Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Spiraea Сinerea "Grefsheim"

Friday, May 15, 2015

GBBD - May

It's May, Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, “nature suddenly has got blue and green here”  these were the lyrics of 60s.
March and April were cool and cloudy and it seemed that spring was lazy and not in hurry: there were rare leaves, the grass was yellow.

But May has come and spring woke up and hurried!

Young leaves on spirea sprouted to May 1,
then hyacinths, berry bushes bloomed to May 5.
the garden has been decorated with daffodils, blackthorn and plum flowers to May 10,
tulips have opened their buds, white flowers of bird cherry filled the air with their fragrance to May 13.
Finally the apple trees and rhododendrons are in bloom in mid-May.

In veggie garden the first ones are onions. 

I grow a new variety of onion, it's Suvorov onion (Allium suworowii), one of the group of mountain onions, under the general title "Anzur." It grows wild in the mountainous regions of Middle and Central Asia. He is also known under the names "Allium Stipitatum", "a giant onion", "onion the highest."
I like the garlicky-onion taste of its leaves. In June the flower opens on its stem and then the small bulbs mature.

The another onion is Chives (Allium schoenoprasum), the smallest onion, is well known everywhere. I often make chives, suvorov and tomato salad. 
Of course all kinds of weeds are growing well since April. I do not have time to fight them constantly. Two days ago I cleaned the soil around the roses, and again small goutweed leaves have been seen under the roses:((

What plants please you in mid-May?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Gulf of Finland, Spring 2015

        Yesterday I decided to go to the Gulf of Finland and to stroll along its sandy beaches. The day was sunny but windy and sometimes very cloudy. I grabbed my camera and went.
The water was blue-grey with strong waves because the Gulf of Finland is a part of Baltic sea. It extends between Finland, Estonia and Saint Petersburg where the river Neva drains into it.

The waves were very long as the Gulf is relatively shallow with the depth decreasing from the entrance to the gulf to the continent.

The northern coast of the Gulf where I live is high and windy, with small bays. It also is mostly sloping; there are abundant sandy dunes, with occasional pine trees. I climbed on a dune, there was no such strong wind, then I went into the forest and arrived to the entrance of a Sanatorium for children. I liked nice paths in the sanatorium park that was a mixture of pine, spruce, birch, willows, rowan. There were small ponds with aquatic plants, such as waterlilies and sedge.

Then I went out to the river Sestra. Some large rivers flowing into the gulf are Neva, Narva, Sestra, Porvoo. This river Sestra is long with enough quiet water.

When I came back to the shore and have realized that the weather got better, less clouds and more sun. You can see an island on a horizon on the last photo. The Gulf of Finland contains numerous banks, skerries and islands. Starting from 1700, nineteen artificial islands with fortresses were built there by Russia. The largest one is Kotlin island with the city of Kronstadt.

Walking by the beach I was thinking that the Gulf of Finland is one of the world's largest ship cemeteries. I've learned that because of the low salinity and cold waters the ships are relatively well preserved. Since the 6th century, major waterways were running through the gulf, and from the 8th to the 10th century about 3,000 tonnes of silver was transported there.
Who knows maybe one day taking a walk by the Gulf shore I will find something interesting...:))

Have you found something valuable walking along a river or a lake or sea shore?

More about the Gulf of Finland here

Friday, May 1, 2015

Lily of the Valley

             When it comes to May 1st , for me as for many people this holiday can be summed up by one flower scent: Lily of the valley (Convallaria). This blossom has an appearance and fragrance that match, both are clean and loved by all. 

Lily of the valley flower early in the season. This season I think to plant it in large containers with petite hostas and dwarf hardy cannas. Usually growth begins to form quickly, in just a week or so, depending on temperature so I'll choose warmer sites for these containers.

I love to cut the petite bell-shaped flowers for small, scented bouquets. This will not hurt the plants.

After blooming has finished for the season I leave the foliage in place; I don’t cut it off as I do with all bulbs. My lily of the valley rest for a few months before beginning the next growing cycle in spring. 

Lily of the valley can be forced in just 3 to 4 weeks indoors for much-needed middle of the winter fragrance, you can have "spring" delivered early to yourself or to someone.
I learned that Lily of the valley was also used as the national flower of Finland.

Warning: it's highly toxic by ingestion. Toxicity is the plant's defense against animals eating its seeds. All parts of the plant: stems, leaves, flowers and small orange-red berries are extremely poisonous and close to 40 different cardiac glycosides have been found in the plant so far.

These photos were taken in Arboretum Mustila, Kouvola, during my trip to Finland.