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