Learning to Fly

A while ago I had promised to write about a garden course. Actually it is a basic course for becoming a garden consultant. The 6-part course was organized by the national association of gardening friends to form a group of consultants for the respective allotment associations. Nice thing to do and free for all the participants!

The variety in the course was remarkable, ranging from plant physiology over landscaping to ground teaching and plant protection. An evening was dedicated to the legal basis of allotment gardening.

I will not speak on all the contents here, but a Top 5 of my new knowledge bites I can share for you:

1. Tulip bulbs should always plant them in a snug hole because otherwise they “grow down” and eventually no longer develop.
2. Always plant tulip bulbs from October to December before the first frost.
3. Tomatoes can grow for three years at one point – so they do not have to rotate annually.
4. Apple trees should not be cut often, because they contribute to the three-year wood. According to my observations, many gardeners do not know this.
5. The offspring of F1 hybrids also bear fruits, but one does not know how the characteristics of the parent plants emerge.

So I have learned a lot and taken the final examination, I also passed! It was very nice to learn that I know quite a lot just from doing it for fun. Particularly great was to speak to other gardeners about their experience, with lots of photos being shared of each other’s gardens.

Now what happens after the course? The next level of the course involves plant protection methods – I’m probably doing it too! Who wants to deal with pests, caterpillars and slugs? 😉

My Fitness Updates

Fitness is going well. I got back into the groove and have been sticking to a regimen. Gardening helps to make my body toned, but you can’t beat a good physical fitness program. I intend to try a fairly new course by Adam Folker after reading this Vert Shock review. It deals with basketball training like the Jump Manual but is a little bit different. I might even look into joining a basketball league if I can find a local side who I can train with.

Musical inspiration of the day: Pink Floyd: Learning to Fly

A November Afternoon

New updates for you.

The water is turned off and our garden is recovering. The garden furniture piled up in the arbor, the roses were prepared with compost and protected, the artichokes with hay and jute against the elements. The gutters have been freed from leaves. Things are going pretty well!

I am no longer so desperately unhappy about the end of the season because I know now that it starts again from scratch. It takes only a few months and our living room will be fully equipped with some dishes with fresh potting soil. A few days later buds start to shoot here and there, and at once the seedlings are huge and we start to get over the stress of all the work. Or actually, the stress gets even worse because we have to toil up in the late evening hours to plant everything. We will be in the garden constantly, keeping eagle eyes on everything happening. Part out of worry, and part our fascination.

Eventually it rains again, probably on a daily basis over many weeks and the snails proliferate uncontrollably. They then eat some greatest of our hopes just so overnight we are at war again. It is a constant, never-ending process!

A few weeks later it’s harvest time. Some work, some turn out to be nothing, although last year the yield was high. One thing is nevertheless certain: the day will come when the refrigerator is bursting at home with garden goods and empty plates pile up everywhere.

This is all like a huge game and it makes it all worthwhile. It is somehow very comforting to know that everything has its time.


I had a slight lag with the fitness schedule, but am going to get back to it soon. I’m thinking of trying some yoga or pilates as they can help tone the body, maybe even give me some six pack abs! Diet is a major part of physical fitness, so I am already in good shape. But I want a bit more flexibility with movement, a better vertical jump, and more stamina for cardio work.

Musical inspiration of the day: Dizzy Gillespie – A November Afternoon

Yesterday’s News

Okay, so it’s been a little while since the last update. I hoped to included daily updates but that is looking unrealistic. I’ll try, but no promises!

Staudenbeet_PerennapenkkiOne of the best occasions over the last week was a lovely dinner shared in the shade of a cherry tree. It was a little piece of paradise for a couple of hours. The restaurant, The Cherry Tree, cooked a delicious haddock, including some Mediterranean vegetables and potatoes. It was actually both healthy and delicious! The setting was what really capped off the night though.

Another update is that we’ve started to clean up the terrace overlooking the back garden. It needed a spruce up as it had started to look a bit dilapidated. The rail was rusting and there was a lot of missing brickwork around the edges. We’ve completely replaced the railing, and made a start adding some rustic looking stones around the edges. When we add some flowers and a small table and chair set it will be completely transformed. It will be a lovely way to spend a summer evening when it is fully completed.

Decisions About the Garden

The garden I feel will be a perpetual work in progress. The dahlias will form a part of a flower hill, but I’m concerned that it won’t have any particular ‘look’ and will just look untidy. I’m also not sure about the buckthorn and elderberries, whether to keep them or cut them back for another year. Decisions, decisions!

Fitness Update

I have really taken to the Jump Manual course I told you about. Basketball might just be the perfect sport for fitness as you are completely drained after a workout, but it always feels like fun! Cycling and jogging start to get tedious quickly, so I really needed an alternative. The basketball training program is focused around the vertical jump aspect, so I hope to add some inches to my jump. At the moment though I am working on my overall fitness and starting to see some results.

Today’s musical inspiration – Whiskeytown: Yesterday’s News

Ready, Steady, Go

Construction projects here are unfortunately famous for their schedule problems. We did our best to save the city image we had in your heads and we have the pleasure and honor to inform you that the Big City Ranch frog pond was completed on schedule. Even more pleasing is the budget we had was not exceeded.

So we purchased a finished 250-liter basin, which the guys dug in the ground. We bought a DIY and garden store pool mulch, gravel and aquatic plants, and it was quite a sight. I raise my hat to both the guys, the outcome became more pleasing as time moved on and demarcation of the area with gravel was a great idea – it binds the water area to the surrounding ground perfectly.

ranch plants

The water has already become clear and the bottom of the “planted” lily seems already to have increased. The plants are currently pretty tiny, but the water plants are reportedly particularly fast-growing so I hope to have a great spectacle in the not too distant future. I understand that the plants can also help to keep the water clean, but that might just be wishful thinking. Now we just need a frog to pay us a visit and enjoy the hospitality!

Fitness Training Update

I’ve decided to try a more interesting fitness program called the Jump Manual. As a keen basketball player, the chance to work on my game along with getting in shape was just too much to pass up. The program is a complete fitness plan by Jacob Hiller, so not just focused on basketball workouts. I should improve my vertical jump at least, though I highly doubt I’ll ever be able to dunk a basketball. I’ll update you further on this.

Sounds for the day are from Billy Idol & Generation X – Ready, Steady, Go

Let’s See Action

Nothing too exciting to report, but a few updates for the blog.

1) A vegetable garden extension

I decided to expand the existing winter garden. The men have dug the overgrown patch to a respectable state. The roots and other bits and pieces were removed, but, unfortunately, it is not in quite the condition I would have liked. The exposed top soil can be harmful to the larvae, who live for years under the ground and are there for the plant roots. The birds have been flocking to try and scoop up the worms and bugs that are appearing on the surface…not perfect for the ground but a nice site for us.

2) A perennials clearance

At the same time antoher problem is pyllisteltiin weeds and perennials bouquet. Our ambitious goal is to take a giant step towards the cottage garden. The front of the column is absolutely covered and will be a tough job. There are some nice plants, but unfortunately all higgledy piggledy and very few and far between. I had a quick read of the “Encyclopedia of Gardening” instructions issued on the subject and feeling encouraged we took the pitchfork and a shovel. We raised Sep leimun and a huge Aster, we removed the dead parts, and moved the perennials to new habitats of a suitable size. This probably sounds easier than it was, but we really had to fight to get the job done and could have done with an axe. It seems that all the effort paid off as almost all perennials transferred seem to have recovered from the move.

3) Plant Shopping

We somehow managed to fit in a shopping trip so we could finally fill in the flower beds where needed. We had a nursery trip in the Britzin district and grabbed as many plants as we could. In the garden is now a blueberry, strawberry, and currant bush, and more to come including geranium, roses, hollyhocks and malvaa. Have to admit, the end result isn’t quite what I wanted. Did the plants take up too much space? Did we put too much horse manure planting in the soil mix?


4) A frog in the pond

Also on the Ranch will be a small frog pond. The guys already dug the basin ground (good, men!) And the end of the week we are going to visit a small trade show to obtain the pond plants. I’ll report back later.

Fitness Update

I’m considering whether to do the P90X program, or maybe that will be too strenuous for me. I want something that will strengthen my muscles, but I don’t want to be permanently sore. There is no gym nearby, so I’ll have to use my home and the land. Physical fitness is important to me, but there is so much information it is hard to know what to believe.

Today’s musical inspiration The Who: Let’s See Action

Stranger in a Strange Land

So we were unsure blogging about bizarre things, because there is very little upside potential in terms of “strange”. In recent weeks though there have been two slightly peculiar events.

1) Operation “horse manure”

Having a long time off over the holidays has a positive and negative side. My husband’s impatience was unbearable for me. I told him, in the afternoon I can take time off other things, it’s time for the operation of horse manure. Now or never. I bet he screamed internally. He googled immediately a horse farm near the town, and asked there whether they could deliver manure (which one could describe as a rhetorical question). Answer: As much as you want. With a flatbed, we drove to a horse ranch. There the man provided five wheelbarrows that were partly rotted, partly fresh. Most will be composted, some of which we use primarily to create a new vegetable patch

If you told me three years ago that I would spend a free afternoon picking up manure, I would have laughed loudly. Now that has become an almost normal part of life.

2) Nunnery

I have not necessarily thought that I would eventually buy reading material from a nunnery. Then, one day I found an article about tractors located in the garden behind the monastery walls in Fulda, and this inspired me to do some internet research. I found the convent (also a monastery nowadays according to the website) and ordered the book and several other books too (one about snails). Only later, when I heard it repeated back to me I realized how strange that sounds.

Fitness Project

Finally, I am working hard on my physical fitness. I intend to lose some weight and feel noticeably better. I plan to use interval training, so I can get a good shape instead of long distance jogging (I don’t want to be skinny as a rake). I’m excited about improving my fitness, but scared at the same time.

Musical inspiration of the day: Iron Maiden: Stranger in a Strange Land