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Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

The first interesting fact about basil is that I’ve bought myself one.

Sorry!

But yes, buying a fresh potted basil was a gorgeous thing for me.

It is wonderful to look at, it smells divine, it requires very little care (just water, basically).

And, as I’ve also noticed, you can hardly run out of it even if you’re using the leaves in your kitchen quite often.

 
 

Wonderful, gorgeous basil.

I love how the leaves look – all silky and shiny.

They smell strong and sweet.
 
 

  • The name ‘basil’ is derived from the old Greek word basilikohn, which means ‘royal’, reflecting that ancient culture’s attitudes held towards this herb were very noble and sacred.
  • There are various kinds of  basil. The various basils have different scents because the herb has a number of different essential oils which come together in different proportions for various breeds. Cool, huh? The most common basil scents are lemon, clove, camphor and licorice.
  • Basil  is very sensitive to cold, with best growth in hot, dry conditions. It thrives in strong sunlight. It behaves as an annual if there is any chance of a frost. Keep that in mind if you keep your plant outside!
  • If you wish to propagate your plant, it can be done in two ways – from seed or from cuttings (with the stems of short cuttings suspended for two weeks or so in water until roots develop).
  • Yellow leaves towards the bottom of the plant are an indication that the plant has been stressed. Usually this means that it needs less water, or less or more fertilizer.
  • Don’t be afraid to pick the leaves. Picking the leaves off the plant helps promote growth, largely because the plant responds by converting pairs of leaflets next to the topmost leaves into new stems.
  • Scientific studies have established that compounds in basil oil have potent antioxidant, anticancer, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.
  • Basil leaves are best used fresh and added only during the last few minutes of cooking.

 

I’ve used basil in some lovely, lovely recipes on this site:

As in this delicious Parmesan Chicken.
 
 

Or in this yummy Potato and Celery Soup.
 
 

Oh, and in this Farfalle with Tomato and Cheese Sauce, too.

Yum!
 
 

One morning I woke up and saw this on my plant!

I had never seen basil flowers before in my life so this view really got me.

Yes, I easily become overwhelmed by things like my plant’s first bloom.

It’s good to know that once your stem produces flowers, foliage production stops on that stem, the stem becomes woody, and essential oil production declines. To prevent this, you may pinch off any flower stems before they are fully mature. Because only the blooming stem is so affected, some stems can be pinched for leaf production, while others are left to bloom for decoration or seeds.

 
I just love basil!

It’s a miraculous plant with so much to offer.

And what about you? Do you already have a pot with fresh basil on your windowsill?
 

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I am sending you my warmest greetings from my Mom’s garden.

Yes…I am still here…house sitting for my parents…and it seems that it will last some more days.

If you wondered what I am actually doing here then I’d like to let you know that I am relaxing and enjoying every single minute of these days.

It’s so lovely and calm here.

Actually, it’s kind of a vacation for me – a couple of days being spent off my usual routine.
 
 

Yes, most of the time I look like this.

Then, when I feel like doing something more productive, I grab my camera and find myself a project to shoot and to show you.

This time I’ve decided to chronicle my Mom’s new addiction – recently she’s been really fond of acquiring various creatures with eyes for her garden.

And I love it.

Well, I’m her daughter.
 
 

I remember the times when my Mom used to say she never wanted to have things like these in her garden.

Ever!

But then, one special day, someone gave her one of these guys sand I suppose it pushed some major button in her brain that she didn’t even know existed and things started to happen really fast…
 
 

Every time I come to visit I find two or three new pieces of this rapidly growing collection.
 
 

Today I’ve found out that of all the animals or creatures frogs are most frequent here.
 
 

With mushrooms being a close second.
 
 

And snails – there’s a lot of those, too.
 
 

Look, another one.

Oh, I really love the attitude of the carried frendo.

Who knows where they’re going.
 
 

And this mole – he seems to be pretty pleased by having the opportunity to live in this garden as well.
 
 

Another pair of mushrooms.

They have already grown perfectly into this environment.
 
 

Mama frog and a baby frog.

Cute!
 
 

Don’t get scared.

It’s just a tree.

An old and smart tree.

It gives lectures every other day.

I sit and listen.
 
 

Dad likes to know everything about the weather by just looking out of the window.

Thanks to this helpful and colorful buddy, the direction of wind is clear.
 
 

I am completely in love with this little one.

He’s just lovable.
 
 

It’s clear – Mom adores frogs.

Don’t they look like real ones?

In fact, I gave my Mom this present and she loved it.

At least she said so…
 

Well, dear friends, I hope you enjoyed this crazy, head-spinning tour.

And of course, there’s more colorful and lovely stuff coming soon.

With love,

Petra
 

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This is a story about a blogger.

About one blogger whose sedentary lifestyle caused her to move so little that her body started a root the other day!

Okay, not really, but maybe one day…

And no – I have no clue who that blogger is!

Anyway…

The fact is that just recently – when I was writing about my new mint plant and taking pictures of it – I ended up with this sprig.

I felt sorry to just throw it away – it looked so strong and full of life.

That’s when I remembered my Mom who’s a real plant queen. She grows zillions of plants and it was very usual to see a glass filled with water in our house when I was growing up and in that glass there was a sprig of a plant starting new root.

So I thought to myself: ‘Hey, why not give that a try?’
 
 

About one week after I’d put the sprig in water I found this!

I guess I don’t even have to explain how astonished, happy and elated I felt after I’d noticed it.

That was the first plant in my life I helped to root.

I know it might sound silly but for some reason it felt terrific.

Maybe it was the prehistoric woman in me jumping for joy.

Yeah.

Probably.
 
 

So it was time to give my new mint plant a proper home.

Mint requires good drainage – this pot seemed to be just perfect.
 
 

I filled the pot with some soil that I’d bought in a store and placed the sprig in the middle.
 
 

Like this.
 
 

Don’t freak out!

Don’t.

I beg you – please, don’t you go crazy.

I’m just trying to help here.
 
 

I had a look at my ‘bigger’ mint plant and noticed that someone was smart and knew that if he/she snipped off the tip of the sprig – just above the leaves – the two leaves would turn into two new branches.

That way the plant gets bushier.

Clever, isn’t it?
 
 

I promise to show you this mint some time soon so that you see everything is alright.
 
 

Hey, but I have a new sprig now!

Awesome!
 
 

That’s one happy ending to this story, isn’t it?

I guess I will give this new mint plant to my Mom as a little thanks for what she’s taught me.

Oh, and if you ever come across a sprig of mint in your drink one day just remember that there’s no need to leave it there or throw it away.

Just bring it home, place it in water and watch the miracle of life unfold.

See you soon.

Love,
Petra
 

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Mint

I wonder why I love food so much.

I guess I must have been really hungry in one of my past lives.

Or what.

This strong attraction to food comprises mostly cooking and MUNCHING (!!!) on the stuff I’ve prepared.

I love cooking because people are happy when you serve them nice food.

I love eating because… hm… I LOVE eating.

And I love growing my own food because that brings one of the best feelings there are – the feeling of being self sufficient.

Okay, so far I’ve grown one edible plant only – and that’s MINT, to be precise… and I’ve been growing that for one week now but I think that would make a great start to my plant-growing experience and my collection of plants will grow bigger and bigger.

As you already might know, my brain would break if I didn’t share the stuff I’ve learned with you, so here are some very interesting facts about mint:
 
 

Once upon a time, there was one Mint Family and that had many, many children – Mentha being one of them.

Beautiful, luscious Mentha.

Mentha herself had 25 children (no wonder – she was really something) – Spearmint and Peppermint being some of them.

The End.

The moral of this story: ‘You think there’s just one and then you find out there are many.

Did you like the story?

I hope you did.
 
 

To make things easier, let’s just call everyone from the huge Mint Family simply ‘mint‘.

  • Mint is a fast growing plant – one plant, along with a little care, will provide more than enough mint for home use.
  • Mints are perennial which means they keep coming back every year.
  • Since mints do not come true from seed, propagate them by rhizome (roots) cuttings in early spring, by softwood cuttings in summer, or by dividing in the fall.
  • If you want your mint to thrive and enjoy its life to the fullest then you should keep it in semi-shaded position and keep the soil moist (though not waterlogged).
  • Also, mints are very invasive plants and spread like wildfire. So it is always wise to grow them within a container which can be buried in the earth.
  • The leaf, fresh or dried, is the culinary source of mint.
  • Harvesting of mint leaves can be done at any time. Fresh mint leaves should be used immediately or stored up to a couple of days in plastic bags within a refrigerator. Optionally, mint can be frozen. Dried mint leaves should be stored in an airtight container placed in a cool, dark, dry area.
  • There are various ways to use mint – most common uses being culinary, medicinal, cosmetic, as insecticides (to repel mosquitoes) or in aromatherapy.
  • In the kitchen, mint works perfectly with teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, chocolate (After Eight – oh my!) and ice creams. Minted peas and minted new potatoes are firm favorites in England. 



 
 

I like garnishing my sweet desserts with mint leaves.

Also, I love drinking my iced tea with addition of fresh mint.

It’s beyond refreshing!

Oh, you want to know about the ice cubes?

Why they are so strange in color?

Well, that is another obsession of mine – I am currently experimenting with ice… I’ll write more about that in one of my next posts.
 
 

All in all, mint is gorgeous and very much appreciated all over the world.

As I was writing this post I’ve become definitely convinced that I am a huge mint fan.

Do you like mint too?

And if so, then what’s your favorite way to enjoy it?

I’d really like to know…
 
 

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Rosemary in Flower

Rosemary in flower is wonderful.

And amazingly fragrant.
 
 

Right now, it is vibrating with loads of excited bees and bumble-bees that can’t get enough of its sweet nectar.
 
 

It was once held to represent love and faithfulness.

I’ve learned that rosemary was also used in love potions – oh my.

Now, if you will excuse me please, I really need to cook something…


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My Mom is a hugely inspirational person. She is an avid gardener, talented painter and the best Mom. I love her very much.

It is so much fun to be around her.

There are loads of wonderful stories about her I could share and I surely will.

Today I just took a sneak peak into her gorgeous flower garden. More pics of her exceptional magic powers coming later…

my mom's magical garden sneak peak V

These smell really sweet, they lift my spirits indeed.

And yes, you are right, that is a rabbit in the back. Though Mom wanted to keep her garden for the flowers only, it is slowly transforming into a fairy land, which I absolutly adore.

my mom's magical garden sneak peak I

Very romantic flowers.

my mom's magical garden sneak peak II

… “in da groove”.

my mom's magical garden sneak peak III

… “feelin’ funky”.

my mom's magical garden IV

… “go, bradaz, go”.

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