April 15, 2014

5 photos of small shady backyard landscaping ideas direct from Holland

These photos were taken in Holland. Just look at this neat and beautifully maintained spaces.
Whenever I am in Holland I have this surprising feeling that concept of space is really abstract. I am telling you… it is streaching… whatever you may think about it now.  
Just give me your hand and let's have a look at the photos, okay?

These are relatively small spaces to arrange and yet, so much is going on there.   

Gardens and planting is expanded to the walls and nobody is having these irrational ideas that plans will destroy them.

Neatly trained Parthenocissus tricuspidata known as Japanese creeper aka  Boston ivy aka Japanese ivy looks like 3d cushion sculpture on the wall.

Climbing hydrangea on th right gives lush green and white flowers in the late spring/early summer.

On the right trained Pyracantha coccinea - European species of Firethorn that has been cultivated in gardens since the late 16th century. In UK it is trained since 18th century. Great plant with benefits - interesting shape and intense coloured fruits (red, yellow or orange) in the autumn.

And I just couldn't resist to share these eyecandy.

Thanks for the walk :)

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April 9, 2014

How to grow asparagus from seeds?

You may ask yourself whether it’s at all worth the ado. In some cases definitely yes:
1. When you don’t have possibility to buy the tubers to plant.
2. You want to have more plants at once.
3. You are on the budget.
4. The variety you want, you can get as seeds only.

On the photo you can see my asparagus Argenteuil, for me best variety. This is an old, French  heirloom variety, loved for heavy crop,thick spears and, what’s very important, you get the produce next year, while other varieties produce after 3 years if grown from seeds.
So, probably next year I wish I had planted a bigger asparagus bed!
Names used for it: Asparagus 'Argenteuil', Asparagus officinalis 'White Asparagus of Argenteuil', Asparagus officinalis 'Precoce d'argenteuil', Asparagus officinalis 'Purple Dutch'

** How to grow asparagus from seeds? **
I started it indoors to speed up the germination, but this is not a must. You may sow them directly in the ground and in final destined bed.
For outdoor sowing best timing is late March or early April, if the soil is wet and unfrozen.
Sow the seeds 2-5 cm (0,8-2”) deep, rows about 30 cm (12”) apart.
How to speed up the germination? Soak the seeds in water for 1-2 days prior sowing. Or sow indoor and keep it in warm place, like on the heater (this is what I do).
First babies appeared fast! 5-7 days! But after 3 weeks the rest is still coming out. I have sown 13 seeds, 8 are out after 3 weeks, hope for the rest as well. Keep them well watered and in warm place.
In the bed outdoor, when the babies have 2-3 leaves, make sure to thin them to about 30 cm (12”) apart. If you grow indoor, that would be the time to plant them in the final bed.

** Now this is important! **
If you spot females amongst them (they produce berries), get rid of them. There are two reasons: these plants will not be productive and they will self-seed like crazy and you don’t want that.

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"Home is the word reserved for the place where people live. Place where animals live are called pigsty, cowshed, stable, coop and usually they look like maximum security prisons – no windows, cold concrete floor, full of bars and chains.
For the chickens I am taking care of since 1,5 years, I have decided to build a wooden house with porch, which is the prototype of my own house.
This is traditional carpentry work, I have made with the same precision and feelings as the house I am building for myself.
Not many people know that hens can live up to 20 years, and even less people let them live that long.
With me, my birds will be watching sunsets on the porch and will die for natural causes”.  

“Home” – traditional carpentry construction by Anna Siekierska.
This is Anna’s diploma work at Fine Arts Academy in Warsaw, promoter: prof. Romuald Woźniak.

March 17, 2014

Bird Houses - Spontaneous City

Looking at this art installation it all seems to be so organic and obvious. Like it’s always has been there and should stay there. Beautiful and practical at the same time. Promotes biodiversity and gives pleasure to look at. 

Made of several hundred bespoke bird house mounted on a tree, in style with surrounding architecture.

London Fieldworks' Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven is a project in London commissioned for the Toyal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Islington Council as part of Secret Garden Project – a program of events for lesser known green urban nooks of London.

As London Fieldworks says about themselves: “…interdisciplinary arts practice formed in 2000 by artists Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson for creative research and collaboration at the art, science and technology intersection.”

More on London Fieldworks

If you would like to improve your garden to a beautiful paradise, let me help you to design it. We can work online. Contact me at ewamariasz [at] gmail [dot] com.

Happy Gardening!