November 30, 2007

Reflections on correcting mistakes

I wish nobody would produce bleu trash cans - cos for hedge I have to wait next 3 years at least :(
Finally winter shows its claws, so work in garden could be abandoned until spring and we can do something else. Eeeeee.... for example... thinking on correcting mistakes in the garden - I can not drop too far from gardening subject, yes? It is was really a lot of heavy work on different subjects and different garden's levels.
Some 'mistakes' are deliberate. I thought - its same amount of work on transplanting small trees, as on annuals. If you count all work every year - it makes nice time spent.
I transplanted many plants this autumn - I counted about 60 now - not everything yet... but I believe I am not alone with this...
Still some to move, but more seriuos ones - rather tree time came. Place them to final sites - that will be a challenge - good some months ahead of me.

Filtering device is still outside, not hidden elegantly yet. Why? No enough time this autumn. There was more emergency cases.
Few thujas - small kind, that are waiting for this privilege on the other side of the garden.
Pond season is ended, so filter can be removed to a safe place in the cellar.

In the buckets on left side there are water plants, that I didn't want to place in the pond, so fish will not eat it. Now I don't know whether to keep them like this through the winter, or to put them to the pond?

These are great trees of neighbours, that made me fall in love with this site and buy the house and non-existing garden... soon years ago.

Very thin cover, rather sugar powder scattered around...
Roses! They can't be seen on the picture, but 'cover' made me remember, that I didn't do anything to protect them for winter. This weekend... its time.

You need to see this - bisons on the street

While browsing this morning on Polish blogs I found blog of the nature journalist, who lives in east of Poland and is widely known as active fighter for nature protection. He is not only writing about it, but he lives it and this is what makes him credible.
On his blog I saw amazing picture of European bisons walking through the village. Check this out!

November 28, 2007

Bird feeder, evergreen fern and wandering compost bin.

Bird feeder waits to get installed after spring adventures of one party. It lost the hook and has to be repaired. It is important to start feeding birds after snow comes. Before they have a lot of natural food in the garden - especially they will help us to get rid of unwanted bugs, larvae etc.
My garden furniture needs care. I am going to paint it before spring. Should it be white or blue?

Dendrathema (perennial) starts to bloom in November and doing well until severe freeze.

Beauty of November plants. Hydrangea paniculata Kyushu looks still fine even at dormant stage. Looks great together with evergreen fern Asplenium scolopendrium - it looks same entire winter. This fern likes alcaline soil, so I add crushed egg shells at the bottom of it and mix the soil gently.

Intensively red stems of Cornus alba Sibirica looks great until spring, when I cut them back strongly to keep it at the same level. While cut it produces nice amount of symmetrical stems which look like arranged in the vase. The younger stems the more red they are.

I have two compost bins. One of them I moved to different place, because I wanted to make it more 'comfortable' and also wanted to get rid of it's view through future rose arc (roses are planted, but arc is not installed yet).
Look what I found on the bottom. This is how compost soil looks like after 6 months. Pure black and smelling very nice - its a smell of wet forest. Wandering compost bin makes ready flower/plants beds after it is moved to different place.

November 24, 2007

Aslan also likes indoor blooms

Somebody asked how old Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera truncata) should be to bloom. I have an answer.
This one on the picture was planted by my 7 months ago. I just picked double segments from the mature (I prune it every spring to keep it shorter and more dense) and sticked it to soil. I was wondering as well whether it will bloom this year... and da da dam!
You can see small buds on it and unfortunately this schlumbergera will not open its buds, because somebody - that I will not name... moved the pot!
I grow this kind since 20 years and definately it drops all buds if the pot is moved, while the buds starts appear.

Outside, on the pond first winter frost. Phalenopsis blooming, however it needs changing the pot - somehow it got full of moss. Where the heck moss came from? I have this plant since 3 years and moss appeared in last months. Its blooming, but flowers are very small.

Doesn't it look like some kind of animal trying to get out of the pot?

November 23, 2007

There is nothing better than next year's garden

These are late tulips blooming here from April until May, when the sun is pretty high.

Purple with white edges is Claudia, late lily flowering, bicoloured tulip, grows up to 50 cm.

I mixed them with Attila Midseason Triumph Tulip, because they bloom 2 weeks earlier, so I had this color in this spot for over 1 month.
Attila Midseason Triumph Tulip

November 22, 2007

summer morning's flashback

Sitting in the morning at 6.30 at the window and trying to see something is good for nothing these days - it is completely dark yet.
This picture was taken in the summer morning while I was walking around with a cup of coffee in my hand. I keep looking at the wisteria chinensis (on the left side of the picture) that grows in the pot and ask myself when I will have to plant it to soil? Probably next 2 years it will do well, if I give it bigger pot. Later there will be 2 solutions. Either I will keep it growing in huge pot or move it to garden soil. Whatever decision, I will stick to my plan and keep train it as tree.

November 20, 2007

Gold Fish Feeding in the Garden Pond

Coming closer to the garden pond, I can easily spot difference between fish brought from the shop and born in our pond. Shop-fish are shy and easy to scare. Fish born in the pond treat us like family. They behave like home pets, swim closer when we apprear and eat from hand :) Those from shop do it as well, but they are not so fast. I read in the net that that only koi do that. In our case this is carrasius auratus, which is safer to have in garden full of cats. Carrasius is much faster and faster runs away danger. Have a look how we feed them...

There is always a dillema how often to feed and whether to feed fish.
In well established and balanced ponds fish will find enough food, so there is no need to feed them. Overfeeding is harming the pH and eco-balance of water.
This year I had real trouble - water in the pond was in tragic condition - you could see trough just 2-3 cm. I had a real fight in the summer. The results will never be visible immediately.
Saying that it is a lifetime project to understand the delicate life balance in your pond - might sound scary, but each pond owner has to be prepared for that.
For 2 years my pond was crystal clean, without exchanging the water in the spring. Actually exchanging the water is one of the worst things to do - the balance has get build from the beginning. In the third year somebody spelled my pond!
Plants didn't grow and water became muddy. Why? I made 1 very serious mistake: in the first year I let 2 grass carps ctenopharyngodon idella to the pond! I have red that they are growing big - I was on 'giganteus beginner mode', so it made me happy at that time :) - what I didn't know, that they eat 3 times as much as they weight daily! They are like WATER COWS! they will eat every plant in your pond!
We even started to scatter grass clipings on the surface of the water for them! To protect the water plants. It didn't help... I saw them few times getting out of water by 5-7 com and reaching to grass straws bending over the water and pulling them until grass gave up! It was scary at the beginning, but I got used to it - human nature. I hoped we can go on somehow. Unfortunately because they eat most of the plants, it is dificult to reach the balance in the water, due to lack of oxygen in it. We decided to remove them from he pond in the spring and let them to biig ponds in the neighbourhood - fishermans will be happy. Cleaning the water was very time consuming project, cos I had to clean the filters 2 times a day. Every time filtering media were dirty so much:

cleaning cleaning and cleaning and no real results. can you call little improvement after month of such treatment a result?

I tried many diferent ways. The best reviewed by users special liquid against green water (algorem produced by tetrapond) made my pond looking like this:

Also harmed plants - they became brownish. I made everything according to the instruction and quality of water didn't change.
I do not want exchange the water - I want it get balanced!

So I decided there must be better, more healthy way. I heard something about acidic peat but I was not sure what peat is should be. First I thought reglar one will do, but nope! I learned it has to be special! I found it and I packed my regular filter with fibrous acidic peat (it has to be fibrous and fertilizer free) and zeolite.
Peat is adding to water some humus acids that fight algae in the water. Algae are allergic to it.
Zeolite makes water softer - it absorbs ammonia, stabilises pH and keeps the organic waste on proper level.

That was it!!

After 2 months water looks much better. Have a look by yourself:

These pictures were taken on November Sunday; water is clean and healthy. So just after winter, next season will be much better.
As somebody said: "There is nothing better than garden next year".

November 16, 2007

November-itis - meme tag

I was honoured by jodi and tagged as 'meme-victim'. I do it with pleasure. Little late, but I had to find out few new things...
First - of course - I had to learn what 'meme tag' is. Wikipedia is very helpful - how have we lived without internet in the past?
Second I had to learn how to insert a hyperlink in the text :)

Meme tag is great in a way, because you learn more about fellow bloggers and also especially at this season this idea works wonders. Why? You start to think about things you like in your life :) November can make us bit depressed or sad, but if you concentrate on things you like it may have healing effect: life looks always better after.

Rules are following:
When tagged, you must link to the person who tagged you. Then post the rules before your list, and list 8 random things about yourself. At the end of your list, you must tag and link 8 other people.

Easy-wizzy it was not to make list of 8 things I like.

So... here it is:

1. I do bike and its my grand return to biking. It gives great contact with nature. You see more in shorter time and also faster you can reach places which are nice. I discovered biking in the summer, after I decided to quit driving car for some time. Burn out syndrome was my case in July after working long years for corporation. Have you ever felt like empty egg shell? No positive energy? no ability to write one single sentence that comes from your heart or is an effect of your creativity? hmmm..... sounds stupid to me today, but at that time it was rather tragic. I had to completely change my living style in order to get to normal again. So, I changed diet, got more physical and more contact with real life and real people. I quit driving car and bought bicycle and I love it. I explored places in the neighbourhood that I never saw before. Will I ever reach Warsaw by bike?

2. I get up early in the morning. When I do it at 5 am - it is great!. Others are still sleeping and is sooo quite around.

3. Right after I open my eyes I eat banana and drink cup of coffee - I do it exactly same way since 20 years.

4. I often eat pasta al oglio. It is my favourite and very easy to make. Just spaghetti with olive oil, garlic and parmesan. If you didn't try it, you had to do it and you will love it till the end of your life!

5. I allow myself to have 'lazy days' - sometimes I make one day fully 'lazy' - just hanging around in the house, reading a book or magazine (usually gardening magazine, that I have read already 5 times, but there is always something new I spot).

6. I like digging and planting in the garden most. Also planning the plant's combinations - it unleash my creativity - I feel like painting with plants.

7. I try to make stretching gymnastics at least 2 times a week.

8. I seldom read dailies - I feel like escaping far away from politics and start to live in the forest.

So I made it. There is no plants on the list, cos I can not make up my mind which one to choose :)

And now - according to the rules - I should point my meme tag victims!
It will be again very international - I love it! here we go...

Barbara - blogging wonderfully from Switzerland
Tyra - gardening in Sweden
Britt-Arnhild - gardening in Norway
Silke garden and cat fan from Germany
a wildlife gardener from Scotland
aloe garden from South Africa
meems describing her approach to garden in Florida
karen Canada

I am loking forward to your 8 random things :)

November 13, 2007

amazing - photos like paintings

More of absolutely stunning pictures of Kasia Sław Piwowar - Polish photographer.
Photographs are taken with analogue camera, no retouching and no photoshop applied. And as she says - this is world around us.
Do you also see such amazing stuff around? I would love to, but hmmm...

... if you like the photos, leave a comment please to encourage the author...

November 11, 2007

Garden Photos Before and After

Time is the fifth most important garden dimension. Garden has its depth (roots), height, width, length and time - 5 dimensions. In this post I would like to show you my garden photos before and after -
When I visited this 'garden' for the first time before bought the house, it looked pitiable. At that time I had no idea how much time and effort is needed to turn it into green private oasis, but I was extremely enthusiastic to do it, though I had no idea about gardening, plant's requirements, soil improvement and ... organic gardening. I knew I want garden and I want to do it by myself and learn everything.
It was 2004 - I started to study books, magazines and search for info in the web. Especially organic gardening was of big interest, but no really info about it. I have a feeling that chemical companies monopolized the 'gardening communication' and garden centers - at least in our country. Organic seems to be big secret - you need to try hard to get this secret knowledge.
So, starting from the scratch and having no experience it was a lot of fun and aching bones to learn everything. Below I would like to share 'before and after' state in some parts of my garden.
BACKYARD - visible from living room 2004
desert... desert... desert - coming summer I felt like working in the desert - soil everywhere - in my hair, mouth, everywhere.

End of 2004 - you can see some changes - little border and some plants appeared as well as beginning of hedge and Pinus nigra. When I spotted it in the garden center, I thought it is great and big. But when we planted it, it kind of disappeared... that was one of the first interesting discoveries: garden sucks plants like crazy! no matter how many you bring from the shop! it will be never enough!

We placed pond in the backyard to see it from living room - which I believe is great idea. What we didn't plan and what was very surprising and very pleasurable is the reflection of the water on the ceiling in the living room. When the sun goes lower in autumn and spring, we have a wonderful reflection of the water on the ceiling!

This big empty space is kept, because soon it will be overtaken by the terrace, that I can not wait to build. I bought the house not finished - terrace is one of the missing items.
Actually it is on my wish list, but I decided to make the garden first, so it grows, while I concentrate on terrace building :)


end of 2004

end of 2005









Backyard garden along the fence 2004









ufff... that's it... I go now to have late Sunday breakfast :) and next cup of coffee... see you...