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Archive for the ‘Personal plants’ Category

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Many seedlings at open window

Not all urban plants sprout up uninvited on the mean sidewalks of the city. Indeed, in Berlin, planting the balcony is a spring ritual for many. Those without balconies, like myself, have adopted bits of land in community gardens. It’s still too early for many plants to be planted outdoors, but seedlings are being started in apartments around the city.

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Christmas cactus with red flowers

If you are a person of patience, or need a reminder that time is cyclical, get a Christmas cactus. Like most flowering plants, it blooms but once a year. But how it blooms! In contrast to its usual compact, green, nondescript form, my plant dons so many bodacious red blossoms each December that it literally doubles in size. Thank you to Oma Uschi for giving us this plant four years ago. As you can see from this recent photo, it’s still going strong.

What about you, readers? Any of you have winter-blooming plants in your lives?

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Two red leaves from houseplant

Recently, I noticed that even my houseplant is losing leaves. As fall comes to a close, it seems to be happening in my apartment as well as outside. The Christmas season has arrived here too, meaning that our potted Norfolk Pine is having its annual star turn as a Christmas tree. It may look a bit odd, but it’s nice not to have to throw out a Christmas tree in January and the pine makes an amiable roommate during the rest of the year.

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Caught my hibiscus blooming quietly to itself this morning and thought it deserved to be photographed for this project again. We bought it when we moved into this seventh-story apartment four years ago and it’s still going strong. Here’s how it looked in the early days of Urban Plant Research.

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Walnut in the grass

Back from a harvest-time weekend in Brandenburg, here’s the full report! As you may have noticed from the last, photo-only post, I was in the small village of Lichtenberg near Neuruppin, about an hour north of Berlin, visiting relatives whose front lawn is currently being showered with walnuts from their neighbor’s black walnut tree, which hangs over their property. The common understanding of fallen-fruit rights in Germany is that any fruit that falls on your lawn is yours to keep (I’m not a foraging lawyer, so don’t take my word for this). Anyway, we filled this bucket almost to the top and our kind relatives said we were welcome to take them back to Berlin with us, as there will surely be more falling onto the lawn soon.

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Tiny potato plant in garden

Let’s take a detour into our community garden, which, by the way, was featured on Deutschland radio on Wednesday morning. More importantly, the evening before, Marko harvested our potatoes! To give you some context, above is one of our baby potato plants back in in May, just starting to sprout out of its hill. Read on to see how the potatoes look now…

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Litte did I expect, when I walked into my neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant for lunch today, that I was about to enjoy yet another edible urban plant experience. It all happened because I happened to sit down text to this large, flourishing houseplant, whose shiny, black, beetle-like fruits soon caught my eye.

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Yum, freshly harvested wild herbs and blooming chives from the community garden – which now has WiFi (!) via the Freifunk, DIY peer-to-peer networking-sharing project. Thanks to that, and the arrival of a smartphone in my life , this is my first on-location blog post, which was then augmented at home. Perhaps more on-location posts will appear in the future.

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Anke's seedlings

It’s seedling time again in the city! Two weekends ago we went to the seedling/plant fair at the Botanical Garden and now three tomatoes, a jalapeño and a cool-weather-friendly basil plant are growing on my kitchen windowsill waiting to be planted after the last frost. Last weekend I dug up the garden, worked compost in, and sowed the first seeds: peas and broccoli raab. Marko planted the first potatoes. (more…)

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