Posts By Barbara

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



My Greywater System

We have been planning this simple Grey Water System for quite sometime. It needed to be simple and cheap to do! So today was the day!! I will take you through the process with the photo DIY. We decided to use a collection box to trap the grey water and direct it to the veggie patch through a system of pipes. These pipes are the average plumbing pipes you get at any hardware store. It works like a drip system and spans the length of the 12m veggie patch. Here you can follow our process:

The two outlet pipes on the left comes from the 1st bathroom shower and basin and the other 2 outlets come from the en-suite bathroom shower and basin. The first bathroom is where we will collect the water for the veggie patch in the black plastic box. In this bathroom we will rinse only and use organic soap. The other bathroom we will use to scrub up and shower and wash hair and do the necessary -now these pipes will flow down straight through the black collection box and out to the bottom. This water will not be collected. You can see the grey water pipe coming out from the box – this is for the garden (I’m measuring it!)

Here the water will travel down and across to the veggie patch. You can see all the lengths of pipe waiting to be connected. Now the angle has to be correct so there is always a downward movement of water – no block ups! Don’t worry – we did a test in our planning! The black collection box just rests on the plumbing drain. This will keep it easy to clean. Precise measurements is always needed for a job well-done.

Now here you can see the neat cement job and the neat way the pipes come out of the wall. My hubby had to re-do the shoddy workmanship of the previous plumber – so this was a necessary DIY job. There is an opening at the bottom of the box – an outlet and plug – like in a sink. If it is in the middle of winter, I can release the water to flow direct into the drain – not to over-water the garden! Smart, hey!? Here you can see three pipes collecting into the bin and the right pipe going through to the drain.

Now all neat and finished off with a lid.

Now you can see how the outlet pipe from the black collection box is hidden under the stones. It travels up slightly before turning to the veggie patch and the pipe comes back up to the surface. Now the exposed pipe has holes drilled at the bottom (you can see the black dot drawn on top to locate it). The pipe rests on stones to prevent dirt clogging up the drip holes.

The grey water does not come into direct contact with the plants or their leaves, so it is very safe. It drips into the ground and I have created furrows for the water to travel down to the end, giving good spread of water. You don’t want it to pool in one spot.

Now for the lettuces and vegetable seedlings! The vegetable patch is now ready for the winter planting! We should have done the Grey Water System in summer when the water was needed, but time is always the issue. At least I had the use of all the water we collected in the JoJo Tanks. I only used actual tap water twice when it was really hot!! So this new watering system will work continuously throughout summer!

Very proud that the Grey Water System is now in place and no more waste of precious, usable water. My Jojo Tanks in place as well so this garden is truly water wise!!

We all need to be aware of how precious water really is and to be mindful as to how we use it sensibly. Everyone can do their small part and store it – save it – use it wisely! What other ideas do you have? Lets share our ideas and innovative ways !!

Happy Gardening xxx

A Bokmakierie in my Garden

I have never see this bird before!! What a surprise when I saw him in my garden!! I quickly looked up in my Bird Book (Sasol Southern African Birds – a photographic guide: Ian Sinclair/Ian Davidson) This beautiful bird, the bokmakierie, kept us entertained while he played with his reflection in the car window! This bird is not common in gardens, so what a pleasure that he graced ours and that my hubby took a video of him! Enjoy!

The Bokmakierie (Telophorus zeylonus)

The bokmakierie has a grey head and olive-green upperparts with a broad yellow eyebrow over a dark, not yellow, eye and by its yellow upperparts with a broad black bib across the breast. It flies with fast wing beats and shows a bright yellow tip to its tail (seen as it fans its tail on landing). The sexes are alike. Immatures are duller than the adults, lacking the black breast band. They feed mostly on the ground in arid areas and low down in vegetation in other areas. They take insects, lizards, snakes and frogs. These birds occur in thornveld, Euphorbia scrub in Southern Africa and scrub bushes. They are not common in suburban gardens.

Harvest Day

This is the best day of the week! The day I go out with my basket and harvest all the ripe and ready vegetables!! Yum!! Happy Days! The photos tell the story…….

My new yellow heirloom plum tomatoes

Roma tomatoes always the best!

Amish Heirloom tomatoes

Sweet basil in abundance!

Basil with tomatoes-great companion plants

Swiss chard, Kale and lettuce

Wild Rocket – great in salads

Curly Kale

Egg plant – Heirloom Black Beauty

Swiss chard

Baby cabbage and beetroot

Baby cabbage

Broccoli looking beautiful

What an amazing head of Broccoli

Love all the veggies and such great variety!! Will cook some and juice the rest!


Happy Gardening xxx

Bountiful fruit

Wow!! I have joy in my heart! We are enjoying the bountiful harvest of fruit from our garden!! One day we will have apples as well!!

Passion fruit

So sweet and delicious!

Passion fruit vine full of fruit!

Hanging fruit a plenty



This year the tree is chock-a-block full

Eat to your hearts content

Peaches are next!

Small tree with plenty of peaches!

Guavas have a while to go

QuinceQuinces are abundant

Quinces galore and a fig tree that needs a scarecrow!! His name is el-sha-fig!

Happy Gardening xxx



Heat of the Day

The summer gets really hot here and last year I had too many of my tender lettuces and new seedlings wilt from the unrelenting heat of the day! So this year I got my thinking cap on and designed a shade that was easy to make and easy to use! And Voila!! I used shade cloth, velcro, tie straps and electrical PVC conduit piping. I use PVC glue to put the whole thing together. My fabulous hubby made special foot pod holders – see arrow. He used heat to melt the PVC to make a curve so the frame can rest on it.

90cm x 120cm with 50cm legs

Gives great shade

The connection fitting

Real neat and professional

Used normal 90 deg fittings you buy in the shop

Used velcro and tie straps

Great DIY project and easy to do! The shade cloth was machine stitched for strength and I used velcro and tie straps to attach it to the PVC frame. It is so light-weight, I can pick it up with one hand, making it easy to move where I need it. Does it hold up in the wind?? We have had a few blustery days and it stays!! Going to make a few more! You can make it any size you want!

Happy DIY Gardening xxxxx


December 2014 Diaries

So much happens in life! When I look at my To-Do list, my heart skips a beat! How can the time fly so quickly??? 2014 has gone! December is a memory and in-between life happening, my garden just keeps on going!! I have the pleasure of spending alot of time there now because I make the time. Growing vegetables has become a real passion and we love eating from the garden. I am a SuperJuicer now (ask me and I will tell you!) so growing organic fruits and vegetables is a big deal now to add to my juices! Anyway, I’m rambling…….

Here is my December Diaries 2014……

Front garden …..

Gaura -whirling butterflies

Artemesia – wilde als in pots

Roses in full bloom

Sunflower about to burst

Zucchini and sunflower with colourful chillies in the middle

Vegetable garden …..

Zucchini in bloom

All sorts of lettuces-so tender

Basil and chives are neighbours

Roma tomatoes now in abundance

A new eggplant, tomatoes galore and an arch of Passion fruit

Chives sweet flower

My white Louisiana Iris

Kale – for juicing!

Lettuces need shelter from the heat

Raised bed with mexican petunia, beautiful Leopard Tree and who is that!!?

Who is also eating from my vegetable patch……..

This beetle is a real nasty!

Ah! Ya caught me!

Shade from the heat of the day

Lazy mozzies!

Beautiful Iris growing under the Passion Fruit – what a great end of the day!

Happy Gardening xxxx

November gifts from my Garden

I am so glad to be in the dirt again! So much has happened these past months and to be back in the garden to see what gifts it brings makes my heart so glad!! My favourite is the summer tomatoes!! Nothing tastes like a sun-ripened red garden tomato!! My salads are jumping for joy! I am harvesting the most delicious varieties of lettuce and to add to this, great summer sweet basil. I am in food heaven!! The fruits are slowly ripening and next year we will have passion fruit and great figs and peaches!

I spent a great deal of time preparing the soil this year. I included the rich composted horse manure from my farming neighbour – literally a few wheel barrows full! This black gold was added in August and September. Now I can reap the rewards!! The greens are really GREEN!! My spinach and kale are growing by the day.

Now that I have successfully completed a “Jason Vale 28 day Super Juice Me” challenge with my daughter, Kristen, I am hooked on juicing!! I am now going to grow huge amounts of vegetables to juice – celery, spinach, kale, peas, broccoli, beets, carrots, fennel, asparagus, lemons (must get a lime tree), zucchini, cabbage, and more!! I am going to try cucumber this year again! Not successful in the past, but a must for juicing! My apple trees are still too young and my blueberry bush was traumatized by a transplant. Hopefully next year.

Here are the beginnings for the up-coming season!! Happy Gardening and Happy juicing!!

My favourite!!! Garden Roma tomatoes

Great summer grower

Zucchini easy to grow

Another summer bestie!

Spinach and kale amongst the chamomile

Great nutritious juicing greeny

So great to juice kale

Celery spring onions and lettuce

Butter lettuce growing nicely

Wild rocket – so easy to grow!

Lettuces in a row!

All still neat and tidy!

Sunflowers too! Always welcome!

Chamomile tea anyone?

Passion fruit bush full!!

Young Broccoli plant!

I wish all my gardening buddies a bountiful harvest!

Happy gardening xxx

Garden revival

You know that feeling when you go away on a holiday and come back to your home – it feels like you are a stranger! It takes awhile to become familiar again with your garden. That’s how I felt!

I felt as if I had been away or hibernating – I had to spend at least a day just greeting everything that was actively growing or peeping out of the soil. So many plants that have re-seeded and started to take over. And the bulbs I was hoping would survive have not disappointed! The Chasmanthe and the Louisiana Irises just make me brighten with pride! I had to chop and carry away all the overgrown borage and nasturtiums – they were like monsters. I should have taken photos….. but I did take a lot of photos of what is happening in my garden revival…..

My first Louisiana Iris this spring!!

Quince blossom

Peach Blossom

Love the blossoms

Almond Blossoms

New Almonds – can’t wait

Blueberry blossom


Fuchsias just starting

This is a spekboom

Lovely lavender

New rose leaves-patience!

Confetti bush-indigenous

Angels’ fishing rods-Dierama

Leopard tree is in seed

My grasses are coming through-Pennesetum

Chasmanthe and Iris in raised bed

And what’s happening in the vegetable garden?

My edible greens-salads, rocket & spinach


Chives and Pyrethrum – bug busters

Flowers, fruit and herbs together

Empty chicken coup

Fig tree budding

From sunny calendula to the sweet peas – the blossoms and the blooms, I am so enjoying my garden again!!

If I can get this everyday, I am rewarded and grateful.

Happy gardening xxxx


The Mouse and the Provita

I am having so much fun with this little mouse who lives under our outside deck! He is the smallest of the bunch (family of 5!!) and he has been appointed the official Provita Scout! That’s why I named him Scout! Today was so funny!! I thought, what would he do if I held onto the Provita………



This was day two……. Scout the mouse was at my finger!!

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