Monday, December 25, 2023

December. Christmas

 I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

The days are getting longer in the northern hemisphere, congratulations on the approach of spring!

Christmas at my home

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Modest Beauty of the Winter Garden

There were sunny days at the beginning of December and of course I wanted to look at the garden and take photos. I wrote in the title that the beauty of the garden is modest. This is true. There are no bright colors of flowering plants, daisies and cosmos do not bend in the wind, roses do not smell when they open their buds. There is a lot that can be listed about what is not in the garden in December. But...

When I arrived at the garden, the sun was shining brightly. The sky was blue, without clouds. It was so wonderful after the long and gray days. There was a little snow, so I quickly cleared the paths.


The plants looked pretty against the blue sky. At the entrance, just beyond the gate, on a trellis, Parthenocissus showed its black, dried berries. In spring and summer when it blooms, many bees, wasps, bumblebees and flies feast on its nectar. There is a constant hum from the movement of many wings.


The white and lilac Asters novae-angliae have lost their beauty, dried out and their dry trunks and dried leaves are visible in the rays of the low winter sun. 


These are the photos I took on a sunny December day in the garden. What does your garden look like at this time of year?

My new video. The park of rhododendrons, it was June 2023:




Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Watercolors. Autumn 2023


Autumn field

In the park

In the park

Cold day

In the park

These watercolors were painted in October. I hung them on a stand and corrected them, added to them... in general, I tried to bring them to the point where I could show them to you. And then I scanned and edited the size of the paintings by cutting off the edges of the white paper.


Lonely maple  

These watercolors capture my impression of the fall colors; I am always amazed at how brightly colored the leaves of the trees are in October, and how the color of the water and sky changes on a cold day.
October day
The October days were quite cold +4C, I made sketches in the park or photographed the landscape. When I got home, I started painting. 
I want to say that I bought new paints in tubes. They are made on the basis of gum arabic, which gives them greater brightness and they do not dry out on the palette for a long time.  
You might like some of my new works, I'm still learning and grasping the intricacies of watercolor technique.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

"Autumn" By Vitaly Bianki


"...Autumn has already come to the forest. At first, when all the leaves were painted in bright colors, it was very beautiful. Then the angry winds blew. They tore off yellow, red, brown leaves from the branches, carried them through the air and threw them to the ground.

Soon the forest thinned out, the branches were exposed, and the ground beneath them was covered with colorful leaves.
Every now and then flocks of long-billed sandpipers and unprecedented ducks suddenly appeared from somewhere. 


They stopped at a river, in swamps; During the day they feed, rest, and at night they fly further - in the direction where the sun is at noon. Flocks of marsh and water birds were flying from the far north.
Now new guests arrived from the northern forests every day: winter was already beginning there.


In October, angry winds blew, but it did not always rain: there were also fine, dry and clear days. The cool sun was shining welcomingly, saying goodbye to the falling asleep forest. The leaves that had darkened on the ground then dried out and became hard and brittle. In some places there were mushrooms peeking out from under them..."

I found for you an excerpt from a story "Autumn" by Russian writer Vitaly Bianki  (1894 -  1959), he was a popular Russian children’s writer and a prolific author of books on nature.

What's your Autumn weather like - warm or rainy? Are strong winds blowing or is summer still extended?

Friday, October 27, 2023

Wild Mushroom Hunting


Edible forest mushrooms are a tasty excuse to spend time in the forest. The forest in which my family and I picked mushrooms is dry and slightly hilly. Pine and birch trees grow here, and there are large boulders. Wild mushrooms - these delicious edible mushrooms are perfect for beginner pickers!


There are many different edible species of mushrooms and I want to tell you about Boletus (Boletus), and Chanterelles (Cantharellus)

One of the most popular edible mushrooms is Boletus edulis, which is also called porcini, king Boletus or penny bun. Some of the most popular and valuable of them include king Boletus and bronze Boletus. Many novice foragers begin their mushroom journey by studying these wonderful mushrooms.


Boletus, also known as porcini mushrooms grow in the wild. They have a unique fleshy cap and thick stem, a distinct appearance with a fleshy, spongy layer on the cap and pores on the underside. The stem is easily separated from the cap. 

In Europe and Russia, fresh Boletuses are available in summer and autumn. Dried, canned and pickled Boletus mushrooms are sold all year round. I love Boletus soup or fried Boletus mushrooms with potatoes and onions.

Chanterelles (Cantharellus)

There are many different types of Chanterelles. They thrive in moist mixed deciduous forests and coniferous forests in the northwest. Most Chanterelles are golden or yellow in color, as well as some white and blue species. Chanterelles are highly valued in cooking for their unique taste and ease of preparation. They can be fried, dried, cooked in wine and much more!

They taste and smell like fresh apricots, and the aroma is absolutely unforgettable when you go home with a basket full of the harvest.

These yellow or orange, funnel-shaped, fleshy mushrooms are the best-known consumed species of wild mushroom. Some Cantharellus species have a fruity odor and a slight peppery taste. Beneath the smooth cap, these mushrooms have gill ridges that extend down to a stipe (pedicle) that tapers downward from the cap. True Chanterelles have wrinkles or ridges on their stems.


I love hunting Chanterelles because there are always a lot of them in one place. In addition, they are rarely affected by pests - flies, slugs, worms. How do I cook them? I usually fry Chanterelles with onions and vegetables, and the cooking time is no more than 10 -15 minutes, because they shrink greatly.

Have you ever picked wild mushrooms in a forest? How do you use mushrooms? 




Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Autumn Works In the Garden

 It is always difficult to determine the exact time when it is necessary to cover tender plants for wintering. It happens that snow falls in early October and when I work in the garden, my hands get cold in gloves.  

And there are years when October is warm. On such days, previously covered plants may become wet from evaporation of the soil under the cover. And every year – “when to cover tender plants” is a big question.


Rose F.J. Grootendorst after a snowfall

In the middle of this October  there were several nights with temperatures of 0 C. Not all plants could withstand such cold weather. It snowed this week and I decided to cover my roses and clematis.

A David Austin rose under cover. I had to shorten its branches.

I installed a frame of metal arches and placed a plastic shelter on top. To prevent the wind and rain from tearing it down, I secured the shelter with stones and bricks.


A climbing rose 3 m long under cover.

Сlimbing roses tolerate frost and snow well, but they must be protected from rain to prevent mold on the branches. 

Other perennials, such as phlox, peonies, and irises, require pruning. It rained a lot this week. Autumn rains are very beneficial for rhododendrons and azaleas, which do not need shelter.

I will have to trim and tie Euonymus, Elaeagnus argentea, and spirea so that the snow does not break their branches.



Elaeagnus argentea

I covered young plants in the ground with fallen leaves.

There are a lot of juicy berries ripe on the chokeberry bush. They are left for birds wintering in our climate or flying to the southern regions. 


What a good harvest of apples this fall! This apple tree was pruned in height and width last year. And here is the result - juicy sweet apples in abundance.


As you can see, my to-do list turned out to be big. The rest of the flowers and bushes are waiting for my hands in other days. The plan is best carried out in good warm weather without rain.


It's always interesting to look at clouds. They float quickly, form rain or snow clouds, and in the evening I admire a beautiful crimson sunset.



What is the weather like in your place in October? What work do you have to do this season?

Take care.