Friday, April 25, 2008

Bouquet, April 25, 2008

The colors of the photo begin to become similar to those of the bouquet. Nevertheless, I take it amiss of Nikon that it fails this much at the sight of violet and purple.

The flowers from left to right: stinking hellebore (Helleborus foetidus), tulips, daffodils, bleeding heart or Venus’s car (Dicentra spectabilis 'Alba') two sports of spurge (below Euphorbia polychroma, above Euphorbia palustris), Bergenia, Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla), more tulips and spurge.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Hello Dodo!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Alternative fruits in the garden 2.

Alternative fruits in our garden A - F:
Some pages put in this class the various berries and rhubarb, while others not. As they in fact offer alternatives to our more usual fruits, therefore I include them in my list.

Rheum rhabarbarum- Aronia prunifolia 'Viking': (the same plant also comes with the name Aronia melanocarpa 'Viking'). Black chokeberry comes from Northern America. It is written to be very hardy (as its basic variant is in our garden in fact), produces abundant fruit, and its berry has a high content of vitamin C. It has a wonderful autumn color.
- Amelanchier laevis 'Balerina': It tolerates dryness, has a beautiful color in the autumn, and its berries are edible.
- Amelanchier rotundifolia: Allegheny serviceberry, tolerates both dryness and shadow, has a beautiful autumn color and edible berries.
- Berberis vulgaris: Barberry tolerates both dryness and part-shadow. It produces tasty sourish berries that are much appreciated in Persian kitchen. When in last autumn we were in Iran, it was sold everywhere.

Aronia Viking- Chaenomeles 'Cido': Flowering quince, produced for its fruit. It is harsh when raw, but very tasty when preserved. In the spring it has beautiful salmon-colored flowers. Those reading in German can read a detailed description here.
- Cornus mas: A good entry on cornels can be read in the Wikipedia in English, and on the page of the Terra Alapítvány in Hungarian. In our garden it was one of the first plants. It tolerates well dry part-shadow and has a very tasty fruit.
- Corylus avellana: Our backward fence is made of hazel. In the year they started to produce hazelnuts, the squirrels appeared, and since then they have stayed in our garden, to our great pleasure.
- Corylus avellana 'Anny's Red Dwarf': We found in the Praskac this small hazel that in the spring has wine red leaves. As it will only grow one and half meter, it fits to much more gardens than the basic variant or any other hazels with colored leaves that all grow at least three meters high. However, I do not know whether it produces nuts.
- ! Corylus avellana 'Contorta': Corkscrew hazel is an exceptionally beautiful plant. In winter and early spring it is one of the main ornaments of our garden. It has been growing at us for twelve years. Before buying it, we asked a very renowned gardener whether it produces fruit. Oh yes, of course, just like normal hazel. Nevertheless, I have never seen any nuts on it. All right, I thought, perhaps it tooks to produce a bit longer than to the normal version. Now, as I was looking for links for this post, on a number of reliable sites I found that although it blooms, it does not produce fruit at all.

Corylus avellana Contorta- Corylus colurna: Turkish hazel likes light, warm soil, where it grows quickly after the first few years. At us it even grew one and half meter in a year. It is a very beautiful tree, with nice catkins in the spring and appealing color in the autumn. It produces very tasty nuts, but unfortunately not as much as one would like: our twenty years old tree for example only two or three kilos a year. I recommend it only for natural gardens, because otherwise you have to continuously sweep its catkins in the spring and the shells of its fruits in the autumn.
- Crataegus monogyna: When I was a child, we often went to excursions. I especially liked to go in the autumn, and one of the main reasons was hawthorn. After its fruit softened a bit, I fould it very appealing. On the advice of a gardener we have planted a looong hawthorn fence all along our forest border. This belonged to those advices that fundamentally shaked my confidence in Hungarian gardeners (my respect to the extremely few and honest exceptions). In that cool and shady place hawthorn just manages to survive, but is rare and ugly. And it only bears fruit at those few points where it gets a bit more sunshine than usual.

Crategus monogyna- Fragaria ananassa 'Ostara': A strawberry that has stood the test in Germany for a long time. I will test it only now, hoping that every good thing they write about it is true.
- Fragaria vesca: In 2005 we have planted some woodland strawberries from the nearby forest. They cover the soil very well, but have not produced fruits this far, I don’t know why. Now I have seen some buds on them, so perhaps in this year.
- Fragaria vesca 'Mignonette': This plant, however, is a complete success story. I brought its seeds in 2005 from Britain, of which a gardener friend of us made seedligs in 2006. (He also sells them now, see among my links under the name Etnoflora.) It bears fruits from the beginning of the summer till the end of autumn. It does not spread. It tolerates well part-shadow, bad soil and dryness. Naturally, the better the conditions, the better it produces as well.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Alternative fruits in the garden 1.

This is how the Germans call those wild or semi-wild fruits that are also cultivated in home gardens. They usually do not require any pruning (or just very little). They are usually very resistent. They require no spraying. They often resist in extreme conditions. Many of them produce fruits just as tasty as the well-known ones, and many of them offer food for the animals living in the garden. And, in top of all that, most of them assume wonderful colors in the autumn. And they are available on a very large scale.

I started to look for them when our efforts to produce fruits failed in our cool and shady garden, right at the edge of the forest, in spite of all our ambitions. We have planted every possible kind of fruits, selecting complete sequences of breeds. We pruned, we sprayed, we manured, we irrigated, but after seven or eight years we had to realize that it does not go. The trees – except for the nedlar and some berries – hardly produced any fruits, and a number of them simply died out in spite of all our care.

Between 2004-2005 I decided that if an orchard is not sustainable then it should be converted into a decorative garden. True, Tamás told that the two are not mutually exclusive, but I dogmatically proclaimed that no fruit trees and shrubs fit in a decorative garden. Therefore, apart from the medlar – and the three peaches, champions of survival – I digged out all the rest. (Fortunately most trees were so stunted that I could give them to the neighbors.)

However, the concept of the decorative garden did not result unproblematic, either. On the one hand I had problems to find plants fitting for the bad soil, the dry places and the part-shadow that makes the greater part of the garden. On the other hand I missed very much that wonderful “red jam” I used to produce of blackcurrant, raspberry and other berries. So I revised my aesthetic principles and immediately found some place fitting for berries. And while I was looking for plants for dry part-shadow, I met the alternative fruits.

By now I have collected a complete set of them. And as most of them are originally forest plants, therefore they fit very well in our natural garden.

More on them in Hungarian:

Some German pages for the interested:
Gärtenrei Naturwuchs.
Artener Bio-Baumschulbetrieb.
Eggert Baumschulen.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bouquet, April 15, 2008

Unfortuntely this picture does not reflect the sublime purple shades of the flowers. The Nikon I use for taking pictures distorts every picture towards blue, and I cannot find out how I could induce it to render the colors like they are in the reality. If anyone knows it I would be grateful if he would let me know.

This bouquet is based on Bergenias. Unfortunately I do not know their botanical name, as I purchased them from a number of sources, and I suspect that they are just noname seedlings. Nevertheless I find their various tones very appealing. Purple tulip (Negrita) and hyacinth (Woodstock) – much more purple in the reality. In the background, a white-speckled Siberian cornel (Cornus alba 'Sibirica Variegata'), a wine red leaved forest spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides 'Purpurea') and a Fritillaria uva-vulpis.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sissinghurst Castle

It comes from the garden of Sissinghurst Castle. An old Gallica rose found in 1947 by the dreamer of the garden Vita Sackville-West when she began to transform the neglected garden of the old castle. This place has become since then one of the most famous gardens of the world. And it is such a good feeling to have a little piece of this garden – through Peter Beales who also sells this rare rose via internet – in our fence of historical roses.

Rosa Sissinghurst CastleRosa Sissinghurst CastleRosa Sissinghurst Castleclass: Gallica rose, discovered in 1947
height: 90-140 cms
width: 90 cms
American hardiness zone: Z4b (down to -32 ºC)
bloom: once, then it produces rose-hips
At us it grows at sunshine, but according to Help Me Find it tolerates part-shadow.

Rosa Gallica Officinalis

One of the longest cultivated roses. It is said to have been brought to Europe by the Crusaders from the Holy Land. In my opinion it is one of the most beautiful roses.

Rosa gallica officinalisRosa gallica officinalisclass: Gallica rose, from before 1300
height: 90-150 cms
width: 90 cms
American hardiness zone: Z3b (down to -37 ºC)
bloom: once, then it produces rose-hips
At us it grows on a sunny place, but according to the Help Me Find it tolerates part shadow.
A beautiful photo of it can be seen at the site of Christine Meile.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Portland Rose

This name indicates both an actual rose and a whole category of old roses. I entertained great hopes of them as winter-hardy and recurrent historical roses, but unfortunately they did not stand the test at us. Except for one (Arthur de Sansal) they do not bloom repeatedly. It is possible that they would need more sunshine.

Portland roses are beautiful, but there are many more exciting and more beautiful roses than them. Nevertheless, they have historical interest, as they have been cultivated for more than two centuries.

Portland rose
Portland roseclass: Portland Rose, before 1800
height: 60 - 120 cms
width: 60 - 90 cms
American hardiness zone: Z4b (down to -32 ºC)
bloom: repeated, although at us it only blooms once, then it produces rose-hips