Posts By Barbara

May garden walkabout

Today I did a walk-about! I had a look at what was happening in my garden last winter….well I have to pull up my boots – that’s all I have to say!! The garden looks untidy but there are a few “Ahhh!” areas I had to snap. And to be fair, I took photos of the untidy areas as well, because there are some new developments and first-time vegetables!

But first we had a bumper quince crop !! The least tended tree and no attention at all!! But the fruits are plentiful, small and sweet!! I can smell them from here!! I have taken what we need but set up a Free Food Garden Harvest at our front gate – so I hope visitors will be able to make lovely quince preserves and jams!! Enjoy xxx If this takes off then I was thinking of doing a garden harvest swop or just a “take what you need” basket of any surplus I harvest for that week!! I will keep you posted!

A wet corner of the garden with Comfrey

My Wilde Als (Artemesia) flourishing

Huh! Where’s my barrow?? Heehee needs a mow

An old Lavender bush recharged!

Thyme and Oregano as ground cover


Front garden Ahhh! moment

First try at Sweet potatoes-taking forever

Fennel in front of Sweet Potatoes

Kale is big in my garden this year

My newbies-Broccolli, Kale, Cauliflower

And now for my trees…..

Guava is a winter fruit-yipee!

Awesome lemon tree this year!

Self-seeded Borage – everywhere!


Awesome tomatoes still

Lettuces a must-Red Butter and Cos lettuce

Herbs close by says Jamie Oliver

This is my composting area

Cabbage-see the greywater still working

Going to plant these next week

My Fig tree is having babies

Well, I have to say that eventhough it does not beat last year, at least my garden does not disappoint and my spirits are not dampened. It gives me a new strength to get my boots on!!

Until my next post xxx

Happy gardening xxx

January Harvest

The year started with so many projects on the “TO DO” list, that we saw January come and go. We have successfully completed our Solar Geyser project and even though it is not a real gardening project, I really want to share the experience with you!! So I will make my next post a project post!

But January still managed to delight me with lots of wonderful flavour and colour! See what my garden harvest was this January…….

Kale, Spinach, figs, lemons, grenadillas, and yellow sweet peppers!

Even though we are experiencing water restrictions, the fig tree managed to gives us super sweet and unusually creamy fruit!

Bursting with sweetness!

Grenadillas are falling off the vine every day!! I have to give them away!

The Kale is so crunchy and very edible. I was not a fan but if you sprinkle with olive oil and lemon juice and rub it in…..very yummy and wonderfully nutritious salad addition!

Lemons are always used and welcome in my kitchen. If not for cooking then for cleaning. GREAT TIP: I take a used lemon slice and rub my cutting boards to clean it and remove stains and when rinsed they come out washed and fresh!

My Sweet Yellow Pepper – did you know that your green pepper will either turn red or yellow – depending on the type!

My January Harvest

Tons of figs

Grenadilla or Passion Fruit

Love all the flavours

Lots of kale for juicing as well

Need to make Fig Jam

 

Thanks for sharing and enjoy your garden this 2016!

Happy Gardening xxxx

Food Garden

If I had to add up all the time spent in my garden, the vegetable patch would win, hands down!! It takes so much time and love – in all kinds of weather! But the rewards are, for me, so worth it! The incredible bounty I collect makes my heart glow! It brings the best knowledge and experience every new season and the veggies are getting better and sweeter!! Even my family are feeling the love! They too have veggie gardens of their own now! Getting their hands in the soil and gathering their own harvests!! Makes me smile!!

The Peas were a great crop this season – they were all so sweet and they were all from heirloom seeds bought from Livingseeds.co.za!

Strawberries in hanging baskets – they seem to be doing really well. Last time I tried growing them, they were eaten up before we saw one!! Maybe the position off the grown could be the reason!

Lush and full of greens!!

Herbs and vegetables grow side-by-side

Peas, lettuces, Brussel Sprouts & Calendulas

Glorious peas this year – super sweet!

Pyrethrum flowers growing as a natural repellent!

Swiss chard abundant with broad beans

Celery

Cilantro – Coriander was a great harvest

Brassicas (sprouting broccoli) with Spring Onions, Chamomile in the foreground and Pyrethrum in the background. Everything carefully positioned so each one helping the other. Did you know that Chamomile is a helper plant so you can plant them next to a weak plant that needs support. Pyrethrum is a natural pesticide, so no bug sprays were ever needed here!

I always love to have lots of variety with herbs and flowers growing next to all my vegetables. There seems to be a symbiosis and each plant seems that much stronger.

My next post will showcase all the beautiful blooms!!

Happy gardening xxxx

 

Bugs Galore

Springtime spender brings more than the beautiful flowers and great edibles!! It brings the hungry critters that devour those same Spring essentials! They must have all arrived on the same bus, because my garden is full of them!!

A fruit beetle in the Tea Tree

This fly is interesting – what is this?? He seems to be devouring a house fly!! It looks like he is a predator. Perhaps a good thing?

My beautiful Borage flowers always bring the bees!! I make sure they are all over the garden. This one is under my peach tree!

My roses are under attack!! The aphids are having a glorious time !! I am waiting for the lady bugs to come and clean up !! So no pesticide spraying in my garden!

What kind of fly is this in a bee costume!!?? Or a bee in a fly costume!??

More and more aphids! These are black and only under the leaves of my Artemesia Powis Castle! Very interesting. I use them in a tea as a bug repellent!

Here is that weird fly again – can anyone put a name to this?

Now this is the strangest – tons of blue flies all over my Tea Tree flowers! Drunk on the nectar!

I have come to respect all those critters and flying visitors to my garden. If there were no aphids, I would never see a lady bug. So all I need to do is patiently wait for the good bugs to arrive! Garden spiders, frogs and lizards are also gathering to feast on the bugaboos. My birds are always happy to help clean up as well. The sugar bird also helps when the button spider population is over growing!  Every little creature is necessary in the big scheme of things – so as nature intended it to be!! Who are we to interfere!

Happy bugging (and gardening) xxxx

Tea Tree Wonder

I have been surprised this week with a flushing Tea Tree – in full bloom!! This is the first time !! I have had a few bottle brush flowers but this is spectacular!! I think this tree is about 4-5 years old! This year it has grown to quite a size, and we hold the secret to great growth with all our trees (mostly fruit trees) in our back garden!!

The flowers are really so pretty and they have such a delicate smell – a mix between honey suckle and roses!!

The amazing thing is that – when you look closer, the flowers were full of blueflies (we call them brommers (Afrikaans))!!

This was so unusual! We were not hassled by these flies. In fact, we do not get a lot of these flies around! It looked as if they were only in this tree and in a trance while rubbing themselves in the white bristles of the flower – almost as if they were drunk on the nectar!

Then, a few hours later (at about 5pm) they were all gone. Where did they go?? Nowhere to be seen.

Can anyone explain this to me!?? I recon that because these trees come from Australia, they have to attract other insects (maybe bees are scarce) to pollenate them!! And so the FLY!!

Here is some info (ref: wikipedia)

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) commonly known as narrow-leaved paperbark, narrow-leaved tea-tree, narrow-leaved ti-tree, or snow-in-summer, is a species of tree or tall shrub in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Native to Australia, it occurs in southeast Queensland and the north coast and adjacent ranges of New South Wales. It grows along streams and on swampy flats, and is often the dominant species where it occurs. Melaleuca alternifolia is a small tree to about 7 metres (20 ft) with a bushy crown and whitish, papery bark. Leaves are linear, smooth and soft. They are also rich in oil with the glands prominent. Complementary and alternative medicines with tea tree (melaleuca) oil have become increasingly popular in recent decades. This essential oil has been used for almost 100 years in Australia but is now available worldwide both as neat oil and as an active component in an array of products. The primary uses of tea tree oil have historically capitalized on the antiseptic and anti-inflammatory actions of the oil.

Flowers occur in fluffy white masses of spikes (like a bottle brush) and over a short period, mostly spring to early summer. They have a small woody, cup-shaped fruit, 2–3 millimetres  in diameter are scattered along the branches.

I love this tree – not only because it is so pretty – but because of its valuable essential oil. I one day want to extract tea tree oil!! Has anyone ever tried this??? Please let me know – I would love to learn how to do this!

Happy gardening xxxx

Save

Starke Ayres Garden Centre Visit

My favourite outing – going to buy plants at my best-loved nursery – Starke Ayres Garden Centre. If anyone has it, they do! A great selection of seeds and seedlings (where I always go to first!) Every plant I have bought here has been well nurtured and tenderly cared for, from the supplier to the helping hands at Starke Ayres Garden Centre.

My first impression was that they support organic gardening, first and foremost. The variety of all things natural – from feeds to pesticides – is heart warming and gives me a secure feeling that I can confidently shop and find what I am looking for. The huge barrel of organic worm tea on tap was a great addition and if I didn’t have my own worm farm, I would be tapping this tea for sure!! The best compost can only be found here – Reliance. When I started my organic gardening, I did a lot of research on compost and the one that came out tops was RELIANCE. The ONLY nursery that originally stocked it was Starke Ayres. So, for being the most progressive in organic gardening…. I shop here  a lot.

Set in the suburbs of Cape Town

Great pots and garden accessories

Indigenous plants display is beautiful

Seedlings is where I spend my money

Always full of colour when entering the nursery

Worm Tea! Keeping abreast with best practices

Best selection of seeds anywhere!

A true variety for all gardens and homes

I forgot to mention that they also have a popular tea garden, with great food and great coffee – so do yourself a favour and spend an afternoon at Starke Ayres Garden Centre, in Rondebosch Cape Town!

To find out more about Starke Ayres, link here.

Happy gardening xxx

What’s Hot and What’s Not

At every turn, you can find a gem of a flower or you can hit a gremlin!! Today was my day! I stuck my head out on this cold day and to my surprise found lots to photograph! So my post today was suitably named “What’s Hot and What’s Not!” Let me show you what I found …..

WHAT’S HOT: Lemon season!! Love them for salad dressing and for Lemon Cordial!

WHAT’S HOT: Lots of lemon blossoms!!

WHAT’S NOT: Lemon tree leaves are yellow!

WHAT’S HOT: MY first peas are coming out!! I have sweet peas and mange tout!

WHAT’S HOT: Beautiful Spinach

WHAT’S HOT: Delicious Broccoli

WHAT’S HOT: More peas – mange tout!

WHAT’S HOT: My first potato!!

WHAT’S NOT: Argh!!! Ahipds!! Tons of them! They seem to be just sitting on my Artemesia! I thought that this plant was a pest repellant! Perhaps it is acting as a trap crop – is this possible??

WHAT’S HOT: Blue berry blossoms!

WHAT’S HOT: Borage about to bloom.Growing wild!

WHAT’S HOT: Almond blossom! This year a crop?

WHAT’S HOT: Bees!!!

WHAT’S HOT: More blossoms with a lil’ visitor!

WHAT’S HOT:More bees!!

WHAT’S HOT:Love my lavender! Bee friendly!

WHAT’S HOT: Calendula-great medicinal flower!

WHAT’S HOT: My JoJo Tanks are FULL!! So I am happy that I have enough for my summer!!

WHAT’S NOT: Totally overgrown! Needs a trim!

WHAT’S NOT: My Leopard Tree is not looking its best!

So my garden is as active as ever before. So much happening! Love to see the bees!!

PLANT A BEE-FRIENDLY PLANT THIS SPRING!

Happy Gardening xxx

Flourishing in my winter garden

I am so pleased to say that there is so much happening in my winter garden. Lots to harvest and even more thriving! Let me show you whats going on…….

Lots flowering….

Broad bean flower- shoots are delicious in salads

Pretty Mangetout pea blossom

Garden peas are flowering

Constantly flowering is the violets

Waiting for my Chamomile that self seeds every year

The roses are blooming – huh??

A few roses and the fuchsia has started!

The Fuchsia has come out! So nice to see!!

A perfect rose in winter

Self seeded Calendula

 Lots to eat …

Wonderful variety with my new layout

Can you believe I have tomatoes??Yellow Plum

Broccoli florets-looking healthy

Broccoli ready to pick!

Grenadilla dropping off the vine

Swiss Chard abounds

 What is on its way…

Parsnips – new this year

Cabbage – love growing my own

Lets hope my beetroot thrives this year

Lots of love in this garden!

What herbs do we have…

Coriander everywhere-self seeded as well

Oregano, rosemary,thyme, yarrow & lemon balm

Parsley-flat leaf and curly

Thyme is abundant

Chives and coriander amongst the lettuces

Artemesia -trapping the aphids?

Composting pals…

Here is my active worm farm

There’s my worms-working hard

I hope you are having as much fun in your garden as I am!!

Happy gardening xxxx

Save

Gutter Garden

I have heard the saying, “Weeds are flowers that don’t know that they have to grow in a row”. Well, I have found a new respect for this common plant – my new name for a weed.

The Dictionary defines a weed: weed |wiːd|noun: “a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants.” Well, that is not always true. I have a place for “weeds” in my garden and they are very much wanted. Nettles is one common plant that I use often to make teas and green fertiliser. Plantain is a very, very nutritious common plant and has yet to reveal its many benefits.  Thistle and Dandelion are used in herbal medicine and bring the bees.Weeds bring nutrition back to the soil when we have stripped it from natural minerals. Some have deep roots so they can take up the minerals deep from within the soil, bringing it to the surface. Some have shallow roots and keep the soil from eroding. You will see them work their wonders when you look at road works – the bare ground will quickly form a carpet of green and these are weeds starting their magic! If we take care and learn about Mother Nature, she has a purpose for these hard workers, and I hope we will treat these common plants with much more dignity and respect.

Well, we forget that they don’t need us – they grow anywhere, they are able to find nutrition from any waste area.

The Sow-Thistle is a well-known weed in every field and garden. It is a perennial, growing from 1 to 3 feet high, with hollow thick, branched stems full of milky juice, and thin, oblong leaves, more or less cut into (pinnatifid) with irregular, prickly teeth on the margins. The upper leaves are much simpler in form than the lower ones, clasping the stem at their bases.

Habitat: Spiny Sow Thistle propagates from re-seeding. It grows in many waste places, accepts various soils, most to slightly dry conditions, but needs full sun. Sow thistles got their name because they were fed to lactating pigs. They love them, as do rabbits which is why they are sometimes called Hare Thistles.

What weeds do you see often?? What benefit can you think of??

Happy gardening xxxx

Save

Essence of my Winter Garden

I love the softness and the coolness of a winter garden. After a harsh summer, it is a pleasure to see so much green. The mist envelopes the mornings and everything looks magical – the spiders webs look like jewellery. I hope you enjoy the walk through my June garden……..

Lets see whats happening in the front garden

The front grass bed

The front of the house

Chasmanthas in my raised bed

Raised beds very textured

Cleaned rose bed

Overworked wheel barrow

Grasses with spider jewellery

Tanks filling up

My beautiful Leopard Tree!

My Artemesia – Powis Castle

Such a fragrant and beautiful bush!

Always a bucket to catch more rain water

Always fun things welcoming you to the garden

Lets see whats growing in the winter veggie garden

Tamsin’s (my grand-daughter) Garden Peas

Red Butter Lettuce! A new variety!

Italian flat and curly parsley-snail deterrent

Broccoli with chives-companion plants

Kale-well used in all green juices!

Thyme-natural bug repellent near brassicas

A flourishing Yellow plum tomato

Self-seeded tomato-clay pot for frogs

Another home in the Grenadilla Vines – a spider?? It looks like she strung up glass beads around her front door! Nice styling there!!

The old chicken coup is now a garden shed!

What’s happening in the back garden??

Winter colours setting in

Quince tree turning golden

Back deck is well lived on

New cosy couches to relax on

New seedlings for the veggie garden

Summer deck not in use!

Pepper Tree hanging over

Coup area still a feature-sans chickens

Thanks for taking a walk with me around my garden………

Happy gardening xxx

 

Save

older entries