Thursday, March 15, 2018

Crocuses in One Cold Day

It's mid-March, we're finally going to spring. The weather is getting 'warmer' - it's  +3 C (32 F), hurray!
On a shelf at the window a pot of crocuses pleases me. A week ago when I bought crocuses I took them home as quickly as I could because of the frosty weather outside. It's a treat they are in bloom now.

I suppose past February was one of the coldest month here in Saint Petersburg, that frost  -19  C (5 F) I can't remember in some previous years.
On Tuesday when I was driving along the river Neva embankment a view was amazing that I decided to take some photos. 

A view of the St Isaak Cathedral (1846) and the Annunciation Bridge. As you see the river Neva has been partly covered with ice in this area due to the strong river flow.

A view of the Annunciation Bridge and the museum Hermitage (green building in a distance). On the right the Admiralty golden steeple is seen. There has been more ice closer to an embankment.

Above the English embankment is, the small chapel (on the right) and the frozen sailing vessel near a pier (below). This is the Young Sailor Academy vessel.

Since the water wasn't still totally frozen ducks and seagulls have occupied the spots of open warm water. They tried to find some food there. Looking at water evaporation I thought this open spot will have been iced soon.

Going farther I was utterly astonished looking at the people crossing Neva from one embankment to another. Despite the strong river flow, the insufficiently thick ice and billboards "Is prohibited to walk on ice" there were brave souls or better to say reckless people who decided to shorten their way bypassing the bridge.

A view of the museum Hermitage (Winter Palace, 1762) and the Palace bridge. You can see paths and imprudent people on the river ice.

The St. Isaak Cathedral, the Senate and Synod buildings (1824)  
I've read on internet newspaper that the rescue ships are on duty on the river Neva ice. They are air-cushion ships that might come closer to sinking people.


When I was back home I gladly sat in the armchair and enjoyed the warmth and comfort. Dark purple crocuses with yellow stamens stretched to the sunlight. It's good that spring will soon come to St. Petersburg.


Thursday, March 8, 2018

Women's Day, Watercolors by Marney Ward (Canada)



Monday, February 26, 2018

New Flower and Veggetable Seed Packets

I usually start my garden season on March therefore I think it's a time to look at my wish list. This season my wish list is to sow flowers and veggies, grow seedlings at home and then to plant them in the garden. 
A week ago visiting the Garden center I purchased packets of Saxifraga arendsii seed, variety 'Mantel' (right). These are perennial herbaceous plants with a height of 5 cm to 70 cm, forming dense or loose sods. Flowers are five-lobed, star-shaped, white, yellow or pinkish. I decided they will go to the new pond bed, between hostas.

Other my purchase is a packet of Verbena hybrida seed, variety 'Pomegranate star' (left). I always liked seeing these flowers at the neighbor's garden. This year I'll sow them on a windowsill and in May plant seedlings in the garden. These plants are annual, flowers are small, carnation-shaped and of various colors, with a pleasant fragrance.
In autumn when the most of summery flowers fade China aster (Callistephus chinensis) is in bloom. I've bought    2 packets of China aster, one is in light lime colour and another is a mix of varieties (left, center). 

Asters are annual, inflorescence is a basket consisting of tubular flowers, bloom from July until late autumn. On the right is a packet of my favorite Cineraria maritima, with silvery-colored leaves.
My wish list is also to grow more greens as coriander, parsley, green onion, dill and celery. I need a lot of dill and horseradish leaves to do pickles. Fortunately horseradish grows as a weed everywhere in the garden. Moreover I'd like to do more dried parsley and celery to have my own spices used in cooking.  
I should look at the pantry where I store all my veggie seed packets. Although the shelf is overfilled I'm fond of buying new veggie and flower seed.

I've bought new packets of  beet, dill and celery seeds. Dill is fragrant and goes well to green salad, hot borsch, fish. When I make pickles I put dill flowers and seed in a jar with cucumbers. Celery seeds easily sprout, seedlings always are healthy. I add fresh celery leaves in my cooking every day harvesting in raised beds. 
Last summer I liked eating Patty pan squash (Cucurbita pepo), especially white one. Patty pan squash comes in yellow, green, and white varieties. I've purchased 2 packets of Cucurbita pepo variety 'White UFO'. Ha,ha!

I've noticed an interesting thing: there are colorful seed packets and simple white ones. Modest packets are in 6 times cheaper than colorful ones. In my experience the quality of seed is the equal. How do you suppose?

Above seeds of Zucchini (on the left) and Sorrel variety 'Champion' are in small simple packets, they are in good quality and germination. The colorful pack is Tomato seed variety 'Gardener's delight'. It's my favorite tasty tomato cherry.
I've also bought a lettuce seed variety 'Grenoble'. I liked the colorful packet :-)

It's all for now. Do you love buying seed or seedlings? What packets would you choose - colorful or simple?