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!



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.

Barbie's garden

Barbie’s Garden

The first pic of the house when we bought it

When we decided to move to the country in 2005, it was quite an adventure. From a flat in a real urban environment where your next-door neighbour was within arms reach, to a house with a garden, surrounded by wheat fields and your neighbours are cows, sheep and horses. You can’t believe what a change that was. From traffic noises at night to complete stillness! We could not sleep those first few weeks.

Country living is the best! Being a true spirit of the earth, my garden is all about vegetables and fruit trees and herbs and chickens roaming free. I was keen to really start gardening when we moved to Philadelphia in 2005, but not your typical suburban-type garden – sterile and bug-free! I wanted an edible garden.

But first I had to start removing what was there. My pet hate plants are geraniums and my hubby’s are wild garlic. Needless to say, this garden was full of them AND snails!! The oom and tannie who lived in the house before us had a chicken coop and an overgrown veggie garden in the back – I was so excited!! “Babes! Look – chickens!” But the more we looked at the state it was in, the more I wanted to rip it all down. Start fresh!

The house itself was incomplete, so we had to use our handyman skills to fix the place up – Hannes is so good at this! The kitchen, the bathrooms, the front and back stoeps, the driveway…… let’s just say we are still not finished with it!! I can also show you how we renovated the place. But this might be a blog all of its own!

Ok, so my first obstacle was if I wanted a garden, I had to do it all by myself. Hubby made it quite clear up front that he is not into gardening. I totally understood and all the heavy-duty work I will have to get used to! He bought me a stunning electric lawnmower that was easy to use and did not need arm socket ripping actions to get it started – just press the button and it started to hummm. That was for the small lawn I was going to have in the front and the back. Ok, so that’s sorted. But first we needed privacy, so we built a picket fence around the front of the house. Check out the pics of our first major DIY.


Here is the front of the house with the poles in the ground.
The start of the fence
The fence is complete - privacy!
Barbie's garden Christine's garden Gardening

The Gardening Blog begins

SunflowersA life-time of friendship is indeed very, very special. Anyone who has one will agree – there is nothing quite like having a very best friend that really knows you through and through, has been witness to all your life’s successes and failures, been with you through the ups and downs and remains … your best friend! I consider myself very fortunate to have such a friend in Barbie.

We’ve been friends since as long as I can remember, but we’ve only recently become “gardeners”. The idea for this blog came to me after a conversation we had on New Years Day (2011). Barbie and I have always had the ability to spend hour upon hour with each other, talking non-stop. We never seem to run out of things to talk about. But back to my inspiration … Barbie told me that after one of our recent marathon “talk sessions”, her hubby Hannes asked her “what do you talk about for so long …” and she realised that we now spend a lot of time discussing our gardens. So the idea for this blog developed from that conversation.

We both live in the Western Cape – I live in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town and Barbie lives in the village of Philadelphia near the Cape West Coast (just before Malmesbury). It’s about a 45 – 50 minute drive from here and as we are both busy with our businesses and families I don’t get to see her garden as often as I would like. We thought this blog would be a great way to share our gardening experiences with each other by uploading photographs and posting our latest “gardening news”. It will be fun to see how our gardens develop and progress over time!

PS: I chose the “sunflowers” photograph for this first post as a symbolic photo – two sunflowers – that’s me and Barbs (I’m the one of the left, she’s on the right, that’s because she’s taller than me!)