Saturday, 30 June 2012

Am I Boring You With...?

... Day Lilies?

'Ministrel Boy'

'Siloam Show Girl'


'Elegant Candy'

'El Desperado'

Friday, 29 June 2012

Roses, Roses...

'Eden' rose

Roses are blooming perpetually. Looking at the hybrids I have, I realised that the most of them are pink.

Here, there are 'Leonardo da Vinci', 'Heritage' and 'Angela'

 'Angela' is a medium sized bushy rose with simple flowers.

'Graham Thomas'


'Lava Glut'

But, it not all well as it looks like. I really do't know what happened to this one!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Vegetable Progress

Due to the rainy May and the first half of June, the garden looks great. Courgettes flowers look promising. Some started to produce small fruits. I always pick them up young, with fading flower on it. Young courgettes have no seeds and there is no need to peel the skin as well.

Kohlrabi looks healthy and forms stem swellings we love to eat!

Dwarf bean is flowering and forming pods.

I plant spring onion bulbs every week cause I love to eat it young. Planting onion this way prolongs the cropping and harvesting season.
I also picked up the first pods of dwarf beans. Though I love them prepared as a salad I am going to cook a vegetable stew today.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Making the Redcurrant Jelly

I have a row of six Redcurrant bushes at the end of my vegetable garden. I picked up red currant fruits yesterday and made the jelly. The crop this year was excellent. I filled up a bucket full of redcurrant (10 L) for jelly and left some fruits to eat as well.
Firstly, wash up the fruits and remove leaves and stalks.

Then, put the fruits in a pot and get warm. Do not boil, you will destroy the natural pectin molecules that actually make the jelly hard. I use to crush the fruit with hand mixer and mash it (maybe you have the mashing machine or you can do the same by passing the fruit through the clean piece of gauze).
Put it on fire again and add some pectin powder (read the instructions on the bag) and add sugar. The Redcurrant is sour a bit so you can add 0.6 to 1 kg of sugar to one kilo of mashed fruit. Do not boil! Stir regularly until sugar dissolves.

Remove the foam as it forms. You don't have to throw it away it is good to eat too. Wash the jars and warm them up in a oven. Fill with jelly and close immediately.

I got six large and three small jars of red currant jelly.

Monday, 25 June 2012

June Abundance

Most gardeners say that the gardens look the best in June. No wonder. It is a flowering time for most of the garden plants. Though, I try to plant various species of plants to keep the flowering season from early Spring to the late Autumn. I know that flowers are the most attractive part of the plant but I like plants with attractive foliage or fruits too.

The Day Lilies look great planted in large groups. The orange-yellow Hemerocallis fulva is one of the first planted species of Day Liliyes I have. It is an inexpensive day Lilly and I give it away every Autumn. It spreads well and occupies pretty large patches in my flower beds.

Hemerocallis fulva

'Olive Baily Langdon'

On the other hand, some cultivars are so expensive that buying five to seven plants may be quite an attack to one's budget. I certainly do spend lots of money on the plants. My garden is big. When I created the borders I used to buy up to 70 plants at once. It might sound a lot but, believe me, when I planted them, there was still place for more.

Lilium 'Pink Perfection'

Investing money in bulbs of attractive plants like lilies always pays off. I have several species of lilies in my garden. Some of them, like 'Pink perfection' is taller than me. I think it is about 1.80 m high this year! I love it because of it's trumpet like flowers.


It is a national holiday today and I have a day off. Still, I got up at 4.30 this morning and went into the garden. There is not so much weed in the beds itself because of the dense planting but edges need tiding up. I need to mow the lawn again too. But now is already too hot for it. Some rain is announced for the evening and over night and the temperatures should be lower. I guess I will leave mowing for tomorrow and take the rest for the rest of the day!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Present Bloomers...

Heliopsis helianthiodes 'Loraine Sunshine'

Stachys grandiflora

Polygonum affine


Hemerocallis 'Ruffled Apricot'

...and one bearing seeds.

Lunaria annua

Friday, 22 June 2012

Peas Time

Watching the BBC documentary the other day about the food we eat and buy in supermarkets, I feel blessed to have a garden on my own where I grow healthy food. My eight vegetable beds are quite enough to me to grow various vegetables without herbicides and pesticides used.
I picked up all of my peas today. Peas are so productive this year and healthy as well. I picked them up in three turns, each time having about four litres of peas. Yes, we measure peas by litres, that is the amount of peas that can fill the one litre pot.

They were packed so tight into the pods that I find some hard to open. When it snapped, some peas flew into the air! I had much fun opening the pods.

Pods go to compost, peas into deep freezer!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Sudden Beauty

For years I have this cactus placed in a dark corner of my living room. No wonder it would not flower at all. It looked really miserable; I almost throw it away. Poor thing!
A month ago, I placed it in my veranda at the entrance door. And, voila! Now it is in full bloom. I was really surprised to notice lots of flower buds on the tips of the branches. I was wondering what colour they would be.

As you can see, the flowers are pink. I really don't know what cactus it is. Looks like Rhipsalidopsis rosea, Easter cactus but, I am not sure about it.
When it stops flowering, I will re-pot it into new soil and , I promise, take better care of it. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Hemerocallis Catalogue

I keep my garden diary for over the twenty years. It is really fun reading through my note/scrap books and see how my garden grew and changed over the years. I also have hundreds of photographs that keep the visual record of my garden. Today, finally, I made the day lily catalogue from the pictures I have taken so far.  I have catalogued 24 cultivars and I know there are not all of day lilies I have in it! 

I have a few plants planted last Autumn and this Spring as well so, they are yet to bloom. And, I am not sure I have pictures of all previously planted day lilies. I guess, I have to check out the shipping lists and list them all on one single sheet! I mean, that is the only way to keep track of how many cultivars I have. And yes, I will buy some new ones in Autumn again! Cannot help myself - they are so pretty!

'Stella d'Oro' (not catalogued!) first blooms. 


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Three Herbs

Thymus praecox 'Coccineus'

There are great many selections of Thyme grown in the garden, all of them with lovely fragrance. Thymus praecox  is flat creeping plant with tiny leaves and mangeta-red flowers. Like all thymes, it prefers dry, sunny spot in the garden. It is also ideal for planting into crevices of e.g. crazy pavement and, on a small scale, as a lawn substitute as well. If you ensure the right growing conditions it will spread quickly all over the place.
It is easy to propagate by division in Spring. Flowering plants are full of bees and butterflies.

Thymus vulgaris

The common, wild thyme is commonly grown in the garden and is too a part of the Croatian flora. It prefers well drained soil and it grows mostly on calcareous rocky soils. I use this one as spice for various dishes. This species is somewhat higher that the one above and after flowering, I shear the bush to maintain the form. This thyme tends to became woody and empty in the centre and then is the time to replant it. 
It is good to mulch the plants in Autumn to protect them form the cold in Winter.

Tanacetum parthenium

As the name suggests, this herb is used to lower the temperature. The plant thrives full sun. It is usually 60 cm high and has several branches bearing clusters of daisy-like flowers. It may became invasive because it spreads itself rapidly and grows easily from seed. I never have to worry about new stock of plants. It is a perennial plant and bushes only need to be cut back in spring. By Autumn I have many new plants from seed and prefer to leave them rather than the old one. 

Friday, 15 June 2012

Day Lilies Season

As I see on many gardening blogs  the day lily season already started. My hemerocalises have lots of flower buds yet to be opened and this unknown cultivar of mine is every year one of the first bloomers. In spring, I have added three new cultivars to my day lily collection: 'Amadeus', 'Dragon's Eye' and Avant Garde'. I cannot  wait to see them bloom.

The pink Honeysucle twines and climbs the terrace fence. Planted only last autumn, this plant is still small. The one that conquered almost the entire fence around the terrace suddenly died. It will take a few years for the new one to spread out but, a gardener has to be patient.  

Lonicera periclymenum

Certainly, it will be worth while waiting for the smell of the flowers in the evening.

Rose 'Bobby James'

The 'Bobby James' rose climbed the metal frame over the terrace. It is a rambler that bears clusters of simple white flowers. The rainy weather shortened the flowering time and damaged the flowers. If you don't cut off the fading flowers it will produce lovely hips.

And, the very first crop of peas is here! Now I am picking up the pods continuously as they come. Plants look good and I expect a good pea crop this year. Once they start to yellow, I pull them all out and pick up all the remaining the pods on them. As you know, peas like other Fabaceae is a good green fertilizer having the nitro bacteria on their roots. These bacteria hold the nitrogen from the air and so fertilize the soil.
In the crop rotation this vegetable bed will be ideal to plant 'hungry' vegetables such as cabbage, kohlrabi and other Brassicas.