Seasonal traveller

I can’t say I’m a seasoned traveller because we do seem to go to the same place more than once. I guess it’s a comfort zone for us and of course, there’s family to consider. However, I do love the changes of season no matter where we find ourselves. So, I guess I’m a seasonal traveller.

My cousins live in this beautiful town, Pelhrimov, about 120 kms south of Prague and every couple of years they host us. As you can see we’ve been here in both summer and winter. Still can’t decide whether I prefer the summer or winter experience.

Once our jet-lag has left, our summer here should be green and colourful. Happy gardening no matter where you are. Lots of botanical observations to come.

Time to travel

The winter seeds are planted, the garden raked, pots spruced up, house secured, cats and magpies fed and chores completed. Time to travel back to see family in Prague, Trieste and Rijeka. Please join me as we revisit some wonderful cities and beautiful gardens. Happy gardening!

85% germination

This weekend, I rifled through my seed packets and found some “Diggers Club” seeds to plant in the winter garden. Some of them are winter recommendations and others, well, they were just what I had in store. We will be going overseas next week so I had to get these babies planted!

The first seeds I sowed were Spinach “Perpetual” Beta vulgaris. The label reads that it is a cross between spinach and silver beet. It can be planted in any season – tick! Harvest in 10 weeks. So, I should be able to harvest it around 20th August. Looking forward to that!

Near these seeds I planted a few leeks “Jaune du Poitou” allium empeloprasurn– a French heirloom variety. The packet read that I should plant them in punnets – it pays to read the label carefully. Also, the seeds are a bit old, so fingers crossed. Harvest in 20 weeks – that’s a long way off, around the very end of October.

winter seed mix

Behind this group of seeds and below a short trellis, I wanted to use up some flower seeds. I chose Sweet Pea “Lord Nelson” lathyrus oderatus, a fragrant heirloom variety from around 1890’s. Can you believe, the label describes these as having “dark and stormy navy blue flowers”. Oh well – we shall wait and see until the end of October as well! Hopefully it will be worth the wait.

In another raised bed, I popped in some peas, “Greenfeast” pisum sativum. Harvest in 15 weeks the packet read – so that will be around the end of September. The label reads “easy and rewarding crop for new and experienced gardeners”.  These are dwarf bushes, so it will be interesting. Let’s wait and see.

In the foreground of peas, in went some calendula flowers “Green Heart Orange – calendula officinalis”. The edible petals are much sought after as a gourmet treat. If they germinate and grow here in our cold area, they should put on a bright display at the end of August.

There’s only one catch living here in the mountain zone micro-climate and that is we are usually three to four weeks behind the city with respect to germination, flowering, and harvesting. There go all my calculations. Add to this dilemma, the packet information reveals an 85% germination rate, so stay tuned and happy gardening. Hope these seeds are as successful as the parsley! Happy gardening!

Seeds in time

Yesterday, a beautiful sunny day, for a change, after yoga, I went to the local nursery and bought some compost and potting soil. I tilled the soil in the two raised garden beds in the “chick-house garden” and added the compost and the soil. By the way, the “chicken-house” garden, is, as the name suggests, a chicken enclosure which is now a vegetable and raspberry garden. We used to have gorgeous Plymouth Rock chickens but after a terrible fox attack, we decided, no more chickens for us, sadly.

I pruned some of the grape vines and raked around to neaten things up. You see, we will be going overseas in a couple of weeks and I want to plant some seeds for when we return.

 I always try to plant seeds from the The digger’s seeds club  www.diggers.com.au – a well-respected heirloom seed savers cooperative, recommends the following to plant – an heirloom seed club which has been around for about forty years – their latest issue suggests;
Broad bean “Crimson”
Pea “Greenfest”
Califlower “mini”
Radish Pink Lady Slipper
Cabbage “mini”
Spinach “Bloomsdale”
Turnip “White Mini
Onion “Australian Brown”
Parsnip “Hollow Crown”
Lettuce “Tennis Ball”

 I always try to plant seeds purchased from the The Digger’s Seeds club  www.diggers.com.au – a well-respected heirloom seed savers cooperative here in Australia which has been around for about forty years – their latest issue suggests seeds for our Cold Zone:

  • Pea “Greenfest”
  • Broad bean “Crimson”
  • Califlower “mini”
  • Radish Pink Lady Slipper
  • Cabbage “mini”
  • Spinach “Bloomsdale”
  • Turnip “White Mini
  • Onion “Australian Brown”
  • Parsnip “Hollow Crown” Lettuce “Tennis Ball”

I have a bit of work in preparation but it will be worth it to return to sprouting and growing seeds into plants. Happy weekend gardening.

Be botanical, be in the garden.

The last of the gold

The last of the autumn leaves. This large prunus tree shades our back deck in summer and certainly gives us a spectacular treat in spring with its pink blossoms and then again in autumn when it sheds its glorious, golden leaves.

I don’t mind raking up the multitude of fallen leaves. It’s been so dry this autumn that it was quite an easy task, despite my cat Albert’s interest in them too!

It’s always wonderful to see overseas visitors come to the mountain to see the dramatic display. It is said to be auspicious in many Asian cultures to be in and among the autumn hues. It is a revered and some even say, a spiritual experience.

My neighbour recently reprimanded me when she spotted some fake flowers in one of my vases, “we live surrounded by beauty and real colour, bring some fresh foliage into the house!” I took her advice.

I hope you can display some of your garden in your home this weekend and enjoy some time with family or friends. Happy gardening. 🙂

May days and smoky mountain

The month of May is at a close and so too most of the trees in our garden have shed their autumnal foliage.  In the house, the wood fire heater has been cranked up and we have braced ourselves for some wintry weather. Here at 700 metres altitude we sometimes get snow, certainly we experience ice and frost. However, the garden copes very well.  This year autumn has been very dry with some trees going into distress. Now, the rains have come, and it always amazes me to see the first pop of camellia buds.

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I am in the garden every day no matter the weather. Last weekend we set fire to some very large mounds of debris, accumulated throughout the summer. The Country Fire Association sets the fire season and we cannot light any outside fires, but once this is lifted, usually the end of April – this year it was the 3rd of May,  we can begin to burn off. Our neighbours gather around, and we celebrate the arrival of cooler weather and banish the thought of bushfires from our minds – albeit until next summer.

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We have a saying here on the Mount – “all summer we fear seeing smoke and all winter we create smoke” – smoky mountain indeed. Happy gardening everyone – no matter the season where you live.

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Bulb time

Bulb planting time – spent the last few days planting tons of bulbs. These were dug up from a large clump and released from each other to start anew. Happy gardening and always be … botanical. 🙂 #