It was a public holiday here in South Africa today (Women’s Day*), AND the sun was shining for a change, so I managed to get out into the garden. Several urgent tasks required my attention and thanks to the sunny weather, I was able to get quite a bit done. The new Jasminum polyanthum which I bought as a replacement for the Bougainvillea (that became overgrown, crashed and was removed) were finally planted and unravelled from their stakes and then tied and trained onto the bare trellis. It looks very sparse right now but in a few months it will be lush and full like the others I have. I love them … they are extremely easy to grow if planted in the right space, require hardly any attention and my birds love them as much as I do.

The newly planted Jasminum polyanthumThe newly planted Jasminum polyanthum

Which will soon look like the othersWhich will soon look like the others

Jasminum polyanthumJasminum polyanthum

The birds are back in force!The birds are back!

Azaleas flowering in the alleyAzaleas flowering in the alley

Talking about birds … the Starlings seem to have disappeared for winter and its been very quiet in the garden. Finally about two weeks ago we started hearing the witoogies and sunbirds making a racket again. Rooibeksysies were seen getting water from the pond so we filled up their water bottles and boy are the birds thirsty! We are having to refill the bottles every second day (usually once or twice a week) and we’ve seen birds fighting each other to get to the water. So we’ve filled up all their water bowls and baths again and are enjoying their antics. It is such a joy to have them in the front garden and be able to see them while I work. Once the starlings come back they will again chase the sunbirds and witoogies to the back garden when they take over the front and side gardens from Spring onwards.

Dutch Irises growing in a pot this yearDutch Irises growing in a pot this year

Lilium emerging two weeks agoLiliums emerging about three weeks ago

Lots of new annuals plantedLots of new annuals planted

New herb and lettuce seedlingsNew herb and lettuce seedlings

These make me smile every dayThese make me smile every day

I’ve spent quite a bit on filling in “holes” in my back garden. I’ve bought new Agapanthus, Azaleas and Clivias to fill in a few gaps. In the front garden I’ve replaced overgrown, out of control lavender, bought new Gaura to plant with the lavender and I’ve started planting new annual seedlings in the two beds I reserve for annuals. My Irises are looking good and have been composted, fertilised and mulched in preparation for their Spring show. After my initial, small success with the few I bought to experiment with, I then bought a whole lot more and have been watching them grow. My Lilium bulbs are coming up again from last year and I bought a few more of these because I loved them so much. A few gorgeous new Chasmanthe (Barbie’s influence!) found their way home with me – I love the bright, beautiful flowers … as do the birds! Other bulbs are growing well (Dutch Irises, Babianas and Ixias) and the first Hellebore buds are visible. I think Spring might be on its way …

Chasmanthe

The flowers and foliageThe flowers and foliage

A closer view of the plantA closer view of the plant

The Chasmanthe flowerThe gorgeous Chasmanthe flower

I’d forgotten how lovely my garden can be. Spending a few hours today with my hands in the dirt, lugging around compost, digging, planting and mulching gave me time to look around and see how much things have grown and filled in. In particular I’m loving my Alley-way garden … the Azaleas have started to flower and seeing last years Liliums coming back again is such a delight! Some of them are almost a foot tall already. I’m really looking forward to the sea of lilies again … as well as the Freesias, Ixias, Babianas … and so the cycle continues. Spring is on its way!

That’s all for today!
Happy Gardening
xxx

* Woman’s Day commemorates 9 August 1956 when women participating in a national march petitioned against pass laws (legislation that required African persons to carry a document on them to ‘prove’ that they were allowed to enter a ‘white area’). More about Woman’s Day.