Bernadeta Czaniecka lives in Bielsko-Biała- which offers the perfect location between forest and mountains. This micro climate has given Bernadeta some real gardening magic! Despite raising 4 children, she has also worked tirelessly on her garden over 20 years.
1. Please tell us who you are, where you live and what you do for a living.
Hello, I am Bernadeta, I’m living in Bielsko-Biala city. I’m not working anymore… after my kids moved out, I can fully devote my time to taking care of our garden and house.
2. Please give some brief details about your garden.
Our garden is perfectly sized – not too big to be a hassle to take care of, but theres enough space to accomodate a lot of different flowers and plants. In the backyard we have little shed where I store lawnmowers and all other gardening essentials – I have to share it with my husbands tool collection though 😉
I’m not sure about the type of soil we have. During house construction, we levelled the ground, changing the original state of the land. So far I haven’t had any problems growing plants caused by the soil though.
3. Why is it important for you to create a nice garden?
I’ve always loved flowers and decorational plants. I consider myself very lucky to own a proper place where I can grow and take care of them all, and I do that with pleasure. I’m not planning my garden meticulously, but I want to keep it colorful and with a lot of variety.
4. How many hours a week do you spend working on your garden?
The most busy time in the garden is spring. I have to remove the covers, get rid of old leaves and cut parts of plants and trees that did not survive winter. Actually I have so many plants to attend that it can take me even 6 hours every day – I’m not complaining though!
5. How much leisure time do you spend in your garden and what do you do?
I love my garden, so I spend almost every spare moment working on it, or enjoying it. I will often walk around, observe or just sit on the terrace and drink coffee. We’re lucky our garden is surrounded by high trees, where a lot of birds come around. Sometimes it feels like a true bird orchestra!
6. What is your most prized plant and why?
My favourite flower is a rose. In my garden I have red, pink, white, yellow… I love their fragrance and beautifully shaped petals.
There’s one that makes me especially proud – it climbs on the side of our house. Every year, it has so many flowers and is strategically placed so that it can be enjoyed in the beautiful warm evening light.
7. Which plant do you feel gives the best value in your garden?
Together, all my flowers contribute to the beauty and uniqueness of my garden. My favourite are roses, grape hyacinths (Muscari), clematis, lilies and many, many more…
8. What is/has been your biggest challenge in this garden?
I’ll be honest here, the most challenging is the lawn! It takes a lot of work to keep it nicely mown and, as the soil is mixed, the grass can look and perform slightly different on some patches. Last year I decided to cultivate the soil all around the front side of my garden, it was so tiring, but worth it. I can see the improvements already.
9. What has been your biggest gardening disaster?
Hmm… Once I wanted to create a pond in the corner of the garden. It was so much work that I involved my husband and sons to help with the digging! Unfortunately we’ve had some… smelly problems 🙂
Right next to our garden there’s a small stream where frogs are laying their eggs. As you can imagine, a few frogs chose our pond instead of the stream. On top of that, the pond attracted mosquitos and quickly turned into a stinky, muddy mess. We removed it very quickly 🙂
10. What is your favourite gardening shortcut or tip, and who taught you it?
A trick that I’ve used to save topiary from casting too much shade has been to form them into unique shapes that allow more light into some parts of the garden. I didn’t want to remove them completely, but their size started to become problematic.
11. Is there any plant you’d like to grow, but are unable to?
I’d love to have Bougainvillea in my garden, but unfortunately it would not survive the winter. In Poland, winter temperatures often fall way below 0C, so this beauty would not stand a chance.
12. What is your oldest plant, and how old is it?
The oldest flower in my garden is the white rose, which is planted near the stairs by the terrace. My husband helped me to prerpare a wired structure so the rose can climb over the stairs, creating a beautiful fragrant entrance to the garden.
13. Where do you find information on which plants to grow and how to care for them?
Most information I find is in magazines or from watching TV programmes. Recently, I took some time to do research on the internet as well.
14. Do you grow anything to eat, and which have you had the most success with?
Yes! In the back part of the garden, I’ve erected a small greenhouse and prepared a few vegetable patches. By now, there’s quite a variety – cucmber, leek, carrots, parsley and cherry tomatoes. I also have a few fruit trees – apple, pear and plum.
15. Do you admire any famous gardeners or gardens?
To be honest – no. I don’t have a specific gardening guru. I’m more of a self-learner. All gardens are beautiful and inspiring for me.
16. What have you learnt from your own garden?
Of course, having a garden and investing time in it made me a slight expert in names and types of flowers. I’m giving advice to family and friends on how to grow their flowers and what to do if they have problems with their plants. I have also learned hard work and devotion 🙂
Gardens can be hard work, but are very rewarding.