More Summer Content

Don’t worry, there’ll be some more serious content soon, and for once it’s good news. But for now, let me take you on a tour of the garden. This year, somehow, growing the seedlings on my window sill didn’t work. Don’t ask me why, but there’s no peppers this year. The tomatoes are way behind schedule. But we’ll see how it works out.

Let’s start with the potatoes:

Beet with potatoe plants

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This looks more dense than it is, I think for the future, the beet can sustain twice the amount of plants.

Next: peas

Beet with pea plants

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I planted sugar snaps and normal peas, though the latter were disappointing, too. They’re strictly for snacking, something the kids greatly appreciate. They’re mostly done now, so I plante a courgette in between. We may possibly drown in courgettes come a few weeks.

Beet with tomatoe plants

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As you can see, the tomatoes are still too small. The metal boughs are leftovers from the old trampoline so i can cover them should it rain too much.

beet with corn, beans and squash

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And a “three sisters planting”, this year hopefully with the right kind of beans. Again, I tried to pregrow my corn, and then when it didn’t take off I just sowed more outdoors.  Those plants are much stronger now than the few pregrown.

That was the “serious” gardening, now for the fun part: Flowers!

Purple mallow plants

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I always throw a few hands of flower seeds on the wild side of the garden. Last year, there were a few purple mallows. This year there are a lot of purple mallow plants. I love them.

Red lilies

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Lilies, I think. I know I planted them last year, but too late to bloom. They’re so pretty.

And last but not least, the Hollyhock. I love hollyhock. I planted those last year as well, the need two years anyway. Let’s just hope that they’ll just reseed themselves like the mallow.

Red hollyhock flower

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Pink hollyhock flower

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Black hollyhock flower

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Promising Developments

Among the green in the greenhouse, a bit of flaming bright orange caught my eye. After some looking around, there was a second one.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Who can recognize what those are? I’m not telling. I do hope the blossoms open at the time my mother arrives back from the hospital, she has never seen these. Neither did I, not live ones – I’ve only seen pictures of these and my aunt used to have a pygmy variant, but this is not a pygmy variant, this is the real deal. And these are the first flower buds that have shown up since I planted the seeds over a decade ago. I never expected the plants to flower at all.

My mother called on Tuesday that she has been transferred to a rehabilitation clinic and we could visit her, but we don’t have to. So of course we had to, even though it is over an hour’s worth of driving away. We visited her on Thursday and she cried and was in dire need of a hug.

She feels reasonably well, the incision site does not hurt at all but her leg is swollen and she does not have full use of it – the swelling pinches a nerve and she cannot move her knee properly. All this should so far be normal development and rehabilitation should help. Electrotherapy has allegedly some effect on the numbed nerve and she is slowly getting her feeling back.

They also found out she is anemic, which explains why she had for several months cravings for red meat and liver. Hopefully, iron supplements will help with that.

She will need some additional accommodations at home, I will have to order some stuff before she returns. If nothing goes wrong, it should be in about two weeks’ time. In the meantime, I am still busy cutting wood every day in every way.

My Auntie’s Garden – Part 10 – Fruit Trees

My aunt has a huge pear tree behind the house. She does not have very many pears though, because she has a lot of junipers in her garden, and junipers and pears in the same spot do not match – Gymnosporium sabinae abounds and is impossible to eradicate. But the tree still grows and blooms every spring.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Then there are several small apple trees. I love apple tree blossoms, they are my favorite. And when uploading these, I found out that FtB is broken, and deleting and replacing once uploaded wrong image with a different one of the same name does not work for whatever reason. FtB retains the old image even when I “delete permanently” it.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Then there is the one issue where I am far more successful than my aunt. And in part, it is due to the unfavorable climate. I live at a much higher elevation where the winter temperatures are very low. That is why my fig trees are in greenhouses, where they have a higher chance of surviving winter in good enough shape to bear fruit in the summer. In fact, these last two years I had several kg of late lower quality figs each October and at least a few dkg of fresh high-quality figs in the summer. This year looks extremely promising, my fig trees are covered in nearly golfball-sized green figs already, but my aunt is not so lucky. Her fig tree, although a clone of the same stock as mine (I am the one who obtained them from one university professor during my studies) does bear very little fruit and very inconsistently, and this year during my visit she only had a few bare twigs. When looking closer you can see that the tree almost every year freezes down to the roots and sprouts anew, something that happens to me once in a while too, but to my aunt, it happens more often. Because hers is outdoors and central Europe is just too cold even at its warmest.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I forgot to ask whether she got any apricots from her young and tiny apricot tree yet. I have seen no sign of blooms or fruit this spring.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

And last not a tree but a bush – red currant that looks recently planted. We used to have many bushes around the garden, red and black currant. My grandfather made wine out of them, but my father was strongly recommended to not drink it after he passed a kidney stone. And passing a kidney stone is an unpleasant enough experience to not want to repeat it, so the winemaking stopped after my grandfather died. The bushes lingered on for a few years still, but then caught some disease and started dying off, so they were all dug up and our garden no longer has any currants in it. The same happened to our neighbour’s currants.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

My Auntie’s Garden – Part 9 – Suculents

There are several colors of sempervivum around the garden, and this red cluster near the old well is particularly beautiful in combination with its surroundings.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Then there is this bowl with what looks like sempervivum but is a different species whose name completely skipped my mind. That is the reason why it is in a bowl – unlike sempervivum, this one is not frost-hardy species.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

There are also several clusters of various sedum species, but I did not make extra pictures of those since they are tiny. What is not tiny, however, is this little opuntia. The fruit (“prickly pear”) is edible, although not particularly tasty according to my aunt. There are only several cacti species that are frost resistant enough to survive the winter here, even in the much milder winters in the area where my aunt lives. And if frost does not kill them, then the overabundance of water will. This one has survived several decades under the careful care of my aunt and it looks healthier than mine in a flower pot.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

My Auntie’s Garden – Part 8 – Shrubbery or Bush or Both?

I am not finished with this magic place where I played as a child, but I am still working my way through the woodpile, and together with other things, there is not much time at the PC left when I have the strength to sit down and write. There will be more.

Between the garage and the house is a big mahonia bush and it was right in bloom, all green and gold.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Two huge ericas add different colors to the garden elsewhere.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Various rhododendrons and azaleas are not blossoming yet, so they are unfortunately still just indistinct green blobs in the background somewhere. I think there will be more than one color here in due time.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

I do not know what this is, but it is taller than me.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Hugging the south wall is this miniature almond. I have tried to grow it as a bonsai, but it did not prosper very much in the much colder climate where I live and after several years of barely surviving and not growing very much it unfortunately died. Maybe it would fare better now, the last five years were markedly and measurably warmer than normal.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Nearby is also frost-hardy rosemary. I did not have any luck with that either. Last year I got three clippings, all died before Christmas and I have no idea why. It was not even planted outside yet, I was wintering it with my laurels and citruses.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

My Auntie’s Garden – Part 7 – Still Some More Small Flowers

There will also be posts with other things, but I am not done with the flowers yet. You probably understand by now why I love this garden, especially in the spring. Nobody knows how many species my aunt has amassed over the years. One could possibly write a dissertation on it. Even when one thinks one has seen all, there is something rare or tiny or seasonal or all of it lurking in some corner somewhere.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

My Auntie’s Garden – Part 6 – Even More Small Flowers

I am back from the holiday with my friends from the university but unfortunately, I did not bring back any pretty pictures. There were no pretty sceneries, cute animals, or interesting flowers. There was a lot of talking since we did have some catching up to do – we did not meet for over two years, even more with some.

But there are still some more pictures from my aunt’s garden so there will be several more posts of that. I am very busy in my own garden right now too so I do not have much time to write.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

My Auntie’s Garden – Part 2 – Tulips

Not the biggest collection imaginable, but the strategically put tulips here and there resulted in quite a few various pictures.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

My Auntie’s Garden – Part 1 – Introduction

Very rarely do I have an opportunity to visit my favorite aunt in the spring when her rock garden is in full bloom, so today year when I got lucky I took a ton of pictures. I will post them piecemeal over a non-specified period of time.

This is the outside view of her house and the garden. You can already see the multitude of shapes and colors.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

And to start things first a picture of a small pond with water lilies. They are not blooming yet, so just a little anecdote to amuse you: When I was a little kid, I liked to play in this garden by running and jumping on the rocks. My aunt did not mid as long as I did not damage any plants, which I somehow managed. But she did warn me to not do it near the pond because I could fall in it. So of course I ignored that instruction and one summer day I did indeed fall into the pond, butt first. There was laughing and Itoldyousoing on my aunt’s part and wailing and gnashing of teef on my part. Luckily I did not hurt my self nor the water lillies.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Spring Blossoms and More…

Avalos has sent some spring blossoms and I am wholly envious. Here the spring is so far in various shades of gray and the weather would not be amiss in February. In fact, we had this weather in February…

Mirabelle blossoms © avalos, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Cherry blossoms © avalos, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

A whole lot of mirabelle blossoms © avalos, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

And to top it off, there is also a very cute kestrel picture.

© avalos, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

A Studio Ghibli Appreciation Bottle Garden

Well, it’s probably no secret that I love Studio Ghibli animes and their magical worlds and being. And I wanted to do a bottle garden for a while, the jar has been standing in the cellar for ages. A bottle garden is a close eco system, where the plants produce oxygen and carbohydrates that then gets consumed by the microorganisms that feed on the decaying plant matter. They’re an invention of 19th century botanists that needed to transport their precious plant samples by boat. The closed boxes don’t need water or fertilizer and there are some that are decades old.

I finally decided what I wanted to do with it and got some supplies, only to be foiled by transport damage. I love the kodama, the little tree spirits from Princess Mononoke  and happily ordered some on Etsy, only this is how they arrived:

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The seller promised quick replacement, but I didn’t want to wait because who could tell if I had time then, so I glued them back together. They’re extremely detailed gypsum casts, so I covered them with clear nail polish because I was afraid that otherwise they’d melt inside the bottle garden. Then I wanted a small dead twig from our old apple tree and ended up tearing off a big branch…

Next: assembling the garden. First layer: pebbles for drainage.

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I actually wanted to add a layer of clay substrate, but I couldn’t find it anymore. I won’t claim to have a photographic memory, but I have a very good memory for “where did I see this last”, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to deal with my chaos. Mr, not so much, and while I don’t blame him, it’s endlessly frustrating to know that he put something somewhere and him not even remembering that the thing exists. Well, the pebbles do the job anyway.  You could now add some charcoal, which I’m probably going to do retroactively.

Next: potting soil and plants.

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This is pretty moist and probably a thriving ecosystem already. I planted an offspring of one of my succulents and a semper vivum (next pic). those are not ideal plants for a bottle garden. We will see how they do. If they don’t thrive I need to remove the lid and keep watering them like ordinary plants (I only keep orchids and succulents indoors because I suck at watering them).

 

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Next step: Moss and decoration

I collected the moss from a tree stump in the garden. Did you know that by now you can by “moss for decorating” in the garden centre? Like, what?

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Sadly, taking the pics through the glass is, well. The light just refracts too much.

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I added some fairy lights by drilling through the lid and then sealing the hole with hot glue. Pics are even worse like this.

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They do look happy in their new home, don’t they? Now I got to balance the water and hope that they like it in there.