Osmi mart and a sunny weekend

by | Mar 11, 2019 | Bulgarian life, Gardening bore | 7 comments


Last Friday was International Women’s Day (simply ‘osmi mart’ or ‘8th March’ in Bulgarian). It’s a BIG deal here – easily as big as Mother’s Day in the UK, except it celebrates all women, not just the reproductive ones. Women receive gifts from their loved ones – usually a flower or something small for the home – and are greeted with a cheery ‘chestit praznik’ (‘happy holiday’) wherever they go.

We went into Etropole on the 8th and it was a glorious day. Everyone was enjoying the sunshine. Everyone was carrying flowers. And everyone seemed to be in a jolly mood. It was like Christmas Eve, but warmer and more floral. The shop at the petrol station even gave me a carnation (the pink beauty above). It was all very charming.

What I really like about osmi mart (I have it in my head that months aren’t capitalised in Bulgarian, but I might be wrong) is it’s an excuse for women to celebrate themselves and the other women in their life. So, rather than children taking their mother out for lunch, the local restaurant was full of gangs of ladies having a right merry time with each other. There was lots of kissing, clinking glasses and ‘chestit prazniks’. What’s not to love about that?

The gorgeous weather carried on all weekend and we finally got around to some gardening jobs. Gardening Bore 2019 is officially underway. You have been warned.

So far we’ve sown tomatoes, chillies, coriander and lettuce for the veg garden. We’ve started forcing our dahlias already (and will do the same with our gazillion gladioli soon). And I’ve sown some sweet peas and other seeds for my new cut flower bed. There’s lots more to sow in April, but at least we’ve made a start.

In other Gardening Bore news…


Rhubarb coming up nicely.


Look closely and you’ll see the tip of an asparagus spear poking through!
Can’t wait for our asparagus crop this year.


Meanwhile, my office is full of pots.


  1. the hippopotamus

    Hooray for asparagus! Inspired by your asparagus (spearheaded by your spears, so to speak) we have finally planted some. Now all we have to do is wait for three years.

  2. Mark Shaw

    Serious question. How do you force a dhalia? I bought some in bricolage the other day. Is it the same as rhubarb put a lot over them ? If so I better get mine out the packet and in the ground.

  3. Auntie Bulgaria

    Exciting! Good luck with your crop. You'll be cutting spears before you know it.

  4. Auntie Bulgaria

    Hi Mark. So, you can't plant a dahlia tuber out in the garden until all risk of frost has passed. But that means waiting ages. So we 'force' our dahlias by potting each tuber up in some potting soil and keeping the pots in a warm, light place in the house for a couple of months (keeping them watered regularly). That way, they start to grow earlier and, when the risk of frost has passed, you're planting out established little plants, which means you'll get earlier flowers. (You can also take cuttings from the young dahlia shoots that pop up in the pot, and increase your stock of plants. That's what I do every April or so.) Does that help? I bloody love dahlias. We bought some beauties from HomeMax a few weeks ago.

  5. Mark Shaw

    It does thanks Claire. I've only ever grown them once in a pot in the UK.
    This is our first year in BG and first time with a proper garden so everything is a huge learning curve.

  6. Auntie Bulgaria

    We were the same — only ever had a terrace in England with a few sad pots. Having a real garden is a massive learning curve. We mainlined episodes of Gardeners' World for a long time. Oh, and Monty Don's book The Complete Gardener is probably the best gardening book money can buy…


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