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Saturday, 26 February 2011

The First Crocus This Year


Though I have already seen crocuses in the park, this yellow fellow is the very first crocus in my garden this year. It did not opened because there is no sun. It seems quite all right considering the temperature below zero and some snow we had yesterday. I have crocuses scattered in my lawn and can't wait to see them again. They appear on strange places where, I am certain, I haven't planted the bulbs. Likely, they self-sow easily. The rest of them will appear soon, as the sunny days wake them up in March. A few weeks of their above-ground life is usually enough time to produce seeds before I do the first lawn mowing. This one is probably Crocus aureus, one of the earliest species.


Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Winter is Back


Monday, 21 February 2011

New blog - Blue Hortensia

 

Ako vam se sviđaju ove slike, potražite još na ovoj adresi Nely.
Nely je moja prijateljica s Coolinarike, gdje objavljuje fine receptiće.
Tek je započela blog, ali, vjerujte mi, vrijedi slijediti ga jer će biti puno predivnih fotografija i postova, a ima i lijep vrt pa možemo očekivati svakakve divote.

If you like these photographs, you can see some more on this site Nely. She is my friend form Coolinarika were she posts her recipes and really beautiful photographs. She only started her blog and writes in Croatian but, you can read it through goggle translator. It is worth coming back to her blog and see new photos of her lovely home and garden.

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Sowing Tomatoes

I have been very busy today sowing tomatoes and transplanting Caesalpinia seedlings.
Tomatoes may be sown now in February or in March. It takes some time to grow well developed plants ready to be transplanted outside when the frosts pass and temperature rises over 20°C.
Usually, first seedlings appear after two weeks, but it might be sooner because I placed the trays on warm radiator.


I prepared trays with toilet paper rolls that will serve as pots. I also used plastic yoghurt and cheese containers to cut out labels. I filled up the rolls with compost, placed two seeds in each, covered with some compost, and watered well. Each tray is covered with plastic to keep the moist growing conditions.
Sowing seeds into paper rolls is very handy because the seedlings don't have to be pulled out when transplanting.                          
I will simply transplant them together with the paper pot and avoid disturbing the sensitive roots. The paper pots will eventually decompose in the ground.


Caesalpinia seedlings are growing rather well. They already have developed the first true leaves and I transplanted them into individual pots. I have eleven plants all together.


Thursday, 17 February 2011

Erica sp.

My heather started to bloom...



Though it is an acid loving plant, my heather thrives in my rock garden. It gets bigger every year. I give it each season a good portion of compost and peat to keep the soil acid. I did not really ever think it would last for so many years.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Caesalpinia gilliesii

Images: Mo

This small tree or shrub comes from Uruguay and Argentina, the areas with much warmer climate than here, where I live. Though I have seen it planted out in the garden, it is much safer to grow it in pots, at least in continental climate. Planted outside, it will probably survive southern exposures and short periods of low temperatures. The soil should not be waterlogged.
It belongs to Fabaceae, the legumes family. It  is about 5 m high tree, but planted in a deep pot it will grow up to 2 metres. The leaves remind to those of Accacia or Albizzia and is often mistaken for these plant.
A friend of mine has brought me several seed pods last year from a small town on our coastal area. I am sure it thrives in mediterranean climate.
The seeds need to be bruised with a file (the testa is pretty rigid and hard)  in order to be able to take up water more easily. I cut a bit of the testa on the seed edge and left them in water for two days. Sowing the seeds goes as usual - insert the seeds into a moist compost, water, cover and place on a warm place (radiator). Germination was rather quick, within a week time.


I was rather surprised by the size of the cotyledons. The first pair of true leaves is forming and soon I will transplant the seedlings into individual pots. 

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Check This Out

Browsing the Internet for orchids, I found this wonderful blog, so, take a look if you like.

Ask the Plant Guy

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Rudbeckia

Thanks God, Rudbeckia seedlings finally produced new pair of leaves. After having germinated in only a week time, they seemed to stand still. My greatest concern was that the seedlings would be etiolated, that is to become long and thin due to lack of day light. The days are still short though noticeable longer every day. But, it did not happen.

Rudbeckia seedlings with a first pair of true leaves.

It will take awhile still before I will transplant the seedlings into individual pots.
Amsonia started to germinate too. Yuppie! Freezing seems to wake the seeds up. So far only 1/5 of the 30 seedlings has germinated but I can see some more seeds splitting. I did not cover the seeds because it needs light to germinate. Well, I will be happy to get six or seven plants to grow my stock of Amsonia. Once they are established, I will produce more plants by division.

I know, I know, they look so poor and fragile...

The greatest surprise was waiting for me in the cellar! I go there every now and then to check over-wintering plants, to give them some water or remove dry leaves and - voila! - there it was, Lilium candidum already grown up to 50 cm!


I got one bulb from a friend of mine in December when it was too cold to plant it outside. So, I simply planted it into a pot to preserve it until Spring. It is the kind of lily that does not require to be planted deep and obviously, it feels quite happy in the shallow pot. Now I brought the pot up into the parlour to ensure more light and warmth for the lily. I was astonished to discover great amount of aphids on it's leaves. After a few water showers it seems they are all gone. Still checking it regularly out but, as it seems, I came right in time to save the lily.

Monday, 7 February 2011

My Birds

Standing still on the other side of the window, I managed to take some photos of my birds...

Blue tit (Parus caeruleus)

Great tit (Parus major)

This one reminds on great tit, but it isn't. I haven't noticed it before. It could be coal tit (Parus ater).

Euroasian nuthatch (Sitta europaea)

And, look at these beautiful swans at the lake! Swan is not Croatian native species but for a past few years they use to come to northern parts of Croatia, to my town as well.