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Friday, 21 December 2012

Merry Christmas



To all my blogger friends and followers and other who pop up to my garden, wishing you a Merry Christmas an a very happy New Year!
I am giving you this Croatian Christmas song -  Rejoice!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas decoration


The sunny Sunday was ideal to collect some natural materials and make Christmas garden decoration. This is the vase that stand close to the entrance door. I used silver fir branches, dried Hydrangea flowers, pine cones, rose hips, vine wreath, a wooden star, Butcher's broom branches and red Dogwood branches for this arrangement.


I sprayed some pine cones and fir branches tips white.
This decoration is the one on the terrace...



Sunday, 16 December 2012

Vegetables in December


The thermometer (stands on the wall in a shade) shows 13°C! Of course, the snow has completely gone. I have made some Christmas decoration on the table standing on the terrace. Love to see something nice when looking through the window in a winter day.
I also hanged my old bird-feeder and put some decorations on them too. Judging by the number of visits, my feather friends are delighted.


The snow serves as a good protection from the cold and in my vegetable garden there is still crop to pick up. Winter lettuce developed very good seedlings. I do not replant them at this time of the year, just thin them up leaving space for other to grow bigger.


This mini-cabbage is actually a bud of Brussels sprout. This happens when you wait too long to pick them up. I eat these too, of course. 


Still plenty of others to pick up.


It is a beautiful sunny day, I am going out!





Wednesday, 5 December 2012

New Bird-feeders


Snowy days, finally! I love the atmosphere and this clean look of white snow. This advent time make us always nostalgic for some old times as we decorate our homes and expect Christmas... so, I gave my photographs this vintage look. It is not very cold, about 0°C. 
I got new bird-feeders. My blogger friend Nely (check here out her life style blog Blue Hortensia) has sent me a parcel with lovely Christmas wooden ornaments and these two bird-houses, actually, the bird-feeders.


I bought the balls of seeds mixed with grease in a supermarket. Usually, I make my own but these were on sale, super cheap.



Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Feels Like Spring


For the end of November, the weather is unusually warm in Croatia. It's been up to 16°C in the morning and  19°C during the day. Feels more like Spring coming. Some plants feel it too and started to bloom. 
My house plant Areca palm, developed these strange inflorescences above. But, what is more odd, plants outside are blooming too. This cherry, for example...


This weekend we expect considerable temperature drop and a touch of winter. It will be certainly quite a shock for all the plants and they have not a warm coats to wear.
I wonder if we would have a white Christmas. What's the weather like at your place?













Sunday, 18 November 2012

Salix integra 'Hakuro Nishiki'


Like all willows, this one too is easy to propagate from hardwood cuttings. I only inserted a few pencil like stems into the ground. The roots develop rather quickly. This willow has very decorative leaves in pale green, white and pink shades. Normally, this is an up to two metres tall shrub but, most people train it as a standard with a round trimmed crown. 
I finally put all my pot plants into cellar. Though,  they could still be outside. The weatherman says the air temperature remains round 12°C until the end of November.


Sunday, 28 October 2012

The last of Blooms


Dahlias still in full bloom... I usually wait until the first frost before digging the rhizomes out of the ground. We have some temperature drop today but, this cold spell will last only until Tuesday. All my pot plants are still outside as well. I guess, I will bring them in the cellar some time this week.

Cactus Dahlia

Rain drops on Salvia.

The last of Anemone flowers.



Friday, 26 October 2012

Fallen leaves, my nightmare


I am not so keen on raking the leaves and piles of walnut leaves are my autumn nightmare. Because of the warmth that last long into Autumn, the leaves slowly turn yellow and drop over a long period of time. Before these climate changes, by the end of October  the temperatures used to drop below zero. I remember the days when all the leaves fell of in one frosty night! I simply did all the job in one afternoon. 
Walnut leaves are not much useful as a compost ingredient
 or mulch because of the chemicals they contain. I have a permission to use a small triangle shaped ground behind my garden fence where I keep my compost boxes and pile up all the green waste from my garden. It is a secluded place bordered with thick Forsythia planting that serves as a screen between this very ground and the town park. It is also a place where I can pile up this walnut leaves. I usually spread it on the places where I do not want the weeds to take over. It takes up to 10 months for leaves to decoy and they suppress the weeds pretty efficiently. That is much better than burning them in a fire. In Croatia, we still are allowed to make bone-fires but I avoid it whenever I can because of the air pollution.


Physostegia is late to flower. It looked pretty more dead than alive the whole summer but, it came alive after the fist rains in September. The common name 'Obedient Plant' rises from the fact that the flowers can be bent on stems right or left. The plant spreads by means of rhizomes forming colonies. There are also cultivars with white flowers and this one of mine is called 'Vivid'.


This mushroom takes over when the nights are colder and the days still warm. It appeared in many orchards, gardens and woods on old tree stumps. It appeared (again!) in my garden too. I am not so happy because of it. This is Armiallaria mellea, the Honey Fungus. As parasite on dead and alive wood, it causes wood decoy and growth reduction. It can literally kill the tree.
 It looks nice, though, and it is also edible. Just needs to be pre-cooked in boiling water for a few minutes.





Sunday, 21 October 2012

Day Out


This Autumn is beautiful. The days are warm and quite sunny. My best friend and I went to the lake in the afternoon. The swans came back! We spotted them in the distance quite near the shore and walked on in silence to be able to take some shots of them. Last time they were here, they swam off  as soon as they saw us.


This time, to our great surprised, they swam towards us and stayed close!


Maybe they wanted to pose us, who knows...


They cleaned the feathers and...


...searched the food in the murky shallow water full of algae.


Thursday, 11 October 2012

Mushroom Season


This rainy afternoon seems dark and gloomy but I am in a good mood because my order from T&M already arrived. As I have already told you, I got 50 pounds gift voucher from T&M which was enough for 27 seed packages! I really have to say, T&M customer service is excellent, but I did not expect my order to come so quickly. Now I am enjoying sorting out the seed packages. I ordered some vegetable and flower seeds as well, mostly the one I cannot buy here in Croatia.

 

It has been raining for the past two days and I was not doing anything in my garden. The days are noticeable shorter and nights are colder. I did not finish tiding up but I am not so keen to do it either. It is better to leave the foliage to protect the plant crowns from winter cold and frost.
 Sage was severely damaged by the frost and cold last winter and I gave it a hard back-cut in Spring. Actually, sage benefits from cutting back. It keeps it bushy and compact. And, it doubled its size since! 

Boletus edulis (Penny Bun)

These moist and warm days of the last week were ideal for mushroom growth. I picked up lots of Penny Buns as well as Parasol mushrooms. No need to tell you what was on the menu day by day! What can I say, I am crazy about mushrooms. I photograph the species, make notes about their growth, pick them up and cook...


These appeared on my lawn...






Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Chilli


For the past few days I have been working in the vegetable garden. I did some digging up, weeding and clearing the beds. Young seedlings of the winter lettuce and spinach are already out. I had to protect them from birds with nylon mash. 


I love my chilly peppers! I am a great fun of hot dishes and always have some chilly peppers in my garden. I don't really know what cultivars they are cause I got young plants from a fried of mine. She is not so keen of knowing the names. They are so lovely. Besides the traditional red ones I have strange, very dark (almost black!) chillies.



PS. For years I buy my seeds from Thomson and Morgan. Some weeks ago I wrote a review on one of their products and won £50 Thompson & Morgan eVoucher.  Isn't it wonderful?



Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Hello Autumn


Isn't  nature wonderful? A few good showers and everything is green again. I don't remember when I last mow the lawn. Now it is time to do it again. The sun lured me out into garden. It is warm but not so hot and humid as it was in summer. Here, there are the photos that I took with my camera.

Praying mantis taking the sun bath.

Aster full of busy bees...

Look who occupied the bird house!

I love this white Aster 'Christina'.






Sunday, 16 September 2012

After the Rain


Finally, the rain has fallen. It watered the garden nicely and many plants came alive again. Thanks God, they have all survived the drought. There is many dry and dead leaves to remove and beds need clearing up. No wonderful autumn look this year but, Asters and Sedums are about to flower.


Colchicums appeared on the lawn as well. Wet weather brought  unwanted guests on some plants - orange coloured aphids - but I do not worry about it, the plants are dry anyway. And, natural predators have already occupied the plants too - Ladybirds!


There is also lots of them on the same plants feeding on aphids! These bright orange aphids are on my Milkweed and I am pretty sure they are Aphis nerii species.



Monday, 10 September 2012

Strange Flower and a Hoof


Nature creates the most beautiful gardens and plants the most unusual plants or mushrooms, in my case. This mushroom is called 'Chicken of the Woods' (Laetiporus sulphureus) and appeared on some old dead tree trunk in the park. Pretty strange considering the drought.


They look like a giant flowers. Aren't they beautiful? By the way, they are edible when young. I photographed another mushroom called 'Artist's Bracket'. Don't you love the common names?

Ganoderma applanatum

This is a bracket fungus that lives on dead or older trees. Why the name 'Artist's Bracket'? The underside, where the tiny holes are holding spores, is white and one can draw on it with some sharp implement. The lines soon became dark and you get your picture!

Monday, 3 September 2012

September


September started with fog (??!) and overcast but no rain at all. What usually is a cropping time, in my garden completely failed. Well, I have some tomatoes and tiny hazelnuts and that is all. As for flowers, only roses withstand this awful drought. 
Two days ago heavy rain showers stroke the coastal regions but not the place where I live. Not a drop fell. For instance, the town of  Zadar on the coast was completely flooded  with 110 litres of rain in one single afternoon. It is usual monthly average in summer!


I broke no garden watering rule last evening and watered the garden completely. Otherwise, I will have no garden at all. I feel really miserable looking at the dry yellow foliage of the plants. I pray only for them to survive. At least, it is not so hot any more and one sleeps well at night. It does good to plants as well.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Wheather Update


It was raining in the afternoon yesterday and over the night. Even now as I write it, the rain is drizzling. I almost cannot believe it! Finally, the plants got some water and I after a while I will see for which one was too late. Thanks God, the rain came silently. There was no such a strong wind that crushed down the trees as in some regions of Croatia.
The days that follow will be sunny again but it will not be so hot any more. And, the new rain is coming for the weekend. Back to gardening again; the garden needs tiding up a bit.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Rain at last?


The present state: the temperature drop, strong wind and these clouds coming from the west. But, do they bring the rain? I wonder. 
We have the hottest the driest summer ever, and Croatia is the hottest country in the region. Note the dry branch on the oak tree at the end of my plot in the corner of the picture above! This oak is a great wind protection, I hope it won't dry out completely.
This is the misery in my garden...