Barbie's garden Home page features Miscellaneous

The Mouse Whisperer

This is the cutest thing! I have a family of striped field mice living under our outside deck and every day I throw them a Provita cracker. Lately, they have been waiting for me. I always whistle and make a “Provita feeding time” sound, so I decided to try hand feeding today. The smallest mouse – I call him Scout because he is the one they send out to collect the food – decided to test his bravery and came to fetch the Provita from me! Check it out!

How big is your brave??

Filmed by my awesome hubby, Hannes! Thank you, my love, for capturing this!

Have a fab day in your garden xxxx

Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

May Day Blooms

I have been so amazed with the weather we had in May and early June. We had sunny & warm days and wet & windy days as well as snow-on-top of Table Mountain days!!! And this can all happen in one week!! The garden takes a real knock, though! The big confusion happens when the peach tree is dropping its autumn leaves and then, ….out of no where a PINK BUD! A flower??? NO!  I was not mistaken. It was there!!

Then my neighbour wanted to know what I fed my roses!!  I have never had such beautiful roses in May!  We are in early winter now here in the Southern Hemisphere, so this is surprising!! I still have a few rose buds – and it is so cold outside! Global warming?? Anyway, wanted to show you how pretty the roses are in my garden……



Picture perfect!! And they smell so good too!






Then the rest of the garden…..

[one_half]My Chasmanthe coming out[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Calibrachoa still pretty[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Passion fruit growing wild![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Trailing over my arches[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Beans – my winter crop[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Huge bush of young tomatoes[/one_half_last]




And the two prettiest roses of them all!!! Jessica and Tamsin

– my grand daughters from my fabulous son, Brandon, and my lovely daughter-in-law, Nicky!

Happy gardening everyone xxxxxxx

Barbie's garden Do it yourself Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

Garden revamp for water wise gardening

Hi all my gardening friends!!!! I have been re-vamping the garden so that 2014 is going to be a water-wise and energy efficient year! One of the reasons I fell off the radar!! All the work was done by my hubby, Hannes, and myself so any extra free time was spent fixing and building!

I am going to share with you the front garden changes and the new addition of our rain harvesting JoJo tanks.  We have made them a feature of our garden with a gable to hide the downpipes from the roof. The tanks are in a very attractive sand colour and fit beautifully between the veggie patch and the front garden.

All of the plants and raised beds come from the back garden. In the next post, I will highlight the back area! But for now, here is the best way to show you the front of the house – with photos.

[one_half]Raised beds and JoJo Tanks in background[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The Raised beds now a front feature[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Raised Bed 1[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Raised Bed 2[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Raised Bed 3[/one_half]

[one_half_last]All plants are thriving-so glad![/one_half_last]

The rain water harvesting tanks by JoJo are 2500litres each. These will be used to water the veggie patch and the front garden.

[one_half]First we needed to build a platform[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Tanks side-by-side[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The tap combines both tanks[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Here you can see the pipe from the roof[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The pipes are hidden behind the  gable “bling”[/one_half]

[one_half_last]These tanks are already 1/2 full with 1 rain[/one_half_last]

Here are some water facts (courtesy from JoJo Tanks website):

  • Some 1.1 billion people, or 18 % of the word’s population, lack access to safe drinking water, and over 2.4 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation.
  • More than 2.2 million people in developing countries, most of them children, die each year from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation.
  • A report released in early October 2009 by the Water Research Commission of South Africa found that South Africa has 4% less water than 20 years ago.
  • Rand Water is predicting that demand for water in South Africa will outstrip supply by 2025. It also believes that Gauteng is potentially facing a water shortage as early as 2013.
  • In Cape Town the scenario is not much better with a water shortage prediction by 2016
  • If South Africans continue with their wasteful water practices, there simply will not be enough water to meet the country’s future needs and, we may have to start paying even more for water!
  • South Africans can change the scenario by changing their behaviour towards water usage and becoming water wise and savvy about rainwater harvesting.

Harvesting Rainwater:

  • 1mm of rain allows you to harvest 1L of water per m2 of roof area – just allow for a 15% wastage factor.
  • Make sure that your gutters are installed to direct rainwater to rain water tanks.
  • An annual rainfall of 500 mm on a roof surface of 50 m² amounts to 25 000L of potential safe drinking water that can be preserved (40L per day for 625 days) or wasted! In South Africa, the water allocation per day per person is 25L

My favourite tree – The Leopard Tree. I have added a bottle feeder for the sunbirds!

[one_half]My azalias with The Leopard Tree[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The Mugwood tree still there[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Well-used wheelbarrow out to pasture[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The front deck with roses in the background[/one_half_last]

The cold weather is setting in and the rains have started – all is wet and very autumny. The roses have had a soft prune and a good dose of worm tea! They did not have a good show this year – I don’t know why!!

[one_half]The indigenous confetti bushes like the buckets![/one_half]

[one_half_last]The whirling butterflies – gaura[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Just a few roses peaking out[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Full view of the front from the deck[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The mighty Mugwood tree! Still a hit with the visitors[/one_half]

[one_half_last]From the bench looking to the Leopard Tree[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Love my new planter from my best friend![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Onto the next project!???[/one_half_last]


Well, lots of photos and lots of changes still to come!!

Happy gardening xxxx


Barbie's garden Bugs & Pests Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

Badboy bugs

This last season I hardly had any problems with beetles, bugs, caterpillars and aphids in my garden. The ones that did come by uninvited, they didn’t leave too much damage – almost as if they were being polite. The aphids were devoured by ladybugs and the caterpillars were hand-picked and “placed” elsewhere (the chickens don’t like the furry, colourful squigglies)

But these little nasties destroyed my rocket OVERNIGHT!! My sweet rocket and wild rocket (arugula) were both targeted. They are so tiny I could not see them with my naked eye. Taking a macro shot of them and – WOW!! They are beetles! I was convinced they were black aphids.

Does anyone know what these are!!???

[one_half]Look at the damage!![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Millions of holes![/one_half_last]


I hope someone can help!! I thought that no insect likes rocket because of the pungent smell. I am sorry to have lost my last rocket bush!

I hope you all have a great gardening week!!


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Sunflowers from sunny Cape Town

Hi all gardening friends!! My year started off very busy work wise and the summer has kept me more outdoors than in! We are experiencing a heat wave in Cape Town these past few days so 32 to 38 degrees is the average!! Whew!! Hot in Philly!! I have to show you my beautiful Sunflowers that were all over my garden this summer. They are now going to seed, but were spectacular this summer.

[one_half]The geometry of nature[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The chickens will be happy!![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Sunflower seeds packed beautifully[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The bees were busy on the sunflowers[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Love this photo![/one_half]

[one_half_last]They stood over 6 feet tall[/one_half_last]

[one_half]So many heads per stalk![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Golden yellow sunshine!![/one_half_last]

Lots has been happening in the garden as well so in the next posts I will be sharing with you all the stuff we are changing and moving and adding and subtracting!

Hannes and I have decided to redesign the garden and home to make it more water wise and energy efficient in 2014. This is the theme that will include using grey water and harvesting rain water and including solar water heating and recycling. Lots of new ideas to go GREEN!

Glad to be back and will be sharing our experiences with you!!

Happy gardening in 2014!!!





Barbie's garden Home page features Miscellaneous

Spotted an Owl

This beautiful Spotted Eagle Owl was spying on me while I was working in the garden. It looks like we have a pair that are breeding behind our house in the field. I think he was the male because his call was only two “Hoooo hooooooo’s”.  I see a number of owls where we live and are not fussed by us. Our mice have suddenly disappeared since seeing them around.  I found out that these owls nest and bred on the ground – so if you happen to see a baby owl, don’t touch them. They have not fallen from the nest – the nest is on the ground!! A little about these owls:

The Spotted Eagle-Owl (Bubo africanus) is a medium-sized species of owl, one of the smallest of the Eagle owls.  The facial disk is off white to pale ochre and the eyes are yellow. It has prominent ear tufts, and the upper body is dusky brown, the lower parts off-white with brown bars.

Its prey consists of small mammals, birds, insects, frogs, and reptiles. The male will hunt and bring food when the female cannot leave the nest.  An adult pair is typically very aggressive in defence of its hunting territory, and one obstacle for an adolescent to overcome is to find good feeding grounds where there are no incumbent adults to eject or kill it.

The calls are generally typical, musical Eagle-owl hoots. Generally the male call with two hoots: “Hooo hooopoooo” and the female answers with three, with less stress on the middle note: “Hooo hoo hooo”. The young do not hoot till effectively adult, but from a very young age they will hiss threateningly and snap their beaks castanet-like if alarmed.

As with all owls this species, when detected, is subject to daylight harassment by local birds. Spotted Eagle-Owls are regular bathers and during summer thunderstorms may be seen on treelimbs or on the ground with spread wings.

I love my neighbourhood birds!!! What strange birds visit your garden?

Happy gardening xxxx

(Ref: Wikipedia)


Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

October clean up

It is always a good idea to have a family visit to motivate you to get the garden looking great! This got me energized and I have enjoyed the manual labour! Got all the muscle groups working! I ordered bags and bags of compost and bark for mulch and got my act together! It might not look like much from the photos but the whole garden was tackled!

I also have some really beautiful blooms to show you!

My roses are finally blooming!

Apple blossoms all over. I can’t wait for these to become golden delicious apples this year!

Love my Irises – the white are my favourite!

My little broody Tara – I can’t snap her out of this! There are NO eggs and she sits and sits on the nest! So I have closed the door – but this makes me more sad! She sits on the balcony! What to do!?

[one_half]Apple blossoms![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Fuchsias are looking so pretty[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Rose bush full of roses! Fab![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Buckets of Lavnder[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Wild corn flowers[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Chamomile are in bloom-Tea anyone?[/one_half_last]

Tea Tree bush is also in bloom

[one_half]Love the mix of peas with nasturtium flowers[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Chives in bloom[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Blueberries en masse[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Peaches growing! Yum![/one_half_last]

Angel’s fishing rods! Dierama – I love them!




Favourite Figs for summer!




[one_half]Everything composted and mulched![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cut and cleared! lots of work[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Attention shows its colours![/one_half]

[one_half_last]First rose in the rose patch[/one_half_last]

What I see is so many more flowers than I planned for when I originally started my vegetable garden. However, they are all linked. Every bloom gives a treasure or a pleasure – they are all welcome now in my part of the world!

Happy spring gardening xxxx


Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day in October

My joy to see some sun and that the garden is looking springy for the first time this Spring. It still needs some loving care from the gardener, but in essence it is looking colourful and fun. There are areas where Mother Nature has used her own initiative and gathered a few seeds from last season and made a fabulous display! I spent less at the garden nursery these past months and used what I had – dividing and transplanting – leaving bulbs in the ground – and letting flowers self-seed! I have to admit I am more impressed with this type of gardening because it’s fun and costs nothing! Especially the Irises! They will eventually take over the back garden – how wonderful!!

Here’s what’s blooming in Barbie’s garden in October 2013

This Fleabane was a transplanted shoot – now already a small shrub!


Sweet dew drenched peas – love the delicate flowers!

A great companion – Nasturtiums. I plan to have lots of them growing! Great re-seeders and a marvelous salad addition!

Gentle blossoms of the quince tree!

Borage, dietes, sage , feverfew and blueberry blossoms in my bee patch!

A wild bunch of corn flowers – self seeded.

An unusual air plant – only blossoms this time of year! Found it at the back all dried out Now look. Just starting.

This raised bed is full of buds and seeds from last season – Ixias, Sparaxsis, Calendula, doing there own thing! Love their design!

Some more self-seeded flowers – Calendula! They can grow everywhere in my garden because of there wonderful healing properties! I am making tinctures and oils this year! In the middle of making my own facial products. Will keep you posted!

So very excited!! My very first passion flower – I missed the bloom! But I will get the next one! This grenadilla vine has been perking up now! I look forward to it climbing up this arch!

The back garden is looking colourful with the irises in the foreground – the bright yellow flowers of the Chinese cabbage and the bright orange of the nasturtiums. The quince tree in the back is so pretty with all the blossoms!

OK – my hubby needs to get cracking on the pool – needs a good clean and we will be ready for the warm weather! Just a bit of work in the garden still!!

About Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

Join Carol and friends over at May Dreams Gardens to see what other gardeners around the world have blooming in October! And if you haven’t joined yet and have some blooms you’d like to show off, please join in the fun of showcasing your blooms! We’d love to see what YOU have blooming in your garden right now!

Thank you for joining us!

PS: Please join us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter – we’ll be so happy if you do!

Happy gardening xxx

Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Garden Clutter

Ok – so now I am back in my garden and all I see is clutter and mishmash and an overgrown, totally out-of-control garden. Well, that is not so bad because I don’t particularly like too much order in my garden! They say that weeds are plants that haven’t learnt to grow in rows! But a happy companion growth is good!! All I decided to do today was record the, aah-hem! mess! I’m feeling less and less energetic! But I know that this is my weekend in the garden – I have earned it!! And if I don’t get the veggie seeds planted, I’ll have nothing to show this summer!  I have been sketching and drawing and planning and have a new vegetable patch design – I will post it to show you how I spend rainy days – I still think of my garden! And this design is all based on good companion planting!

Ok – here is the BEFORE photos ….. just to let you all know my garden gets really, really wild!!

[one_half]Peas in the Potato Patch[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Peaches in this jungle[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lots going on here[/one_half]

[one_half_last]This is my FIRST almond!![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lemon juice for Africa!![/one_half]

[one_half_last]What!?  Figs again!?[/one_half_last]




[one_half]Veggie patch going wild![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Chamomile growing wild with weeds[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Veggie patch needs lots of work-whew![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Wow! Front garden looking savage[/one_half_last]




[one_half]How sad-needs some love![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Back garden chicken demolished![/one_half_last]

Wish me good luck and I will most definitely show the AFTER photos!!

Happy gardening xxxxx


Barbie's garden Bloggers Harvest Day Home page features Recipes

Iris Delight

I have missed my garden and I have missed my gardening friends and I have missed my best friend – all because of too much work and bad weather, in that order! I can never have too much work, because this means there is a positive feeling out there in the market! The bad weather isn’t really BAD – just when too much rain takes over the garden, I don’t feel like playing outside!

Well, I have been missing all the action!!!

My Louisiana Irises have been having a party without me! These flowers are always such a special treat because my best friend gave them to me (tons of rhizomes have grown since) and with the blooming I celebrate my friendship!! So, my buddy! Happy Iris Day! I miss you and wait patiently until we can garden together again! So I send these loving delights so you can see how beautiful they always are!

How beautiful!! What a great start to the sunny weekend ahead! So much to look forward to!

Happy gardening my friends xxxx