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Macchia

Macchia at Costa Merlata – Botanical Impressions

During our holidays in Apulia this year, a very special vegetation type caught my attention: the macchia that grows along the coast. You are asking yourself why this vegetation type is special? For somebody, who is not into this kind of stuff, probably nothing…..but for all the others the plants there might have a very subtle beauty to offer. The heat during the summer in combination with the sandy, sparse soil, the wind and the salt from the sea, allows only plants to exist, which are highly adapted to that conditions. The plants of the macchia do not look like the shrubs and plants that you usually plant in your gardens. They are very often small, some of them are creeping plants, and their flowers are so teeny that you have to look very carefully to notice them. The gnarly shrubs and trees rise from the dunes, which makes the macchia, especially after heavy rains like we experienced them this year, to a place with very special atmosphere. Convince yourself!

Growing tomatoes

Growing Tomatoes – How to Prepare Tomato Seeds

“Why should I prepare my own tomato seeds?” you might ask. Tomatoes are vegetables that are simply available everywhere, in every supermarket and during all seasons of the year. And even if somebody wants to grow his own tomatoes, there is a wide range of tomato seeds, already packaged and prepared. Let’s talk about store-bought tomatoes first. Coming from Germany with its Central European Climate, we do not have extensive tomato cultivation in this country. The majority of tomatoes in our supermarkets has been imported from the Netherlands, Spain or other countries. In these countries either the climate is more suitable or they have huge greenhouse constructions. The selection offered is therefore very poor, often the taste is even poorer. If anybody of you followed the subject of agricultural developments on a global scale during the last couple of years, you might have noticed a couple of things. Multinational conglomerates are gaining more and more power, influencing local structures in agriculture and having impact on the number of varieties that can be cultivated. The fact …

growing_Japanese_Plum

Growing Eryobotria japonica (Japanese Plum)

This year´s trip to Garda Lake brought me a new permanent guest in my plant collection. It is called Eryobotrya Japonica or commonly Japanese Plum. Somehow I never drew any attention on this plant before. The leaves are beautiful, dark green, lanceolate and with a shiny surface. Beside that, the fruits are bright orange and contain big brown seeds that “shouted” at me to plant them (or at least that is how I imagine it sometimes). Unfortunately these small trees are not frost hardy enough for our Central European climate. As it is possible to overwinter them indoors, there is nothing to stop me from planting them. There is no pulp sticking to the seeds, so it is very easy to extract the seeds from the fruits. In this case the seeds were already sprouting when I removed them from the fruits, so that part was even easier. I just planted them after carrying them with me for a couple of days in a lunchbox with wet paper towels. If the seeds are not sprouting …

Botanical Garden Munich

Burst of Buds – Early Spring at Munich’s Botanical Garden

Every year I am desperately awaiting spring. I am not a winter person. Not at all. Ther perfect year for me would be spring – summer – autumn – spring. But unfortunately there is this unconfortable, cold and dark season that I spend mainly waiting for warmer, brighter times. Spring itself is very interesting, especially from a botanical point of view. On one hand everything is waking up and all these different colours appear. On the other hand, there are so many things that indicate that all plants are still in a state that allow the focus on small details. These details vanish as soon as all the flowering and leave-growing begins: buds. During my studies in forestry at university we had to learn all the different buds of trees and shrubs. This was necessary to be able to identify these plants during winter. That was the time when I first realised how different buds look and how detailed they are designed by nature. I know this sounds a bit nerdy right now, but everybody …

Madeira – Funchal Botanical Garden

Two weeks ago, my boyfriend and I traveled to Madeira. I wanted to visit this island for a very long time, honestly, since I watched the “Sissi”-trilogy starring Romy Schneider when I was a little child. In that movie, she has to recover from a bad lung disease and therefore has to stay in better climate conditions. Best place for that: Madeira! With its position in the Atlantic Ocean a bit south of the Canary Islands, the temperatures vary just slightly during the year and make it a perfect travel destination even in the winter. For me, one of the things on top of my “I’m not going home without visiting that”-list was the Botanical Garden of Funchal. I am a HUGE fan of plants. I tend to annoy the people around me because of my urgent need to take photographs of every interesting plant I see, to find out the correct Latin name AND to collect seeds in order to grow them at home…you should see my windowsill! Therefore this post is packed with …