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

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Tree encounter

Last week strolling around the city I found this beautiful, still small, blooming Bauhinia or Orchid tree...
Such a welcome change among the sempiternal maples and purple plum trees! 


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Autumn Abundance

Just check the size of these onions...seen the other day in Barcelona! The ones besides, are not cherry tomatoes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Why Don't You: Trellis Ideas

Old ladders make great trellises
for beans and other climbers. ( wish I'd have one...)
Anchor it well into the ground and paint it in a matching/contrasting colour for an extra zest!

Have You ever thought about discarding a broken patio umbrella? Well, why don't you
remove the fabric, bury the handle (make sure it's well fixed)
in the ground and use it for a trellis.
Wonderful for small climbing roses and clematis. Watch out not to use it for heavy climbers!
I guess, Wisteria and Golden Trumpets are not really a good choice.
A small type of Lonicera or Morning Glory could work too.

Rusty old brass or iron headboards
make wonderful garden trellises. So next time you stroll at a neighbouring brocante, keep your eyes open.

All images are not mine and are found on Pinterest

Thursday, May 15, 2014

What's blooming now: Iris Deltoides

Hi friends,

This is a terribly busy month so my posts are really very skinny, but here are some not very good pictures of a lovely Iris Deltoides that re bloomed after 3 years of self imposed pause...

Ok, after re potting it during the last house move, one of my cats elected it as her favourite cat grass... Yes, cat brains work in a mysterious way... so my poor Iris was reduced to a dry stump.

Now it has regained some strength in a large pot shared with a Pennisetum and some fire red  Crocosmias.

Delicate, porcelain white blooms with a painted yellow and purple accent.
Stems and leaves are very upright and

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Spring cleaning

Spring has definitely settled in so there is some cleaning an re potting due!

I have sampled over the years a small family of 4 Phalaeanopsis Orchids which once the flowering time was over, just found their way into a shallow basket where they happily thrive - producing way more (healthy) leaves than flowers...
I had many other orchids too, but I had to find out that I am not really an orchid person - or maybe they don't fancy the climate of my living room and I am not too eager in transforming it into a hothouse either. So gone are the Dendrobiums, Miltonias and Catleyas I frequented for a short period.

But Phalaenopsis are tough girls and as I told you, they happily produce new luscious leaves and even keikys - those tiny orchids babies and everything. It's just the flowers they are less eager to repeat, but hey, gardeners never loose hope!

So here I decided to re pot and clean them and settle them on a shadowy terrace for the coming summer.

 So this is how they basically looked like before the whole operation started.

I decided to add some sphagnum moss and a bit of bat guano to the regular bark, just to see if they like it better than the plain bark I used before. The bat guano was recommended by a website specialised orchid products...

 This is how they looked like once I discarded the old bark.

I empirically mixed the bark with a handful of moss and a dash of guano... since everything happened in the kitchen I went on exactly the same way I do my cooking - using a lot of free inspiration!

And this is how they look like once they have been re potted and bathed with luke warm water to clean the dust and some annoying mealy bugs... This one is 4 years old and has bloomed twice since I have her, but I would love to convince them to get a bit more industrious on the blooming issue.

The whole program will be continued with Orchids fertilizer 20-20-20 and some nutritional complements (phosphorous, potassium, magnesium and algae). Well see how it goes.

If anyone should have some tips about growing orchids at home - and making them bloom, please share your tips with me!

For the ones in Italy, I highly recommend two absolutely fantastic Orchid growers: Orchideria Morosolo on the Lago Maggiore and Nardotto e Capello near Ventimiglia which not only have an incredible selection , but who are absolutely lovely and passionate about their work!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

What's blooming now

Hi folks! Finally my Fortuniana Rose is in full bloom! White pompoms cover the long, arched branches, which try to climb into the nearby tree.

The Clivia isn't doing bad either! This one has been rescued literally from the dustbin, but now it seems to be a very grateful girl! Five bloom stalks in her second year after the rescue maneuver, And never asking for any special treatment.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

What's blooming now

Hi there my friends! It's been quite a while since my last post...
So let's celebrate this year fist the first blooms and a nice harvest of Buddha Hand or Fingered citron,(Citrus medica var. sarcodactylis) .

The perfume is just wonderful and I have trouble at the thought of cooking them... I think they will sit there for quite a while, to be admired.
The poor plant suffered a massive cochineal attack ( grrrr x!x%#/¿!) last year, so it is a wonder that it has still managed to produce four big fruit ( the other two are still hanging on the plant).

 The shy Christmas Hyacinths bloomed their head off a couple of days later

The beloved Yuletide Camelia behaved well and bloomed generously, considered that Barcelona has not the perfect camelia weather... Summers are too hot and they struggle, but this is what they get so I'm happy with them anyway.

I just love Yuletide, that bright and clear shade of red! Blooms not too heavy.

Talking about harvesting, a nice bowl of wild oregano and serpolet thyme (the one that flavours all southern French stews) to store for cooking.

My precious gardening helpers at their favourite "in and out" game