The blog post about Hackney’s biggest ever wild flower meadow has been updated. If you’d like to see the latest, take a look here.
I have been nominated for the Liebster 200 Blog Award!
Brianbreczinski from gardenblog2013 nominated me. I am of course very happy.
The Liebster 200 is an award given to blogs with less than two hundred followers with the purpose of promoting up and coming blogs. To accept it, implies nominating other ten read-worthy blogs and answering ten questions.
My list of nominees is below.
I am especially happy to receive the Liebster, because whenever I read interviews in magazines, I think about the answers I would have given. Not a tad narcissistic, I know ; ) !
The truth is, I always wanted to be asked a series of questions to reveal a bit more about myself to my readers. To give you the most genuine answers, I have not looked at any of the questions beforehand and also not read answers given by other bloggers. So here we go:
- What’s your favourite vegetable? I like artichokes. There is a delicious recipe on my blog with a step by step text and picture guide on how to cook artichokes Italian style.
- Why did you start blogging? I wanted to do something creative in my free time and learn some new skills, without breaking the bank and also spend some time outside in the fresh air. I live in a house with a shared garden, that no one was looking after. My mum has a talent for gardening, and by trying to improve my garden I slowly discovered that I have inherited some of her talent of handling plants, arranging items in a way that makes a house feel more like a home and making the most of items and furniture pieces that are already there. I also wanted to share my experience with others and keep track of my projects. As part of my work amongst other things, I monitor social media activity, including blogs. Hence starting a blog myself gave me a chance to understand the media I work with on a daily basis better and to try things out.
- Which of your posts surprised you by being more popular than you expected? The most popular post on my blog is the one on how to grow an avocado plant from a seed. I did not spend much time on it and am much prouder about other posts that did not receive as many likes or views. Ultimately its the readers that decide which post they most like and need. I guess the fact that it is a ‘How to’ guide that requires next to no money, attracts all this attention.
- Tell me why you were surprised in #3. I spend much more time and energy preparing, photographing and writing the posts about my garden staircase project this year, so it was a surprise that the avocado plant is still top of the list in terms of viewers.
- How has your blog become different from what you initially intended? When I started, I thought I would write about linguistics and politics, as well as gardening, travelling and cooking. It soon became clear that a gardening thread was running through all my first posts, whether I was sharing a recipe or pictures from my travels, so I decided to give gardening more space. I also decided to proof that anyone can be an urban gardener, you don’t need to be of a certain socio-demographic or age group, gardening is not for losers and you don’t need to be ‘cool’ or ‘uncool’ to garden. Also gardening does not need to be expensive.
- Share a favourite recipe. Simple is OK! There are some recipes on my blog already, but I will share a new one with a step by step cooking guide soon.
- What’s an awesome but relatively unknown reason people should visit or live in your present or previous hometown? I live in London, my parents live in Munich, but my hometown where I grew up as a child is a small town in North-Eastern Italy between the Alps and Dolomites called Bruneck / Brunico. The population is mixed between Italians and a German and a Reto-roman minority group. All street signs are bi-lingual and all staff in schools, public and private companies by law need to be able to speak and write in at least two of the three official languages. It is little known that the Reto-roman minority group, also called Ladiner / Ladini, speak a Latin dialect. The group can understand Romansh, the fourth national language spoken in Switzerland.
- Where would you like to visit, but never have? Since I saw James Bond’s Skyfall, I would like to visit Shanghai. The city’s aerial night shots where incredible.
- The Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Neither.
- What’s your favorite book? Its a German bestseller by Ingrid Noll called Die Häupter meiner Lieben
And last but not least, here are my nominees:
- macingosh. photography.
- An Insomniac’s Guide to Transcontinental Travel
- Living With the Birds
- Christie’s Garden
- Mushemi Fire
- The Spaghetti Western
Rules to accept your award
1. Thank the person that nominated you and link back to their blog.
2. Answer the 10 questions below.
3. Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers. (Hint: if you follow them, then open the WordPress reader and click on their blog, it will tell you how many followers they have).
4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.
Red Darter’s ten questions for you:
1) What’s your favourite word?
2) What do you like the most about blogging?
3) In one sentence what is your blog about?
4) What motivates you?
5) What puts you off?
6) What is your biggest achievement as a blogger?
7) What topic, other than the one you are specialising in on your blog, would you like to be an expert in?
8) What’s a relatively unknown reason people should visit or live in your present or previous home town?
9) Winter or summer?
10) What’s the best exhibition you have ever seen?
I thought it’d be good to show you our new autumn front door decoration. You may remember last year’s hanging basket.
This year, I found a large metal planter and decided to up-cycle it. Having cleaned the container and found a pot that could fit into it, I spent £15 at Columbia Road Flower Market to get these plants:
The white fruit of the plant above, turn orange over time (perfect for Halloween) and then red for Christmas.
The ivy is growing and the plants are easily maintained. The cyclamen have flowered for two months already.
The trick is to deadhead faded blossoms and new ones will keep developing. You can also see, the white fruit are turning orange.
Our neighbour downstairs seems to like the decoration as well as she bought the same plants
matching her window ledge to my front door pot.
For Halloween, on the kitchen window I arranged two pumpkins.
Have you ever seen white pumpkins before?! I had’nt.
The yellow polyanthus on the left have been flowering all year round since last autumn. Really remarkable.
Now that the weather is cooler, I moved the pumpkins inside next to the carob plants grown from seeds.
Have you created your own autumn decoration? I’d like to know all about it!
I hope your garden is doing well!
My tomato plants have grown so much, I thought you might want an update.
I think growing plants from seeds, is the most satisfying way of gardening; having seen the plants develop out of tiny seeds, with a bit of soil and little water, makes me feel much more responsible for them then for plants I buy already fully grown.
Last winter I won a package of tomato seeds in an online competition run by Woolly Green. The package arrived in the post just before Christmas and, as I had never grown tomatoes before, I followed their development every step along the way. Here is how the seeds turned into tomatoes:
28th of April 2013:
Grown from a package, the tomato seedlings indoors:
12th of May 2013:
Seedlings moved onto the window ledge
31st of May 2013:
6th of June 2013:
Seedlings re-potted into tomato cage pots
As their new position was less protected than the window ledge, a transparent plastic sheet at the back helps to keep draughts away:
And wow, look how much they’ve grown since then:
23rd of June 2013:
29th of June 2013:
10th of July 2013:
10th of July 2013, the first flowers started to appear:
14th of July 2013:
16th of July 2013, I bought some organic seaweed tomato fertilizer:
As I’m hoping to eat the tomatoes, I didn’t want any chemical fertilizer. I asked around, and the best one to me seemed this Maxicrop organic fertilizer, made from plant extracts and seaweed. I mix half a cup of Maxicrop with two liters of water every seven days.
20 July 2013:
21st of July 2013:
21st of July 2013, the first tomato fruit:
11th of August 2013:
31st of August 2013:
2nd of September 2013:
If you haven’t grown tomatoes before, I hope the pictures encourage you to try it yourself.
It would be nice hearing about your success stories!
Thanks for watching
And p.s. compared to July 2013:
this is what remains of the tomato plants, now in October 2013:
The deep red freesias, need quite a bit of support through canes. this might however be due to the fact that I did not plant the bulbs very deeply into the soil. They are beautiful though, don’t you think?
As expected, the freesia stems have started to bend so that the five flowers on each stem face upwards.
Below is a lovely white flowering climber which no-one has planted, but it is very welcome in our garden.
The blossoms open only in the morning.
A yellow climber hanging over the fence from our neighbours’ garden:
This year there is a darker purple lupin than last year.
My flatmate is successfully growing pumpkins from seeds:
There’s also a Star Jasmine in a large pot, climbing up a trellis:
Pink sweet peas:
White and dark purple marmorised sweet peas:
Purple sweet peas:
This year my big garden project was to transform our metal staircase that leads from the terrace into the garden, into a staircase covered by colourful climbers.
You can read how I went about this, in the posts called Gardening project: step 1, step 2 and step 3 on this blog.
After some re-planting in recent months, due to the fact that initially I had packed too many plants into one pot when the seedling were still small,
it is now June and finally all is coming together – the first blossoms have appeared, there is a wonderful scent emanating from the sweet peas and the staircase has, more or less, turned out how I envisaged it:
New photos have been added to follow the progress of my tomato seedlings. Have a look in the tomato growing post here.