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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Chinese Lantern Fruit (picture post)

Physalis bearing fruits.




Edible berries look like tomato fruit. No wonder, they belong to the same family - Solanaceae.

The husk is derived from calyx of the flower. Here, there only the veins remained.

NB. Be careful! The orange coloured papery husk is poisonous.
Native to Croatia is Physalis alkekengi L.





Sunday, 26 September 2010

Klub Gaia

Vjerujem da mnogi znaju za Klub Gaia. Ja sam za njega doznala prije nekoliko godina na izložbi cvijeća "Florijana" u Rijeci gdje su imali svoj "štand" i odmah se učlanila.
Promoviraju proizvode tvrtke "Unichem", koja proizvodi sve potrebno za uspješan uzgoj voća, povrća i cvijeća, njegu travnjaka, prihranu bilja te zaštitu protiv korova i štetočina. Kupujem njihove proizvode i vrlo sam zadovoljna njima.

Za godišnju članarinu od 69 kuna, na kućnu adresu stigne revija "Gaia" (osam brojeva godišnje). Na 25 stranica u boji mnoštvo je korisnih savjeta o uzgoju voća, povrća i cvijeća, o zaštiti biljaka, herbicidima, pesticidima, prihrani bilja te održavanju travnjaka.    
Ljepota revije je i ta što organizira brojne natječaje za članove kluba s vrijednim nagradama - proizvodima tvrtke "Unichem". Obično se šalju slike vlastitog vrta vezane za temu natječaja. Ovaj put sam dobila nagradu za naj-kutak vrta.

...natječaji iz poslijednjeg broja...

Neke od tema iz poslijednjeg broja su: sredozemne biljke, tulipani, jesen u povrtnjaku ... Odnedavna, svoj kutić ima i Kornelija Benyovsky Šoštarić i dijeli svoje savjete o uzgoju raznog bilja.

Kornelija

U reviji su priloženi i kuponi za popust u odabranim trgovinama koje prodaju proizvode  "Plantella", a isto možete ostvarii i sa članskom karticom.
Ljubazni tim kluba je uvijek na raspolaganju; besplatno savjetovalište otvoreno je na broju 0800 200 221 (tu se možete i učlaniti), a uvijek odgovore i na pitanja, pohvale i dr. koje pošeljem na mail gaia@klubgaia.hr.
Reviju možete pretiti i na Internetu na hrvatskim ili slovenskim stranicama. Ja vam doista sve preporučujem. Učlanite se, biti ćete jako zadovoljni.

Slugs and snails

Slugs and snails are not very much lovable among gardeners but they are part of the nature too. It was not many of them this year but lately, they crawled out because it's been raining for days. They make pretty big damage to plant foliage, especially Hostas, lettuce and other soft plants.
I have more problems with slugs than snails especially red  Arion rufus. There are years when it appears in great number and literally eats everything in the garden. In the worst days of Arion invasion, some people used to collect one third of the average bucket of slugs!


Arion rufus

There is no other way but to collect them early in the morning and during the rainy days. It is a rather efficient method though requires persistence and patience. I use to collect them in the morning using an well pointed old knitting needle. Sorry guys, I know it is not very human, but... After you collect them, you can pour boiling water over them.
The dish filled with the beer dug into the ground is very efficient, they seem to like it very much!
I use sometimes pelleted limacide, but only the one from the firm "Unichem"; it is organic. I use lots of others of their products, all nature friendly.

Helix pomatia mating

Sometimes I leave the board overnight in the flower beds and the vegetable garden. Slugs seek the hiding place underneath and all I have to do is to collect them.
They are more active overnight, and love dump conditions. If there is many snails in the garden it is good to reschedule watering the plants and do it in the morning.
Some gardeners use salt or lime to prevent the invasion but I do not like the idea to have salt or too much lime going into the soil and change its condition.

Making the slug barriers is another method to prevent the damage. They seem no to like copper, so you can secure the flower pots by placing a copper tape around them. As they crawl on smooth surfaces try to make it difficult by using crushed egg shells around the plants or mulch the ground with rough hay.
And, if you see Carabid beetles or a hedgehog or in the garden, leave them alone. They and many birds as well are our friends as they feed on snails. Encourage them into garden by gardening organically - exclude herbicides and pesticides, make shelters for them, plant berry shrubs for birds, make some bird baths...

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Lysimachia

Formely placed in Primulaceae, the genus Lysimachia, according to the lates genetic researches, belongs to the family Myrsinaceae. I have four species of Lysimachia, one of them being native to Croatia - Lysimachia nummularia.

Lysimachia ciliata 'Firecracker' (Fringed Loosestrife)

It is native to North America. I have planted it among shrubs in the back side of the border. It is pretty vigorous plant, spreading itself by underground stems. It may be invasive so, do not plant it if you have a lots of space in your border. The leaves are burgundy-purple turning more or less green by mid to late summer and make a lovely contrast to yellow star-like flowers. It will grow in full or partial shade.

Lysimachia punctata 'Alexander'

It has nicely variegated leaves and is very good to brighten up a shady dark corner. The yellow flowers and lanceolate leaves are placed in whorls on the long upright stem. The plant needs moderately moist soil. The leaves edges may turn brown when the soil is dry. My flowers in June.


Lysimachia clethroides (Gooseneck Loosestrife)

The plant has curiously curved inflorescence, hence probably the common name Gooseneck Loosestrife. The flowers appear in July. The plant prefers sunny position but mine is happy in semi-shade. Like other Lysimachias, it grows vigorously spreading itself by the underground stems. It needs lots of space so, pull it regularly out to keep it within the place. Unlike most of Lysimachias that have single yellow flowers, this one bears spikes of white flowers. It makes a superb cut flower.

Lysimachia clethroides

Lysimachia nummularia has a low growing creeping habit. The stems grow quickly and it is a good ground cover plant. Round leaves are paired along the stem. The flowers are yellow. There are cultivars with "golden" leaves. It needs moist soil with a good portion of organic matter

***

One of the ways to keep Lysimachia under control and reduce spreading is to plant it in a bottomless pot. Dig in the pot on the place in your flower bed.
I will cut them down to the ground for the winter.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Phlox


Phlox paniculata

Some of mine Phlox varieties are still flowering though, they are slowly fading away. It's been raining for days and water certainly has ruined the flowers. The weather for the next week seems promising though, it will be raining again during the following weekend and the ground is very wet to do anything in the garden. I haven't finished planting my "hosta garden" or the border in my friend's garden.

Phlox paniculata (I cannot tell which variety is which anymore)

This is a genus of herbaceous perennial and annual plants of the family Polemoniaceae. It is native to North America, and there is one species in Siberian tundra. Phlox grows in woodland and prairie. It flowers, depending on the species, in spring, summer or autumn.
In our gardens, there is mostly Plox paniculata to be seen in the flower beds. Low growing cushion-like Phlox subulata finds it's place in the rock garden.
This is one of the most beautiful summer perennials. It may have white, pink, violet, blue or bright red flowers, often with an "eye" in the middle. Many of the flowers are scented. There are also cultivars with variegated leaves.

Phlox maculata 'Natasha'

Depending on cultivar, Phlox paniculata is up to130 cm tall, and therefore is used as background plant in the borders. A good air circulation is needed to keep them healthy. Powdery mildew is most common disease that occurs, causing the leaves to drop off and leaving the stems bare.
Divide them every three years in spring before they start to grow. Most perennials benefit from division to keep them in shape and within the place.

Phlox paniculata

Tall phlox grows the best in a sunny position but, it will tolerate light shade. The soil should be moist so water it in summer during dry spells. Avoid watering over leaves. To prolong the flowering time, cut a few shoots of the clump to one third. They are supposed to flower again later on.
Except by division, Phlox can be propagated by stem cuttings that bear no flowers. Take them in summer.

Phlox stolonifera 'Red Wing' in my rock garden.

Low growing species like Phlox subulata, Phlox stolonifera or Phlox divaricata  make dense cushions and love sunny positions. They are suitable for rock garden. They will also tolerate dry soil. They usually flower early in the spring.

Phlox subulata

The leaves of these species is evergreen or semi-evergreen. Except in the rock garden they can be used as edging plants for borders and containers or cascading plant for walls.
They can be propagated by division.
After flowering, shear the stems to one third to promote new shoot growth.

Phlox divaricata 'My Breeze'

Phlox paniculata 'Uspech'

For more Phlox cultivars see DECORA nursery.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

September Jobs


Dead head, tidy and cut back perennials.
Watch for slugs and snails on rainy days.
Prune shrubs.
Cut all dead, twisted or dying branches.

It is still not too late to prune Wistaria.
Cut down to four buds.
Divide or move herbaceous perennials. I did it to my Hostas.
They still have time to establish before winter.
Buy and plant new spring flowering bulbs.
You can plant them until first frosts.

Rake the leaves off the lawn regularly. Compost them separately or put them in plastic bags with small holes to get leaf mould in spring.

Take care of the lawn. Aerate, scarify to remove the thatch (moss, dead grass) and top dress.
Clip hedges, including Buxus, Ligustrum, and Prunus laurocerasus.
Compost the clippings.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Kitchen/Dining room remake 1

Before...

My small kitchen is divided from the dining room by the brick arch and a counter. It was painted white before and decorated with blue details like spice shelves, fridge, curtains and so on.
As I like changes and am pretty much "do-it-yourself" woman, I decided to re-make my kitchen and the dining room. Firstly, I made the kitchen. I have painted the wall violet because I love colours around me.

...and after.

I have started with the ceiling painting it white. That was the quick and easy part of the job. The hardest part was to paint all the edging lines by using the brush (free hand!) and not to go over the ceiling line. Down line was easier to make because I simply washed the paint off the tiles when I went over them. Anyway, making lines took most of the painting time. Painting the walls with a roller was really quick and easy.


My spice shelves were blue before but I repainted them in ivory. I could paint them in one of the shades of violet but I wanted them to be more visible on the wall. I used oil paint for wood and metal. It needs 24 to 40 hours to dry out completely.

These two hangers fit well into my new plum-violet kitchen; one in contrasting green and the other in matching shades of the wall colour.

***

Washing and tiding up took me another four hours because I moved the furniture and washed the tiles behind and underneath it. And all that little things we have in the kitchen... every single one of them met the sponge and soap and water!

The next - dining room; just need to buy all of the material needed.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

My Ferns

Clusters of sporangia (sorus) producing spores.

Ferns are my favourite shade plants. I love them because of their feathery leaves texture and bushy growth. They are low maintenance plants with a very few - if any - pests and diseases. Ferns thrive in a light to moderate shade and moist, rich in organic matter soil. Primarily, they are woodland plants so make sure to make the similar growing conditions for them in the garden. I have them under the bushes and trees in shady borders combined with Hostas, Astrantias and other shade and moisture loving plants.
They reproduce by spores. 

Athyrium filix-femina (Lady Fern) has nice, pale green feathery leaves.

Asplenium scolopendrium (Hart's Tongue Fern), unlike other ferns has simple undivided leaves. It likes damp soil but also grows in cervices of damp rocks or walls. There are cultivars with ruffled leaf edges.

Dryopteris filix-mas (Male Fern) is robust, bushy fern occurring in woods of the temperate northern hemisphere. The leaves can be up to 1.5 m long.

Asplenium trichomanes (Maidenhair Spleen-wort) is a small fern usually growing on dump walls and rocks.

Dryopteris affinis 'Cristata' (The King) has crests at the leaf tips.

Dryopteris sieboldii is an unusual Japanese evergreen fern.

Young fern leaf.
See more here FERNS and here NURSERY (UK).

Saturday, 11 September 2010

My Garden Little Treasure


In case you wander what it is please, read here HERE. I do not want to repeat the posts.

Late Summer Sizzlers

Flowers are slowly opening changing the colour from pink to red.

My garden makes me grin. There are still flowers to come and my September garden will be full of colour and interest. Only, it's been raining constantly, and the blossoms need some sun too...
One of my favourite plants is Sedum telephium 'Herbstfreude' (Autumn Joy); the name is certainly well deserved! Just take a look at the picture above! I purchased three plants in 2006 and by now I have divided them two times. In the beginning the flowers are pink, but they will turn red when full in bloom.
Sedum telephium 'Purple Emperor' is another showy sedum with purple stems and foliage and, pink flowers.

Sedum telephium 'Purple Emperor'

Asters are full of flower buds that will be opened any time now. At the moment, only Aster novi-belgii 'Marie Ballard' has opened it's flowers.

Aster novi-belgii 'Marie Ballard'

Anemone japonica produces lots of new flower buds and will probably flower for a long time.

Anemone japonica

Dahlias are so beautiful that I came to piece with the fact they need to be lifted when the first frosts start and planted again in late Spring.

Dahlia sp.