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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Two huge ericas add different colors to the garden elsewhere.

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© 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.

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

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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.

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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.

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Dapper Spider Lady

Today, I had to change the zeolite and charcoal in the end filter at my wastewater treatment facility and other associated chores – like pumping out most of the water and removing some of the dead leaves from the end pond, etc. I usually do my best not to harm any critters whilst doing this. I counted at least five frogs and ten damselfly larvae in the pond and when changing the zeolite in the filter this poor spider lady carrying an egg sac fell into the filter from I do not know where. She was a bit wet and thus not as agile afterward as these wolf spiders normally are, thus I could take out my phone and take some pictures. She was still way too quick for comfort so I only got two where she is in focus. Pictures are below the fold.

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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.

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

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

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

Art: Combining resin and beads

It was just a matter of time, wasn’t it? And with the installation of actual working lights in our cellar, I had not just enough illumination, but also work space again to do some resin work.

Now, in between the last time I did this and now I invested into two things:

1: sanding paper up to 200 grit for the small disk sander that I have

2: A small bench grinder to polish the pieces.

Between the two of them, it saves probably 70% of the annoying work. Instead of having to start hand sanding at about 200 grit, I started at 2000. Now, there is even finer sanding paper for the machine, but that wouldn’t be very helpful, since the sander is, of course, a flat surface and I want the pieces round, so a few, really just a few minutes of hand sanding with the paper on a soft sponge are needed. Then polishing is a treat (provided I hold tight on the pieces and don’t have them shot into orbit).

With the resin done it’s always a question of how to turn them into pendants. When they come out of standard moulds, they fit standard bezels, but these here don’t. Wire wrapping is an option, but being no good at it the results are often not satisfying. It also takes the focus away from the resin pieces I think. Now with the beads bringing me so much fun, why not combine?

Round resin piece with a beaded bezel. The resin piece is brown and blue, like continents and the ocean

©Giliell, all rights reserved

This is one of those “sea and land pieces” that I love so much, even though I’m not completely happy with it. I shouldn’t have added the metallic pigment, because there was a layer of flitter that settled somewhere in the middle that makes it slightly opaque. The bezel is made from seed beads in two different sizes and some small crystals.

Round resin pendant in a blue beaded bezel. The resin piece resembles mountains with a sky

©Giliell, all rights reserved

This one is gorgeous, and I can’t decide which side I love better. I think I’ll try something similar again with the attempt at creating northern lights. This started out rectangular, btw.

Round resin pendant in a blue beaded bezel. The resin piece resembles mountains with a sky

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The last piece defied my attempts at beading, because the curve gets too narrow at the top.

Tear shaped resin pendant with brown on the outside and blue within

©Giliell, all rights reserved

It has the same issue as the first one, but look at that shine!

My Auntie’s Garden – Part 3 – Pansies

The Czech name for these beauties is “maceška” which is a diminutive form of the word “macecha” (stepmother). Don’t ask me why, I have no clue. These were not grown in the rock garden itself, they are in old ceramics throughs near the steps into the house.

© 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.

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© 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.

Degupdate: Candy is back, and this time she brought reinforcements!

After our sweet Estelle passed away, it was clear to us that since we didn’t want to give up Candy, we would need new friends for her quick. Thankfully our breeder agreed to take her in and socialise her with two young degus. This went really well and left us just a week to get Degustan back in shape again*, since Candy and Estelle had eaten away quite a lot of the wood holding the wire in place. Of course we ran from problem into trouble, since most parts are cobbled together from leftover pieces, so what used to fit the last time doesn’t fit now. But we finished yesterday and went to pick up the crew today. So please meet Candy, Sky and Lulu.

An adult brown degu, a juvenile white and a juvenile brown and white degu snuggled together in a carrier.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

When we brought them home they were a bit shaken from transport, so the two babies snuggled close to Candy.

Juvenile brown and white degu held in  hand

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Lulu is a shy little girl. She has already claimed what used to be Estelle’s favourite spot: behind the running wheel.

Juvenile white degu sitting on a girl's upper torso. The face of the girl is not visible, only the mouth

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Sky, on the other hand, is more like Candy. They will probably have some fights about who’s the boss when Sky grows up. It’s funny how much juvenile degus look like adult mice.

Adult brown degu nose to nose with juvenile white degu in an enclosure.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Here you can see Candy encouraging Sky to go exploring. It is clear how much comfort her presence gives them. When Candy went on a short trip outside of the enclosure, they both hid and only came out after Candy returned. Now, please, let those three have a long and happy degu life, my heart can’t take any more breaking.

 

*I’m afraid my colleagues think I’m crazy. We were chatting on Friday, with me mentioning that I need to finish the project and a colleague shared that yeah, with his hamster he always had to replace the wooden boards not just because of gnawing, but also because of the pee. I said “oh, that’s no problem for me, I put down tiles” and they all looked at me like I had sprouted an additional head…

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.

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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.

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