Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Hello Summer

It’s the end of November and on Saturday we slip into Summer and the start of the festive season … where did this year go?

As the working year slowly draws to a close I am, at last, finding more time to spend in the garden. I’m delighting in the fact that many of my plants are finally leaping … Star jasmine is in full flower and the scent is wonderful all over the front garden. There is hardly a bare patch to be seen and the lawn is slowly coming back to its summer splendour. Slowly. And not without a huge effort. But it is worth it when it looks all lush and green, like a little carpet in the mass of plants at the back. Areas I focussed on last year, like the back left corner garden, are full of happy plants about to burst into bloom. The Agapanthus are looking great this year, and all my grasses are coming back strongly after their spring cut back.

Here’s a quick look around at some of my favourite spots.

[one_half]Petunias and Star jasmine leapingPetunias and Star jasmine leaping[/one_half]

[one_half_last]This corner was a “project” last summerThis corner was a "project" last summer[/one_half_last]

[one_third]The new bird houseThe new bird house looks lovely[/one_third]

[one_third]New grasses are coming upThe new grasses are coming up[/one_third]

[one_third_last]This Dahlia is taller than meThe massive Dahlia is taller than me[/one_third_last]

[one_half]Newly planted to replace struggling GardeniasNewly planted to replace the struggling Gardenias[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And a mass of flowers in the Rose bedAnd a mass of flowers in the Rose bed[/one_half_last]

[one_third]Jasmine climbing up the treeJasmine climbing up the tree[/one_third]

[one_third]In the pond …In the pond ...[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Thunbergia Alata (new)Thunbergia Alata (new)[/one_third_last]

[one_half]Solanum jasminoides behind the DahliaSolanum jasminoides behind the Dahlia[/one_half]

[one_half_last]A deep dark shade spot full of greeneryA deep dark shade spot full of greenery[/one_half_last]

After the trellis in the front garden “Gardenia bed” collapsed I decided it was time to redo that bed. The last few weeks I’ve been busy digging up the struggling Gardenias and painting the walls (yes I did have help :)), and then I planned, purchased and planted up the new bed. I’ll do a post about it soon, but the preview is above.

Happy Gardening

Bugs & Pests Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Mole control

Tired of moles digging up your garden? Fed up with voles burrowing up your plants? Then you’ve probably tried all types of remedies that range from the moderately useful to totally useless – in the form of pellets, solar mole repellers, camphor blocks, garlic cloves … and still the moles return.

I’ve given up with trying to control or get rid of them. Nothing I’ve tried has worked. Until …

The best mole deterrent I’ve had so far …

On Mole Control

Unfortunately said “mole controller” does a fair amount of damage in her eagerness to get the job done …

Mole Control

Mole Control

But it works!!

I have no idea what happened to the mole, but there were no new mole-piles this morning so it seems her two hour barking and digging session paid off.

What have you found to be effective against moles?

Barbie's garden Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

End-Spring in Two Gardens for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

It is not easy to say that our Spring in coming to an end. It has been a favourite time with tons of flowers and colours. It is the season we all know well for “Spring Cleaning” and we both know what that feels like. Busy keeping the growth under control and watching for the next surprise!

Here’s what’s blooming in Christine’s garden in November 2012

It’s not been as “florific” a Spring as I’d hoped for, mainly because I’ve been away and not had much time to spend planning and planting in the garden. Taking photos for this post has been a great exercise as I can see where I need to cut back and where I still have ‘colour gaps’ to fill. The star of my garden in November is Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides). It is in full flower and charmingly tumbling off walls, climbing up trees and creeping along the ground … and the scent is just amazing!

Here’s whats flowering in my garden right now …

[one_half]The Agapanthus have started to flowerThe Agapanthus have started to flower[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I’m loving all the Salvia – I have lotsI'm loving the Salvia - I have lots[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Last of the Lilies …Last of the Lilies ...[/one_half]

[one_half_last]and last flush of the Crabappleand last flush of the Crabapple[/one_half_last]

[one_third]Cute daisies and HeliotropiumCute daisies mix with Heliotropium[/one_third]

[one_third]Dietes bicolor in the same bedDietes bicolor in the same bed[/one_third]

[one_third_last]They are very prettyThey are very pretty[/one_third_last]

[one_third]Lovely Gaura lindheimeriLovely Gaura lindheimeri[/one_third]

[one_third]The gorgeous FuchsiaThe gorgeous Fuchsia[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Time to Dream …Time to Dream ...[/one_third_last]

[one_third]The interesting flowers of …The flowers of ...[/one_third]

[one_third]Acanthus mollis …Acanthus mollis ....[/one_third]

[one_third_last]aka Bear’s Breechesaka Bear's Breeches[/one_third_last]

[one_half]Pretty Chamomile blooms (thank you Barbie!)Pretty Chamomile blooms (thank you Barbie!)[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Yesterday, Today & TomorrowYesterday, Today & Tomorrow[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Dietes grandiflora are in bloomDietes grandiflora are in bloom[/one_half]

[one_half_last]as is the cute Dietes bicoloras is the cute Dietes bicolor[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The lovely Dahlias are hugeThe lovely Dahlias are huge[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Abutilon seems to flower all yearAbutilon seems to flower all year[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Petunias: The big picture …Petunias: The big picture ...[/one_half]

[one_half_last]and Up close and personaland Up close and personal[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Star Jasmine climbing up a treeStar Jasmine climbing up a tree[/one_half]

[one_half_last]and Up close and personaland Up close and personal[/one_half_last]

[one_half]My gorgeous fur-kid, DexterMy gorgeous fur-kid, Dexter[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The reddest flower in my gardenThe reddest flower in my garden[/one_half_last]

That’s it from Claremont in Cape Town, lets see whats happening in Barbie’s garden in Philly …

Here’s what’s blooming in Barbie’s garden in October 2012

So much is happening in my garden, I can’t keep up! I swear that my lawn grows 3cm every day! There are so many flowers I wanted to try in my garden this spring, that I have over done it! There are the roses that are at their best now, and the Irises that have given me a splendid show and the daisy-type flowers are all over the garden. The Salvias and the Babianas and the Calendula are all so colourful. Have a look and see what’s exploding in my garden …..

Angels Fishing Rods – Dierama

[one_half]Dietes in full bloom[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Roses are looking their best[/one_half_last]




[one_half]Daisy flowers-not sure of name[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Carnations still blooming[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Babianas are so pretty![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Orange Babiana too![/one_half_last]

[one_half]White Gaura – still a favourite[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Oh, more Babiana behind the daisy[/one_half_last]

These roses are so soft and delicate – I call them Auntie Henna Roses.

[one_half]Last remaining Meadow flowers[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And the corn flowers[/one_half_last]




[one_half]Chrysanthemum in the Veggie patch[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Calendula, Chamomile and Iris here[/one_half_last]

[one_half]California poppy re-seeded[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Tea Tree in bloom-so pretty![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Fuchsia in full bloom[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Hot Lips Salvia[/one_half_last]




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 November! 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

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Just call me Daisy

A few months ago I saw a little four pack of seedlings marked simply “Daisy” at a local nursery. They were really small, as seedlings go, but I liked them and brought them home. Not really knowing what they are (try googling ‘daisy’, you’ll get hundreds of results, none of which helped identify the seedlings I’d bought), I planted the four “daisies” in different spots, shade, semi shade and full sun. The ones in the sunniest position took off straight away and started to flower in winter, the others all appeared to be dormant, but were hanging in there.

A few weeks later I found a six pack of the same plant, this time labelled as “Argyranthemum” and so I had the name. Googling “Argyranthemum” reveals that there are hundreds of different ones and I still don’t really know what mine are – but who cares … they are pretty, fill in some gaps and seem to flowers for months on end as mine have been doing, with no sign of letting up. I have pink ones and white ones and I love them. I found a slightly larger one, labelled “Argyranthemum frutescens” and that one is doing well mixed in with the Heliotropium. The white and yellow flowers are perfect with the purple of the Heliotropium and the Dietes Grandiflora that are also flowering now.

[one_half]I have them in white …I have them in white ...[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And I have them in pink!And I have them in pink![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Pretty with the HeliotropiumPretty with the Heliotropium[/one_half]

[one_half_last]In deep shade, filling a dark holeIn deepest shade, filling a dark hole[/one_half_last]

[one_half]These are “Argyranthemum frutescens”There are "Argyranthemum something"[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Thriving with Salvia greggii in full sunThriving with Salvia greggii in full sun[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Happy with Carex and SalviaHappy with Carex and Salvia[/one_half]

[one_half_last]A rare view of my Alley-wayA rare view of my Alley-way[/one_half_last]

In other news … after being away from my garden for almost four weeks there is quite a lot to do. Lots of pruning, cutting back and weeding required, but I’m thrilled that my garden has seemed to reach the “third year they leap” stage. Lots of the plants were planted three seasons ago and are now really coming into their own. Its a joy to behold. And I have very very few “holes” left to fill.

Here are a few things that make me happy …

[one_half]Dietes grandiflora and HeliotropiumDietes grandiflora and Heliotropium[/one_half]

[one_half_last]New leaves on the LiquidamberNew leaves on the Liquidamber[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Petunias have started to flourishPetunias have started to flourish[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Yesterday, today and tomorrowYesterday, today and tomorrow[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The bugs have moved back inThe bugs have moved back in[/one_half]

[one_half_last]+/- 40 Agapanthus about to flower here+/- 40 Agapanthus about to flower here[/one_half_last]

[one_half]My gorgeous boy, always helping meMy gorgeous boy, always helping me[/one_half]

[one_half_last]My roses are floweringMy roses are flowering[/one_half_last]

[one_half]My Birches are full of leaf and gorgeousMy Birches are full of leaf and gorgeous[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I wish I knew what tree this is …I wish I knew what tree this is ...[/one_half_last]

Happy Gardening

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Reviews

My Visit to Seebauer Garden Centre in Munich, Germany

I’ve just returned from a two-week trip to Munich in Germany which included a two-day stop in Paris on the way home. Of all the fabulous things we did and saw over the two weeks, for me, a visit to Seebauer Garten Center was one of the highlights. Even if you are not a plant-nerd, this Nursery is impressive, not just for the sheer size and scale of the offerings but for the quality and presentation of plants. I didn’t take my good camera with me but the little Canon Ixus managed to capture some of the outstanding features of the Nursery, but regretfully, not the size and scale of it all.

Seebauer Garden Center

The multi award-winning Nursery was awarded “Bestes Gardencenter Deutschlands” in 2005, 2006 and again in 2008 and wow! it shows! Started in 1864 by Georg Seebauer, today it is still run by the family. The love of plants instilled in her ‘in the crib’, the Nursery today is run by his family, at this time by Gertraud Gerstenkorn and her husband Lutz and their son, Bernhard.

Lets take a look around …

[one_half]At the entrance to SeebauerAt the entrance to Seebauer[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I love what they’ve done with these potsI love what they've done with these pots[/one_half_last]

[one_half]A look at the potted plant sectionFirst look at the potted plant section[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Loved these “soft pots” (fancy grow bags)Loved these "soft pots" (fancy grow bags)[/one_half_last]

[one_third]Potted plants displayPotted plants display[/one_third]

[one_third]More potted plantsMore potted plants[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Ginkgo BilobaGinko Biloba[/one_third_last]

[one_half]A highlight for me … the Tree NurseryA highlight for me ... the Tree Nursery[/one_half]

[one_half_last]A fabulous Autumn showing of AcerA fabulous Autumn showing of Acer[/one_half_last]

[one_half]This display was simply beautiful This display was simply beautiful [/one_half]

[one_half_last]I really, really want one of these!I really, really want one of these![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Bamboo – We thought of you, Alan 🙂Bamboo - We thought of you, Alan :)[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Beautiful grasses – a stunning displayBeautiful grasses - a stunning display[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Rows and rows and rows …Rows and rows and rows ...[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And more rows of beautiful plantsAnd more rows of beautiful plants[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Beautifully displayed plants …Beautifully displayed plants ...[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I came away inspired and full of ideasI came away inspired and full of ideas[/one_half_last]

[one_half]This was my favourite display – ‘Heide’This was my favourite display - 'Heide'[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Lots of ideas and beautiful plantsLots of ideas and beautiful plants[/one_half_last]

Looking back at these photographs I now wish I had taken the fancy camera. I have really not done justice to this impressive Nursery with my amateurish photos. The Tree Nursery, for example, spreads out at the back of the centre and looks like a little forest – row upon row of magnificent trees, all in their finest Autumn wear. It was a beautiful sight. I could have bought so much …

We stopped off for tea at the Cafeteria which was upstairs and afforded a birds eye-view of the centre (and a few little birdies joined us for tea).

[one_half]My Mom getting us tea at the CafeteriaMy Mom getting us tea at the Cafeteria[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Even the grown-ups keep texting!!Even the grown-ups keep texting!![/one_half_last]

[one_half]In the Cafeteria at SeebauerIn the Cafeteria at Seebauer[/one_half]

[one_half_last]A view from the top levelA view from the top level[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Another view from the upper levelAnother view from the upper level[/one_half]

[one_half_last]They had plenty of Roses on displayThey had plenty of Roses on display[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Everything here is accurately labelledEverything here is accurately labelled[/one_half]

[one_half_last]An impressive range of hardwareAn impressive range of hardware[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Rows and rows of pots and decorRows and rows of pots and decor[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Not a speck of dust, anywhereNot a speck of dust, anywhere[/one_half_last]

I had to get special permission to take photographs which was given to me after I had signed a register and explained that I was a tourist from South Africa. It took incredible self-restraint not to go completely crazy in here. I could honestly have bought so much if I were allowed to bring this back to South Africa. Sadly, it is not permitted to bring plant material back home, understandably so. But it was great fun imagining and I came home with lots of ideas. First one is that I absolutely have to get an Acer Palmatum for my garden. They thrive in the same conditions that Azaleas do well in, so it seems like a no-brainer for my garden. And perhaps a Ginkgo Biloba too? How beautiful they looked together here.

[one_half]The Orchid display was impressiveThe Orchid display was iimpressive[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Orchids seemingly everywhereOrchids seemingly everywhere[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Orchids and accessoriesOrchids and accessories[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Start of the fake flower sectionStart of the fake flower section[/one_half_last]

I did buy a few odds and ends of the non-plant variety. They had an impressive ‘Christmas Shop’ and I couldn’t resist a grow bag. My daughter’s wish for artificial Cherry Blossoms was realised – they had the most impressive range of silk flowers I have ever seen. I’m not a lover of fake flowers, but these impressed even me, so I squashed and bent 10 huge sprays of fake cherry blossoms into my luggage and after 24 hours of resting they are standing tall and proud, ready for a massive glass vase – Daughter loves them! I think I do to …

Annuals Barbie's garden Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Mid-Spring in Two Gardens for Garden Bloggers Bloom Day

The sun is up early and the earth is warming up day by day, now that we are midway through Spring. Some blooms have come to an end but this only makes way for bigger and brighter flowers. Trips to the well-stocked local nursery are frequent to get all that is needed for a burst of colour with new seedlings and flowering plants.

Here’s what’s blooming in Christine’s garden in October 2012

The warmer days after all the rain means I have a garden full of beautiful colour, lots of buds already in bloom and loads more about to burst into flower. At last it feels like spring and I am again loving all the surprises in my garden. My pride and joy is the Japanese Crabapple which is in full bloom. To me it is the most exquisite of flowering trees.

My biggest surprise of all came today when I spotted the Japanese Cherry – it was a gift from a friend last year – just a twig. And guess what? It has started to sprout buds and one new shoot has started to flower. In about two weeks time the entire shrub should be covered in blossoms. A preview of the blossoms below. Here is my mid-spring show …

[one_half]My Japanese Crabapple (malus floribunda)My Japapanese Crabapple (malus floribuna)[/one_half]

[one_half_last]One of the Lilies (Lilium longifolium)One of the Lilies (Lilium Longifolium)[/one_half_last]

[one_half]This Dahlia is massive – but looker closer!This Dahlia is massive - but look inside ....[/one_half]

[one_half_last]House guests in the DahliaHouse guests in the Dahlia[/one_half_last]

[one_half]A lovely new creeper (Clematis montana)A lovely new creeper (Clematis montana) [/one_half]

[one_half_last]Asiatic Lilies flowering in the Alley wayAsiatic Lilies flowering in the Alley way[/one_half_last]

[one_third]Yellow flag iris in the pondYellow flag iris in the pond[/one_third]

[one_third]Murraya exotica in full bloomMurraya exotica has a powerful scent[/one_third]

[one_third_last]I love the Salvia ‘Mystic spires’I love the Salvia 'Mystic spires'[/one_third_last]

[one_third]Louisiana Irises going strongThe Louisiana Irises are going strong[/one_third]

[one_third]Another look at the CrabappleAnother look at the Crabapple[/one_third]

[one_third_last]I love the Salvia greggii tooI love the Salvia greggii too[/one_third_last]

[one_half]Babiana are a favourite indigenous bulbBabiana's are a favourite indigenous bulb[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Another South African beauty – IxiaAnother South African beauty - Ixia[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The awaited Japanese Cherry blossomThe awaited Japanes Cherry blossom[/one_half]

[one_half_last]A lovely yellow Asiatic LilyA lovely yellow Asiatic Lily[/one_half_last]

That’s it from Claremont in Cape Town, lets see whats happening in Barbie’s garden in Philly …

Here’s what’s blooming in Barbie’s garden in October 2012

My garden is looking so bright and colourful with all the new blooms. All the hard work and attention given to my garden during the year is being rewarded with gorgeous new growth and flowers galore. My idea of adding flowers in amongst the vegetable garden, has given it a burst of colour as well as a host of good bug-a-boos. The butterflies, bees and birds are a welcome sight and enjoy the many treasures  – come have a look…….

[one_half]The Purple Patch-lavender, borage and Irises[/one_half]

[one_half_last]My beautiful Irises-the show stoppers![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lobelia hiding under the Lavender[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Lilies nearly there![/one_half_last]

The Babiana are just my favourites this month!




[one_half]Strawberry blooms -can’t wait for the fruit![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Lobelia as ground cover works well[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Love my lavender[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cornflower in the meadow still stands[/one_half_last]

The Quince tree is in full bloom – such a pretty tree, but I don’t eat quince!




[one_half]Sparaxis coming to an end but still bright![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Delicate Viola next to new Calendula shoots[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Jasmine hanging on the fence-delightful![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Ixias cascading over the raised bed[/one_half_last]

More Sparaxis growing in the veggie patch.

[one_half]Ixias are so pretty[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Dianthus in bloom – last years purchase[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Flowers in the grass bed[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Hot Lips Salvia now in bloom[/one_half_last]

The next Iris group is now in full bloom – how gorgeous is this yellow!

[one_half]Roses are budding – it will be a colourful spring![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Feverfew or Crysanthimum?[/one_half_last]




The colour in my garden brings magic and happiness – this is the colour of Spring. I love taking a walk around and taking in all the beauty.


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 September! 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

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

A look around

I’m really tired of the cold weather. Where is Spring? It’s almost mid October and my barometer tells me its 10°C or 50°F (I’m not sure how accurate it is, but it sure feels that cold). Yesterday was a lovely sunny day (sunny but not warm) and I took a walk around the garden and was surprised at how much is looking pretty despite the weird weather. I’m loving the Lilies again this year and the Clivias are quite magnificent. They are flowering all over Cape Town and are a wonderful sight. Even mine are looking great. There’s lots of orange and yellow which makes a change from my usual white and pink colour scheme (which will follow on again in Summer).

I’ll take you on a tour and show you some pretty …

The Clivias are planted along the back wall under a deep shade of trees where they brighten up some of the darkest spaces when they flower. It’s a wonderful sight when you walk through around and spot a bright splash of orange tucked behind a tree, or in some places, they are grouped and flowering all together. I think this is the first year I’ve had such a great show from them – this being their third spring in my garden.

Here is a Clivia tucked away under lots of foliage plants

Clivia tucked in a corner

[one_half]A group of Clivias against a wallA group of Clivias against a wall[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Up close and personal with a CliviaUp close and personal with a Clivia[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The gorgeous Babianas are floweringThe gorgeous Babianas are flowering[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Tucked in between the flowering SalviasTucked in between the flowering Salvias[/one_half_last]

[one_half]In a pot outside my bedroomIn a pot outside my bedroom[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Happy fish in their cleaned up homeHappy fish in their cleaned up home[/one_half_last]

[one_half]And the Lilies have started to flowerAnd the Lilies have started to flower[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Yellow, orange and white this yearYellow, orange and white this year[/one_half_last]

[one_third]Lilies bending to the sunLilies bending to the sun[/one_third]

[one_third]Star Jasmine growing up a treeStar Jasmine growing up a tree[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Lots of colour in the alleyLots of colour in the alley[/one_third_last]

[one_half]About to burst into bloomAbout to burst into bloom[/one_half]

[one_half_last]New planted petunias for summer colourNew planted petunias for summer colour[/one_half_last]

Aren’t the colours of the Crabapple magnificent? A day or two and the whole shrub will be flowering.

Happy gardening

Bloggers Harvest Day Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Small Spring harvest

I was not very diligent with my Spring veggie and herb planting so my harvest this month has been small. The endless rainy and cool weather took the “feel-like-it” right out of me and now I’m regretting not planting a few more things a bit earlier in the season. But I do have a few things to show. Notably, the Lemon grass is looking fabulous and I’ve harvested plenty, so much so that I’ve frozen quite a few stalks. I love the actual plant so much that I’m going to plant some into the flower beds so we have a more continuous supply.

Spring harvest

[one_half]Rosemary and Violas in the strawberry potRosemary and Violas in a pot[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Lettuce and chives in the planterLettuce and chives in the planter[/one_half_last]

[one_third]Fabulous Fennel looking goodFabulous Fennel looking good[/one_third]

[one_third]A welcome volunteerA welcome volunteer[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Baby lettuce coming onBaby lettuce coming on[/one_third_last]

[one_half]New Chamomile plant – thank you Barbie 🙂Chamomile plant - thank you Barbie :)[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I have lots of RosemaryI have lots of Rosemary[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Red leafed lettuceRed leafed lettuce[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The pretty curry plantThe pretty curry plant[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lemon Thyme is wonderfulLemon Thyme is wonderful[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Baby cos lettuce almost readyBaby cos lettuce almost ready[/one_half_last]

My veggie planter is rather disorganised. I have no real plan when I plant, I just plant what I like and know I can manage. My garden includes lots of herbs and I tend to only plant vegetables that are easy to grow or not readily available in the shops. Freshly picked herbs are always in a winner in my kitchen but vegetables that require constant monitoring – I’m not so good at growing those. 🙂

So what’s growing in your veggie patch?

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Painting the pond

About two weeks ago we had a minor episode with electrical boards tripping and the problem was traced to the pond. Our wonderful friend and electrician Gavin was here in minutes and pronounced the wiring to the pond had deteriorated so badly it needed to be rewired. This required draining the pond so I decided it was an opportune time to repaint the interior of the pond which has been annoying me for quite some time as it was looking much worse for wear. (You can see how awful it looked before in this post — click on the panorama links).

In the process, we discovered one of my fish has two different colour eyes. Isn’t he cute? (He, she?)

Special Gold fish

It’s been a two-week process of draining the pond, creating a temporary home for the fish, getting the electrical works repaired and then painting the interior and refilling and adding the plants. A special non-toxic paint had to be used and then left to dry for four days before the pond could be refilled. This was complicated by rain … it’s all been quite eventful.

Most eventful was my choice of paint. I had a choice of black (which we had before) or blue. Well anyone who knows me well will know I would choose the blue. Its my absolute favourite colour and I felt like a change from the black. But oh my goodness, it really is very very blue. Fortunately, once we put the baths / fountains back into the pond and had filled it with water it wasn’t as “in your face blue” as it was whilst it was drying.

My fish were homed in temporary basins and I’m thrilled that all survived and seem very happy in their freshly cleaned and filled home. Its been two days and all the fish are still doing well and I’m happy to have most things back in place. Now I still need to re-pot and clean up all the plants and we’ve added a filter that still needs to be connected properly and there is lots of cleaning up to do.

Here are some photos of the pond repainting and one of the fish that has two different colour eyes.

[one_half]Waiting for paint to dry …Waiting for paint to dry ...[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Not sure about my choice. It’s very very blueIt's very very blue, no?[/one_half_last]

[one_half]temporary home for the plantsTemporarty home for the plants[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And a temporary home for the fishAnd a temporary home for the fish[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Reintroducing the fish slowlyReintroducing the fish slowly[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Getting acclimatised to the new water hereGetting aclimatised to the new water[/one_half_last]

[one_half]A few plants added for the fishA few plants added for the fish[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Newly settled, lots still to doNewly settled, lots still to do[/one_half_last]

Some holes on the side need filling, plastering and painting and unfortunately I could not find the right size and type of trellises I want to add to the wall behind the pond, so that has not been done yet. I might have to get them specially made as the size needs to be just right. I also want to get a few new plants for the pond – that is on the agenda as soon as we have nice weather again.

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Six, Seven, Eight

In January this year, Diana of Elephant’s Eye invited us to write a plant portrait each month. “I challenge you, in 2012, each month choose a plant. Archived pictures of flowers, berries, autumn leaves, wildlife endorsing your choice. Start fresh – what will be your signature plant?” In January I profiled Carex evergold and in February I raved about the Pittosporum eugenioides ‘Variegata’. In March it was Dietes grandiflora and in May it was Clivia that was featured. Then in June I was enamoured with my Camellias that were flowering profusely and then … well winter hit us, life got in the way of regular gardening and blogging and so I’ve missed a few months.

So today I am playing “catch up” and featuring three of my favourite plants. Truth be told, I find it hard to wax lyrical for paragraphs on end about some of my choices, so a combined post is perhaps not such a bad idea right now. These next three are all fairly common plants. Common yes, but not in a negative way. Popular is probably a better way to describe them. I’ve also found that being quite new to gardening its been a lot of traial and error that lead me back to these dependable plants and one of the main reasons I feel I could not garden without them.

First of all, I simply love Lavender. I mean really, really love it! My garden with all its shade is really not an ideal environment for Lavender, but I have a narrow bed against a wall, bordering our pool that gets enough sun to allow Lavender to thrive. And thrive it really does. And another absolute favourite that I paired with Lavender is Gaura lindheimeri. I absolutely love the combination of the two and have added plenty of new Gaura this year in the hope of an even more magical display this summer. Both bloom together in this bed for months on end and give me tremendous pleasure. Both get a huge thumbs up from me as plants I will plant in any garden I own … even in pots on a balcony if that is all I have.

Gaura and Lavender, firm favourites

[one_half]Gaura and Lavender togetherGaura and Lavender together[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Perfect companions against a wallPerfect companions against a wall[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The Lavender blooms are so prettyThe Lavender blooms are so pretty[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And the whimsical Gaura lindheimeriAnd the whimsical Gaura lindheimeri[/one_half_last]

And now, I hope I don’t get shot down in flames over this choice, my next one is Nandina domestica. I’ve read very negative reports about Nandinas, I believe they are considered undesirable in some parts of the world, but here in my shaded Cape Town garden, things would be very bare and dull without the backdrop of green provided by evergreen and ever-pretty Nandinas tucked into many places where not much else would provide such a lovely, easy to maintain background to all the other plants in my garden. And I am delighted every season by the changes in these lovely shrubs, especially when they are adorned with massive bunches of bright red berries which some of my birds seem to love.

Nandina domestica

[one_half]How stunning is the foliage on this?How stunning is the foliage on this?[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The leaves when they turn redThe leaves when they turn red[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Sometimes the leaves are pinkSometimes the leaves are pink[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Two as background shrubsTwo as background shrubs[/one_half_last]

So there they are. My numbers six (Lavender), seven (Gaura) and eight (Nandina).

Not the most original choices, I know, but much loved here in my garden.

Happy Gardening