Sunday, April 15, 2018

Mid-April: New Growth

What's news in my garden? Snow actively melts y almost disappeared except in shady spots. It's a pleasure that spring is finally here, it's said kind of "one step forward and two steps  back".
Yesterday when I was going to go to my cottage garden, there was no snow in the city. Probably the snow has melted in the suburbs too, I thought. When I opened the gate, I found out bright flower spots in the garden, there was almost no snow. Let's see together new growths this spring.

I am not tired to photograph pretty crocuses and first bees around them.  Although these crocuses pop up every year in the same place I always glad to see these signs of spring in my garden.

The soil warmed up under the pine-niwaki trees and the invincible Ajuga has glistened with its leaves. I let it to grow under the pines because the grass doesn't grow well there. 

At  the northern side, the red branches of Cornus alba and the new flower buds of the rhododendron 'Helsinki University' were clearly visible in the sun.

The buds of black currant bushes awaken. Next week I have to spray the berry bushes before the leaves grow.

The ornamental Fern leaves and bright green Lymphabis nummularia (Moneywort) have grown in many sunspots. 

The weather was lovely +16 C (60 F) and I decided that it's time to remove dry leaves and plastic off and to open the plants on beds.

Taking away shelters I saw green leaves of Вergenia and a crowd of Leucojum vernum (spring snowflake) flowers. Then I cleaned up beds and took the close photo of Leucojum. White supporting arcs I could not get out of the soil - they were still frozen.

That's all for now.

Arriving in the city I saw an amazing picture on the lawn along the road: it looked like a "pond" for a couple of ducks to spend a pleasant spring time.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Pelargonium Cuttings

Early spring is a good time of the year to take Pelargonium (Geranium) cuttings to raise new plants for free. I often grow my own annuals to make my garden colorful when other perennials aren’t in bloom. 
Today I’ve chosen 2 varieties of pelargonium plants – Zonale and Grandiflorum, and looked them over for likely cuttings.

I've learned that each cutting must be about 4-6cms long ( 2-3 inches), therefore I must cut with secateurs just above a leaf joint on the mother plant, choosing any that have plenty of shoots or nodes. 

Having new cuttings I removed the lowest couple of leaves, you can just leave only the top pair. If your pelargonium has flowering shoots pinch them out. 
One little secret: before pushing in soil, I always leave the cuttings to dry for about half an hour. 

I’ve pushed beginners into the plastic cups full of soil and compost. My pelargonium cuttings should have rooted within 2 or 3 weeks and started growth.

Next I watered and placed all 5 disposable cups into the used plastic supermarket tray out of direct sunlight – on a shelf near a windowsill.  if the weather is warm enough before to move them in the garden in May.
Another little secret: some types of cutting do best covered with a clear polythene bag to keep the air moist, but not so for pelargoniums, which can rot in a damp environment. 

If you want to keep the mother plant so leave seven or eight good stems to grow on.  On April I always replant old pelargoniums with new, multi-purpose potting soil. Having mother plants you can take cuttings to multiply your stock.

My neighbor, blogger friend from Finland Anne (Annen jutut) asked me about first spring signs in March - April in Saint Petersburg. 

Well, the first one is when ice of the Gulf of Finland melts and water is cleared.

The second sign is when first tender flowers are seen within snow.

The third sign is when sun is shining in blue sky and warmth is in the air.

Thank you, Anne!

I challenge the next 3 bloggers: what are first signs of spring in your place? 

1. Teresa - Perfumes y luces  de Extremadura

2. Lola    - La biosfera de Lola 

3. MDN   - Un jardin en clima subtropical 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Landscapes of the Mountain Alps

These days waiting for the new gardening season I want to recollect warm autumn in Austria. That time I was looking forward to the pleasure of traveling by train through the Alps. I've been glad that the train I traveled through the Alps was not speed one and I could enjoy the scenery passing outside the window.  
The Alps  is an area of really diverse beautiful landscapes. There are mountains and valleys, dense forests, high plateaus. Sunlit meadows with grazing cows on alpine pastures, vineyards and villages.

For me who lived all my life on the plain far from any mountains it is always interesting to visit the mountainous area, especially to see the nature of the Alps. These old mountains in Europe are located on the territory of several countries. Since time immemorial, people have settled here. 
The bright sun, blue sky, thick white clouds over the mountains, bright green sown fields, all these reminded of postcards that are sent in travels. Looking at tidy farm houses I thought that Alpine farms produce butter, milk, a large selection of cheese, especially cheese with mold, that I like very much.

There came a moment when I noticed that the train started to go up into the mountain, the road became winding passing through the tunnels. The landscape was changing, houses and farms began to rarer appear, clouds were up in the sky then the heavy fog fell. The grazing cows, lovely houses and churches sank in a fog.

It was amazing to see a fog in highland. The train was going through tunnels, then I saw the valleys between the foggy mountains. One more tunnel, another road turn and the train has gone lower, we arrived again to a valley.
The sun came out of the clouds, a fog dissipated. Birds flew over the corn field, it was a nice view of white houses with red roofs and farms. 

The train was going ever lower, the valleys became wider and more populated. I saw shopping centers, parking lots, wide and narrow roads, fast rivers running through valleys. The journey across the mountain Alps has finished.

Have you ever traveled or lived in mountains?

Video from the 1965 film The Sound of Music about the family of 7 children in the Alps



For those who celebrate tomorrow