Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pink Flowers, Underwater Gardening, Kiwi-berries...

and wasps!

A bit of a mixed post today. Naked ladies: did I get your attention? Well, once I told a friend that I had naked ladies in my driveway and he turned up in no time! But despite the name they are flowers, quite special to me really, since the bulbs were a gift from a couple of old friends. I guess that they are called naked ladies because they have no leaves, the stalks are long and ... naked, and the blooms beautiful and pink. They blossom in late Summer/Autumn and don't last long, but they are perfect cut flowers. Originally the title of this post was Naked Ladies (and not Pink Flowers) but I decided to change it because it got thousands of visitors, too many in fact, maybe looking for something else (especially from Mountain View), but at the same time I though that maybe changing the title is not enough... it is probably inbuilt already in some meta tag that I cannot modify... so to cash in for the extra visitors I added a sweet video at the end :-).

Another little gardening tip now: I have a fish tank, and I used to buy water plants from the pet shop, $10 for 5 little pants that needed replacing every two weeks. But I like the plants, my friend Chris went around saying that I had a Vegan aquarium because he could not see any fish in it, only plants! I do have one gold fish though... maybe I need to get some more, we'll see. Going back to the water plants, I got tired of buying them so I experimented with some normal plants from my gardens, even weeds! And you know what? They are perfect! They seem to be happy living under water, taro, ferns and other leaves keep on living, and flowers last a few weeks. Also the fish likes to eat the nasturtium orange flowers, it nibbles all the petals away happily in no time! You just need small plants and seedlings with some roots, and now that I know this I am not going to buy expensive 'special' plants again, just use weed and plants that are overgrowing in the wrong places. It is a bit like bringing the garden inside the house really, especially for the impatients, which I love but are not good as cut flowers.

Today I also wanted to show you the kiwi berries. They are quite common in New Zealand now, but maybe if you live overseas you don't know them. They are miniature kiwis (look at them near a 50p coin) and look and taste like kiwi fruit.

The best thing is that they don't need to be peeled, and they are really cute. I just served them with some Greek yogurt. And just to let you know, these kiwi berries are not from my garden, but I wouldn't mind planting them!

And now to wasps. My husband got stung just outside this window (our kitchen), first on Saturday and then again on Sunday. The second time he got an immediate bad reaction all over his body and ended up in hospital. It was quite scary really, now he needs to be careful and carry an adrenaline pen. About two people every three years die from wasp or bee stings in New Zealand, this is quite a big number considering that there are only 4 million people in this country. Pest control came over today but couldn't find the nest: the bush is quite thick and trees really tall, so we will need to get some wasp traps near the house. Not everything is pleasant out there in the garden.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©


  1. The flowers in the fish tank look pretty! If there isn't the goldfish in the tank, I wouldn't think the flowers are in water!

  2. che belle foto Alessandra, ho voglia di primavera! un abbraccio...

  3. Pure le piante nel'acquario coltivi, ma sei una pioniera ^____^ se ho capito pan per polenta prendila come una barzelletta ;-))
    mi raccomando procurati le trappole per vespe, meglio prevenire che prendersi queste scosse di adrenalina...... quei piccoli kiwi li ho trovati una sola volta e naturalmente me li hanno spacciati come pepite d'oro, ma ne avevo presi pochi giusto per assaggiarli, le loro dimensioni però si prestano molto a decorazioni.....meno male che di carattere non sono una chiaccherona ;-) ti saluto, ciauzzzzz

  4. I bet the naked ladies did attract everyone's attention! love those kiwi berries and the photo on the window ledge looks lovely, I have bought any yet but keep thinking how adorable they would be in a blog post.

  5. Niente da dire cara, mi riempi sempre gli occhi di bellezza e meraviglia.Non passa volta che esca dal tuo blog cn un sorriso.Grazie!Bellissimi quei fiori e che grazia la modella ;)
    E quanto sonoc arine le bacche?!Un abcione

  6. Saretta, la modella e' la mia bimba, e le bacche sono bacche di kiwi :-).

    @ Astro, sai quali sono gli effetti collaterali dell'adrenalina?

  7. Ma che belli quei mini kiwi!!! Mai visti prima :-)

  8. That's a beautiful flower, is looks like a small miniature water lily. I did not know that nasturtium and other flowers can be grown in the aquarium. I place two small Echinodorus Cordifolius Ovalis in my aquarium,and they can last for at least 6 months. I saw the kiwiberries today at a supermarket, they are expensive!
    Wasps! Urgh! my nine year old niece was stung by one a couple of months ago. Found the nest on a coconut tree around her neighbourhood! Since you can't find the nest, it is even more scary! Please do be careful!

  9. I'm so glad your husband is alright. One of my daughters carries the pen in case she is stung by bees. I loved your post today and the aquarium is an inspired idea. Alessandra, freezing the cake is necessary only for perfectly clean slices. It can be served from the refrigerator if that is of no import. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  10. Ale, anche quello è un modo per purificarsi ;-))

  11. Love those beautiful flowers...we never have anything do exotic here. Your kiwi dessert looks amazing. Tuesday hugs to you my sweet friend. xoxoxox

  12. Hope the wasp traps will do the job!
    The flowers in the aquarium and those in your daughter's hands are beautiful!
    My thumb is not green but black, so I do not even think to try and let flowers grow on my balcony, but I can come here again and again to see the pictures of your garden!
    What about kiwi berries??? The are so yummy!
    Thanks Alessandra

  13. Sorry to hear about the wasps - seriously scary! The kiwi berries look great though, and haven't come across them before....

  14. Queste foto mi fanno capire ancora di più che è cominciata la primavera!!! Sei stata bravissima a coltivare il tuo orticello! Anch'io ci sto provando, anche se al secondo piano eheh :-D
    La tua golosità al kiwi dev'essere buonissima, da provare! Un bacione!

  15. The flowers look so beautiful.Liked your idea of using plants from your garden in the fish tank.The kiwi fruit looks so different from what we get in US our Kiwis are kind a hairy.Hope your family doesn't have any more encounters with wasp.

  16. @ Kitchen Flavours: I will have to check out the Echinodorus Cordifolius Ovalis!

  17. Ale ma che bello questo fiore!!!!! e il mini kiwi? davvero comodo se non bisogna pelarlo (sempre che abbia capito bene...) :-) ciao Ely

  18. Beautiful pictures, love the flower.Is it lotus flower.

  19. Ciao Alessandra, fai benissimo ad avere l'adrenalina in casa, allergia o no. Anch'io vivo in campagna e la tengo in frigo (le fiale, non la penna) per ogni evenienza. Lo shock anafilattico non perdona e l'adrenalina è l'unica che salva dal broncospasmo. Non ha effetti collaterali, è un'ormone che il nostro corpo secerne normalmente. Un dosaggio superiore può momentaneamente alzare la pressione ed accelerare il battito cardiaco, ma è transitorio. Farmacologia a parte, "le donne nude" sono bellissime. Un abbraccio.

  20. I must say, the post title is irresistible.

    What a fabulous idea about the garden plants in the aquarium. I've tried the ones you buy at the aquarium shop and they didn't last long. I can't wait to try the nasturtiums, and maybe even some little lettuces.

    Kiwi berries are neat. They've been showing up in the markets here for the last couple of years. I love that you don't have to peel them too.

  21. I adore kiwi berries! I much prefer them to regular kiwi fruit and they're so easy to pop in the mouth and snack on! :D

  22. Ma che meraviglia quei mini kiwi...! Quante belle cose ci farei... ma prima o poi arriveranno anche in Europa, giusto? E allora vedrai!
    Grazie perché ci fai scoprire "cose dell'altro mondo", Ale.
    Sì, riguardo ai link... abbi pazienza... ma sono da cambiare entrambi. Il blog italiano è
    www.amouseonthetable.com e quello inglese
    amott-english.blogspot.com. E' cambiata anche la mail, ma quella la trovi in entrambi i blog alla pagina dei contatti.
    La tua bimba... non è mica tanto bimba... è già una ragazzina. Scommetto che non vuole che la chiami bimba! La mia piccola ha 14 anni e si sente padrona del mondo. Già a 12 voleva andare in discoteca. Non ti dico le lotte!
    Tanti baci da Modena, Alessandra. Ormai la primavera sta arrivando anche qui.

  23. ouch about the wasp!

    Kiwi berries are so cute and easy to eat.

  24. bellissime foto alessandra, mi piacciono un sacco i mini-kiwi, e poi è una ganzata che non vadano pelati. qui da noi però non li ho mai visti.

    accipicchia che sculo tuo marito! però con la pennina si sta più sicuri. figurati che era successo anche a una mia amica: allergia alle vespe, e lei era una biologa. indovina su cosa ha scelto di fare la tesi di laurea, la pazza? sulle vespe :-)
    questo per dire che si può conviverci

    comunque un abbraccio

  25. Questi piccolo kiwi sono deliziosi!!! che foto!!

  26. Si', li devo ricomprare per il cestino della merenda dei bimbi :-)

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