August 22, 2014

8 photos of impossible cactus gardening outdoor in temperate climate, Szczecin, Poland

In fact I want to share with you the concept of impossible is nothing. We are surrounded with  mystery, wildness and immanence.

You may not believe me. 'Cactus gardening outdoor in Poland' - I know. Still remember that recently I was also saying pretty often 'I don’t believe you' – and although that was rather teasing trials, time has shown I shouldn’t have – but who knows in advance?

This time you may really not believe me, but what could I do about it? I can only show you what I saw with my own eyes. When I have entered that garden and I saw it, I was repeating for the first 15 minutes: ‘This is impossible! This is impossible... This is impossible… You must be kidding me… Nooo… How comes?’

Seeing cactuses growing in the garden in Poland, where the temperature in the winter drops to -25C/-13F, is like seeing a miracle.

This is also not the case of cactuses planted there since spring this year - that was my first suspicion. Second suspicious thought… the owner brings all of them indoor for the winter. None of the cases.

They grow there already 4 years!

The owner of the garden, Andrzej Szulc, managed to create such conditions that the temperature vulnerable cactuses and succulents are able to survive not only harsh Polish winter  condition, but also excessive rain  and little sun.

The cactus bed is placed in a sunny and cosy corner at the house wall, which keeps the warmth and away from strong winds. The soil is also prepared properly for succulents...

Could you believe this is possible? I wouldn’t if I have not seen it with my own eyes…

Look by yourself...

See also Succulents Simplified: Growing, Designing, and Crafting with 100 Easy-Care Varieties

See also Succulents Simplified: Growing, Designing, and Crafting with 100 Easy-Care Varieties

August 3, 2014

17 Excellent Uses of Lavender

We are in love with lavender scent and taste. Sweet, floral, with slight citrus undertone. I have decided first to make and then to share with you today the list of lavender uses – try them. Some might be really surprising, like the absolutely delicious apricot lavender confiture. Usually I make more of them and have unique gifts for friends. Gift especially appreciated in winter time.  
Don’t stop yourself from adding your favourite use to the list. 

1) Rosemary is the herb used for cooking pretty often, but not many people know that in some cases you can replace rosemary with lavender.
2) Lavender flowers surprise when added to the salad.
3) Lavender sugar. Can be added to sweet dishes and drinks. Use blender. Proportions: 1 cup of sugar/ 2 tablespoons of dried lavender buds. Blend them until buds disappear and the sugar gets a purple tint. You can add it to lemonade, tea or baking sweets.
4) Eye pillows. Work great when you need something to rest your eyes or you have a headache or any kind of spleen or anxiety. Make the eye pillows using dried lavender buds and flaxseeds.
5) Lavender bath. Make a little bag and fill it with lavender, place it right under the hot running water as you wait for the bath. You may prefer to let the flowers float with you. Okay it is somewhat messy and sticks to different parts of the body and the tub. But you make like to try to let them float freely on the water.
6) Lavender oil is the one to use for a burn. Apply it straight onto the burn. It heals faster and less prone to scaring.
7) Insect repellent. Lavender oil is great on that. Works well mixed with other essential oils.
8) Add a few drops of essential oil (and I do mean a few) to your child's evening bath. They will sleep really well.
9) Lavender oil is known to be both stimulant and relaxant – if you use it more, the more stimulating it becomes.
10) A sachet of lavender buds will keep your drawers fresh.
11) And even better – put a lavender sachet inside your pillow, so you have a restful night  sleep.
12) Rub a little drop of lavender essential oil on your temples to slowly ease a headache.
13) Carry it in your pocket a pinched lavender flower stem. In any stressful situation, pull it out for a relaxing, refreshing scent.
14) Use the oil as a mild antibacterial, moisturizer, dry hair treatment or bath oil.
15) Refresh your house decorative with lavender fragrance by applying a drop or two of oil. It will work great on potpourri, decorative herb wreaths, lavender wands or other lavender crafts.
16) Make lavender blueberry or apricot confiture. Find recipe here.
17) Make strong lavender tea, cool it down and use as a scalp rinse to help preventing dandruff.

Make sure you harvest your lavender at best possible time by clicking here the best time to harves your lavender.

Special Notes:
Don't use lavender that has been treated with pesticides.
Lavender can cause allergic reactions in some people. If you experience a rash, sore throat, or nausea, discontinue use. If you are having trouble breathing after using a lavender infused product or homemade concoction, seek medical help immediately.
Do not use Lavender Essential Oil internally. There is some evidence that long term regular use of concentrated lavender can cause hormone imbalance in males. Due to its relaxing properties, I would not use in conjunction with any medication that also causes relaxation or sleepiness.
Don’t use the dried or fresh herb internally when pregnant.

Lavender 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil- 10 ml