Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blessed New Year!

A walk around the garden on the last day of the year.

Close to the house, behind the thuyas is the “peasant garden,” where I grow various berry-producing shrubs, and this is also where I keep my little collection of Phloxes.

In the right corner of the picture is the bench in front of the house with a view on the roses and the large upper bed of perennials.

The same bench seen from the rose garden. The columnar poplars indicate our borders. Behind them comes the forest.

The lower part of the garden, towards the forest.

The row of thuyas you’ve seen on the second picture, now seen from the lower part of the garden.

In the middle: the medlar tree.

The right side of the lower part. The path in the right lower corner takes you back to the “peasant garden.”

In the meantime the sun came ahead from behind the clouds promising snow. The evergreen magnolia you’ve seen on the third picture here is hidden behind the Leyland cypress to the right. The main stair to the lower part descends here, as seen from the Japanese tea garden.

The stairs descend to this twisted hazelnut.

By following this road, you get back to the house. The white brick wall is our fence towards the street.

This is the path to the house. The evergreens are immediately at the house.

Both on gloomy and sunny days: a blessed, happy new year to everybody!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

... There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. ... He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God ...” (Jn 1:1-12)

Blessed Christmas to you!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Monday, December 15, 2008

Tuesday morning

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Molinia 'Transparent'

The grass in the middle is called like this. I think you will understand why.

It is my most beloved one of all the grasses. I have been trying to write about it in all the year, but I have not managed to take a photo of it that would do justice to its beauty.

By now I have accepted that for the time being I am not able to take better pictures. In the reality it is much, much more beautiful.

It grows two meters high. It starts to bloom in June, but it is attractive from the spring until the end of autumn. However, it collapses at the first serious snow.

Originally it is a marsh grass, and although it does not require a constantly wet soil, but it needs regular and thorough watering.

As to the soil, however, it is not picky. At us it loves both light and heavy soil. It develops equally well on the sun and in part shade.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Happy birthday, Anne Marie!

I came to know Anne Marie through the blog. She lives in the USA, Illinois, but her grandparents still had a farm around Budapest – this is why she signs her e-mails to me as “Anushka,” with the Hungarian form of her name. She and her husband run a very sympathetic biofarm. They have five children, Anne Marie teaches them at home. I intended to write about her blog in the next week, but her post of yesterday was so wonderful that I have immediately translated it for the Hungarian version of my blog and also include here its original English text.


When I was growing up, and to this day, I think being 37 will be fantastic.


Well, by that time, I believe that I will be very comfortable with who I am in so many different ways. I always knew I would be married, but never to such a wonderful person. I always knew I would have children, but most certainly not 5 in such a short time. I always knew I would be Catholic, but never knew how important it would be. Only in the past few years have I realized, amongst my busy life on the farm, have I realized my faith is who I am. It defines me. It guides me. It comforts me beyond my comprehension. I know each year… no, each day that every step I take needs to be toward God, not away from Him.

I also understand just recently that my vocation in life is not just one sided, but multi-dimensional. That I need to be a teacher full on sometimes, and a loving wife at others.

That my Catholic faith has led me to understand that giving my self freely to God, I am sacrificing myself to Him. Letting Him guide me in everything that I do… every step I take.

On my 35th Birthday this past November 30th, on the 1st Sunday of Advent, it went like this:

An early morning rise with fresh Hazzlenut coffee and a homemade angel biscuit, warm, with Amish jam and silence.

It was snowing, and the children dressed in anticipation of what my birthday would offer.

We traveled to early morning Mass, and enjoyed Saint Andrew's Feast Day upon the 1st Sunday of Advent. After having some wonderful chit chat with friends, we took the most beautiful drive South to a park where a rustic lodge in the woods serves a homemade breakfast.

As we sat and enjoyed our meal, and looked past the rough sewn logs within the lodge, the snow was falling outside to creat the most wonderful atmosphere.

We took a idle stroll through the blanketed ground and inhaled the clean crisp air. Some of us enjoyed a snowball fight, while I took pictures…


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rose pages

Now as I finally don’t have to weed, there is time to browse the pages of gardening. Let us begin with roses.

Rosenmeile: The page of Christine Meile, rose gardener and photographer (as well as a dog fan). Wonderful and rich in information.

Helpmefind: Everything that is rose. They publish several photos of each plant (and eventually links to gardens where the respective rose can be found), give very precise data about their height and width, and often also about their tolerance of shade. They provide detailed information about special sorts like the completely cold hardy Canadian roses which had been developed in the last decades. This is the site I use the most about roses.

RogersRoses: The web version of that fabulous English book whose illustrations incited us ten years ago to establish our rose garden and that I have been regularly browsing ever since. The internet version has a very good search function.

EveryRose: One of the largest rose databases with an advanced search function. Its composite searches were a great help to me as a beginner.

RoseFile: Another rose database with many good images and information, and with a special page on roses for cold climate.

JustOurPictures: The most beautiful rose photos I have ever seen.

David Austin Roses: In my opinion the most beautiful roses of the world. They look as marvelous as historical roses, but in contrast to them they are remontant. They have fantastic colors, some of them smells wonderfully, and some are extremely sturdy. In my experience, however, we in Central Europe should better import his roses from more nearby regions, Germany or Austria, because they are stronger and develop better at us.

Peter Beales Roses: The other world famous British rose nursery alongside with Austin’s. They sell more than 1300 classical roses, and have a quite fantastic offer concerning wild roses and historical roses. The page has a very good advanced search function that also includes the roses’ demand of light and soil, an information otherwise hard to obtain. (Nevertheless, take with caution the periods of blooming reported by them.) Their roses curiously tolerate better the change of climate between Britain and Hungary than those of Austin.

Rosen von Schultheis: The doyen of German rose nurseries with a large offer and good quality. It sells a lot of English roses, and also a number of such specialties like the Canadian and Estonian hybrids which are surely cold hardy at us.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

For Saint Catherine’s day

As soon as I uploaded the post of yesterday, I received in the Hungarian version of the blog a name-day greeting from Ildikó. Thank you very much! I also wish a happy name-day to every Catherine. These are the pictures of this morning.

Acanthus hungaricusHowever, to tell the truth, I celebrate my name-day not today, but in the spring, as my patron saint is not Catherine of Alexandria, but that of Siena.

When I was baptized in 1989, my spiritual director István Katona told me to choose a patron saint. My namesake Saint Catherine will be OK, I said. Well, he replied, but which one? There are a number of saints of this name. I checked the Lives of Saints and I chose Saint Catherine of Alexandria.

Alexandria, the fabulous Orient, The Alexandria Quartet (nowadays I already have not so high opinion of it as then), Catherine of Alexandria who overcame the wise men with her great intellect and who was finally quickly and easily beheaded. That’s the man! (The Lives of Saints, obviously to spare the weak-nerved twentieth-century reader, did not explain in detail why she was always represented with a wheel and how many sorts of choice horrors had been done to her before being beheaded.)

I gloriously went to Katona to report the name of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. He gave some thought, and then told me ‘let it be rather Saint Catherine of Siena.’ Her fasts were far less attractive to me than the magic Alexandria – since then, having learned a lot about the brutal materialism of Italy, I already understand much better her asceticism as well – but I thought perhaps Katona knew something I didn’t, and I said all right.

Berberis thunbergii 'Erecta'And in fact he did. Saint Catherine of Siena belonged to the order of the Dominicans, just like Saint Thomas Aquinas. And there are very few things in this world that are more beautiful than a well built garden, but the theology of Thomas is surely among them.

Thuja occidentalis 'Malonyana'In 1995 we spent about eight months in Rome. This period had a determining impact on what I hold for beautiful, so it has quite directly influenced the way as I have shaped my garden.

The Santa Maria sopra Minerva was one of my favorite churches. I only discovered much later that this was the church of the Dominicans and that there was also the body of Catherine – I cannot say buried, because her body is intact and it can be seen through a glass coffin.

Some years later, in a very difficult period of my life I came across the famous book of Catherine, the Dialogs which helped me a lot, especially by showing me how one can get free from the pressure of materialism that enmeshes our life in so many ways.

I wanted to have a copy of my own, but it was an old edition which has never been published again. So I went to a shop selling Catholic devotional objects and old books to order it. They told it was absolutely superfluous to leave my address, because they had never received any copy of it. However, I insisted so much that finally they took a note of it. Three weeks later they called me to go in for a copy they had just got from somebody.

Having grown enthusiastic upon this success, I asked them to inform me by all means if they get a copy of the Letters of Saint Catherine of Siena. They promised it quite unconvincingly. Some years have passed and in fact nothing happened. I, however, thought that while the shopkeepers might forget about me, Catherine will certainly not.

So I have returned there from time to time to check whether my letters arrived. In this November I also had things to do in the downtown, and I dropped in there right after opening. The first thing I saw was a bulky volume, the Letters of Saint Catherine of Siena. I asked them when they had got it. The evening before, they said.

Cornus masPerhaps Catherine at this time, around the feast of her namesake wants to tell me something important again.