Archive for October, 2007



As I usually surf around German sites, Blog Action Day on Blogger passed by me completely unnoticed. So it took a while and a hint by Black Swamp Girl to find Mr Brown Thumb’s Blog in which he put up a list of participating gardening blogs¬† — complaining that gardeners were snubbed by Blogger although environmental issues are at the heart of their writing. Thank you very much for this effort!

I also find his article on imported plants very thought-provoking even though as a European with a long history of immigrating plants and animals I feel much more relaxed about this. Most immigrants have settled in almost unnoticed, finding their niche in the eco-system some being a plague like giant hogweed or Japanese touch-me-not   others being rather enriching like herbs (salvia, thyme etc.) and wild flowers (bell flowers, tulips etc.) from the Mediterranean and Central Asia. For my part I cannot say whether stinging nettles or mint are the worse weed.

So although this is quite an issue to be very careful about there is something that worries me more: How long will this planet last if we go on like we do now? If you really want to know, stop by There you’ll find a questionnaire about your consumer habits to calculate how many of the earth’s resources you need. At the end they will tell you how many planets would be necessary if everyone lived on the same scale as you.

In my eyes the questions are a little too general to be scientifically precise, however, in the end you have a pretty good impression of the footprint you leave on this earth. Even though I pride myself on avoiding garbage as much as possible, using the car as little as necessary, having a well-insulated house with solar panels, using only rain water for the garden etc. this one planet wouldn’t suffice if everyone lived like me. — So the results make you think about what great an effort is needed to turn the wheel around and save this wonderful place for our grandchildren and grandgrandchildren ….


A Perfect Day

Even though I always yearn for spring almost right after Christmas, it’s still October that is my favourite month. There is still a reminder of summer with the last roses blooming on the one hand (New Dawn, which grows right behind our back door is best here) and on the other the splendour of autumn with the purple asters, bright red berries and colourful leaves.

What’s so special about October is those still days that create a very intense atmosphere. Starting with blankets of mists on the fields and the stillness only interrupted by the song of the wren or the far-away chattering of some geese at the lake. (In spring, when the first birds have arrived, it is much noisier in the morning — now most of them are already on their way to Africa.) Dewdrops make the leaves of the lupines, lady’s mantle and even the grass leaves seem precious. Spider webs look like artistically knitted strings of pearls. Slowly the sun starts warming everything up — if you have a late breakfast, you can even enjoy it outside. The sunlight is still bright, but somewhat dimmed, bringing out the colours much sharper than any summers day can. Everywhere there is the strong scent of moist soil making you want to dig up the earth, plant new bulbs or shrubs.
Finally the day ends as it began — the sun setting firework-like behind the old oak trees. Bird sounds can only be heard far away, maybe the odd thrush makes a short uproar because you disrupt him, but otherwise the stillness returns. The mists come up from the lake descending on the fields covering anything that might hurt the eye, creating an impression of peace and protection.



Purple Mallows


As they were suffering from fungus (is there such a fungus as rust in English?)

I had to cut down the mallows in early summer only to find them flourishing right now. Hopefully the seeds will ripen so that I’ll have some new ones next year.


The dried flowers are supposed to be good against colds and coughs when used as herbal tea, though I usually dry them for decoration. For this I simply leave the petals in a large bowl on my window sill (south side, of course) so that after a few days they are as brittle as paper. Together with dried rose petals they look really good in glass bowls, and if you sprinkle some scented oil on them every once in a while, they help to overcome the long, dreary winter by reminding you of the promises the rest of the year has in store ….




This year I haven’t been very good at growing vegetables: the courgettes were eaten up by the slugs, as well a the kohlrabi and most of the lettuce; beans and peas were decimated by mice; the potatoes and tomatoes suffered from fungus etc. etc.


One thing I am very proud about, however, is my broccoli. While last year was a catastrophe because it was top of the list with the caterpillars, we managed to have a few meals from the four plants that survived the slug attacks in the spring. (Though the first time I overlooked some caterpillars, which is why the rest of my family prefer broccoli from the shop.)




Here you can see last year’s broccoli — quite a difference, isn’t it?