening I bought, club memberships, photographs of other beautiful gardens (to steal ideas!), info leaflets from the packages of chemicals used (though I prefer not to use them, sometimes I have to, especially for the roses). When I have more time during the gardening season or in winter, I do researches on growing the plants I have in my garden. Sometime I write a few pages about the subject like I did it here - on peonies. 

I keep the record of prevailing weather and temperature by drawing simple sketches in the corner. Month by month I keep the record of the actions and work I done: mowing the loan, sowing, planting, sowing the seeds, pruning, taking cuttings, making garden features...
I use to fill in two to three note books per year. For each year I make the cardboard folder ( I recycle package boxes). I prefer to make my own to fit the amount of my notebooks.

The folders are kept at hand...

...underneath my computer/working table.

Do you too make the scrap books like that? I find it fun.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Kind Words

A friend of mine has posted me this photo.

(Botanical Garden, Dublin)

Danke Stephanie!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Around the Garden Shed

The weather was beautiful last weekend, warm and sunny. The air temperature was 20°C and many creatures crawled out, including me! I painted green some old shelves and cabinets for my garden shed. I also made the pavement in front of the shed wider. Again, I used old brick for the purpose.

The primroses bloom...

The garden was full of insects - flies, bees, even butterflies. Chrysanthemums came a bit late to bloom but, luckily, there is no frost.

The weather changed over night - now it is raining and the air temperature dropped to 10°C. Still, it did not stopped me from working inside the garden shed. Firstly, I attached the insect hotel on the front side of the shed.

 Then I placed the shelves against the wall. As they are only 15 cm wide I nailed them to the walls in order not to tun over. The shelves are made from the old cabinets sewn in half and painted green. The paint was completely dry within 24 hours.

Used tin cans and flower pots will serve as storage for diverse things. I decorated them using decoupage technique. As you can see I do lots of recycling but, I really don't see the reason to buy new shelves or paving slabs.

There is plenty of place on the other side to hang the things. There will be also shelves for flower pots. 

There is a storage under the roof too.

I think I have a small table somewhere on the attic (now I am happy to have kept some things) - it definitely goes down in the shed. Of course, after my remake.
The only bad thing in autumn is early night! And, I have no light in the shed... Maybe even better so or I would move in it for good!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

In the Vegetable Garden

The weather continues to be mild and sunny, though some clouds are coming from the west. I did some clearing and digging in the vegetable garden this afternoon. I have no greenhouse but, thanks to the weather, there are still some vegetables growing outside. The lettuce sown in August came to crop now forming nice heads.

This endive looks so decorative that I find it almost pity to eat it!

Swiss Chard still forms new leaves.

Radicchio is still small but, in a good condition.


Some herbs are keeping well too.


Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Stepping the Stones

Mrs Anita Černeha lives in her old stone house in the village of Flum on the mountain Ćićarija on Istrian peninsula. I met her some years ago when I was working in the Decora nursery.
She created one of the most natural looking gardens I ever seen. It perfectly merges into the county side around it. The large area surrounding her house was rather neglected, and one part of the ground was even used as dumping place for the whole village. She cleared it all out and built step by step an enormous rock garden. The soil there is red - terra rossa. Spare amounts of soil are mixed with numerous lime stones so, building the rock garden came natural.


The soil is precious. People use to make the stone walls around their plots to prevent the soil from being washed away by rain and wind. There is a vegetable garden within these walls.

Every crack between the stones is planted with cushion like plants. These are Holm oaks all around. It is an evergreen species of oak tree (Quercus ilex L.) that make the woods in Istria.

Grasses, sedums, aubrieta, and other low growing plants by the road where once the villagers used as dumping place.

Another side of the garden.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

November Rose

'Paul Neyron' (hybrid perpetual)

This mild weather made it bloom again...

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Sveta ljubav (Holly Love) - song

For all of you dear people who are being visiting my blog and leaving kind words in my comment box, here, there is a song for you.
The video is taken in the village Lubenice on island of Cres, Croatia.

Maja Blagdan is a popular singer in Croatia. This song was on the 4th place on the "Eurovision song contest" in Oslo in 1996.

The words in Croatian language

Sveta ljubav

Ja ti priznajem sve
sve je glupo sad bez tebe
i dok zlatna kiša pada na grad
tko zna gdje si ti sad

Moja ljubav si ti
ovo je vrijeme bez milosti
ti si divlja rijeka na putu mom
a ja te volim i s njom

Refren 2x
Sunce moru putuje, a moje srce luduje
daj mi snage, sveta ljubavi

Ja živim za nas
zemlja nosi moj glas
u dubinu duše jer tu je moj dom
a ja te volim i s njom

Refren 2x

Saturday, 6 November 2010

A Day Out

6th of November/20°C!? I was walking down the county road for two hours wearing a T-shirt (short sleeves!) and taking some pictures...

The fields are ploughed.

The seeds are fallen out.

They too enjoy this beautiful day.

Old bridge still stands.

They are dancing in the breeze.