Barbie's garden Miscellaneous

Baby Dove thriving

Baby Dove Day 3Day 3

Today she is actually recognising me – she follows me with her eyes. She loves posing for the camera. I’m becoming very attached to this little one. She wakes at 6am for her first feed. I am now getting the hang it. I bought baby bird feed from the local pet shop. It is a powder mix of all sorts of goodies – corn, wholewheat, soy, pro-biotics, and I forget what else, but it smells yummy. I make it the consistency of drinking yogurt and use the same feeding method. Oh boy! Does she love this! She is going to be a fat, happy bird soon! I feed her every 4 hours – so I’m a newborn mom again!

Can you see the big difference in her? The feathers are forming quickly, especially her wings. You can see her crop is full because we just had a big lunch! Very hungry little bird! She now has fluffy down feathers on her rear end. It was so difficult to get this shot because she was wriggling and the focus is so critical. Photography is my new hobby, so I still need to get to know my camera and what it can do. She is developing so quickly that I will have take a photo every day so you can see her progress.

Barbie's garden Miscellaneous

Baby Dove is doing well

Baby Dove Day 2Day 2

I am happy to report that the baby dove (just calling her ‘peep’ for now) is doing well. She immediately took to the feeding syringe – thanks to the internet. We changed the rubber glove finger tip to a latex glove finger tip. It is softer and the baby beak has more freedom to get to the food. We have to get a better baby bird feed. What we are mixing is clumpy and dries out – not very smooth in consistency. Checked online and they sell baby bird feed so I will go to the pet shop and find out.

Bugs & Pests Christine's garden

Bugs and things …

I spent the better part of last Sunday spraying all my plants that had any creepies on them with the organic insecticide I bought and I felt pretty proud of myself afterwards, believing I had rid my garden of all the “nasties”. The spray container I have only holds 1 litre of water which I then add the insecticide too, then pump and spray. With only one litre and many plants to spray, I was running backwards and forwards refilling the container to get all the plants affected done. After that I did some cutting back of plants (to make them bush) etc. etc. All in all it felt like I had worked pretty hard. I’ve been very busy with work this week and have had hardly any time to check on things so Dexter and I did a walkabout now – and I was well rewarded with lots of new leaves sprouting on some plants that got cut back, all the sprayed plants look bug free …

But then … it seems like they all packed up shop on the sprayed plants and moved to one of my Camellias! The whole plant is covered in these things and ants are feeding on them!

Here they are. I am assuming they are Aphids. Can you tell? (you can click on the photos to see the large versions). Whatever they are I think the Ludwigs spray should get rid of them too. Dang, I thought I was through with the spraying for a while …

[one_half]Bugs on Camellias

[one_half_last]Bugs on Camellias[/one_half_last]

Tomorrow I am going to go get me one of these bug sprayer thingys… My specs? It must hold about 5 litres of fluid, be reasonably light and east to use! Going to zap those bugs once and for all!

Bug sprayer thingy!

Design Miscellaneous

The Nogg Urban Chicken Coop

I just stumbled across this Urban Chicken Coop by Nogg and thought you might like this. If I was going to have chickens (would love to, but Dexter & Hercules … well, you know!) I would so get me one of these for them to live in. How cool and stylish is this?? The blurb goes … A stylish & sculptural piece of garden furniture with breakfast thrown in!

Here is a review I found about it …. “The prefabricated chicken coop from British designers Matthew Hayward and Nadia Turan offers an alternative to the traditional chicken houses of yesteryear. Dubbed The Nogg, the egg shaped chicken coop appears to focus on aesthetics over long-term functionality and practicality. Any chicken farmer, urban or otherwise, knows that the key to chicken health is a well-ventilated spacious coop that is easy to keep clean. The Nogg is constructed from locally sourced cedar and features a glass top for sunlight and ventilation“.

I think its über-cool, but it might not be the best thing for the chickens it seems …


Door open – Nogg Coop

Nogg Chicken Coop[/one_half]


Door closed – Nogg Coop

Nogg Chicken Coop[/one_half_last]

Barbie's garden Gardening

Baby dove fell from nest

You won’t believe what happened!! Early this morning, I was about to water my back garden, when the chickens started clucking for no reason. This usually means there is something that they are not familiar with in the area. So I looked around and under the potato plant (now a huge tree!) there was a baby bird that had fallen out of its nest. Shame!!! It was being attacked by ants (those alltime pests!!) so I brushed them off and took her inside. Now we have a baby bird to nurse to health. The mommy dove made a silly little nest in the tree and the baby obviously was not secure in it. I waited and waited, but the mommy bird never came back. So Hannes and I immediately googled “feeding baby dove” and found an amazing website showing us how to feed it successfully – quite a delicate process, but we managed. Take a syringe and cut the top off and put a rubber glove finger tip over the top of it and make a decent hole for the birdy to feed through and voila!! She was eating perfectly!! Yey! So we will have to find a name for her and we will keep you posted with photo’s of her progress.


[one_half_last]Baby Dove Feed[/one_half_last]

Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features

Lovely Lavender

So nice to see your lavender has settled there and it looks healthy and happy. I know that the particular lavender I have in my front garden is a very hardy variety. I think it was actually developed by Margaret Roberts – I will have to do some research on that. I wanted my front garden to just be roses and lavender – I wanted the beautiful aroma when you brush past the flowers and the air around you just fills up with this wonderful perfume. AND the added benefit of it being a healing plant. There are so many wonderful things you can do with lavender. I love plants that are healing and beneficial to us.

Did you know : Crush fresh lavender between your fingers or rub lavender oil on your temples for a soothing dose of aromatherapy stress relief. Lavender relieves anxiety and tension naturally and is soothes pain too.

Lavender has natural antiseptic properties.

When I planted them 2 years ago the Dutch lavender and the French lavender did not do well in the full sun and heat that we have here. So I know that some lavender is more delicate than the hardy & robust lavender that I have. These also grow really huge – as you can see in the photos. They need cutting back in winter and thinning out too because they are prone to mildew infections. They don’t look very nice when you chop them down but you benefit from them in spring when they just go nuts!! I love lavender!!! I think they know that!



Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

My Bougainvillea she flowers!

My BougainvilleaTalk about a long wait! I bought two little bougainvillea plants just under a year ago and planted them. One has dark green leaves and the bright pink / crimoson flower bracts, the other has pale green leaves ands white flowers. They were both in flower when I bought them. Iplanted them and they prompty dropped all their flowers and stopped flowering.

Then someone offered to make me a trellis to tie them to so that I could train them upwards against the wall and over our garage roof – which I gratefully accepted. When the trellis was put up against the wall we managed to tie one little branch –  just the tip of it – to the new trellis, and I wondered how long I would have to look at the trellis before my Bougainvilleas covered it from view.

I then dutifully watered my bougainvilleas. Every day. I fertilised them. Often. They grew. And they grew, and they grew. But they never flowered. Not even once, slightly in almost a year. The trellis is almost no longer visible – in under a year they have grown a LOT!

And then I started buying gardening books and read up about bougainvilleas. Aaaah … big rookie mistake – all the watering and patient fertilising resulted in prolific growth and no flowers. According to all my books and internet searches, I’ve discovered that … “These plants flower best under stress. Keep the plant slightly on the dry side. Water thoroughly, then allow to become moderately dry between waterings. They respond extremely well to stress, such as drought and heat, and reward you with excellent bloom”. So I stopped “caring” for them, ignored them completely and my reward?

My Bougainvillea has finally rewarded me with a flower …

I am continuing to”ignore” her … in the hope that she rewards me with more flowers. The branches of the white bougainvillea are mingling with those of the crimson one, so one day … we should have a lovely show of crimson and white bougainvilleas cascading up the wall and over the garage roof, onto the pergola …

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

My Pandorea Jasminoides

We planted Pandorea Jasminoides “Charisma” against the wall around the pool against the trellises in August. When they were planted they were these small plants that are apparently going to creep up the trellises and give a fabulous display. One Day. When they were planted they looked pretty enough – variegated leaves, nice creeper. I left it at that and forgot about them.

One day when I was going through one of my plant books I came across a creeper I thought looked absolutely stunning – variegated leaves, clusters of little white or pale pink flowers – very pretty and the book says they are fast growing and sounds ideally suited to the areas described above – against the trellises around the pool. So I was on a mission and thought “I gotta get me some of those”. And then I had a look – they are the exact plants Kathryn chose to plant … against those trellises – around the pool! Now if they will just GROW!! But I am excited because one of them has at last decided to flower. Looks very pretty, I love these plants. Here are some photos for you to see …

Pandorea Jasminoides Photos


My Pandorea Jasminoides

My Pandorea Jasminoides[/one_half]


When it grows up …

When it grows up ...[/one_half_last]

Some notes about Pandorea Jasminoides:
Pandorea Jasminoides or ‘Bower of Beauty’ are a tough native evergreen climber. Pandorea flower from early summer through to autumn with nice pink flowers with a red throat and attractive green foliage. Full sun to semi shade is best for Pandorea Jasminoides where it will develop into a dense screen and is ideal as an evergreen climbing screen. Pandorea or ‘Bower of Beauty’ also comes in a variegated form. Pandorea Jasminoides is susceptible to heavy frosts, water well when establishing but pandorea jasminoides is generally drought tolerant once established.

I can’t wait for mine to be growing full and wild like the ones I see on Google when I do a search for “Pandorea Jasminoides”. They look stunning! I wonder how long it will take?

Time-line photographs of the three creepers

December 2010:
December 2010

April 2011:
April 2011

October 2011 (with new Lavender):
October 2011

27 November 2011:
November 27 2011

28 February 2012:
28 February 2012

Christine's garden Gardening

New Lavender plants

I love Lavender – and I am so envious of your Lavender bushes (hope you take some photos and publish them soon!), but apparently the type you have is not going to grow well in my garden because of all the shade. So I have to compromise and plant Lavender that will tolerate some shade. Last week I was a Ferndale Nursery in Constantia (Again!), and I saw lavender – marked as Lavender Stoechas. According to one of my books it will tolerate part shade, so I bought two small plants for planting in the one fairly sunny bed in the front. I took a photo so we can “watch it grow”. I planted them last week – so far so good. They look happy.

I did a search on Google now to get some more information about Lavendula Stoechas and … some sites say this is French Lavender and some say it is Spanish Lavender. Would really like to know what it really is. All very confusing.

New Lavender Plant Photos:


My new Lavender



Google search


(Click to enlarge!)

Barbie's garden

Still in the beginning …

I found the old photos of the garden when we first bought the house in 2005. I cringe when I look at what we fell in love with! When I would dream of my ideal home I used to say to Kristen, my daughter, I want to have a farm with lots of chickens ……Check out the chicken coop. Got rid of that pronto.

The garden was full of higgledy-piggledy plants and flowers. There was no structure and the veggie patch was stuck in the far corner and no one could access it because it was so over gown – and full of snails! Yuck! But the love was there – the chickens were fat and the plants were lush and green.

Barbie's back garden with the old chicken coop.