Saturday, 29 October 2011

Fruits of Nature

There are a few mushroom this Autumn because of the lack of rain and moisture. Most fungi need hot,  steamy days to appear. But, there are some mushrooms that love colder mornings and warm days, like this one - Shaggy Incap (Coprinus comatus). You can see more pictures of it on my other blog - Mushrooms and Toadstools.
The day was beautiful and I went for a stroll in park and along the river bank. This mushroom loves lawns and grassland, especially on newly prepared ground. I found some enormous specimens today, more than 30 cm high. It must be the day temperature that made them grow so fast. It is again pleasantly 15 -17 °C during the day. I took the photo above of only a cap of this big mushroom  and one regular specimen that usually reach the hight of 15 - 20 cm to compare them. 
The mushroom is edible while young, that is until the spores are white. As they become ripe, they turn black and remind on ink - hence the name.
You can prepare this mushroom in many ways e.g. with some onions and eggs. But, my favourite way is to fry them. Clean them, roll them in flour, dip in bitten eggs and then roll them in bread crumbs until completely coated. Fry until golden. I always put them on some paper towels before eating to remove extra grease. No need to add salt, just put some into the bitten eggs.

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Planting New Roses

English rose 'William Shakespeare'
image :

Monday was not  the perfect day for garden work but, I had to plant roses and some trees that arrived on Friday. The rain was drizzling and by the time I finished my work, I was quite wet. Besides my five new rose bushes I planted the Japanese Persimmon (Diospyros kaki) and Japanese ornamental cherry 'Royal Burgundy'. 'Kaki apples' as we call Japanese Persimmon here are one of my favourite fruits. The cherry 'Royal Burgundy' is a cultivar with double pink flowers and red foliage.

Prunus 'Royal Burgundy'
Image credit:

As for the roses, there is a nice story about them this year. For almost ten years I buy my roses at 'Virag' rose nursery. They have a nice choice of roses and excellent plants with three strong branches and well developed roots. Autumn is the best time to plant the roses and delivery always come about this time of the year. Roses are delivered bare roots and need to be put in a bucket of water for a day prior planting. I did it this time too and finished planting my new roses on Monday.

English rose 'Jude the Obscure'
Image credit: Camissonia's Corner

On Tuesday, I was really puzzled about the parcel I had to take up on the post office coming from the rose nursery. The roses I ordered are already planted, what could it be? I picked up my parcel; did not have to pay anything for it. And, at home, a big surprise! I was one of the three winners this year on the contest that Mr. Virag, the owner of the rose nursery, organizes for the second year in the row! It is called 'Our roses in your gardens' and all I had to do is to send the photographs of the roses I bought in his nursery. So I did but, could not even dream to win. Mr. Virag generously sent eleven roses that are yet to be in a new catalogue.

English rose: 'Benjamin Britten'
Image credit: The Redneck Rosarian

I was delighted to get many of my favourite type of roses - English roses: 'Eglantyne', 'Jude the Obscure', 'Benjamin Britten', 'William Shakespeare' and 'Alnwick Castle'. I love English roses because of their usually strong scent, beautiful full flowers and resistance to diseases.
I got also 'Sally Holmes' (good for fences), 'Desire', ' Grand Gala', 'Paul Bocuse', 'Rock and Roll' and 'Caribia'. Well, I have some more planting to do these days but it will be a great pleasure to see them all in full bloom. I cannot wait!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Preparing Garden for Winter

The last week was ideal for gardening. We had some rain, just enough to water the plants after the summer drought and make the soil ideally wet for digging and hoeing. Even though many of ornamental plants were still flowering, I have decided to prepare my garden for winter. Days are still warm but mornings started to be cold and frosty and many plants got frost bites.
So, what were/are my winter preparation tasks?
1. Regular removal of leaves from the lawn. There are tons of it!
2. Cutting off the frost damaged plant leaves.
3. Hoeing and digging accompanied with weeding.
4. Dividing overgrown perennials - Hosta, Geranium, Carex, Miscanthus, some Hemerocalises.
5. Planting newly purchased plants and trees.
6. Mowing the lawn for the last time this year.
7. Finishing filling in the compost heaps and covering them with old newspaper.
8. Weeding the vegetable garden, picking up the last of the crop, sowing corn salad and planting onion bulbs for early spring crop.
9. Planting new rose bushes. They are: 'Elfe', 'Gold Monica', 'Melody Perfume', Schneewaltzer', and 'James Galway'.

The frost finally damaged all the plants in the vase at the house entrance. Among other plants, there were two Ipomoeas planted in the vase. It is a plant from the Convolvulaceae family, a relative to Morning glory. These had no flowers this year but I love their green an purple foliage. As I removed the dead foliage and stems, and started to dig in the earth I pull out several tubers that Ipomoes produce! I had some the last year too but they did not keep up until Spring. Funny thing is that these purple tubers came from the plant with green foliage.

 Ipomoea batata  (sweet potatoe) produces orange tubers that are edible. I wonder if these are edible as well? Mark, what do you think?

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

A Pine Cone Wrath

a basket full of pine cones

Rainy Autumn days are perfect for various DIY projects. As I have collected a lot of cones of various coniferous trees in park, I decided to make a pine cone wrath. It will certainly be a nice Christmas decoration to hang on the house entrance door. Besides of the cones, I needed a silicon hot glue to stick the cones together. I love it because hot silicon glue is pretty strong and dries quick and also, easy to apply with a gun.
Firstly, decide how big the wrath should be. I usually put six cones in a circle and add some more until it is big enough. Then I add the second row of pine cones.

Now, simply glue the cones together, firstly the first circle, then add the second. To finish, I put some small cones all over it to fill the gaps.

This wrath is actually so nice as it is that one big decorative ribbon is quite enough to decorate it. But if you wish, you can add small apples (artificial), ribbons and bows, dried Chinese lantern fruit, dried lemon and orange slices, cinnamon sticks, a bit of gold spray... 

Saturday, 15 October 2011

The Swan Lake

I went to the lake side this afternoon and find out the swans are back again. Well, it was only one there at the time and not so eager to get photographed. He stayed at safe distance of me!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

My Funny Aubergine

I picked the last of my vegetables yesterday and hey, take a look at this funny aubergine with a small 'nose'!

I also had to pull out this enormous tomato plan't of mine because the tomatoes started to fall off. They would not become ripe on this weather anyway... Actually, the stem down to the ground was so thick and strong that I couldn't pull it out at all but had to cut it with a hoe! Now I have a bucket full of green tomatoes. Any idea what to do with them?

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Rain At Last!

The rain came silently to my town. But, in most parts of Croatia, this weather change made lots of troubles. The  storms struck coastal parts of Croatia as well as some inland regions. Unfortunately, four people died when a thunderbolt stroke a house. In some regions heavy rain flooded the streets. The rain came accompanied by the strong wind that broke trees and posts. In Dubrovnik region, several wind whirls formed over the see but did not struck the land. And, in mountain regions the snow covered the ground.

I know it is a bad thing bud tornado simply impresses me!
As I said, the weather change in my town was not so dramatic. The rain came down slowly and fell silently for several hours. The wind was no so strong. The ground is now wet, and I am going prepare the garden for winter starting on Monday. It  means, I will do some digging and remove all weeds and dead and dried plants. 

I covered one of my compost heaps with thick layer of old newspaper.

The wind shook down lots of walnuts yesterday and I collected one full sack of them this afternoon! This is the third sack this season, quite a good crop! Now they need to be placed in airy space to dry. But, not at all on the attic where they were last year. I could not sleep of the squirrel (or dormouse, I don't know really) making noise by rolling the walnuts over the wooden floor boards on the attic in the night! 

Today is sunny again though, noticeably colder that it was two days ago. For most of us, it was a certain temperature shock, especially for mountain regions where the air temperature dropped down to zero. The woods were immersed  in fog this morning, still more green than red and yellow. But, I think, the Autumn is finally showing it's real face and soon I expect the riot of colours.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Hobbit House

I don't know about you but, when I saw this house designed by Simon Dale, I said: ' I want it too!!!!'  I just have to share it with you.

The other houses are not less beautiful, see here.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Bugs feeding on my cabbage!

This terribly looking cabbage is all eaten up by a bug! Usually, white cabbage butterfly caterpillars or slugs and snails are the guilty one for the crime. But, to my great surprise, I noticed the Firebugs!

The Firebug, Pyrrhocoris apterus, is a common insect of the family Pyrrhocoridae. I remember them as a child forming dense aggregations in the spring, prior to mating. They usually aggregated under the lime trees in my street. But, I never saw them eating the cabbage!