July 24, 2014

17 Excellent Uses of Lavender

We are in love with lavender scent and taste. Sweet, floral, with slight citrus undertone. I have decided first to make and then to share with you today the list of lavender uses – try them. Some might be really surprising, like the absolutely delicious apricot lavender confiture. Usually I make more of them and have unique gifts for friends. Gift especially appreciated in winter time.  
Don’t stop yourself from adding your favourite use to the list. 

1) Rosemary is the herb used for cooking pretty often, but not many people know that in some cases you can replace rosemary with lavender.
2) Lavender flowers surprise when added to the salad.
3) Lavender sugar. Can be added to sweet dishes and drinks. Use blender. Proportions: 1 cup of sugar/ 2 tablespoons of dried lavender buds. Blend them until buds disappear and the sugar gets a purple tint. You can add it to lemonade, tea or baking sweets.
4) Eye pillows. Work great when you need something to rest your eyes or you have a headache or any kind of spleen or anxiety. Make the eye pillows using dried lavender buds and flaxseeds.
5) Lavender bath. Make a little bag and fill it with lavender, place it right under the hot running water as you wait for the bath. You may prefer to let the flowers float with you. Okay it is somewhat messy and sticks to different parts of the body and the tub. But you make like to try to let them float freely on the water.
6) Lavender oil is the one to use for a burn. Apply it straight onto the burn. It heals faster and less prone to scaring.
7) Insect repellent. Lavender oil is great on that. Works well mixed with other essential oils.
8) Add a few drops of essential oil (and I do mean a few) to your child's evening bath. They will sleep really well.
9) Lavender oil is known to be both stimulant and relaxant – if you use it more, the more stimulating it becomes.
10) A sachet of lavender buds will keep your drawers fresh.
11) And even better – put a lavender sachet inside your pillow, so you have a restful night  sleep.
12) Rub a little drop of lavender essential oil on your temples to slowly ease a headache.
13) Carry it in your pocket a pinched lavender flower stem. In any stressful situation, pull it out for a relaxing, refreshing scent.
14) Use the oil as a mild antibacterial, moisturizer, dry hair treatment or bath oil.
15) Refresh your house decorative with lavender fragrance by applying a drop or two of oil. It will work great on potpourri, decorative herb wreaths, lavender wands or other lavender crafts.
16) Make lavender blueberry or apricot confiture. Find recipe here.
17) Make strong lavender tea, cool it down and use as a scalp rinse to help preventing dandruff.

Make sure you harvest your lavender at best possible time by clicking here the best time to harves your lavender.

Special Notes:
Don't use lavender that has been treated with pesticides.
Lavender can cause allergic reactions in some people. If you experience a rash, sore throat, or nausea, discontinue use. If you are having trouble breathing after using a lavender infused product or homemade concoction, seek medical help immediately.
Do not use Lavender Essential Oil internally. There is some evidence that long term regular use of concentrated lavender can cause hormone imbalance in males. Due to its relaxing properties, I would not use in conjunction with any medication that also causes relaxation or sleepiness.
Don’t use the dried or fresh herb internally when pregnant.

July 8, 2014

17 Photos of Provençal Garden designed by Ewa Szulc

Let me present you today the garden I have made in 2012, this is how it looks today. The owners wanted Provençal style for the garden, which complements beautifully the interior.
Client is still happy :)

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Cheers, Xoxo, Ewa

Ewa Szulc is the garden designer, blogger and founder of the page EwaintheGarden.blogspot.com. She offers online garden coaching lessons and garden design to help you to beautify your garden, make it healthier and organic. You can contact her at http://EwaintheGarden.blogspot.com

July 3, 2014

Celebrate Nature’s Larder at The Wildlife Garden RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, 8-13 July 2014

‘The Jordan Wildlife Garden’ has been created by award winning garden designer, Selina Botham. With a colourful variety of features from edible wild flowers, trees and hedges to oats, fruit and nuts – all of which can be foraged from the countryside – the garden provides a natural 'larder' to share as a shelter for birds, bees and butterflies. Its unveiling celebrates the belief that great tasting food comes from working closely with nature, as well as aiming to inspire gardeners everywhere to support British wildlife.

The Jordans Wildlife Garden is set to showcase the importance of sustainability and protecting the British countryside to RHS visitors from across the country. Oat fields, inspired by Jordans’ farms, outline the sides of the garden, moving through to mown paths of species rich meadow, which curve through the space. Swathes of meadow alongside the paths give a close connection to nature. The garden is surrounded by a cut log wall and grassy banks, which form a wildlife friendly edge to the garden and a habitat for wildlife. A nut terrace that provides an edible treat for both people and wildlife surrounds the elegant, reflective pool in the centre of the garden.
There are also sculpted straw benches, created by willow sculptor Spencer Jenkins, that provide a place to rest and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere. Mixed native hedgerow and fruit and nut trees will surround one side of the garden, providing more edible treats for people and animals.

The array of features have each been designed to support local wildlife, including thatched insect hotels, birdhouses and feeding stations – all sculpted especially for The Jordans Wildlife Garden – whilst adding a unique beauty to the space. Design elements such as the cut wood stepping-stones, created by chainsaw artist Ella Fielding, will provide further material for animals to make their homes in, whilst the meadow flowers themselves house a beehive – a core feature of any wildlife garden. 

Selina Botham, award winning garden designer
A passionate wildlife and garden enthusiast, Selina Botham is perfectly placed to bring The Jordans Wildlife Garden to life. She has won numerous awards for her beautiful and considered approach to gardening, from Gold to Best In Show for her first ever garden at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. In 2010, Selina scooped Gold, Best Communal Garden and overall Garden of the Year at The New Homes Garden Awards for a housing association garden. This was the first time a housing association garden had won this prestigious award.

About the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show
This year’s RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show will take place 8-13 July, 2014 and promises to bring visitors all the fun and excitement of a spectacular summer festival.
Visitors are advised to look out for the show gardens, including ‘The Jordans Wildlife Garden’ designed by award-winning garden designer Selina Botham. 
For more information on ticket sales and attendance, visit the website.

25 Photos of Organic Vegetable Garden in Moncarapacho, Algarve, Portugal

Today I’d love to share with you 25 photos taken in the vegetable organic garden located in picturesque area of agricultural and horticultural Eastern Algarve in Portugal. While driving the almost empty roads, I was discovering new views, catching the scent of orange orchards caressing the senses and feeding my soul.  

This is a splendid example of organic vegetable garden. The owner doctor Barrie Oldham is gardening organically here, in this red tough Portugese soil, following the valuable permaculture path.

Some parts of the garden are still a working project like integrating fish into permaculture green-house gardening – hope to see it working already while visiting next time.

Thank you doctor Barrie for permission to share your garden with the readers of this blog!  

Finding Casa Nirvana for the first time is kind of miracle. Frankly, I don’t know how I got here, must have been some help involved not only from friendly lady working in the cafeteria in Moncarapacho. Making sure about the right direction, was the most important challenge, then following the intuition was the second one. The closer I was, the narrower the road was, at the end just one car can pass.

Before we get to the vegetable garden you need to see the lush plantings around the house and clinic to establish the feeling how the place looks like.  
Backyard garden with two Bougainvilleas, Brugmansia and the softest Agave attenuata.

Dry land requires true survivors - here they are. I wish they could grow in my garden, but in this cold and wet climate of Poland, I can only grow them indoor.
In Algarve it rarely rains, there is average rainfall from min. 1 to max. 12 mm/monthly.
As for comparison rainfall in Poland is min. 7 to max 20 mm/monthly, UK 40 to 80 mm/monthly

You have seen these fascinating in shape Aeoniums Black Rose in the previous post.

Koi pond with grand koi living there. I love the idea of planting different aloes species around the pond.

And when aloes flowers it looks like being in flame! Splendid!

They are also self-seeding a lot.

And yes, this is what I was mentioning at the begining of the post. The color of the soil in it's full glory. Red. Ochre red. The photo gives full justice.

Kitty watching the vineyard, so nobody can trespass.

Persimmon tree.

Grapes slowly getting ready.

In the raised bed there are carrots popping up - they need raised beds to surely grow their strong long root. The red soil has to be enriched with organic matter to be soft enough.

Melons getting ready...

Cucurbita pepo var. patisoniana.

Brassica rapa chinensis called also bok choy - the chinese cabbage.

Brassica rapa var. parachinensis called choy sum.

Rucola seedlings waiting to be transplanted.

Many yummie and proud looking veggies here....

Basil scent around...

Cosmos flowering I know from my country as well :) Constantly I can't escape comparisons, ehe... why?

Almond tree...
Banana fruits soon to be ready.

Chickens too. There is little duckling under the chickens, but we can't see it now. It appeard suddendly after I took the photo.

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Ewa Szulc is the garden designer and founder of the page EwaintheGarden.blogspot.com. She offers online garden coaching lessons and garden design to help you to beautify your garden, make it healthier and organic. You can contact her at  http://EwaintheGarden.blogspot.com