December 30, 2010

Ewa in the Garden 2010

As usually end of the year brings plans for next year and also looking back at what happened in the passing year, whether was there anything worth to be proud of. 2010 was remarkable year for me personally and for Ewa in Garden. In May I've met fellow bloggers, in December I've completed garden design course, and blog got its momentum with stable readership. It was great year! This is why tomorrow or on 1st of January I will write 'good bye letter' again. I made it first time and it seems to be working. Why not to invite even better things to life in the upcoming year? This ritual has nothing to do with white magic or so, rather codes our brain to attract better things and get disattached from all bad things in life.

Turning back to Ewa in the Garden, if you like reading my blog maybe you are interested which post got most attention and were viewed most often. I made little digging in my analytics account and found out which posts published in 2010 were most popular. This list is different than best of all posts written since the first one, because the older posts are, the stronger they get in search engines.
So, I'd like to present 10 best posts of 2010. Maybe you missed some of them, so this will be the chance to view them:
    PS. Do you think you will also write goodby letter to old year? 

    December 24, 2010

    Merry Christmas :)

    SnowSNOWsnowSNOW in my garden...

    Wish you happy and peaceful Christmas.....



    Check out this best of the best Christmas decoration 6 Pc. Santa Suit Christmas Silverware Holders

    December 15, 2010

    China rose, December flowers - GBBD December 2010

    This December is full of snow since 3 weeks and only "flower joy" I have is China rose. Started to bloom end of November.

    Outside is white - no need to show it - you can well imagine that I guess...
    GBBD is hosted by Carol @ May Dreams Gardens - if you want to see flowers from all over the world jump over to Carol's blog and enjoy!

    November 16, 2010

    November flowers

    October welcomed us with freeze slap, so not many flowers survived. Asters - the most reliable autumn flowers in our zone 6 is one of 4 flowers I could find in my garden.  

    Calluna vulgaris planted last year is still in bloom.

    Pelargonium taken indoor explodes with flowers. 

    And last rose The Fairy.
    Inevitably we are coming closer to winter, garden bones are more exposed, so it's the best time to see mistakes and decide the corrections. Some of which will be fixed still in November, while the rest end of February.  
    Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens.
    Last November'2010 post.

    November 3, 2010

    Plant jewellery grows around you

    It looks like pieces and seeds you know from your garden? Exactly...

    ... look what also you can do using plants for hand made plant jewellery...

    ..earrings made of chamaecyparissus, seeds of Ligustrum vulgare (Wild Privet, also known as Common Privet or European Privet) and leaves...

    ...beautiful bracelet made on ribbon...

    ...decorative apple fruits and leaves of Aristolochia known as birthworts, pipevines or Dutchman's pipes,...

    I've spent beautiful Saturday learning how to make it and also sharing some pictures from my garden travels this spring. It was sunny, colorful and cheerful day. Thank you!

    October 25, 2010

    Magnolia soulangeana seeds

     I haven't done anything special to make magnolia seeding this year or maybe I did. Some extra fertiliser? Some extra love and protection?With surprise I noticed these beauties few days ago...

    To germinate they need stratification (2-3 months in the fridge or outside). Soaking in water. Removing red coating.

    October 17, 2010

    Plant Whatever Brings You Joy – garden book worth to read?

    If you have a look at this little garden book, it doesn’t seem to be big, just 228 pages. But if you decide to read it, your impression is changing – the book grows much, much bigger. “Blessed wisdom from the garden” becomes heartwarming book of treasure.

    Romantic cover design fits perfectly the nature of the 52 short stories embracing the garden and life, written in unique style and wit. When I read a book or Kathryn’s blog I am always astonished with her easy, natural and skillful writing style. I bet, that use of words will also surprise you!

    When I read it, I wanted to enjoy every page, every story as long as possible. While reading, I had a feeling that a close friend is sharing life wisdom and whispering life affirmations to my ear. This garden book is not only filled with entertaining backyard stories, it brings also intense spiritual beauty - these stories teach and nourish soul and spirit.

    Plant Whatever Brings You Joy is not a gardening book, it’s the book about garden of life, filled with metaphor and stories from Kathryn’s backyard. This unique garden book makes you aware again of life wisdom available in small acts.
    When I read the book I had that irresistible feeling of getting closer to the wisdom coming from universe, thanks to Kathryn…

    Plant Whatever Brings You Joy - this is the garden book you need to read.

    Grab your copy here Plant Whatever Brings You Joy: Blessed Wisdom from the Garden

    October 14, 2010

    Autumnal flowers galore - GBBD October 2010

    Next to the sea in the autumn,
    your laughter must raise
    its foamy cascade,
    and in the spring, love,
    I want your laughter like
    the flower I was waiting for,
    the blue flower, the rose
    of my echoing country.
    by Pablo Neruda

    Recommended further reading The Flower Recipe Book

    In my garden, which is in 6b zone, weather is not really nice to us and plants as well. Temperature has dropped already below 0C/30F at night, and today rainy days starts. Clearly, not nice side of autumn comes...
    I decided to make changes in the garden to reduce the number of work, because I have much less time for garden and I still want my garden to look beautiful. Firstly, perennials come to consideration - the less perennials, the less work. It's not easy to get rid of them, but it's really necessary - I have too many kinds of plants. Let's face it and let's do something about it.
    I write about it in this particular place, because I think that... asters will not go. Asters will be saved by great goddes of my garden! In the autumnal garden, they add so much color and joy here. How can I send them away?

    On the other hand, Calluna vulgaris 'Elsie Purnell' is a new addition here. I need heather's beautifil, harmonious shapes troughout the summer and low maintenance profile. This variety is especially nice, because of its grayish foliage and size - it grows up to 2.5 feets width, so after it's pruned properly after few years it will be really, really nice. I bought 5 of them to make large spot - grayish in the summer and pink in the autumn.

    Colchicum autumnale - naked ladies.

    Calluna vulgaris of unknown variety.

    Erica vagans Diane Hornibrook - the only Erica I know, that likes neutral and alkaline soil. It flowers in summer - this one flower poped out unexpectedly to my biggest surprise!


    Hydrangea paniculata Tardiva - moved last year to a new location, gave only 1 flower this year, but what a size of a flower! I think she likes new location, despite of all stress...

    Rose Chopin.

    Rose Louise Odier - very fragrant.

    Rose Mary Rose - very fragrant.

    Mary Rose decided to grow some new leaves as well, which do pretty well even after freezing nights.

    Sedum Autumn Joy - grows in too much shady place, but it's doing quite well.

    Coreopsis lonely flower...

    I just have discovered that this is the ONLY OctoberBloom Day post I have ever made! I have October gap in my blooming posts.There is September09, September08 and there is November09 and November08, but no October! hmm...

    Thank you Carol for hosting Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day

    Recommended further reading The Flower Recipe Book

    October 5, 2010

    Cottage garden typical in Cracow region

    This lovely old style cottage garden is arranged in Cracow botanic garden. I haven’t seen too many gardens looking like this, while travelling nowadays around Poland, but it doesn’t mean they didn’t look like this in the past. I like it and I hope you will also like it. List of plants you can find on the bottom of the post.

    List of plants / typical cottage garden in Cracow region
    Perennials: phloks, delphinium, aconitum, irys, aruncus, paeonia, dhalia, verbascum, lilium, dendrathema, dicentra, rudbeckia, rheum, levisticum (lovage), artemisia (wormwood).
    Bulbs: daffodils (narcissus).
    Annuals and biennals: hollyhocks (alcea), dianthus barbatus, cosmos, calendula, evening stock, sweet pea (lathyrus odoratus), nasturtium, zinnia, snapdragon, aster, helianthus.
    Vegetables: dill, parsley, carrot, beetroot, tomato, celery, leek, pumpkin.
    Shrubs: box, lilac, red and black ribes.

    Recommended further reading: The Layered Garden: Design Lessons for Year-Round Beauty from Brandywine Cottage

    October 1, 2010

    Love open pollinated seeds

    Open pollinated seeds are produced naturally using the ingenious mechanisms in nature for pollination: wind, water, insects and birds. Open pollination occurs with other compatible plants in the immediate area. The seeds tend to closely resemble their parents and are fairly close to the original plants in colour, size and height.

    We love open pollination because this is how plants have been grown and evolved over time and how biodiversity is maintained. Of course we also love open pollinated seeds because they can be saved and replanted from year to year as growers have done for generations. There are also self pollinating untreated heirloom seeds like peas and beans and these are great too! The OP seeds grow well without having to use additional inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides and irrigation. They adapt to their local environment, can be hardier and can have better flavour.

    In order to preserve all traits of open pollinated plants, seed breeders recommend keeping distance or a buffer (such as a greenhouse) between varieties. Heirloom seeds and plants are the product of open pollination over generations. They are for the most part, not used in large scale agriculture.

    Hybrid seeds differ from open pollinated seeds as they are the offspring of mixed parentage. Many hybrids are created by humans, whereas natural hybrids occur when plants that are closely related cross pollinate. Crossing two genetically distinct plants is done via controlled pollinating for example by commercial seed breeders. The offspring of genetically different parents is a new variety with specific traits from either/both parents. The seeds of many hybrid plants are infertile or they tend to not resemble the hybrid parent. The seeds of natural hybrid plants are often viable as they have learned to survive in a particular climate.

    Most hybrid seeds are the product of commercial breeders and can require higher maintenance. They often require higher inputs and produce higher yields. These types of seeds have led to a cyclical dependence on higher cost inputs which has led in some instances to soil depletion and/or farmers becoming increasingly indebted. Most corn and sugar beets produced in the US are hybrid. It is possible to get non hybrid heirloom corn seed however.

    F1 Hybrids come from two distinct plants that growers have cross mated. They are the first generation of plants cross pollinated in a controlled setting, and they can only be produced again by starting with the two distinct parent plants. Seed saved from F1 plants will not produce F1 hybrid seeds.

    This is a guest post by Anna-Monique West, Seed Living

    September 24, 2010

    Seed swaps: One of the most potentially vibrant, versatile and engaging websites for buying, selling and swapping seeds... says TreeHugger

    Seed swaps made easier – do you think you will use it?

    I can’t tell you how happy I was seeing that e-mail in my inbox. It’s not so easy to spot new, great ideas, so if you have one let the world know about it and send e-mails, blog or make video. SeedLiving new website for buying, selling and swapping open pollinated seeds and live plants.  

    Anna-Monique wrote in the e-mail: 

    “Users may choose to sell or swap within their own regions. The fees for using the site are pay-what-you-can. If users would prefer to give their seeds away for free but have the postage paid, they may put them on SeedLiving’s Trading Table. We are also looking for bloggers to contribute gardening news & tips for their growing area.
    At some point in the future, we hope everyone with access to the internet will be able to make a living or supplement their income from open pollinated, untreated seeds and live plants, while, at the same time, promoting and enhancing biodiversity on our planet.”

    What do you think about it?

    September 15, 2010

    Fresh food not fast food - says Patti Lynn

    "FRESH educates viewers about the burgeoning food movement emerging as an alternative to today's industrial food system. The film also is intended to be viewed in a manner that brings people together for discussion and collective action -- and that's where you come in.

    You can spur your own community to action by hosting a FRESH movie screening. Click here for more details.

    In homes, libraries, and schools across the country, viewers of the film will be asked to take action with our Value [the] Meal Campaign by signing the petition to Retire Ronald McDonald. Retiring Ronald, the single most recognized junk food icon, is a critical first step in preventing the next generation from continuing to experience the staggering human toll of diet-related disease."

    September 12, 2010

    How to Extend Your Gardening Season to Enjoy Fall Vegetables

    As any gardener knows spring and summer are an important time for producing crops. Most at home crop growers plant their crop in early to mid spring and expect bountiful vegetables in the summer. Among those most will admit that they plant their vegetables in the spring and once they arrive for harvesting forget about the garden entirely. The problem is many people are unaware that there are crops that actually taste better when harvested in the fall and ones that thrive better in the weeks of early frost and cold. Nevertheless, you could be missing out on some of the tastiest vegetables you have ever grown. So, by maintaining your garden through the summer and fall and making the right choices in plants you can enjoy succulent vegetables well into fall and winter.

    In terms of fall and winter vegetables there are many that are easy to grow at home. Some of the most common are leeks, pumpkins, certain types of lettuce, butternut squash, turnips, broccoli and spinach. Most of these can be planted in mid-summer once you start harvesting your other vegetables. Early in the summer you should think about what to plant for arrival in the fall. Leeks are one crop that actually survive the frost and thrive in cold weather. The problem is they should actually be planted early on in the year but harvested in the cold months such as late October or November. This means you would have to maintain this crop throughout the spring and summer months as well. They can be planted outside as soon as the soil is dry enough. Butternut squash is another that will keep well with frost and can be harvested in the cold. They are actually sweeter when picked in the cooler temperatures. Just be sure to harvest them before the ground gets frozen solid.

    Regarding the maintenance of these crops throughout the summer and into the colder months one of the best things you can do is to actually plant them indoors, or within a potting or garden shed to let them become seedlings. Place them in the ground once they are a couple inches tall and can withstand the elements. In order to avoid drying out during the summer months it is best to cover your crops in straw or even hay. This will help retain moisture in the soil as much as possible. Once the frost arrives you should keep a close eye on your plants. Some of the plants survive well in frost just as long as the ground doesn’t get frozen solid. Depending on the plant some of them may prefer to be covered with cold frames or tents to avoid the cold shock. You can use an old window frame on legs with a transparent sheet or simply drape transparent sheets over your plants. Make sure it is transparent enough to allow sunlight as this will create a greenhouse effect and keep temperatures warmer underneath.

    It may be clear now that vegetables from a home garden can be enjoyed throughout the year. Nevertheless, the only way to achieve this is to maintain your garden throughout the late summer and fall months and carefully choose plants that survive well into the colder months of the fall and winter. As mentioned before plants such as leeks and butternut squash are at their best when harvested in the colder months. Butternut squash is an easy plant to care for in the fall time and only requires harvesting once the frost starts to arrive. Leeks on the other hand can withstand much of the cold of fall and winter but require much longer growing times than other vegetables. Yet, with careful decision making and maintenance of plants in late summer and fall you can almost certainly enjoy these vegetables fresh from your garden even when it’s cold outside.

    This is a guest post by Robin Hay - an editor/writer working on behalf of tiger sheds. Over the last 12 months he has written numberous articles relating to gardening matters which aim to educate newcomers to the garden environment. View more at  Tiger Sheds

    September 10, 2010

    Caring for Geese

    Picture courtesy of theseanster93

    Keeping Geese on Grass
    When initially caring for geese, after a couple of weeks the goslings can be provided access to an outside area but please be careful that they do not get overly cold. As foxes maybe around the use of a fox proof fence should be implemented but, if you do not have access to this equipment, ensure that the geese are kept inside at night as to protect them from the danger. If there are any trees, vegetables or plants around the area that you will be keeping the geese you will need to protect these as the geese will likely eat them! Using a fence which is around three foot high should suffice.

    Feeding Geese
    Initially, the goslings should be started on a good starter ration and moved onto a grower ration at around the three week point. As a way to aid digestion, the geese should be provided with access to flint grit. The finishing ration for the geese should last between three and seven weeks and during this time the geese’s access to grass should be restricted. The final period coincides with the part of year in which grass loses its nutritional value and this acts as a filler and will reduce the amount of weight that the geese gain.

    Checking and Caring for Geese
    You should take the opportunity to check your geese at least once a day. During this time, it is recommended that their water drinkers are checked to ensure that they have plenty and that the water is clean. The geese should also be littered once a day.

    When working around geese, it is recommended that you give them plenty of room to ensure that they feel safe and comfortable going about their own business. It is recommended that attention is paid to any geese which move away at a significantly slower pace than the other geese as this could indicate that they are ill and need treatment. If any geese do indeed move slower than the others, they should be monitored over the next few days.

    Any objects which the geese may eat or sustain an injury from should be removed from their living area.

    Controlling Vermin
    Vermin may be attracted to the area in which there are geese as they are attracted to food. Vermin can be a particular problem when keeping geese as food can be spilt and if vermin are then around they can spread disease, cause damage and occasionally even attack. To prevent vermin, measures to avoid them such as cleaning up spilt food, keeping food in a vermin proof container and blocking up holes around the area that geese are living in is highly recommended.

    This is a guest post by Martin Gulliver goose breeder with over 20 years experience in breeding geese.