December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas from Portugal

December 22, 2014

Plants that bloom in winter: ALOE ARBORESCENS

What can I say to express it? Enormous, fascinating, breathtaking flowering you can experience? 

And that would be not enough to say how magical moment you enter 
while bumping suddenly on the sea of flowering aloe!

This very modestly looking plant, so popular as indoor plants in colder climates, can’t be suspected of producing so spectacular inflorescence (the entire stem with flowers).


This is Algarve :) If you want to see more of it, hop over here...

December 18, 2014

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - December Flowers in Algarve, Portugal

I am truly happy to share with you today the December flowers of Algarve, Portugal. Winter here is the season I would call Spring to my standards. 17-19C/65F in the day, 7C/45F at night. That's what I am used to when the Spring is warm in my country (Poland). Yep. Warm. Sometimes its colder in the Summer :( Climate is a great unjustice... 

Algarve looks so different than in the Summer. The gardens are still graced with the flowers, usually red/beige soiled hills are covered now with carpets of green tiny plants that are dormant in the heat of the summer and the sun is blessing all creatures living in this mundane domain… Algarve - the narrow south facing stripe of soil at the coast of Atlantic Ocean, separated from the rest of Portugal by mountains.

The flowers on the photos are only flowers blooming in the garden of my host’s house, you have seen here. There is so many more flowers around that I am not including in this post. Would you like to see them too, in separate posts?

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

I wonder, since readers of my blog come from all over the world, which of the shown plants are familiar and also grow in your garden?

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day is organised by Carol from May Dreams Garden. If you would like to see more blooms from around the world hop over.

Recommended further reading The Flower Recipe Book.

December 13, 2014

3 Gardening Books for Christmas [REVIEWED]

Are you are looking for the garden related book for Christmas for yourself or someone else? I realized that I have reviewed 3 great gardening books here at Ewa in the Garden, so maybe this could be the moment to start to build up a list of books which could be a great gift idea.

I linked each book to the full review page and also to the Amazon page.


1. Sissinghurst: Vita Sackville-West and the Creation of a Garden / Full Review - Sissinghurst is the garden that inspires many gardeners and garden designers. The book is packed with lots of information about how Sissinghurst was created, what challenges were faced and how they managed to turn weaknesses into strengths. You will find the detailed  descriptions how in the design they successfully camouflaged the exccentricities of the land, that today you can’t spot it.

2. Rodale's Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening: The Indispensable Green Resource for Every Gardener / Full Review - What’s best about this book? Information is not scattered all around in short entries, which makes using it more difficult if you need to dig the subject. What you will really like, all knowledge is practically organized into complete entries that provide information in a style ‘all you need to know about…’.

3. Organic Gardening / Full Review - After reading this book and – which is far more important - using it in the garden for at least one season, you will love to spread the news among your friends. It is full of easy to use  information that will keep your garden healthy and beautiful. I am sure it will answer all of your questions and doubts you may have.

Attention! If you know a fabulous gardening book that you would like to other to read as well, share it with us in comment section. If you would like to write a review for our readers let me know in an email (look for it contact section).   

December 7, 2014

Book Review: Organic Gardening

*Organic gardening* is a book written by Geoff Hamilton, one of the best British organic gardening experts. Perfect for beginning gardeners and veterans as well. If you are on either side of the experience lane or somewhere between and want to learn to garden without chemicals or pesticides, you want this book to be first hand information about organic gardening in your collection.

Definitely the best organic book you can find and that was ever published. Compact, clear information with lots of illustrations.

After reading this book and – which is far more important - using it in the garden for at least one season, you will love to spread the news among your friends. It is full of easy to use  information that will keep your garden healthy and beautiful. I am sure it will answer all of your questions and doubts you may have.

This is one of those good balanced books – great reading stuffed with myriad of information, well illustrated, and with a clear, well organized index.

Information in the book is all ‘practical’. You don’t have a feeling, that weeds magically will  spare your garden or that organic garden is a carefree wonder. Geoff Hamilton talks about real mundane world and shares advice that answers all issues the organic gardener may encounter. And what feels best, he is doing it without preaching and grumbling about chemical gardening – dark side of the gardening coin.

The book covers: soil management and improvement, fertilizers, organic pest and disease control, organic weed control, planning the garden (ornamental, vegetable, fruit, herb, greenhouse, container), basic techniques, propagation techniques and organic gardener chores in 4 different seasons of the year, raised bed, square foot and organic gardening. All is well illustrated, easy to understand, so anyone can garden on an Earth-friendly basis.

The chapter "The Gardening Year" is a must-know guide to how to schedule your garden activities according to your US location. I think also that many may truly appreciate  instructions for DIY tools, containers and fertilizers.

If you are into vegetable gardening, organic ways are especially important, as using chemical fertilizers means your veggies are not so healthy. “Organic Gardening” by Geoff Hamilton shares a lot of tips on preparing the soil and describes vegetable by vegetable on care, needs, bugs etc.

My rating: 10 out of 10 stars

This book is one of the best gardening books ever – and for good reason. It’s a must read for those switching to organic gardening or looking for good source information and expanding knowledge from best ever born practitioner.

Get your copy of Organic Gardening

Have you read any great gardening books? Give your recommendations with your reasons why in comments below. Looking forward to discovering some great gardening books.

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: DK Publishing, New Rev Up edition (February 21, 2011)
Available here:  Organic Gardening
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0756671795
ISBN-13: 978-0756671792

December 3, 2014

Touring Italy: Tree Cathedral

 Photos above and below by Perangelo Zavatarelli
If you are touring Italy you shall put this amazing place on your travel itinerary. This piece of art resembles a skeleton of a cathedral, built exactly in the shape, proportions and dimensions  of a gothic cathedral. Named Cattedrale Vegetale, created by artist Giuliano Mauri.

More than 600 chestnut and hazel branches around 1,800 fir tree poles are forming 42 columns, each one in diameter of 1 m and 12 metres high. These are current scaffolding, because inside of each column there is a hornbeam planted. As the hornbeam will grow the scaffolding will rot away, so one day there with lots of pruning, forming and  other effort  there will be living plant cathedral.

Photo above and all photos below by Allesandro

The scaffolding was completed in 2010 as part of the United Nations’ International Year of Biodiversity, but it will take decades to fully mature, so the 650sqmetre cathedral for decades stays evolving structure.

Don’t you think it’s worth to see it while touring Italy? Located near Bergamo close to Mount Arera.

Recommended further reading DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Italy

November 26, 2014

10 Photos of Sissinghurst Castle Garden

Sissinghurst Castle Garden is an iconic British garden and a must see when you visit Great Britain.

Recently I was reviewing a book that was published 3rd of November, 2014 (read the review here).
Whatever you see on the photos below or in reality, you can find its story in the book, how that specific part was created, what challenges were faced from the beginning and how the weaknesses of the site were turned into strengths.

 Photos thanks to courtesy of Ugardener

For me one of the most interesting part is the description how the illusion of symmetry was created. The site is not perfect, as any of those we guard. One of its characteristics is lack of symmetry.

They struggled with it, but they made it – for today looks perfectly symmetrical. Whether you like it or not, symmetry is pleasing for the eyes. Worth re-thinking? I believe so. In the meantime I hope you enjoy the photos and maybe also the book as I do (still standing on the shelf next to my bed).  

I love this photo. Look close. See the parts of the grass that is left growing freely. No mowing, or let's say just partial mowing. Like it too?