Monday, 28 October 2013

Beautiful Days Continue

Walking around my garden today, I found out that some plants produced the second shoots and bloom again! No wonder with the weather like this. We had no frost yet and today is again 26 °C!  The first bloomer is Physostegia or Obedient plant. It is full of bees and bumblebees buzzing around. The second one is Delphinium, not yet fully opened.

I am not so sure weather this weather is good or not. In any case, it is pleasant to work in the garden. I pulled out the Gladioli corms. The old ones served its purpose and may be thrown away. But the new ones form underneath the old ones and they should be cleared from foliage and old corms. Sometimes many small corms form around the big one too. Some remain in the ground and survive the winter. Before I put them into the cellar to overwinter, I need to dry them in the sun.

There is another thing I manage to finish today. I made a warm bed for my Japanese Persimmon and Cherry as well. I made a weed free circle around the trunk, added some organic fertilizer and covered it with a straw. This will keep the soil weedless and serve as a good protection against the cold. I also bought some fleece to cover the top of the Japanese Persimmon. It is still young and needs some protection.

Pitty I have to go to the work in the afternoon. The morning always flies away!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Roses, Roses

For years I buy my roses from the same nursery. This year I bought three new and one I already had. Unfortunately, the beautiful rose 'Baron Girod de l'Ain' suddenly turned all copper brown and died! So, I wanted to replaced it. 
I find bare root roses the best way to plant them. Autumn is the best time to plant them. They will be dormant through the winter having still plenty of time to root themselves first.

Before planting them, it is good to leave them overnight in a bucket of water. There are a few simple rules when planting them. The hole needs to be deep and wide enough to place the roots freely into it. I add some organic fertilizer and water well after filling the hole with a mixture of soil and compost. Roses love slightly acid soils and adding leaf mould or leaf mulch does them good.
My new roses are:
'Augusta Loise', tea hybrid
'Acropolis', floribunda
and, 'Ispahan', old, damask rose.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Guess what it is? Jujube!

My faithful readers and commentators on my posts as well as some new followers whom I wish warm welcome, said it was a date! Well, they guessed the common name but, botanically they were far away from the truth. Ziziphus jujuba, that is the scientific name for the mysterious plant which fruits I first showed you in my last post. This tree is commonly known as jujube, Chinese date, Korean date or Indian date. But, trust me, the fruits are nothing like a true date. What's the taste like? Well, I will only say you like it or not, tastes mealy,  and sourish-sweet! The good thing is that they contain a lot of vitamin C and are actually good for our health.

Jujube is a small tree, reaching up to 10 m. In Croatia, it is only found in the warm areas, along the Adriatic coast. The fruits may be eaten fresh. In China, India and Iran they dry them and consume as a snack with coffee. 

The fruits really look like dates having a single hard seed in the middle. The common Croatian names for this tree are: žižula, cicindra, čičimak or ćićindula. It is used as herb for insomnia, anxiety and stress. 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Gifts of Plenty

The days are simply beautiful here in Croatia. Another warm and sunny Autumn, perfect to prepare the gardens for the Winter and gather the fruits.
Piles of fallen walnut tree leaves are an inevitable picture in this season. Thanks God, these are the last one! Now I can collect what's left in the flower beds and other places where I cannot rake them.
I have plenty of walnuts this year; I think I will sell some too. The price is really good.

I had some friends visiting yesterday afternoon and got a crate full of apples from their orchard. The other just came from the seaside and brought me some dried figs. I love figs both fresh and dried. I always use dry figs in the Christmas cake.

This is the collection of gourds from my garden. The summer was rather dry again and I manage to collect only a few. I love these with wings. I also have pumpkins but I am not sure if they would reach the maturity.  I love pumpkins simply baked in the owen...
And, to conclude the post, there is a riddle for you. Do you you know what kind of fruit this is? And I don't mean the dried figs!

The answer follows in my next post.
Be well and enjoy the Autumn days. I wish they are as beautiful as they are here! 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Day Out

My cousin called me yesterday evening saying: 'Be ready tomorrow morning at six o'clock. I am going to pick you up and we are off to the woods to gather mushrooms.' Well, how can I cannot say no to that? Today is a national holiday and I have a day off. But my cousin had to be at work at one o'clock. That's why we were going out so early. And besides, we had one hour drive to the forest we wanted to go. 
The beams of the rising sun going through the trees was my first camera shot this morning...
We walked good four hours and found quite a lot of mushroom specimens. Well, finding specimens and taking pictures of them was more my goal of this trip. My cousin and her friend we picked up on our way to the forest were more interested in mushroom edibility!
Anyway, I took lots of photographs and found some edible mushrooms as well: cep, honey fungus, parasol mushroom, and a few specimens of the genus Russula. 

The most abundant were the Trumpets of the Dead mushrooms, Craterellus cornucopioides. I am going to dry them and have them as a spice to various dishes e.g. goulash. When dried the flavor becomes more intense and seems like a black truffle.
It started to rain just a few minutes ago and the temperature is not so low as one might expect.  Interesting, the next five days the temperature should rise up to 23°C! With enough moisture, the weather conditions should be favorable for the mushroom growth. I don't have to take a long walk to find them. I pick them in the town park quite near to my house.