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Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year


My Yucca shooting the flower stem. In December.



Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Snowdrops


This is the earliest date ever recorded when they first appeared in the season. Usually, this particular bunch of snowdrops starts to pop out the ground around the new year. 


Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Summer Returns?



We have such a beautiful autumn weather here in Croatia. September and November were not so warm for more than fifty years. It was 20°C today. I finished clearing the flower beds last weekend and collected all the fallen leaves. But, I have to mow the lawn again. Never mind. That is the only thing I have to do before the winter.

Japanese anemone seed heads

I felt almost sorry to cut down some of the flowers because it still looked good. Japanese anemones bear seeds. I never tried to grow them from seed probably because they spread themselves well by roots. The Japanese anemone may be pretty invasive and persistent. I need to keep it under control.


See how warm it is?  The Japanese Quince, Chaenomeles, is blooming again this year.


The two survivors out of seventeen. Soon, I will pick them up. I hope the next year will be better.


Mr. Squirrel keeps coming to my walnut tree. So hard to catch it with the eye of my camera.



Friday, 23 October 2015

History repeats


Remember the last year when I wrote about the cabbage butterfly caterpillars in October? Well, the history repeats. I found them in my garden again. In October. They are all over the kale and pak choi.
I only cannot explain why they don't appear during the spring and summer, but now when is supposed to be too late for them. I know, the daily temperatures are still around 14°C, but still.


This was the very first frosty morning this autumn. It was not much frost on the ground, just covered the roof of the garden shed.
And, some roses are still in bloom. I feel sorry to prune them for the winter. This one is called 'Acropolis'.




Monday, 19 October 2015

Autumn Days


So far, the days have been warm with regular exchange of sun and rain. No wonder the flowers on my terrace still look so good. However, I started to move in the pots with the plants that cannot overwinter outside, the lemon, kumquat and oleanders.


I move in this trailing rosemary too. It has grown up a lot this summer and I just want it to stay alive. I mean, every rosemary bush I have planted out in the garden froze. I need to find the right variety of rosemary for the continental climate and find a good spot in the garden to plant it. I saw rosemary in other people's garden here, but they all have a sheltered position.


My walnut tree has quite a lot walnuts this year. I collected eight such bags so far and that is not all. I guess that is one of the most tedious jobs in autumn. Not to mention collecting the fallen leaves!
I had a little helper the other day, a squirrel from the park. Did not manage to take a picture of it, so clever in hiding on the other side of the tree trunk.


Asters are still in bloom, as well as the tall Sedums. This week is supposed to be warm and dry, so I am going to use the nice days to tidy up all the vegetable and flower beds. At least one lawn mowing is still in order and the garden will be ready for the winter. 


Friday, 18 September 2015

Chillies!


About a month ago I thought the chilli crop would be poor due to a very hot and dry summer. Watering the plants helps, but nothing can replace good rain showers. Finally, we had some rain in August and my chillies woke up. 
I decided not to put them into vinegar but dry them in a hot air. 
And they are hot just as I like.



Monday, 14 September 2015

Working Hard


Six beautiful days are ahead and I tend to use them to tidy up my garden. I finally started to rearrange the south border. I chopped down the juniper tree because it tilted too much over the border. Then I dug out all the plants. I want to work the ground thoroughly before I plant them back. It is going to be a lot of hard work digging the entire ground over and adding compost and manure. Planning the border is the easy part. The thing is that I need to finish preparing the bed today and plant all the plants tomorrow. They have been staying in water for two days. 


A part of the south border as it looks now. I need to level up the lawn and sow some new grass as well. How odd it looks now so bare. This is how it looked like in 1995 and 1997!


It is still the old neighbour's house wall behind and the juniper was so small.


The tall Sedum telephium 'Autumn Joy' justifies its name. It is not yet in full bloom but, it is already full of busy bees.


Walnut collecting is in order.


Liriope muscari


Fuchsia magellanica, the hardy one.




Saturday, 5 September 2015

Rainy Day

This morning at 5.50.

It's been raining finally. I was only collecting slugs between the two rainfalls. I haven't killed too many of them. The slug pellets I distributed some days ago did the job.


But, what's with the birds? They ate all my endive seedlings a month ago. I planted the new set of seedlings yesterday. I did not have to cover the lettuce seedlings ever before. 


The Chinese cabbage germinated very well. 


The Japanese Persimmons grow bigger. There are only seven fruits left. I read that fruit shedding is a common problem in young trees. 



Saturday, 29 August 2015

Just a Few Garden Notes


I have to pick up the hazelnuts before the squirrels do! 


Tomato harvest continues.


Autumn is knocking on the door.  


The south border needs a total make-over. Lots of hard work. I am to take all plants out, dig the ground, add compost and organic manure. Finally, I am to plant a new border according the plan I made.




Monday, 17 August 2015

Some Rain, Please

The scorched grass and Magnolia shedding the leaves.

People take many things for granted, like rain, for example. But, the things are quite different. Even when the weatherman says it is going to rain tomorrow, it doesn't mean it will. So, I have been watching the cloudy skies ever since Friday night, but not a single drop fell until this very moment. It has just started to fall. I have never thought I would be so happy. Yesterday was the natural disaster declared because of the drought for my county. There will be significant damages in agriculture. Yes, the irrigation systems help but, one has to let water in. But, where is the water when we haven't seen the proper rain for months? Oddly enough, only this part of Croatia suffers such a dry weather. In my opinion, whoever denies the climate changes has wrong.
I hope the rain will fall long enough to water the garden properly.


I water my vegetable garden every other day. It keeps rather well all things considering. I harvest tomatoes every day. I cannot eat them all so, I am going to collect some more and cook tomato salsa for winter. Those big boys above weight about 700 g (20 oz) each.


As you can see, slugs don't mind the hot and dry weather. They ate this Hosta almost overnight. They prefer this one with tender leaves, Hosta plantaginea. The other Hostas in my garden looks well.


The Hibiscus I got last year is flowering for the first time. The flowers are really big - 20 cm!



Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Squashes, Tomatoes and Aronia


I picked up the very first 'Hokkaido' squashes yesterday. The squash soup with some sour cream was my supper accompanied with toasted bread. 
This morning I harvested tomatoes. I have several kinds and love them mostly in salads. I prefer to eat fresh raw vegetables as much as I can.


I finally picked up Aronia berries before the bird have noticed them. Last year they literally ate all of them overnight. They are very sour to taste, make your mouth pucker. I decided to process them and made some jam. Aronia is meant to be very good to one's general health being rich in pigments with high antioxidative activity.



Our investigations have demonstrated a remarkable hepatoprotective, a very good gastro-protective and a pronounced anti-inflammatory effect of Aronia melanocarpa fruit juice in rats as well as a bacteriostatic activity in vitro against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli and an antiviral activity against type A influenza virus. Research of other authors has demonstrated that Aronia melanocarpa anthocyanins can normalize the carbohydrate metabolism in diabetic patients and in streptozotocin-diabetic rats, have an in vitro antimutagenic activity and exhibit a distinct immunomodulatory activity in human lymphocyte cultures and in patients with breast cancer, suppress the growth of human HT-29 colon cancer cells, inhibit the N-nitrosamine formation in rats and decrease the toxicity and cumulation of cadmium in liver and kidneys. Currently, there are no data in the literature about any unwanted and toxic effects of Aronia melanocarpa fruits, juice and extracts.