March 31, 2009

Spring Flowers

Finally spring has arrived here! As you predicted, the snow melted and dependable bulb spring flowers appeared. Crocus! She really brought crocus finally.
I looked at them and I did what? I complained.... "I really do miss yellow spring flowers".
You say and you get it. No. No yellow flowers.... yellow butterfly appeared in the afternoon flying around, here and there, pleasing my eyes...
Universe is listening to me.... but did not give back my garden journal yet...

March 30, 2009

Santolina - Cotton Lavender - Pruning

I prune back my Santolina every spring in March. First picture shows it before pruning.
Without pruning it would get leggy and ugly. Pruning makes it more dense. Below after pruning:

Doesn't look very handsome NOW, but believe me it will look great - round and dense - in 2 months!

I am not an expert - just share my experience with you and I would be very happy if you share your experience with me, by adding comments.

I have read somewhere, that it can be pruned in the Summer, after flowering, to keep it shaped nicely and flowering every year.
I did not like yellow flowers, so I was not particularly looking for flowers of Santolina chamaecyparissus.

Assuming that I would like to promote flowers of Santolina - what shall I do?

Happy pruning!

March 29, 2009

Twitter - Garden Design, Garden Landscaping and Gardening Groups You Can Join

If you have not joined Twitter yet - the digital best party on Earth, now is time to do it. I've read that even kids in some schools will study the subject. We can not get behind!
There is a lot advantages of Twitter, but the main one is that you can connect in real time with other garden bloggers. Imagine it as big digital party where you meet different people and talk about newest film, car etc. This is the place to learn with speed of light all newest info about whatever subject interests you: curing your credits, film schools, best acting schools in your area, cooking recipes etc. After you have a group of people that represent your different interests you may ask questions starting from insurance advice via organic gardening, and finally at how to consolidate school loans etc.

Sometimes, when I open Twitter in the morning, the party is going on despite of hour. So, I log in and what I see? One of my favourite garden blogger in California just before going to sleep, somebody in Singapore just after work and somebody in Australia.
The whole world is present in your real time and you can feel it!

After you sign up, there are also Twitter Groups you may join:

Don't forget to add the link to your blog in the Bio section.

See you there!

March 28, 2009

Growing Potatoes - In The Seek of Childhood Tastes

I got really curious how taste home and organic grown potatoes. I can not buy organic, healthy grown potatoes in the shop, so the only way to learn it, is to grow by myself.

I hope potatoes available in the shop are not treated too much, but this is only a hope. There is no real control over that process.

Grow potatoes yourself - completely new idea to me, appeared recently as a result of seeking real tastes od childhood. This is just fun - growing potatoes for one or two meals.

Anyone can do it - you can grow potatoes even on the balcony, in the bags with soil.
I have small garden, but definately will find space for 4 potatoes plants.

I picked 4 not too big, nicest looking potatoes and now will keep them in egg tray to let it sprout. Potatoes are more productive if they are sprouted before planting and the growing season is shortened.
Each potato has at least 1 eye on the top. Taking closer look proofs it. One side is more packed with 'eyes' than another - this is the top of potato.

I think they should be placed now in half-dark place. Some people advice cutting them by half, but second half says 'cutting doesn't make sense'. It sounds more convincing to me to pick small potatoes rather than cutting them.

March 27, 2009

Blooming Friday - Indoor Flowers - Poinsettia 3 Months After Christmas

My poinsettia is still growing flowers instead of getting dormant.

Poinsettia we buy before Christmas have very small root system, so they need constant moist soil. Now, after 3 months I can see that even if the soil dries up sometimes, the plant is still fine - it survives even few days, without dropping leaves.

All my other blooms you may see in my last GBBD post.

Blooming Friday is organised by Katarina at Roses and Stuff.

Jump there to see more. You may also partcipate!

March 25, 2009

Winter Wonderland - Beautiful Winter We Have This Spring in Poland

“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.”
~~ Robert H. Schuller

I got used to winter - these pictures were taken yesterday night from the living room window.
View is nice, temperature is not so bad and finally there is a positive side of late spring: more time to plan vegetable garden! As my garden journal got lost and I can not find it anywhere, I need to stretch my brain little bit, so I can retrieve last year's planting.
Do you think universe will return my garden journal? Or should I start a new one?

What are you doing to put garden notes together?

Last year on 27th of March it was snowing crazy as well - only 2 days later - check here!

March 24, 2009

Welcome New Viewers and How To Stay in Touch with Ewa in the Garden?

Recently I see many new viewers at Ewa in the Garden, so I would like to welcome YOU and say that I am very happy to see you coming. I hope to deliver YOU a great reading and great pictures, so YOU decide to come back.
I would like to give you a little tour around the blog, so you will feel more comfortable in finding most valuable posts and stay in touch with me in different ways.

How to find most interesting stuff?

Archive - on the left sidebar you can see the archive of the blog, so you may search what was posted in each month since November 2007.

Searchbox - on the left top, over the header, you can see search box on the navbar. You may type any word of any subject you are interested, hit the search button and you will get the list of all posts including that word. I write about it, because I know that many people tend to not see this box and disregarding that section of the blog.

Labels - under each post there are labels. If you specifically are interested with any of them, just hit it and you will get all posts labelled with that keyword.

Best posts - as on every blog there are posts that are preferred by readers more than others. On the left sidebar you will find the list of posts most read in last 7 days. One of the best performing posts from the beginning of my blogging are:

Blogroll - there is a lot of great reading from all over the world in the blogroll on the left sidebar.

How to stay updated with the new posts on Ewa in the Garden?

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Subscribe by email - is most convenient way to get all updated, because once you enter email address, you receive notifications straight to your e-mail box once a day. After you enter your e-mail address, there is a need to confirm your subscription by clicking a link within an e-mail you will receive from feedburner. This blog is syndicating only short summary of the post. This is changing with time. If you subscribe, you will notice the change in your mail box. Unsubscribing is also easy - you can do it without any hassle anytime.

Add to favourites - add Ewa in the Garden to the list of your favourite sites (menu button on your browser), so you may return to it whenever you wish and never loose track of it.

Bloglines - this is free online service for searching and subscribing news feeds, blogs and web content. You don't need software to download or install. You just register at Bloglines and you can access your account from any computer or mobile device.

Google Reader - it checks your favorite news sites and blogs for new content, whether a site updates daily or monthly. You need to register at Google Reader and add this blog to your favourites. Whenever you log in, you will see whether new blog post has been published.

Blogger Blog List - from the Gadget list you may add Blog List to your blog and enter the link to the list of your favourites blogs. This tool tracks when new post are coming if choose option 'date of last update'. 

How to Stay in Touch with Ewa?

E-mail - if you wish to send me an e-mail, you can find my e-mail address in profile section.

Twitter - I will be more than happy if you drop by and say 'hello'.

Technorati - you may read my posts on Technorati if this is more convenient.

LinkedIn - this is professional networking social website. As I am not full time blogger yet, my primary job is marketing and advertising, so if you wish, you may connect with me at LinkedIn.

Facebook - you need to register at Facebook to add me your friends, or observe my personal profile or like Ewa in the Garden fan page started just recently.

Co-operation and publication possibilites
Garden Design - if you would like to beautify your garden and make that in co-operation wih me, I would be more than happy. Send me an e-mail and we can do either online, or you could become my local client. I travel also internationally to design, supervise and complete the projects.

Public Speaking - yeah, there are so mamy fascinating subjects I could speak about. Invite me and see by yourself :)

Guest blog posts - if you are interested in making guest post on Ewa in the Garden, you are more than welcome. Send me an e-mail with your idea describing post subject and your point-of-view on how viewers of this blog will benefit from your post content. I am welcoming very valuable posts to make sure, the viewers of Ewa in the Garden will receive best quality posts. For commercial purposes read the section Advertising on Ewa in the Garden.

Interview - I am offering the possibility of making an interview, that will be published on Ewa in the Garden. If you think that blogging has influenced your life, that could be a great story. I believe that blogging is a journey and it helps to progress faster in whatever subject it concerns. I am interested in examples to help others to understand what potential is in blogging.

Welcome again and thank you for visiting!

Recommended further reading ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income

March 22, 2009

What if you also have in your garden 3,000 years old piece of ancient pottery of Egyptian art?

Maybe You also have treasures in your garden and you are not aware of it. Check now... better to learn now than in 20 years.
If you missed that story of 3,000 years old ancient Egyptian pottery used in the garden and stored in shed in UK, read the story here.

My Organic Vegetable Garden After Winter and What in Common Has My Garden with Veggie Garden at the White House - aha?!


Not everything died during cold winter in my zone 6 - salads were sown in September.
Rucola - elegant and peppery spicy on plate, reliable and winter hardy while growing. Rich in vitamin C and potassium.
Rucola [Eruca sativa (syn. E. vesicaria subsp. sativa (Miller) Thell., Brassica eruca L.], also known as Garden Rocket, Rocket (British English), Eruca, Rocketsalad, جرجير jarjīr (Arabic), Arugula (American English), Rucola (Italian), Rukola (Slovenian, Polish), Rugola (Italian), Rauke (German), Roquette (French), Rokka (Greek), Roka (Turkish), Ruca (Catalan), Beharki (Basque), Voinicică (Romanian) Rúcula, Oruga and Arúgula (Spanish), Rúcula (Portuguese), Ruchetta (Italian) and Rughetta (Italian).
It gets more famous nowadays, because it will be grown in organic vegetable garden at the White House. Details were revealed last Friday, when Michelle Obama oficially started the works. On the White House blog you may also see the plan of garden and all veggies that will be growing for the health of presidential family.
My seeds (bought in Turkey 5 years ago and they still germinate in satisfactory amount) were sown in September. As you see on the picture big, healthy salads has grown while I was dreaming about Spring.
I found also some small carrots, that were hiding from me in the summer.

My organic corn salad (Valerianella locusta) is also winter hardy. Germinated last Autumn and growing straight in the cold garden. Blesses me with freshness in March. Nutritious corn salad has three times as much Vitamin C as lettuce, beta-carotene, B6, B9, Vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids. Best if gathered before flowers appear.

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March 21, 2009

Sustainable Architecture - Fresh Air Plants - YOU need to see this!

I just saw an amazing video from TED conference in Feb'09 that is touching the subject of sustainable architecture project of an office building using plans for purifying the air: Mother-in-law's Tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata), Money Plant (Epipremum aureum) and Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens).

This is the speach of Kamal Meattle, who 17 years ago became allergic to Dehli's air and doctors said, that his lounge capacity went down by 70%.

They designed a healthy building and the study says that after staying 10 hours in this building there is 32% probability of 1% raise of oxygen in human's blood.

Ha! Sansevieria is the bedroom plant, because it converts CO2 to oxygen at night.

March 20, 2009

Bumble Bee Collecting Pollen - is it spring?

Yay! I caught it on the snowdrops in my garden! Little 'drunk' (she was) after winter. Doesn't she give us a look "Whats' so special?''

March 14, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - March 2009

I don't know when it happened that one full month passed again. We still have no spring :( There are some signs, that it is on its way.
I still keep myself going on with the help of modest and beautiful indoor plants. On the above picture Euphorbia Milli (Thorn Crown) and amazing Sedum morganianum Buretti on the right.

Calanchoe blooms since December. I changed its place from very warm one to little cooler and it seems to like it better.

Poinsettia looks still fine. Next month I will change the soil in the pots and prune it.

One of my orchids (Phalaenopsis) is still blooming, while the other one is just about to rebloom.

Lemon is very insisting on flowering. Since one month it sends new buds, but I keep to pinch them. I prefer the plant to get bigger, not to spend energy on flowers and fruits. But no! It keeps sending 2 new ones in place of one pinched by me! I gave up. I will let it flower.

This is the only outside bloom I have this month. Galanthus nivalis - welcome!

Spring is very late this year! I had much more blooms one year ago in March.

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is kindly hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.

March 13, 2009

Hydrangea Pruning or Pruning Hydrangeas After Winter

How and when to prune hydrangea - this is an often asked question.

The best time to prune hydrangea is it in the spring, after the most severe frost is gone. Rather do not prune plants before winter, as it easier for them to survive when the real cold hits the garden. Not pruned plants and not cleaned perenninal remains give the shelter to many beneficial creatures. Look at this picture, how many ladybirds (natural aphids enemies) have been hiding from the cold under dead leaves on the flower bed.

In my 6 zone garden I prune hydrangea at the beginning of March. Depending of weather conditions you may prune hydrangea also end of February. I have in total 12 different hydrangeas and I will show you how I pruned them.

Recommended further reading Hydrangeas in the North: Getting Blooms in the Colder Climates

Hydrangea paniculata pruning
This one is easy, because it always flowers on current year growing stems. Therefore main role of pruning, as you can see, is to keep the proper shape and density of the plant. This is especially important when hydrangea paniculata is still young - pruning makes it more dense right from the bottom. The general rule is to keep 1-3 buds pairs on the stem.
In the first year it looked like this before pruning:

I pruned it low, at the level of 25 cm, in order to give the plant nice dense shape.
Next year I prune it 10 cm higher (1 buds pair)... (see how Hydrangea paniculata Limelight looks 6 months later, while blooming in August'09)...

......and additionally, I keep the inside stems higher, while outer stems are cut shorter. This will give hydrangea paniculata nice symmetrical shape. If your H. Paniculata is too large, you don't have to be affraid - just prune it as much as you need. It will show happily new leaves soon.

Hydrangea macrophylla pruning
(Bigleaf Hydrangea, French Hydrangea, Lacecap Hydrangea, Mophead Hydrangea, Penny Mac and Hortensia - all name same plant)
H. macrophylla does not require too much pruning, unless it is really required due to frost or physical damage of the plant.
First of all examine entire plant and check what is the situation with buds. From nature buds are naked, they do not have any protection against freezing - this is why they flower best in the zones = or lower than 7.
In lower zones, it shoud be planted in cosy corner, sheltered by other plants. It also may needs covering for winter. This winter mine were not covered, survived -20C, buds look so-and-so.
If you look at the buds and see, that they are completely brown - this means high possibility of damage - such buds must go!
If you see green inside of the bud.... like on the picture below........

- there is a chance that flower, formed previous year, has survived. So we spare this one and see if we were right.
Pruning of Hydrangea macrophylla is easy if you remember to not prune it too much - it will love you for this. Next thing you should do is to remove dead flowers, that are so ornamental in the winter garden - and look where is the nearest set of green buds and cut 1 cm above it. That is all you need to do to keep it ready for the happy summer.

Hydrangea aspera pruning
It does not require pruning and actually it doesn't like it. This is large shrub (up to 5m), so you need lot of space to make it real stunner.

Hydrangea arborescens Annabelle
Flowers form on current year stems, so in general you may prune it to keep the shape of the shrub. However don't prune it too hard if you don't want to stalk your flowers. Fresh stems are not rigid enough to hold big, white flowers. I make rather cosmetic pruning - only if I see dead stems or want to change its shape. As you can see this hydrangea does not need pruning this year.

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Recommended further reading Hydrangeas in the North: Getting Blooms in the Colder Climates

March 9, 2009