Archive for the 'Green Stuff' Category

02
Oct
07

Broccoli

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.)

 

broccoli.JPG

 

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

 

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25
Sep
07

NIMG-Not in MY Garden

I came accross NIMG via bloomingwriter, who has put her own list up on her blog. So what things would I never have in my garden?

First: flowers in rows (not only tulips but also dahlias, gladiolas etc) are an absolute horror for me. I don’t even enjoy them in other people’s gardens. It’s the same with perfectly clean rectangular gardens that only consist of clear-cut lawn, a trimmed hedge and maybe the odd evergreen. (You might just as well replace the lawn with concrete painted green.) Oh, I forgot about the white-coated metal fence.

But second, what do I like but won’t ever have in my garden?

I enjoy geometrical (cottage) gardens where the flowerbeds are framed with small hedges. However, this would take too much planning and designing for me. Also, lots of accurate pruning is necessary to keep them up.
Then there are gardens where you find all sorts of design elements such as ancient-looking walls, spots to sit in, wells, statues etc. They are quite nice to look at, but don’t fit our way of life. We don’t like to bother with carrying chairs and tables all around the garden but keep them near the house. Otherwise the wind will blow them all over the place. Also, our lawn is for the children and the dog to play on. Extra seats would mean extra obstacles to trip over.

One thing that I envy in others is when the flower arrangements match in size and colour so that different impressions are created in different parts of the garden (for example a “blue” corner). I will never achieve that because I cannot get myself to pull out annuals that have seeded themselves and are thus wandering around the garden. So there will always be a bright orange calendula spoiling the pink and blue impression of roses, delphinum and bell flowers ….

 

06
Aug
07

Holy Shrub

Ever since my three hawthorn bushes have grown from tiny seedlings to a massive part of my wild hedge, I have understood why this plant used to be sacred. Not because of its value as a drug for heart diseases and all other sorts of illnesses (in Germany the flowers are still used in teas against low blood pressure; and some people make jam from the berries which contain quite a bit of vitamin C — although I have never bothered with that). The true reason for our ancestors venerating hawthorn trees is that anybody who gets too close is punished immediately by long sharp thorns hidden between the leaves (so there must be some powerful god in there — at least that’s my personal opinion).
Even though that part of the hedge is left pretty much to itself, once a year I need to cut the hawthorn so that the neighbouring haw tree and the buddleia have some room to breathe. This is one of the rare occasions that I wear garden gloves, although I still haven’t found any that keep off the thorns successfully. Even the thick leather ones from my husband are pierced through so that when work is done I have to operate the remnants out of my hands with a pin — a fairly painful procedure.
Nevertheless I wouldn’t want to miss this shrub in my garden. As their nest is well protected within the thorns, a pair of whitetroats breed there regularly. I also love the intensive smell of the cream-coloured flours in May as well as the bright red berries in September.