Just keep BRAINS!

Cemetary-Travels and the life of a german Darkling.

Category: nature


Hey there, Internet!

Long time no plant post, huh? Last was Seeds and new plants back in March when I told you about the seeds I planted a few weeks earlier. Those moved to bigger pots already and are doing great. Amongst them probably is one plant that has a slightly more intense mystical background than the others have. Talking about my Mandragora off. V. Autumnalis, Mandrake here.

Biological background: While as today most people might know those screaming Mandrakes from the Harry Potter movies it is a plant that has been used as medicine and for witchcraft for hundreds of years. They are categorized as Solanaceae, related to tomatoes or peppers. The roots in ancient documents are shown in human (male or female) shape and with its long, branched shape it indeed does resemble somehow. The different species do differ in size and color of leaves and petals

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Mystical aspects: Probably everyone remembers the screaming mandrakes from the Harry Potter movies but it is a plant that was said to be a strong medicinal herb that would prefer to grow close to galow spots and that you would die if you would pick it with your own hands. That’s the reason why often dogs were used for picking, one end of a rope bound to their tales, the other end to the mandrake. It also is said that the mandrake helped witches to fly – but don’t worry if you happen to find a bottle of the amazing mandrake liqueur, so far I didn’t experience any of my guests flying around my flat after a glass.

Medical aspects: Besides the belief of helping witches to fly Mandrakes were also used as medicine for rheumatic and other painful diseases. The juice of the roots was used as some kind of anesthetics or to cure possession, it indeed does have narcotic and hallucigenic agents. And tinctures are still used until today but yes, Mandrakes are poisonous.

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My Mandrake: I am planning to grow both, the v. autumnalis and the original, spring blooming one but started with v. autumnalis, it might not grow as fast as my herbs do, for the first few months I even thought it was not going to grow at all. By the way, the pot in direct sunlight shows as much growth as the pot in part shadow. I also am not sure if it will be used for anything besides looking beautiful in the end but I am happy to have this finally growing and am looking forwards to next year when the spring growing Mandragora off. will join my family of plants! By the way, anyone else who thinks the first leaves of a plant coming through the soil looks similar to the lovely zombie movies when they crawl with their hands out of their graves?

If you liked this post maybe take a look at my previous plant-posts? Ivy! and Patchouli!

Any interesting gardening things happening right now? And who else is already preparing for the next year? Have a nice evening!


Seeds and new plants!

Hey there, Internet!

I may or may not have told you already about the horror my plants went through early this year. Literally overnight a lot of them were covered with some bugs that, of course, managed to kill a lot of them (oh the joy of living downstairs, not.) and at the same time most of the other plants dropped all of their leaves, started to look like they were made from gummy, probably mourning their siblings. I tried to save them desperately, clicked like crazy through the internet. Sadly I only was able to save a handful of plants. Still mourning my ‘kids’ I realized that it at least happened just before springtime and so I could grow some new ones again. Since I actually have plans for every tiny spot on my balcony and kitchen window (bedroom only has a tiny bit of open window because working nightshift means sleeping daytimes and hence requires some darkness.

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Orocereus celsanius / Old man of the mountain before moving into a slightly bigger pot.

The bit of bedroom window that offers daylight though gets a lot of sun, that place was reserved for a Oreocereus celsianus (cactus, old man of the mountain) This guy usually survives winter times outdoors as well so maybe when he is big enough he will move to the balcony but for now, welcome to my flat, old man!

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Brave Gyonostemma Pentaphyllum, this is what grew within maybe a week!

My kitchen window usually offers only a bit of sunlight, in summer it was good enough for a lot of herbs but in autumn I had to move them to a spot with more sunlight. To me my herbs are the main reason why I love growing plants. Nothing can beat the feeling of having your own collection of herbs, for cooking, teas, creating delicious smelling stuff (oh the essential oils and incenses) and simply to look at. The Gyonostemma Pentaphyllum (Jiaogulan) actually seems as if it survived the bugs and mysterious gummy movement of my plants (had to cut most of it though) that plant grows faster than the speed of light and seems to enjoy the darker spot in my kitchen window! Allium Ursinum (Ramson) has been planted from seeds this march, it grows in local woods and is said to also need less light or heat! I also am still hoping the Levisticum Officinale (Lovage) survived, that it will grow again after the big cut, usually was happy in my kitchen window as well.

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Tiny sprouts, I hope you guys will like your new home!

The tiny indoor greenhouse was filled with some seeds as well, has spot for 15 plants and since I like to try a bit which fertilizer and how much water works best I decided for 5 plants, 3 spots for each: Rumex sanguineus ssp. San. (bloody dock)- Rosmarinus Officinalis (rosemary) – lavendula latifolia (broadleafed lavender) – Mandragora off. V. Autumnalis (mandrake) – artemisia absinthium (wormwood), some seem to be growing happy already, some not so much, even though I did a bit of research on all of them, especially those that I have never grown from seeds before, maybe I need to try again next month with those that are still a bit shy!

Any herb parents amongst my readers? What are your plant plans for 2016? Have a nice evening!



Hey there, Internet!

Back in August I wrote a post about my patchouli plants (see that post here) with a bit of plant-history. Been 4 months now and so I thought with a previous post featuring a painting with an ivy leaf I should do another plant post soon.

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(Some of my Ivy’s / Hedera plants)

Poison or cure?

Even though some birds & bees enjoy the flowers & berries, for a lot of other animals & humans the berries or other parts, like the leaves or ivy in general can cause major health problems like skin irritations, fever, breathing problems or even coma.

Ivy also has been used to cure different health issues as well. (Still, don’t try this on your own, as mentioned, it also is toxic) It is said to help against arthritis, asthma, skin irritations to name a few.

The plants…

Ivy’s (Hedera) belong to the family of Ginseng (Araliaceae) with English Ivy (Hedera Helix) probably being the best known member. They are evergreens, some woody vines and often is used to decorate buildings or will climb up and grow around trees or to cover large areas on the ground. Leaves usually have three to five lobes, some entirely green, some with white markings. They bloom in autumn / early winter. There are plants that are called ivy actually are not real ivies / hederas, (poison ivy, swedish ivy, devils ivy or wax ivy for example).

It is native in parts of Africa, Asia and Europe but due to its good adaptability would grow in most parts of the world. In various areas / countries the once cultivated ivy now is considered as an invasive species. Ivy’s prefer to live outside, even in winter which is the reason most of mine live outside (two live in my kitchen since it is colder than the other rooms, so far I didn’t try to take them somewhere else). My ivies unlike most of my other plants won’t get their water frequently, instead whenever the soil feels dry adding a bit of fertilizer maybe twice a month.

Are you also an ivy mom / dad? Which ones do you like best? Have a nice evening!


Hey there, Internet!

Back to my normal posting schedule! Now as promised the reason for last posts delay. On Sunday we were invited to some friends who live in a farm-like place for a barbecue, it was a really hot day here in Germany, the forecast said it would become a bit stormy in the evening but we definitely could deal with the ‘bit stormy’. So we arrived around 6pm – which was an hour before we actually were supposed to arrive – got our stuff from the cars, had some chats and the guys prepared the fire. Short after 7pm the sky went pitch black, it became stormy and started raining like crazy.

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Everyone was trying to safely dismantle the pavilion when we heard a horribly loud cracking noise. The old chestnut tree next to the gate obviously lost a huge ‘branch’ which fell directly to where our cars were parking. After taking all the barbecue stuff inside we decided to examine the yard and what happened to our cars and the buildings around. Everything looked like a mess and obviously the roof of the shed and Alex’s car were damaged. Still remember the point when I mentioned we would have arrived an hour later? That probably would have been much worse because then we would all still have been around the cars. Anyways, good they have a farm since that also means chainsaw and tractors were accessible and we would not have to call the fire fighters who were busy the entire night anyways. So, chestnut branch was dissected, taken off the car and everything was cleaned (with a lot of help by the dogs who might never have seen as many sticks in one place their entire lives)

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In the end we still started to have our barbecue, even though the charcoal-grill was exchanged to some electronic one and everything took place indoors. Since I am horribly with finding my way and was afraid Alex’s car would not make it’s way back to their home I decided to drive behind them until they were home safe and then drive on. The roads looked exactly like those you usually see in end-time movies, broken trees and dead animals everywhere (Ok, some horny cats were enjoying each others companies, too…), thunderbolts and rain still carrying on. We all got home safe. The following days were packed with articles on this evening, some even took pictures of some kind of twister which definitely are not seen often around.

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I guess you could call my car lucky since he was supposed to stay exactly where the branch fell (Alex’s car was not as lucky though…). Or maybe it was my father who saved my car since his grave is only about 20kms away from here, immagine him pushing the tree off my car creates some lovely pictures in my head! On a sidenote: The historical plate will be achieved in about 4 years from now!

Do you enjoy summer storms or are afraid of them? Anything bad happened to you during a storm in the past? (hopefully not!) Have a nice evening!

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