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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?