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A Vote for Sustainability

February 7, 2016

If you’ve got a minute to spare (and if you’ve got time to look at my blog, I know you do!) please vote for Biond in the European Business Awards. (All you need to vote is a valid email address, and I know you’ve got that too.)

They’re the company that provides the school lunches at my friend Ylvs’ daughter’s school, cooked from organic, locally grown ingredients, and if Ylvs is this excited about them being Germany’s national entry for the Award for Environmental & Corporate Sustainability, then I’ll trust that the food is really as good and fresh as it looks.

Harvest Monday – February 1st, 2016

February 1, 2016

Okay, let’s do this again.

No big harvests yet, of course, not in the middle of winter, but I’ve started growing garden cress in the kitchen again.

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And I bought myself a pot of chives at work because they looked so good.

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And if I’m allowed to look back a little further than the last week, those are the sweet potatoes I harvested from my balcony and ate during the winter.

DSC07143 Ipomoea batatas

 

February Calendar Picture

February 1, 2016

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Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – January 2016

January 15, 2016

All right, let’s do this again. Another thing I’ve let slide over the last year.

When I remembered today what the 15th of the month means, I realised I don’t even have any flowers at home. So I bought some.

DSC07367 Guzmania, Phalaenopsis

Then when I got home, I remembered I do actually have some flowers.

DSC07378 Schlumbergera

But I keep the holiday cacti in the bedroom, with the light off, to give them the long nights they need to bloom. So I pretty much only ever see them on weekend mornings.

The picture is kind of crappy, but I didn’t want to turn on the light even to take it.

The one on the left is the one I posted about recently, and the one on the left was a cutting from my grandmother’s huge plant – my most reliable bloomer. (The “mother” plant is so big that my grandmother was talking about throwing it out, but that’s just not allowed. It must be decades old, and it would be a shame, and I just don’t have the space to adopt it. And I’ve never even taken a picture of it, because I never manage to visit when it’s in full bloom.)

Anyway. So these are in the bedroom, which means I could still use a few flowers for the living room jungle.

DSC07373 Guzmania, Phalaenopsis, Pandanus, Begonia, Piper

I don’t really care for Phalaenopsis – I just see too many of them in my job – but one of the stems on this one had a rather odd flower shape, and I usually like the not-so-ordinary plants best.

DSC07369 Phalaenopsis

They’re from a local grower who often puts two plants in one pot, which is why there are two slightly different ones in this one.

Work is full of primroses and violas, but I haven’t bought any of those yet. It’s tempting, though!

Bonus pictures from work:

The shop, after being closed for a month, sad and empty:

DSC07330 Saintpaulia, Epipremnum, Zamioculcas, Sansevieria, Asplenium

The shop after a shopping trip to the wholesaler and the orchid grower:

DSC07355 Saintpaulia, Kalanchoe, Guzmania, Aphelandra, Phalaenopsis

I suppose you can guess where my new flowers came from!

Back to Work

January 13, 2016

Last week was cold and snowy (and pretty) …

DSC07281 Juglans regia

… but stuff is growing again. Not much yet, but we’ve sowed a lot of lettuce (and I’ve learned something about the inner workings about the sowing machine – it’s always a good day when I learn something new).

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Soil cubes and pilled seed, starting to turn into 2016’s first lettuce plants at the Teeny Tiny Village Nursery:

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We’ve brought in daffodils, tulips and hyacinths for Valentine’s Day:

DSC02497 Narcissus pseudonarcissus

And people need to hurry up and buy primroses:

DSC07291 Primula vulgaris

Business is basically non-existent at this time of the year (we had all of two customers yesterday, and that was two more than we expected). But look how pretty the primroses are already!

DSC07294 Primula vulgaris

DSC02486 Primula acaulis

Look What I Can Do

January 9, 2016

DSC07298 Dracaena, Tetrastigma, Pachira, Begonia

DSC07300 Dracaena, Tetrastigma

I can close my curtains!

That doesn’t seem like a big deal? But it is!

Because until yesterday, the curtain wire looked like this:

DSC07276 Tetrastigma voinierianum

All tangled up in Tetrastigma voinierianum.

DSC07278 Tetrastigma voinierianum

And because I said, “Uh, maybe I should do something about this – a year and ten months ago!

But I didn’t, and it just kept on growing, all along the curtain wire and then back again, and then some more…

And I just couldn’t find the energy to get up and deal with it.

But yesterday I finally put some nails in the wall above the window and tied the vines to that, and took the curtain wire down and scratched the tendrils off, and then rearranged the vines some more  and put the wire back, and then moved the vines around a bit more, and today I put the freshly washed curtains back up, and finally Рafter two years РI can close them again.

It’s not perfect – the vines are now so high up that they probably won’t get much light any more, and some of the leaves tend to get caught in the balcony door… but it was this or make the trip to Ikea and buy another curtain wire, and I wasn’t quite ready for that.

Now I just need to deal with my plants. They’re a mess.

Case in point: the Tetrastigma is still in a pot that’s ridiculously tiny for its size:

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(There are another about 4 m of vine out of view.)

I’ve had the plant for almost six years now, and in that time it grew from a cutting to, well,¬†this, and I’m pretty sure I’ve only repotted it twice in that time.

And this is not even the most urgent task.

Also, fun fact about Tetrastigma voinierianum: they have things on the underside of their leaves that look like grains of sand and are apparently called pearl bodies, and if you work with a plant, they fall off, and if you’re standing underneath that plant while working with it, they fall all over you, and into your collar and… well, it was a very itchy evening.

 

 

Can We Pretend Christmas Is Now?

January 4, 2016

Because now we finally have snow, and the first flower on my Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi).

DSC07232 Schlumbergera x buckleyi

Yesterday.

I think this is the earliest it has ever bloomed in the six years I’ve had it. I found a few photos from January 17th last year, so about two weeks later than this. Maybe next year, it’ll actually bloom at Christmas?

DSC07239 Schlumbergera x buckleyi

Today.

Last year was the first time I got more than one or two blooms on it, too.

DSC02879 Schlumbergera x buckleyi

February 8th, 2015

I think it liked the fact that I was away for most of November, so there was no artificial light the long nights it needs to form buds.

So this year I tried even more than in previous years to keep the light off in the bedroom, and it seems to be paying off. Yes, picking out clothes in the dark can be… interesting, and sometimes the plants are very thirsty for a couple of days when it’s dark before I go to work, and dark after I get home, and I don’t see how sad they’re looking… but that’s an acceptable price for pretty flowers. Even though I only see those in the mornings of days when I’m not working, which is the only time I’m in the bedroom with enough light to see by, this time of year.

(Another discovery I made, while looking up when the plant has bloomed before, is that I seem to be most inclined to take pictures of it when it has snowed. Which hasn’t happened much in the last couple of winters, but out of the three days I took pictures of it last winter, two were days with snow.)

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