" To plant trees is to give body and life to one's dreams of a better world " Russell Page

Friday, December 28, 2012

Incredible Nature

Some absolutely incredible bugs I found on Pinterest. (http://pinterest.com/voicaioana/cats-co/)
The pictures are not mine ( I wish I could do that...) but these jewel like insects are just as beautiful as can be!!!
Makes me want to include a "be good to all bugs" clause on my new year's resolutions list...

We will see when time comes and the first sawflies, caterpillars, aphids show up...

 gold beetle
 European oil beetle - Meloe proscarabaeus

Death’s Head caterpillars, Acherontia atropos

Dagger Moth
Jewel Beetle ? New Guinea

Metallic Mechanitis butterfly chrysalis,

You can follow more about plants and nature on my pinterest boards:
Chlorophyll & Co. :http://pinterest.com/voicaioana/chlorophyll-co/
Garden Design: http://pinterest.com/voicaioana/garden-design/
My Plant Library: http://pinterest.com/voicaioana/my-plant-library/

Monday, December 10, 2012

Plant Profiles: Ilex Verticillata

A shrub for many Merry Christmas decorations and for feeding the feathery friends through the long winter month.

Counting the days till Christmas, one is thinking about all lovely, bright red winter berries which make all the lovely wreath and garlands.
Besides other better known Ilex types there is a rather less known ( at least in Europe) Winterberry called Ilex Verticillata.

Ilex Verticillata,

Ilex verticillata is a 1–5 metres (3.3–16 ft) tall shrub. It is one of a number of hollies which are losing their leaves in the fall. In wet sites, it will spread to form a dense thicket, while in dry soil it remains a tight shrub. The leaves are glossy green, 3.5–9 cm long, 1.5–3.5 cm broad, with a serrated margin and an acute apex. The flowers are small, 5 mm diameter, with five to eight white petals.
The fruit is a globose red drupe 6–8 mm diameter, which often persists on the branches long into the winter, giving the plant its English name.

 Ilex Verticillata " Red Sprite"

Hollies are dioecious plants – male and female flowers grow on separate plants. It is necessary hence to have a male plant nearby for the female plants to produce the highly desirable fruit.
It is a tough plant which is easy to grow, with very few diseases or pests. Although wet acidic soils are optimal, the winterberry will grow well in the average garden. Numerous cultivars are available, differing in size and shape of the plant and color of the berry. At least one male plant must be planted in proximity to one or more females for them to bear fruit.

Concerning the growing conditions the American Winterberry requires sun to partial shade and a range of soil types (dry, wet) but prefers moist, organic soil.
It is hardy in zones 3 - 9. 

Besides being a gorgeous plant for winter decoration purposes, this Ilex is a wonderful food source for bees during the flowering period and later for birds , with its copious load of fruit.


Check this link for a list of cultivars, described acurately: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/trees-new/cultivars/ilex_verticillata-table.html

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Peonies to die for!

Not later than yesterday I stated that most garden work is done by now. Little did I know that on the wast sea of internet I would just stumble over some of the most beautiful peonies I have seen.

Ok, I admit that I have an unconditional love for big, lush peonies - I just can't resist their silky opulence and their perfume in spite of the short blooming period.

Klem's Song Sparrow Farm and Nurseries from US has the most incredible choice of this plants - both the herbaceous and the tree ones. 
It is a real torture to pick just a couple, since if you are into big, opulent blooms - there is no such thing as an ugly peony. To me they are all just very close to perfection, but three of them caught my sight for the unusual colour.

The first one is Green Halo - very unusual with its lime green shading on the outer petals.

The second one is Golden Angel - a vision of purity with simple, cupped flowers, but the stunning  fact is the golden colouring of the leaves. The shots turn from the usual red shade when very young,  to an light golden green.

Hot Chocolate has the classical anemone shape, while the colour is  velvety red with a brownish undertone - reminding of  old Bordeaux vine.

I will not bother you with any details about planting and growing peonies - if you are prepared to dig a generous hole  in a suny spot and fill it with good, rich leaf mould the plant will do almost all the rest by itself. And if it should like your garden you might become friends for a very long time - since a peony plant can live for 100 years!
For all the rest about peonies , Henry Mitchell has written some of the most beautiful and funny pages. You can find the book references in my book list at the end.
Be warned before you start looking at the page - the prices are as hot as their peonies... But as the French say: "quand on aime on ne compte pas!"


Monday, December 3, 2012

First Advent Sunday

Now that the most autumn planting is done - the tips of my Tazzetta and Thalia daffodils are already pointing out of their cosy earth blanket ( well, I know that whereas most of you gardening friends head towards some long snowy month - here in Barcelona, winter is a very light affair...), I can dedicate some time to Christmas decoration.

So here I wish you a lovely Advent time!

This year's wreath is done with painted pine cones, I used light gray and silver glitter, and decorated with dried hydrangeas and pink erica.
The silver candles add a bit of frosted shimmer, since we have little chance to see the real snow and ice.