Saturday, 31 May 2014

Garden in May

'Abraham Darby'

Roses and peonies.

The bold Hosta 'Sun and Substance' and Polygonum polymorphum 

Lonicera peryclimenum, a honeysucle

Ferns, Hostas and Lady's Mantle in a shady part of the garden. The plant with the red foliage is Lysimachia ciliata 'Firecracker' (Loose-strife).

A riot of colours.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Mousie and I

Well, my 'Mousie' felt no panic at all. 

I was quite surprised when I sow a little mouse in the grass this afternoon. 'Mousie' was not afraid of me at all! I could easily touch its ears - the mouse stood still and quite calm. I'd say it's a wood (field) mouse. The house mouse is more grey in colour. I wonder why it was so calm. I noticed no injuries nor it seemed ill.
I took it away from the open space to prevent the cats to catch it.

The lemon tree is full of flower buds.

I worked in the garden yesterday afternoon or at least I was trying to! The rain and sun exchanged regularly and I had to take shelter from rain several times! I started to prune the shrubs because the soil was too wet to work it. Did not finished the pruning because of the rain, of course. Today I ended the job and  finished mowing the lawn in a last minute. All of the sudden the wind started to blow and dark clouds covered the sky. The rain-shower was so strong that the water flooded the road canals within minutes. Eventually, the rain turned into pea-sized hail that lasted only for a minute or so and did not do any damage. Thanks God!
The whole storm came and go in just ten minutes and the sun came out again.
But, as I am writing this, I hear thunder in the distance...

The Lamb's Ear keeps rather well considering the rain.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Some More Roses

My favourite roses are English roses. These surround the bench and spread wonderful perfume.

'Paul Bocuse'

The rambler 'Bobby James' makes the green roof over the terrace. 



'Felicite et Perpetue'

'Rosa Mundi'

Showtime for Roses

May is certainly the month when the roses bloom at the best. This year the're a bit late because of the rainy weather. The rain also did some damage on the buds but still, they are beautiful. Here are some of my roses.

One of my favourite English roses, 'Abraham Darby'

The climber 'Parade'

The two old bush roses on the garden fence, the name unknown.

'Paul Neyron' and 'Double Delight' in the morning sun.

Want some more?

Sunday, 25 May 2014

How to Grow Peonies

I must apologize to all of you who contacted me by mail or comment on my peonies posts and asked me how to grow them. I am very late to answer all of your questions and I am going to redeem myself (I hope so!) by creating this post about peony cultivation. They are expensive plants but worth one's price.

Well, as I said in one of my previous posts, the soil in my garden is almost ideal to grow peonies and they really thrive there. The soil is loamy, with neutral pH.
Most peonies prefer colder climate, love the full sun but will also grow well in a dappled shade. In fact, in warmer climates with hot summer days, the spot with afternoon shade would be the best.

I use to plant the peonies in autumn. I buy bare root plants and plant them about 5 cm deep into the soil. I mix the soil with compost, cover the root, water well and that is about all. You have to water them regularly if there is no rain for a long period, but good drainage is essential.
Feed them with general fertilizer. You can mulch the ground around them to preserve the moisture.

'Dr. Alexander Flemming' 

One of the minuses in growing peonies is the fact that the stems may not be strong enough to support the large, heavy flowers and they need staking.
The foliage of herbaceous peonies should be cut to the ground in autumn to prevent diseases. I only recently noticed the peony wilt (Botrytis) on some of the bushes and, I need to remove all infected leaves and burn them to prevent airborne spores to spread. I am not sure if there is any chemical control available to gardeners. This extremely wet weather we have had recently certainly helped developing diseases like that. To my great sorrow, one of my favourite white flowering bushes, 'Festiva Maxima', is infected by this disease.

The nursery where I buy my peonies have new ITOH-hybrids in offer. These are inter-sectional  peonies, the hybrids between herbaceous and tree peonies. They have stronger stems so staking won't be needed. The flowers are large and numerous. I have already made a reservation to one of them; it is called 'Canary Brillants'.

ITOH hybrid, 'Canary Brillants' from Decora nursery.

PS. I have lost the links to many good gardening blogs since 'Blotanical' is no more. Has anyone a web address to a blog by a Japanese man growing the garden on his balcony in Tokyo? I forgot the name of his blog.

Friday, 23 May 2014


This year, I planted herbs in the pots and put them in the wire baskets on the terrace fence. I have purple and common basil, lavender, sage, rosemary and everlast. The last one, Helichrysum arenarium or everlast is wide spread along the Croatian coast, especially Dalmatia. It dries very well preserving the yellow colour of flower and silver of stems so, I suppose, hence the English common name. It is considered to cure gall bladder disorders, and have antibacterial and diuretic properties. I love it for its beautiful aromatic volatile oil that spreads the odour every time you touch the plant.

The sage, lavender and ever-last.

But, so are the all plants I put on the terrace along with the lemon tree. At the moment, the lemon is in a full bloom and spreads the wonderful smell. This is a little piece of Mediterranean on my terrace. 
The terrace is facings south-west and makes a perfect place to grow all these plants.

 I used a snail shell and some birch twigs to make this decorative plant marker.

The sage in the garden set the flowers.

The River Pakra Canoeing

 The young fellow citizen Santo Tessari canoed down the river after the flood. The river banks are full of debris and drifts.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The Old Wooden Bridge

The sun in the garden at last; what a pretty sight! After having made a tour in the flooded part of the town yesterday afternoon I appreciate the sunny view even more. The water withdraw and left everything covered with mud and debris. The firemen were still cleaning the roads and yards. 

This is what a potato field in one of the gardens looks like after the flood. Just cannot imagine having it all under water. In eastern regions of Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia the flood is tremendous. Some houses are completely under water. 
Where I live it is not so bad, the water wave just passed through. People have lots of damage in houses and gardens. I regret the most the old wooden bridge in the vineyards. I think the damage is beyond the repair and the new one needs to bi built up. These pictures are taken on Sunday morning, now is the water level far more lower.

I only hope it would be made of wood again because nothing modern fits in the landscape.

People all over Croatia have been collecting help for flooded regions. The international community is also sending help. We have barely recovered from the war destruction and now this. Can you imagine your home looking like this? I really don't know how would I react to loose everything once again. This is the air view of flooded area in east Croatia.

People have been evacuated and rescued as well as animals, pets and cattle. Sorry to bother you with this. At the moment I cannot think of roses and lilies... I am going to call Red Cross again and donate some money by phone. That is at least what I can do.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

After the Rain

Macleaya and rain drops.

I really do hope that the morning shower was the last one in this long period of rainy days. The sky is much brighter now though, the sun is still behind the clouds. I sow many fire-brigade vehicles preparing to help people pump out the water from their houses. I went to the garden to check out the flowers and vegetables. Except the ground is terribly wet, the plants seem to do well. 

Heucheras 'Caramel' and 'Palace Purple'

Heucheras look pretty well, one of them is already developing the flower stems. I love them for the front of the border; the foliage has such a wonderful shape and colour.

Peas, in spite of the unfavourable weather, are flowering very well. 

Mangold and Swiss Chard need thinning. 

This small Fuchsia that I bought on the flower show last Sunday has found its place in a pot on the terrace. The flowers are small but numerous. There are still lots of buds to open and I expect it to flower for at least two weeks.
Many plants in the garden is just about to flower. The following week should be sunny and rather warm so a burst of flowers is to expect. I cannot wait.

Friday, 16 May 2014

The Flood

Just to illustrate how much rain has fallen in last 48 hours... and it is still raining. The night was pretty dramatic because this normally shallow river turned into a monster. This is what it looked like yesterday afternoon.

In summer, the river is no more than a few feet deep and now it broke through the banks and flooded most of the ground on the left side and some on the left side too. As the night was approaching the water level raised. I called my friends at 11 p.m. when the fire brigade was alarmed and the commotion started.  I knew immediately what was going on. My friends, like me, live on the right side of the river. But, they're only 50 m away from it. They said they are surrounded by water but the house was still safe. On the left side of the river the rescuers have to use boats to come to the houses and check the situation.

This is the old wooden bridge leading towards the vineyards. There was a lot of driftwood underneath pushing it. I heard in the morning that the bridge is half-broken. Now all looks a bit better because the water level dropped by one meter.
My garden is flooded too, the ground is soaked. There is a pool on the lawn. Thanks God, the night passed without strong wind which made quite a damage in other parts of Croatia. The floods in neighbouring Bosnia and Serbia are terrible. 
This is what I have photographed in the morning.

The left side of the river is still under water.

The rain should stop on Sunday. Two more rainy days to go. And who says it is not a climate change? Last year was just the same - mild winter and then cold and rainy spring, especially May which used to be one of the most beautiful months in the year.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


'Pink Hawaiian Coral'

After the sunny Sunday we have rain again. The temperature drop is quite high and we had to turn the heating on. There was even some snow in the mountain regions. The long-term weather forecast predict the rain for another six days. It is always so when the peonies are about to flower.

'Rubra Plena'

These three varieties are the first to flower. I staked them well and  it seems to work - the flowers stand firm up in spite of rain.

I really miss working in the garden- There is no weeds in the beds but the brick paths and edges need some tiding up. I bought some annuals on the flower show to fill up the gaps in the flower beds but still did not plant them because of the rain. 

'Rosea Plena'

I also gave up pruning the Dogwood because I discovered the blackbird nesting in. I have to wait until the little ones leave their home.