Every year around this time I sit down and make a list of what I want to accomplish in the following year. Sometimes I get everything done, sometimes not – the fun is not so much in the actual doing but more in the planning, isnt it? A perpetual “list maker”, I compile “to do” lists for work and the house and this year it makes sense to have a separate “Gardening List”. Hmmm… I notice the Gardening List is the longest – not much on the other two “lists” this year :)

So here we go, this serves as a declaration of what I plan “To Do” in and around my garden this year. I will use this as my check list throughout the year and see how much of it all I achieve at the end of it.

Lavender and Pandorea

Rosa Iceberg

Osteopermum

Garden Projects

1). The Pond / Water Feature
I have a pond / water feature which I don’t think I’ve ever shown on the blog. I don’t show it because it’s really nothing to be proud of and actually I’m a bit embarrassed by it. I have not taken good care of it. The truth is I have a guy come once a month who does a clean up – and not much else. The plants in it are in a sorry state and it looks … well just boring. My goal this year is to learn how to clean and care for it myself (I won’t stop the guy coming – he needs the work and he’s a very nice young man), but its time I took an interest and made the water feature just that – A Feature, not an “Oh that thing!”). I have “A Vision” of what I want my pond / water feature to look like by the end of this year and that’s what I’ll be aiming for this year. A Wow-worthy water feature. (The plan will become a post on its own in the not too distant future).

2). The Thatching Reed Beds
I have two beds that were planted by my landscaper that are just not working for me. I did tell her at the time that I was not happy and she begged me to give the plants a year. Its been more than a year – I’ve given them a fair chance and it’s just not working. For me or for the plants. These two beds are on either side of the Water Feature and … the plants have not grown. At all. Miserable failure beds. Chondropetalum tectorum (Cape Thatching Reed) was planted on each side – 3 per bed, and then underplanted with Nandina pygmaea. The Nandinas have thrived. Of the 6 thatching reed plants only one has grown into a beauty, two look ill and the other three … are complete non-starters – 4 sticks and a mess. I will be showing this in a future blog post with my ideas for changing the beds (and hopefully to get some feedback and advice from my gardening friends).

A place to rest

Flowers to admire

and grasses swaying in the breeze

3). A new Flower Bed from scratch
I recently (this week) ripped all the spent veggie plants out of the “veggie bed” and bought two large half wine barrels which we have placed in a sunny alley down the side of the house. These we have planted up with our new crop of vegetable seedlings. The reason for this is that we’ve found the veggies and herbs planted in the existing raised veggie planter are much better and less attacked by creepies and munchers than in the actual garden. So I will now be transforming the old “veggie bed” into a flower garden. No plans yet – I have a clean slate, waiting for ideas!

4). The Gardenia Bed
I have been pondering what to do in the Gardenia Bed. Should I or shouldn’t I remove the Gardenias, should I relocate the Bougainvilleas? I am not sure and have been going back and forth on what to do. So my goal is to make a decision early on in the year and then to work on it when the weather starts to cool down in Autumn, which would be a better time to transplant the Gardenia and Bougainvillea plants if that is what I eventually decide to do.

Back corner view

Scaevola

Gaura Lindhermi

Other minor Garden Projects

5). Replace some of the ground covers
My young garden has come a LONG way in its sixteen months of existence. I’m really happy with most things – very happy with a lot, mostly satisfied with others, and know which need work. When we first “planted” sixteen months ago a lot of ground cover was planted to quickly cover areas whilst foundation plants established themselves. Sixteen months on, some of the ground cover is getting out of hand and it seems there is just too much of it around. The time has come to reign it in and to replace some. Too much Lamium is just too much! And I don’t need acres of Plectranthus. Really, I don’t!

6). Attract more birds to the garden
I’m enjoying watching the birds in the garden. I’ve always had doves and Hadeda Ibises that make quite mess, are very noisy and trample my plants (and annoy Dexter for some inexplcable reason). The Red Wing Starlings are frequent visitors to my water feature where they love to splash in the fountain and the cute Witoogies are always darting from tree to tree and lately spend a lot of time in the rose bed. Last week I saw a Rooibeksysie (Waxbill) in my back garden for the first time and it gave me so much pleasure to see a “new” bird in the garden that I’m now committed to spending some time making my garden more attractive to local birds.

I love the grasses

Miscanthus sinesis

Festuca glauca really shines

7). Remove some aliens
I have two shrubs / trees planted by previous owners of the property that are considered “alien invasives” and are cited in our local gardening books as “should be removed” from our gardens. I’m considering it. Seriously. One will definitely be removed this year. The other, less serious one, might stay.

8). Expose some more of the view
We could have a wonderful view of the mountain (the backside of our famous Table Mountain) from my back terrace. But there are trees in the way. I will not remove the wonderful big tree that blocks most of the view (and neighbour roof top), but there are two smaller trees (one of which is the Category 2 Alien Invasive mentioned above), the other is quite a lovely tree (I don’t know what it is) that has grown spindly up top and would look a lot better anyway if it was properly topped. Result would be a view of “our” mountain from one of the seating areas on the terrace. Seems like a no-brainer now I’ve written this.

9). Incorporate some pots
I’ve seen on many gardening blogs (and in books) how experienced gardeners incorporate pots in their planting schemes. I’d like to try that this year with one or two well placed pots that enhance the overall look of an area. I’d also like to add a few pots with plants in the right hand side alley that has nothing going on in it!

In the Camellia bed

Rooibeksysie

Baby Dusty Miller

Gardening Blog Related

10). Do a feature on Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
I live about a three-minute drive away from this very famous national treasure, the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. Kirstenbosch grows only indigenous South African plants. The estate covers 528 hectares and supports a diverse fynbos flora and natural forest. The cultivated garden (36 hectares) displays collections of South African plants, particularly those from the winter rainfall region of the country. I’m really looking forward to spending time in this wonderful garden so that I can share its beauty with our gardening friends abroad. Look out for this – I’ll be breaking it up into parts to showcase Kirstenbosch to its fullest.

11). Plant Profiles
We started keeping notes about some of the plants we have in our gardens in our Plants Directory. I only did a few in 2011. I promise to do quite a few more this year – at very least, one a month!

12). Garden Bloggers Harvest Day
Barbie and I have discussed starting a garden blog meme called “Garden Bloggers Harvest Day”. I’ve hunted around and it doesn’t seem as if anyone is doing this on any sort of regular basis. We thought the 5th of the month might be a good day to do it? What do you think? Would you join us?

So those are MY immediate gardening plans for 2012 – What are YOURS?

From my family to yours, we  wish you a Happy New Year and a Wonderful 2012 Garden!!

Top Dog Dexter

Hercules the prince