February 28, 2008

Beautiful, easy plants and carefree plants all year round...

I am always short of time when I go to garden - so many things to do and the day is so short. I look for reasonable solutions that will cut amount of work, without make my garden look dull or neglected.

During my last inspection in the garden I had closer look at each plant and as always in the spring I am amazed how sweet and beautiful is Sedum spectabile - this on on the picture is Autumn Joy that grows especially well.
Must have in every garden.

This little beauties is also sedum, but red one Vodoo (Sedum spurium).
Carefee, durable and giving stunning contrast.
They are also great for growing in containers on the hot spots :)

If you don't have too much time, thats great solution for you :)

They are carefree, beautiful, durable, fast growing and long lived. For zones 3-11, deer and drought proof :)

February 24, 2008

Spring in February continues +12C

Sweat peas day 10.

Extraordinary warm temperature in February in a way makes me happy, but worries also as well.

I made first cleaning yesterday in the garden and by surprise I saw that many plants either woke up, or just about...

Galanthus nivalis opened his flowers finally for me as well - its view is so refreshing.

I would call it must have in every garden.

February 23, 2008

Promote blog. How to get free traffic to your blog or free traffic to any kind of website.

Probably you also would like to get more traffic to your blog. Also free of charge.

Beside gardening I am also interested in internet marketing, search engines SEO etc. So I decided to share with You what I have learned and what is working well for me.
It will help you to get more readers of your blog. The key is to let search engines know that you are there. They will not learn it by themselves. I listed below some basic possibilities, that can instantly add traffic to your site.

1/ Get registered with linkrefferal.com. This is pretty friendly system if you would like to spend some time on it. You visit other websites, make reviews and get more traffic. Munus of it is, that this source doesn't give you targeted traffic, which is most required. However if you are at the beginning of your blogging journey and you want to promote your blog, this is a good source of traffic that will help your posts to get higher position on search results.

2/ Submit your URL to Google and Google Directory
3/ Submit your URL to Yahoo requires account opening

4/ Submit your URL to Add Me

5/ Submit your URL to Microsoft MSN Search

Later added:

6/ Submit your URL to Alexa - scroll down to the bottom of the displayed page after you click the link

Easter inspirations from the walk in Warsaw

This decoration at the interior design shop made me realise, that Easter is in less than a month - very early this year.
What do you see first?
Floral decoration over the table, right?
It stopped me - I like it a lot.
On the picture I see that wooden lamp at the ceiling - it looks very simple, but interesting. Also easy to make :)

February 20, 2008

Landscaping Ideas - terrace garden... friend gone gardening...

This will be a short story about my second favourite garden - after mine - and my friend. Her parents-in-law (PIL) had an allotment 50 km away from Warsaw. I was living in Warsaw at that time, so every weekend I used to go out of the city - I have 2 favourite places.
One of them is Serock, where at courtesy of my friend and her PIL, I was often a guest - we used to meet often, enjoying fresh air, beautiful view to the lake, sunbath and chatting about... eee... life.
One day - yes, 'one day' - you know this feeling, when something has been going on for some time and you finally SEE it ONE DAY. So, one day I realised that we didn't meet for very long time. But why? Her answer puzzled me: 'as you know (yes, I new) we decided together with PIL to build yearly house... now when it finishes I got more busy.'
But Why?
Her eyes started to shine in a weird way - 'I asked 2 girls to design a garden for me'.
Hmmm... everyone has hobbies - but GARDEN? Imagine her - fancy girl from the city, long legs, short skirt, long finger nails... what garden?
This is how it started - we 'lost' her for 2 years - every free time she spent there - I couldn't understand it. Finally there was grand opening and I could see it - still no understanding from my side.
There was not too much matching between the design made by designers and final arrangement. The main bone of the garden was defined - this garden is very difficult, because it is fully laying on the slope. She decided, to make terraces with usage of stonewalls 70cm high. On the first one there is house and on the next 3 garden.
Her passion made me KINDLY interested in the subject - which was becoming stronger with the years, after seeing the garden was becoming more beautiful. Every visit was starting with the garden tour: what is growing, what is blooming and what is new etc. My mother who is living 500 km away, when she comes to me, we go to visit Krystyna's garden. One day mum said: 'Krystyna, when I come to Ewa and do not come to see your garden, I feel like I didn't visit Ewa' - so you see, how important part of our life it is.
Today it is 10 years old and everything started from tiny plants, except fruit trees - they were only saved :) and pruned.
Main part of the garden is pond and the water flush falling to the next terrace. At the side of the pond there is a small, but very picturesque tree Salix matsudana Tortuosa planted. It grew very fast and looks very sentimental. Next to it, on the right, you see Larix deciduous Repens.

Beautiful and original cones of Picea abies Frohburg - recent newcomer.
Two Salix integra Hakuro Nishiki are framing the entrance to the lowest terrace.
Unknown, yellow, beautifully scented rose. On the arbor red rose, also unknown. Salix matsudana Tortuosa on the right side - see how big it grew in 10 years from little stick?
Can you see how rapid is the slope? Down there is last terrace and the lake - not very visible on the picture, but I will make more in the coming summer. Today's pictures are taken by the owner :) On the right side of the picture brownish-red coloured beutiful shrub Cotinus coggygria Royal Purple.
Pictures from this garden wre published last year in October in one of the garden magazines "Działkowiec".

February 18, 2008

Look what happened!

My blog was awarded!

I’m very happy to receive an award from Victoria at Teachings of the Horse - great blog about horses and not only.
Victoria - I am really honored that you like mine. Thank you!

This award originates at Mind Sieve dwmindsieve.blogspot.com.

Victoria asks to pass it to 10 other blogs. Please pick up the award by clicking on it, and pass it along to your favorites.

My award goes to:

1. Yolanda Elizabet at Bliss
2. Jodi at Bloomingwriter
3. Prophet at The Proper Prophet
5. Barbara at Abenteuer Garten
6. Maryam at My Marrakesh
7. Yoli at Salome Y Cael
8. Billie at Garden Wise Guy
9. Tara at Paris Parfait
10. Sammako at Kasvimaalla
Please feel free to pass the award along to 10 blogs you appreciate, even if they have been awarded already :)

February 17, 2008

Where is EWA in the GARDEN?

This post becomes a part of the project called Garden Bloggers Geography Project initiated by jodi at bloomingwriter.
On the picture below is my local stargate that will take you for a journey :)) do not get scared... try to get patience, read and look.

I am living in a place that has very long history. It is proven back 4.000 years. Shortly I will try to introduce it to you. I will put some links, for those of you who would like to see/read more.

Starting from the big picture and globe perspective, I am located pretty close to... ehe... Canada (hi jodi and clayton!).

But still it is much further than any place in Europe.

Look at the maps below it will get you to the perspective of my country Poland:

The biggest and closest city is capitol of Poland Warsaw is now a city where history, including communist time meet the global culture and infuence - see picture below.
The building is called "gift from Stalin" and was built on the remains of the old Warsaw never reconstructed after Second World War and was through decades a symbol of communism.
Unique in the region is river Vistula (Wisła) which is still not controlled and wild meandering through the City (picture courtesy of samper.pl)

Komorow - a village where I live has 3000 inhabitants and is situated 16 km south-west of Warsaw. Linked to the centre of the City by electric trains (WKD).

We have a primary and secondary school, public library, a Roman Catholic parish church, several shops and a health centre.
There is historic palace situated within an old park - it had been converted into hospital. We have also old timber cottages, of which few have survived. The oldest buildings include villas from 1900 - 1939. The neighbouring 18th century farm buildings were demolished in 1998 (local authorities lack of respect for local heritage). Luckily still there is few surviving old avenues lined with ancient lime birch and chestnut trees (one planted with four rows of trees), most of which are now under preservation order. They still provide the feeling of grand picturesque design of the old park and farmlands.
Komorow is situated on the Utrata river, associated with the name of Fryderyk Chopin. The most famous Polish composer was born and brought up in Zelazowa Wola on the banks of the Utrata.
The oldest signs of settlements in the area date from an early bronze age, i.e. from 1800-1200 BC.
While searching about history of Komorów, I realised that Komorow was part of a huge centre of ancient metallurgical industry - the second biggest in Europe outside the Roman Empire - that I was studying in college, but somehow I did not link it until last night :)
History and evidences of metallurgic past gathered during recent excavation - called as most important Polish archeology discoveries of XX century - can be examined in detail at the local museum (Museum of Ancient Metallurgical Works in Mazovia) in the neighbouring town of Pruszkow.
Discoveries are recognised as very important, because they proof iron production at such large and never discovered before scale, that it was true arming industry of those time. Scientists prove that it was the source of independence of barbaric Europe against Roman Empire.

The first written record of Komorow (Comorovo) dates to the beginning of the 15th century. Komorow was then a village owned by at least two closely related families of noblemen bearing the Roch coat of arms. Altogether there were probably about 60 people living.
In 1596 Warsaw replaced Cracow as the capital of Poland. As result there came to the area a lot of wealthy nobility. As a consequence large plots of land in Komorow and the neighbouring estates were, at the beginning of the 17th century, bought by a wealthy aristocrat, Castellan Chadzynski, and a government official from Warsaw named Sobolewski.
After the completion of a splendid Art Nouveau style palace the owners began selling out some best plots of land with pine forest. They were acquired by wealthy Warsaw bourgeoise for residential development.
All this happened at the time of growing popularity in Poland of the Garden-City Movement founded in England by Ebenezer Howard. The trend to "work in the city but live in the countryside" drew more new investment. At the same time Komorow became fashionable as "a country resort" with a number of timber lodges offering holiday accommodation.

The older parts of Komorow can be easily recognised by tall mature trees, spacious gardens (of 10 - 20 thousand square feet on average), stylish villas and a prevailing atmosphere of peace and quiet. I am living in the newer part, located closely to old part, so I can fully enjoy its beauty and watch squirrels running around everywhere.

Komorow has become extremely fashionable recently and attracts a lot of new wealth. The new population consists mainly of business entrepreneurs and yuppies, film and TV stars and politicians. I would say I will not list their names, for privacy reasons, but they are listed in Wikipedia as Komorow inhabitants (linked page does not exist in Polish) so how could I help?

Already before it was known as a place where Maria Dabrowska was living - famous Polish writer - she donated her house to the locals and there is a library now. In the neighbourhood there was also living Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz, another famous Polish writer - his house is a museum now - which can be visited even virtually - if you click the small thumbnail pictures on the bottom right - you will see panoramic pictures of rooms and house.

Thank you for interest and reading this post until here - I know I have challenged your patience :)

In current decade there is also a lot of dogs currently barking around.... too much... nervous dogs...

February 15, 2008

GBBD - February'08

Welcome to Ewa in the Garden and Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day in February 2008. It is my second post after getting introduced to this great tradition initiated by Carol at May Dreams Garden in May 2007

I am recovering now from the nasty cold I got lately - actually one week passed and I am still not fine, but it is getting better. It seems like it was just 2-3 days - time got lost together with the feeling of spring I was enjoying in this unusual February. So, it got cold, snow arrived and temperature droped at night to -10C in my region located in the center of Poland, to -17C in the eastern regions. No blooms in the garden, but some blooms indoor.

Dependable Abutilon pictum is not tired of blooming. See the picture above? See two different shades of flowers? That's right - it is not camera mistake - right one has more orange/salmon color and this is how young flower looks like, after it gets older (it taked few days for each flower) it turns pink like that one on the left.
It flowers indoor most of the year. My plant is now 2 years old/80cm tall in full blooms has abt. 30 flowers and next 30 buds to open. Now it blooms since December.

Abutilon pictum grows up to 3m. It can be grown also in the gardens min. USDA Zone 7a (to -17.7 °C/0 °F) - I understand may our fellow gardeners have it in the garden.

It likes moist soil as they write and shouldn't be dried up between waterings - my abutilon is drying up and still is fine. It can not last too long - cos leaves start turn yellow.

Talking about leaves, they are somewhat hairy like on the picture below.

My major focal point of the living room ;) is big window. Under wide windowsill there is big 3 layers radiator - it means that conditions on the sill are desert conditions - abutilon is fine there, but look what is next to it on the right.... something small, flowering red...

Lately I have problems with watering properly plants - especially those requiring moist conditions - I even bought automatic watering device, but for some reasons didn't istall it. It takes space also that could be filled with plants - that's main reason I guess. I think I should change my approach and first group plants that like moist and then install that cute device I bought.

Before I do it, I will show another plant, that is fitting perfectly the desert conditions ot my hot window :) I like it also because it blooms most of the year. None of them are scented... well... not good... I should remember that I can not have everything - and especially - at the same time...

Crown of Thorns, scientific name: Euphorbia milii var. splendens. I am not sure which kind it is, but it might be 'Dwarf Apache'.
Many garden bloggers fellows will know it as garden plant (USDA: 9b-10), but here in Poland we can grow it only as houseplant. It comes from Madagascar and is very drought tolerant. Place should be sunny, so it is perfect for my very warm and dry window. In nature it grows to 1,2 m. Indoor reported to grow up to 50 cm. Blooms most of the year.

Summer is the time when this plant becomes dormant - so it may loose all leaves - many of them landed in compost in that time. Like other Euphorbias, when you cut it you will see sap - be careful with it. You may get skin irritation and under no condition let it get to your eyes - it may cause temporary blindness.

I have red somewhere that it can be dangerous to cats - but together with this plant they named many others. Do you have any experience about it?

Aslan doesn't want to say anything...

but when he smells something he doesn't like this is the face he is doing...

Now let's move to the white secion :) I like white flowers - they are so elegant and sophisticated. I tried to make white garden - but it is not possible to resist other colors.
Below you see very youg bloom of spatiphyllum - great indoor plant, if you remember to keep its soil moist. It is great because it blooms long, does not need too much light, so it grows well inside and more away from windows.

What is most important it is known as cleaning and purifying the air.

White Phalaenopsis - for some reasons this one is very healthy and growing very well since I bought it. Even my hot window didn't damage it too much. The other two are still recovering, while one of them is rather deeply hesitating whether prefers compost. When heating season started it was too big difference. Till I realised, they dropped flowers. This white one opened new blooms again.
Take closer look at the picture below - can you see glitters on the petals? No? Have a closer look especially right side of the picture...
I realised that inside of the flower is much more interesting and cooling... somehow it gives me a feeling of the shadow at the hot summer day....
They are really easy to grow, after you learn it how to do it. I killed 2 of them before I understood that - despite of info in the magazines - they do LIKE a lof sun (now I keep them in the south window) and not too much water. They have to dry well before next watering - and also before you do it, check the pot - if you see any damp inside the pot - even tiny drops - DO NOT WATER. Wait till they are completely dry.
They will really love you for that :)
I have a lemon tree rescued from the trash or compost - again - in the shop. It us under recovery treatment and just lost its flower buds - can you see how similar they are to lemons?
Texture of flowers before opening look like lemon skin
That is all for February blooming in my indoor garden.
Thank you again for all the positive energy I am receiving from your comments :)

February 12, 2008

Cats have healing effect...

Atomik knows it and is trying his best to help me to cure.

Thank you for all cheering up comments and wishes :)

February 11, 2008

Birdwatching even closer

I am sick.
I got sore throat and headache since Saturday. Just laying in bed, or on the sofa...

Even reading is not too much possible.

Bored to death and inspired by birdwatching action I decided to install the little house for birds this year. Here it can be done latest in February.
I got up and decided this will be the day and I have opened my computer.
Being sick and shopping - that is not good combination - I hope I will not discover something wrong. Internet shopping is great solution. I found a regular one, but practical - the front can be easily fully open and inside can be cleaned. It was only 5$, 10$ including delivery (2,5/4 euro).

I bought it and I am waiting for the postmen - hope he will ring just once :)

Maybe I can paint it and decorate after it arrives...

February 9, 2008

Zillions of seeds planted in my garden today

Because weather is very nice I continue cleaning. Old stems of aster novae-angliae were the first ones - I cut them and delivered straight to compost, but there was huge amount of seeds to deal with. Enchanted by their beauty I was very tempted to just spread them in the wind - and this is what I made :)
I don't know if they will grow, but I prefer asters over weeds. Yes, that's one of the best things about my garden I noticed last year - I can see MY own plant's seedlings appearing around.
This is REALLY great feeling. There is still some empty places in my garden, so I will be more than happy to see asters flowering that... eee.. you know what...
My garden will be turning 4 years this year and so far I was mainly working on improving soil and planting... planting... planting...

Carnival has ended and Hot Valentine day is coming...

Even if I am currently under anti-burnout treatment, I try to follow the new trends spotted around the globe, cos my primary profession is marketing/advertising and I need to sense to which direction the culture, society and technology is going.
It is often fun to see what ideas people have and what are the newest inventions.
Yesterday I found in my e-mail box a newsletter prepared by American company specialising in spotting new trends - this is The Intelligence Group a trend-forecasting focused.
According to trend-forcasters this are currently the hottest ideas for trendy Valentine. This is NOT promotion - maybe in indirect way I do it, but my intention is to share some of this cute items with you.

So have a look at them - maybe you find some inspiration. Personally I was most amazed by customizable wooden postcards and aphrodisiac mini bar box.

Have fun!

Verymeri T-shirts - something for kids

Poketo Art for Your Everyday - online network-driven marketplace with an impressive roster of emerging and established talent (such as Oksana Badrak, Kate Bingaman-Burt, and Andrew Jeffrey Wright.

AMT Diamond Ring for those who would like to engage fast (and not expensive:)

February 5, 2008

Most unusual February of my life

Helleborus foetidus (bought as argutifolius, but definately it is not) in bloom since few days.

We have a proverb 'February comes - fetch yourself warm shoes'. It doesn't rhyme in English, but it does in Polish. In Poland February is the coldest month of the winter - usually. This year is different. We enjoy sunny days with temperatures +8C in the day. I open a window to hear better the birds singing, fresh and clear air - spring my friends, spring...

Maybe I let to fool myself - and still winter will show up - but decided today, that winter is over and the Queen of Cold&Ice has forgotten some parts of the Northern Hemisphere.

I never before worked in the garden in FEBRUARY. never.

This year officially I started spring jobs on 4th of February. I cleaned old leaves of pulsatilla (picture above), cut some other perennials and gave fresh food to birds - they like it a lot, it is very crowded around feeder.
This time to usual cornflower seeds I added some sultana which I cut to smaller pieces - to attract some other kinds of little birds.

It looks yummie.... right?

Is this warm winter a global warming effect? The other day I've read about olives harvesting which are in danger . Today I've red about English gardens which may vanish from the globe one day. Can you imagine that? English gardeners are exchanging traditional plants with drought resistant ones:

'At a speech in Kew Gardens, environment minister Ian Pearson, will say that in the future Britain’s estimated 27 million gardening enthusiasts will have to choose drought resistant Mediterranean plants and use watering cans instead of hose pipes.
You can read more in an article published in The Daily Mail.

'Experts say summer temperatures in England are expected to be up to three degrees warmer by 2050 with 35 per cent less rainfall.' Read more in The Daily Mail

... last week when I was visiting my friend... I couldn't resist to take a piece of this aloe home - it is drought resistant enough?
My husband says, that is scares him - why? Isn't is lovely? And does not need too much water either...

February 1, 2008

Moss Gardens, Japanese Gardens and Bonsai Trees

Today you will see pictures of moss growing in my garden. I can see 5 different kinds, but trying to name them? Not so easy, as they are very difficult to recognize - you need proper book for that and magnifying glass. The latter I have, but no proper book yet.

I don't remember since when I love moss. I think since always. Soft, fragile and moist.

When I recall biology lessons at school I always liked to learn things about them.

In my garden moss is welcomed everywhere. I try to grow it on my stones as well. Few months ago I covered them with yoghurt dilluted with water 1:1. No great effect yet, just little greenish something appeared - you think it could be moss?

I appreciate moss beauty especially in the winter - when it is lush green and so soft to walk on.

Grows in the lawn in the shadow? Great! I don't need to move it. Grass is weaker and weaker in that spot, and moss patches are larger and larger...

Recommended further reading Zen Gardens: The Complete Works of Shunmyo Masuno, Japan's Leading Garden Designer

Moss reminds me my second big and earliest garden fascination of Japanese gardens.
I look for tranquility and harmony in the garden - that's my conclusion after 3 years of gardening. Like every beginner I was so fascinated by different amazing flowers and plants - I was on the way to invite all of them until the day...

... I understood, that it is not possible to have all beautiful plants :(((
I still feel little sad about it, but first some of them will not like to grow in my garden, second ... hahaha... I do not have enough space! My 700m2 is not enough. In the smaller gardens it is even more important to not overload it with too many different plants.

This year I made a list of all plants in the garden and I counted 318 trees, shrubs, perennials and bulbs. Do you say it is much?

Recommended further reading Zen Gardens: The Complete Works of Shunmyo Masuno, Japan's Leading Garden Designer

Coming to my second fascination and Japanese gardens, I like them for meditative and tranquill character. I remember that in communist time there was not so many books about landscaping and Far East - that was of my special interest at that time. I made friends with the owner of the shop selling used/old books. Some people were bringing their old books for sale, the others were coming to buy books not available in bookshops. Whenever something about Japan appeared on the shelf I was getting a phone call and I immediatelly run to the shop to see it. After coming home I was salivating over beautiful pictures of Japanese gardens, ancient castles and blossoming cherry trees...

There is six features as a synonym for an excellent not only Japanese but landscape garden.
According to the ancient book of gardens, there should be six different qualities to which a garden can aspire.
They are grouped in their traditional complementary pairs, they are:
spaciousness & seclusion
artifice & antiquity
water-courses & panoramas.
As the specialists say "it is difficult enough to find a garden that is blessed with any three or four of these desirable attributes, let along five, or even more rarely, all six."

Yet there is such case in Japan.
Its name is “Kenroku-en” which means “garden that combines six characteristics”, which is named by Sadanobu Matsudaira, a feudal load in the present Tohoku district (northern part of mainland Japan).
If you like have a look here:

Some more interesting Japanese gardens pictures, that might inspire you for some changes in your garden - if you plan any, coming year:
Japanese Gardens

Plants recommended for Japanese gardens:

Trees and shrubs

Acer plamatum, Acer japonicum, Acer ginnala, Amelanchier canadensis, Cercis chinensis, Chamaecyparis obtusa, Cornus kousa, Cryptomeria japonica, Gingko biloba, Pinus nigra, Pinus thunbergiana, Pinus densiflora, Magnolia kobus, Magnolia stellata, Prunus cerasifera, Prunus mume, Prunus serrulata, Prunus armeniaca, Sciadopitys verticillata, Tsuga canadensis,

Trees and shrubs of medium size
Acer palmatum 'Dissectum', Spirea japonica, Chaenomeles japonica, Chaenomeles lagenaria, Euonymus alatus, Enkianthus campanulatus, Forsytia x intermedia, Forsytia suspensa, Juniperus chinensis 'Armstrongii', Kerria japonica, Mahonia aquifolium, Pieris japonica, Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Syringa vulgaris

Small shrubs
Buxus microphylla, Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Nana', Daphne cneorum, Ilex crenata, Juniperus chinensis 'Blue Vase', Pinus mugo 'Compacta', Rhododendron obtusum, Rhododendron kaempferi, Spirea japonica, Spirea bumalda, Thuja occidentalis 'Globosa', Viburnum carlesii

All these plants are accompanied by different kind of grass, moss, perennials, bamboo, ivy that might be chosen according to the climate zone.

There is also Japanese garden in one of the major cities Wroclaw founded in 1913 and renovated in 1994.
I have heard that especially lawyers and law firms like Japanese gardens - do you know anything about it?