Plant of the month – Agapanthus

I am going to end the month on a happy note with my plant of the month- Agapanthus. I am going to be taking a few weeks break as i take my summer holidays. So i will be back in 3 weeks!!

I will share my photos from my holidays on my return. Happy Friday!!

Agapanthus (Agapanthus praecox subsp. orientalis) is a perennial that comes to cultivation from South Africa. It is grown in gardens everywhere, with cold the plant’s main limiting feature. Evergreen varieties tolerate mild frost but are damaged by temperatures below –5C. Even so, they will often regrow.

The agapanthus is designed for survival, from its thick, fleshy roots to its luxuriant green strappy leaves. Its often long-lasting and bird-attracting flowers are held proudly on thick stems.

The grow best in full sun…if placed in part shade they won’t flower as profusely. Although some summer shade will prevent the leaf burn on very hot days. They like fertile, well drained soil but moisture retentive as well.

Agapanthus is susceptible to heat damage in extreme summers, especially when heatwaves push temperatures over 45C. It is more likely to be burnt by heat if the plant is already drought stressed. Although its foliage and flowers are damaged by high temperatures, it does recover, sending out new growth when conditions improve.

Agapanthus can also be grown as a fire-retardant plant. While it does burn in a fire, it can help slow a fire’s progress and plants recover quickly after the blaze. To use agapanthus as a firebreak, plant thickly, without organic mulch, as a border to lawn or under deciduous trees. The thick roots also bind soil and can reduce erosion on steep or exposed slopes.

Traditionally, agapanthus come with either blue or white flowers but current breeding is turning that on its head. With every shade of blue from the palest to dark-almost-black tones, agapanthus is now also available in bicoloured blue and white, as well as plants with pinkish flowers sold as ‘Roseus’.

Agapanthus is used a lot in Australian gardening but is a great addition to any garden because of its low maintenance and its abundance of flowers. It looks great mass planted.

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Weekend in Zurich

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I had a really lovely weekend…the weather was beautiful and the days just seem to be getting longer! I spent all day at Art Basel on Saturday and Sunday i spent the morning walking around the city. Its actually one of my favourite things to do in Zurich.

I always seem to find something i have never seen before, wether its a cute little restaurant or a park…its exciting finding new things in a city i don’t know so well.

Hope you like the photos from my weekend!

A visit to the market

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Ive decided to do a mid week post to share some of my photos from a trip to the market yesterday!

One thing i love about Zurich is the fresh farmers markets. They happen every Tuesday and Friday from 6-11am. Local farmers come into the city with all their produce….some of its organic which i love!! You can buy cheese, free range eggs, bread, cut flowers and potted plants and of course plenty of fruit and vegetables.

I try to buy Swiss produce as often as i can, so its great that this way i can do all my shopping in one place and i can also pick up some plants at the same time!

All images are taken on my iPhone.

 

Travel diaries- Jura Crest Trail

Finally, i get to share some of my hiking photos with you!

My boyfriend and i had wanted to explore the Jura region of Switzerland for a while, but just never seemed to get around to it. So we spent 3 days hiking and exploring so many towns that we had never even heard of. Hiking is such a great way of exploring Switzerland….for me the mountains is the ‘real’ Switzerland.

The Jura Crest Trail is a hike that goes from Nyon (in the french speaking part) to Diesldorf (in the german speaking part). It is broken up into 15 stages, so we are hoping to finish the rest this summer (in stages of course!)

We managed to walk over 60kms in the 3 days. On the last day i really didn’t think my feet were going to make it to the end. 60kms and over 2000m of climbing was really enough!

Cant wait to finish the remainder of the hike .-) and yes i guess you can tell i like cows!

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This is where our first day finished in Le Pont.

This is where our first day finished in Le Pont

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This was just outside of the town Vallorbe

This was just outside of the town Vallorbe

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We found meringue with cream on every menu...so after 60kms of walking i treated myself!

We found meringue with cream on every menu…so after 60kms of walking i treated myself!

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Spinach and Feta Pie

I have been so incredibly lazy this week! Last weekend i spent the long weekend hiking in the mountains. This walk was a serious hike…….up, down, up and down mountains…i arrived home Monday night utterly exhausted and with sore sore feet. The weekend was a scorcher…32 degrees for the 3 days and that has continued throughout the week. Thank goodness today gives us some relief and its back to about 24 degrees.

So, i just haven’t felt up to blogging…..although i haven been thinking about it!

I will share my hiking photos with you next week, but for now- here is a recipe that i tried earlier this week. I was searching for something easy.

When its so hot, i just don’t want to cook, and this is truly the perfect recipe. I think it took me 10 minutes to put everything together and then in the oven it goes!!

Spinach and Feta Pie 

2 leeks, washed finely sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
200 g baby spinach leaves
Black pepper – a generous pinch
80 g quality feta cheese
6 organic eggs
1 lemon
1 bunch parsley. chopped
small handful pine-nuts

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Preheat oven to 180 C.
Sauté leeks in a large heavy based pot until softened.
Add shredded kale and cook through for 5 minutes until soft and wilted.
Add baby spinach leaves…you may need to add this in 2 lots and cook through until just wilted.
Season with black pepper and add the zest of 1 lemon and 1 bunch freshly chopped parsley.
Spoon the kale + spinach mixture into a 22 cm pie dish.
Break eggs into a bowl and whisk lightly until combined.
Pour the eggs over the greens and gently incorporate through the mix of green goodness.
Crumble over the feta cheese and sprinkle over with a few pine-nuts.
Bake for 40 – 45  minutes or until firm to touch and golden.
Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before serving.  Enjoy.

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Updating my balcony garden

My tulips are long gone and i wanted to make my garden look super gorgeous for Spring. I have added several planter baskets attached to my balcony and filled them with daisies and Petunia ‘Million bells’

I was dead against daisies but my boyfriend was keen to have them. So we compromised. I got my petunias and he got the daisies.

I decided to go with self watering pots. I have NEVER had these before, and have always disliked them. But in my current situation, i wasn’t allowed to have pots if they weren’t self watering (don’t think people walking underneath the balcony would appreciate getting wet!)

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I chose a planter box by a company called Lechuza from Germany. They had provided a small bag of very tiny pebbles to be placed at the bottom of the planter to help with drainage.

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I then added the soil. I used a soil that was suited to not only pots but also for annuals and perennials.

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If your plant looks like this (above) when you take it out of the pot, it usually means it has been in that pot for a little too long. Hence why the roots have started to twirl around the soil. You need to tease the roots out with either your hands or a small spade (i use my hands). This encourages root growth into the new soil. If you don’t tease the roots, its likely the roots will continue to go around in circles.

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The finished product! So proud .-)

 

What to do in the garden – June

Southern Hemisphere 

  • Look out for summer-flowering perennials and bulbs. There are some interesting varieties available at this time of year.
  • Take hardwood cuttings of deciduous plants such as grapevines.
  • Buy and plant bare-rooted roses now!
  • As azalea buds show colour, begin spraying with Mancozeb. This protects against the fungal disease, petal blight.
  • If camellia buds don’t open properly, it may that the plant is in the wrong position. This is a good time of year to move camellia plants to a more sheltered spot.
  • Feed growing bulbs with Aquasol.
  • Cut back sasanqua camellias after they’ve finished flowering.
  • Leave cyclamens in unheated rooms at night.
  • SEEDS TO SOW: Gypsophila, Dianthus, Candytuft, Linaria, Statice, Delphiniums, Peas, Broad Beans, Cabbages
  • Tip prune Fuchsias to give them a compact habit
  • As soon as your sweet peas bloom, start picking them to encourage more flowers.
  • Lift and divide clumps of snowdrops and bluebells once the leaves start to yellow.

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Northern Hemisphere

  • Harvest lettuce, radish and other salads
  • Tip prune tomatoes to encourage bushy growth
  • Tie peonies with string to stop them from losing their shape and the flowers becoming top heavy
  • Mow lawns at least once a week
  • Regularly weed the garden!
  • Get beds prepared for summer planting
  • Move your spring bulbs to make room for bedding plants. Place the bulbs in a temporary plot and let them die back naturally. After flowering , spring bulbs carry on growing for up to 8 weeks.
  • Any tall growing plants such as Delphinium, Lupin, poppies and Climbers need a frame work or canes and string around then to help prevent them been damaged by winds

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