Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cineraria Maritime

I grow Cineraria Maritime as a border plant and in a flower bed. Usually I cultivate Cineraria maritime as an annual, decorative foliage plant, although it is a perennial. I like that it has beautiful, separate leaves covered with silvery felt at bottom, the plant has white - silver color that is clearly seen in full sunlight.


Although Cineraria is beautiful Mediterranean plant, it grows well in my garden along with other annuals and perennials. I plant it in containers and vases with colorful petunias, blue and white lobelia .

Last year I decided to plant Cineraria next to white roses. I think it looks beautifully, shading white roses by silvery lacy leaves of Cineraria. 


I used to buy ready seedlings, 10 small sprouts in the cassette. This year I have grown Cineraria from seeds. During the first week it grows rapidly, soft fluffy leaves get their silvery color.

Do you grow Cineraria in your garden? Where do you plant it: in container  or in beds?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

My small rocky garden

When I wanted to make a small rocky garden, I decided to plant any dwarf plants and perennials. I read a rocky garden or alpine garden had been the most famous garden. It was more convenient to make a small hill, as it would be a decorative addition. If one wants to make a little rockery, it's recommended plants should be suitable, especially ornamental deciduous perennials and dwarf evergreens. I read evergreens can range in height and form, they give originality year round in my rocky garden.


But there are no slopes or hills in my garden, and I chose to create my special rocky garden. Beside my cottage there is a small patio, which is adjoined to a low terrace, and there I decided to create my rockery. Near decorative supporting terrace wall I planted low evergreens: cypress, juniper, euonymus, periwinkle.


Later I added dwarf round tujas, herbaceous plants such as bleeding heart, hostas, dwarf iris, red and white primrose, bugle, loosestrife, chickweed, they form a dense plant hill.


I noticed that all plants tend to rocks which quickly warms up in spring. I think if several species grow closely, it is better to divide them with small stones.

Spring blooming bulbs are growing there: crocus, muscari, chionodoxa and perennial primrose, viola. Summery blooming are geyhera, hostas, aubrieta, saxifrage, chickweed, creeping thyme, lobelia. Sedums and colchicum bloom in autumn.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

GBBD in May

GBBD comes again in May. What blooms in the Northern garden this spring? Should be noted that here April and even March were warmer than usual, but May turned out cool enough. Apparently the plants and the soil warmed up until May and now flowering has come despite of the cool days and even cold nights. 

Before the warmer days onset I've put some of my plants in my new hotbed. It was made of boards and a cover is an old window frame. It's warm enough in it. There I have set some potted plants and a few small pots with cuttings of roses that wintered under snow. Now they began to grow in this hotbed.


Several pots and boxes with flower seedlings I raised for hanging pots. Here is my new flower Sanvitalia (below). I want to hang it on the terrace. Did somebody ever grow this plant and have experience? 
I also have seedlings of Cineraria and Coleus for my front garden, I think the combination of silver and red leaves of these plants will be nice. Did you plant them together in your garden?

My conifers began to grow rapidly. The spruce has grown and now has small shoots. The 3 years old light blue fir has small bumps every spring. It has very soft needles!
Redcurrant and blackcurrant, blackthorn and elderberry bushes are blooming too:

Spring makes a tardy appearance, delayed blooming and leafing out, but soon (forecast promises!) other plants will bloom too.
I brought my garden tulips and have put them in my new 'Delft blue' vase near my computer desk. What a spring!

Bye for now!



Friday, May 9, 2014

Visit to Royal Delft

When I thought of Delft, I have also thought of Delftware. Especially when I learned that Delft ceramics have been an important export product for more than 400 years and that 'Royal Delft', established in 1653, is the last remaining Delftware factory from the 17th century. 

I bought the tour 'Amsterdam - Delft' and arriving the factory the guide led us to the introduction rooms, told the Royal Delft history and showed production process.
The museum has a huge collection of Delft Blue antiques, which gives a glimpse of the history of Delft Blue ware. The entire collection of traditional and modern earthenware is displayed in the showrooms. 

 The copy of 'Night Watch' by Rembrant

Following the guide I was able to see the pottery production process. Delftware, or Delft pottery is a famous type of pottery. The first factories started operating in the 16th century and gained fame mainly because of the high quality pieces resembling Chinese porcelain. The guide told us that the white tin-glazed pieces with cobalt blue drawings were an affordable substitute. 

Although not porcelain as such, this type of pottery became known as Dutch china.Traditional Delft pottery is also available in many other colors, but the most recognizable pieces have only a white glaze and blue paint, and are known as Delft Blue. Delftware exists in the form of tiles, plates,vases, flasks and bottles. 

  Then we were offered a test to determine a hand-painted plate. This plate has been put ​​with others plates made by printing. Of course, not everyone was able to immediately identify a genuine hand-painted piece! The guide told that with the exception of tiles, most other pieces have factory markings that usually found in the bottom of pieces. And she showed this marking that identifies both the factory that produced the piece and the artist that painted it. That was a small blue flask symbol, known as the "De Koninklijke Porceleyne Fles", of the Royal Delft pieces. 

After I got examination workshops, I went to the shop where pieces made ​​by hand and by printing were sold. Prices were naturally very different.

Looking at all stands with ceramic plates, tiles, cups, vases, bells, spoons, bottles, figures I chose souvenirs for myself :)) It is impossible to visit such a famous factory and get away without souvenirs!

 My purchases: this vase, cup and  typical Dutch tile

Have you been to any ceramic factory?  
What do you prefer: hand-painted or made by printing products? 
What Delft Blue souvenirs would you like to buy for your home? 
Thank you!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Columbine for a Shady Corner

         In the shade of maple trees and the pond several species of Columbine are growing in my garden. Firstly I planted some Columbines in sunny spot and then  transplanted some of them into a shady place. Aquilegia does not demand special growing conditions though it is better to plant it in wet soils. 


In my Northern garden it starts blooming in late May and here Aquilegia is called 'a dove'. When do your Columbines usually start blooming? In wild young Columbine blooms in the second year and because of cross-pollination they easily form new species. 

In summer I often see new colors of Aquilegia flowers. Therefore I try to prevent their self-sowing. If I want to propagate them I pick up seeds when boxes are formed. What do you do with Columbine when its flowers fade? I prune flower stems and leave the ornamental leaves, I love their shape.


I tried to propagate by dividing the Aquilegia roots, but they were fragile and my experience was not successful. Did you know how to divide Columbine? I loved to dry Columbine flowers: they may be used for floral displays. The flowers to easily be dried in a cool place (I hang them in a terrace) and later they well retain their dry form and color.