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Garden Colour

I have been in a gloomy mood of late, with my favourite chicken not doing well. Buffy has been suffering from Bumblefoot and had a major operation in December on both her feet. But alas, it is back – regardless of all the medication and the scrupulous cleaning of her feet and her New Hen House and the daily wrapping of her feet. The Vet warned of this and that it could possibly go systemic. Well, I fear this could be the case. Difficult in walking and she has pretty much stopped eating – I can manage to get soft food in – she likes porridge and yoghurt and blueberries. Shame – so I have been dismal these past two weeks and my garden has not given me joy – but wait……… what is all this interesting colour.

This is the lovely Ice cream Bush – given to me by my sister-in-law. I have always admired her garden and this bush in particular.

[one_half]Such beautiful foliage[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Pink, cream, green-what a combo[/one_half_last]

Love this little helper Lady Bug. They always make me smile when I see them.

[one_half]My Gerbera still delighting[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Tansy is bright yellow-colour of sunshine[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Love my garden art[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Hearts from my friend Christine![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Yarrow has such delightful foliage[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Happiness in my veggie patch[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Sweet and juicy summer figs[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Fur on the quince-so peachy![/one_half_last]

[one_half]The sign of new things to come[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Fennel has charmed me this year[/one_half_last]

My poor, sweet Buffy. Never a moan and always trying to keep a brave face! Wish I could do more!! Let’s see how she improves!


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This ever happen to you?

I don’t know why but right now I’ve lost a bit of interest in my garden and am a little disappointed. Nothing fun is going on in it, there are visible and invisible things and creatures destroying plants and the sun has done a fair amount of damage whilst I wasn’t paying attention. Growth has been great all round, unfortunately too great in some areas. Once again my lavender plants have become unruly (do they want baby-sitting all the time?) and something has started to destroy my Impatiens, one plant at a time. I’ve lost three in the last week.

Most of the time in the garden is spent cutting back and pulling out the now thuggy Lamium or dead-heading spent roses and Dianthus. The supporting stakes of two of my standards snapped and needed emergency rescuing. My Agapanthus have been attacked by a worm of sorts and I’ve lost a Carex and two Acorus to something … See? It’s all not a whole bunch of fun right now. Lots of casualties but no “wow” moments and no fabulous flower shows.

My question is to experienced gardeners – is this normal that I feel this way? Do all gardeners get fed up with their gardens for a while and get over it? I’m hoping this is an annual malady and that I’ll snap out of it really soon.

Photo: The Impatiens the way they looked …


And after they have been attacked. Snapped off at soil level.


I wouldn’t be as upset about the Impatiens if they at least ate the whole plant. But they don’t. They just bite them at the stems, they break off and then die. (Who “THEY” are, I do not know. Yet).

It’s time to share our highlights and disappointments of the month. I’m joining Bumble Lush and friends in “best of” and “worst of” the garden in January

By the way, if you want to get involved in the gardening blog community, consider joining a blog meme. See our list at Gardening Blog Memes.

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One bag of potting soil

This afternoon I had to pop in to the nursery to get ONE bag of potting soil. That’s all. One bag of potting soil. I promised myself that was all I would buy as I have so much work to do in the garden and still have some plants standing around (from the Elgin trip) that need to be planted. That’s the deal I make with myself – I’m only allowed to buy plants when everything is planted and there is nothing much to do in the garden.

I needed one bag of potting soil to fill a container that is being planted with spring flowering bulbs. Thats my mission this weekend – to get all the bulbs planted. So I really needed the potting soil.

Here is what one bag of potting soil looks like in my world …

One bag of potting soil ...

But here’s why …

When I got there I realised that the Narcissus bulbs need a container too (aren’t they pretty?)
The “bulb book” says its a good idea to over-plant the bulbs with annuals (as a living mulch), so I  “needed” the Lobularia.
I found Helichrysum which I just love and had been looking for.
And I fell in love with the Dianella (variegated Flax Lily) – I think it will look great with the uninvited Caladium in the shade garden.

See? All neccessary purchases after all …

Happy Gardening

Annuals Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

What’s flowering in my garden

Today I thought I’d share with you what is still flowering in my garden. As we are nearing the end of summer I didn’t expect to have that much to show you until I stepped outside and started clicking away. The usual suspects are still flowering (read: annuals) and a few summer bloomers are showing their last flowers. Some new kids on the block (planted out last weekend) surprised me with their new blooms but the biggest surprise is the tomato plant you gave me! It has two teeny little flowers. (You understand of course that this tomato plant is my very first attempt at growing a vegetable, so finding a flower on it was a huge surprise!).

So here is my gallery of “A Friday of Flowers” …

[one_half]Dietes bicolourDietes bicolor[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Sweet WilliamSweet william[/one_half_last]


[one_half_last]Tulbaghia ViolaceaTulbaghia violacea[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Predictable PetuniasPetunias[/one_half]


[one_half]New kid on the blockNew kid on the block*[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Mandevilla SplenensMandevilla Splenens[/one_half_last]


[one_half_last]Newly planted Begonias[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Scaevola Aussie SaluteScaevola Aussie Salute[/one_half]

[one_half_last]My flowering Tomato!My flowering Tomato![/one_half_last]

[one_half]More Sweet WilliamMore Sweet William[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Potato VinePotato Vine[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Last flowering AgapanthusAgapanthus[/one_half]



[one_half_last]New indigenous ground coverNew ground cover[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Star JasmineStar Jasmine[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I don’t know the name**Unknown[/one_half_last]

My favourite flower at the moment is the Mandevilla Splenens, I love the Scaevola and Hibiscus … but the biggest thrill today was the Tomato!

I hope you like my “Friday Flower Post” – What’s flowering in yours?

Happy Gardening

* Duranta Sapphire Showers™
** Lobelia (thanks Alistair!)

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Sweet Alyssum

AlyssumWhen we had the “new” garden planted I was left with lots of bare patches to contend with whilst we wait for the plants to establish themselves. Although we put down bark-mulch (which is more attractive than bare soil), I still wanted to see some more colour, especially over the the December / summer months. So I decided to plant fast growing annuals, just for a few splashes of colour whilst we wait … waiting for the garden to grow is not quite like watching paint dry, but I’m not the most patient of people so some instant colour was called for.

This is the bed just above the pool from which we had to remove the Banana Tree. It looked really ugly after everything had been removed and in December we had the new plants planted there. Its a fairly shady area so Camellias and Star Jasmine and Carex “evergold” were chosen. And I was left with lots of bare patches! So I planted some petunias for instant colour. They’ve done ok, but the area is pretty shaded so the petunias have not done as well as the ones in the pots out back. Pretty, but nothing great. At the same time I planted Alyssum. They are such an unassuming little plant aren’t they? Hardly noticeable until they actually start growing. Today I was quite surprised to see how sweetly they are filling in the blank spaces without detracting from the other plants around them. And I have to add … they must be the easiest thing in the world to grow! I’ve done nothing to them. In fact, I’d forgotten all about them.

Here they are …

[one_half]With the Petunias & Carex evergoldAlyssum[/one_half]

[one_half_last]More PetuniasAlyssum[/one_half_last]

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Pretty Petunias

PetuniasI love colourful annuals. I planted a few at the beginning of summer and most have given me a lot of pleasure. The Dianthus did well (and are still happily blooming) and the Petunias I planted in pots are doing great. In fact, I hardly water them, pay them very little attention and look at them go …

This one (on the left) is purple – they start out a pale blue / purple and then turn dark purple before they wither up and die. I’ve done very little dead-heading and yet they have still spread and grown very bushy, completely taking over the pots they were planted in. Their position is in the one area in the garden that has full sun – on my back patio.

White PetuniasTwo of the pots have white petunias and one has the the purple. Here are the white Petunias on the right. They have completely taken over and are growing up the tree that is behind the pot. I wonder what would happen if I watered them more often or, as all my books suggest, fertilised them every two weeks … I think we would have a mass petunia invasion on my patio.

I love annuals – even though they are short lived and need to be replaced after the season, they fill the garden with something fresh every season. Easy to grow and care for, I think I will always reserve some beds and areas in my garden for annuals.

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Front Garden

HerculesI’m enjoying one of the beds in my front garden a lot. To a seasoned gardener I’m sure its nothing special, and I know it needs work in terms of the Gardenias not performing at their best (and my newly planted “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” still underperforming), but I’m loving the little dianthus annuals I planted because they’ve added some colour to the blanks spaces while we wait for the new plants to establish themselves. The Plectranthus madagacariens is absolutely thriving and I have to keep cutting it back so it doesn’t take over completely. The wild iris plants are coming along beautifully.

Hercules loves this spot in the garden too … He likes to sit on the bench and watch me when I’m busy in the front garden. He loves to sniff the plants and is so light of foot that he doesn’t damage anything …  the perfect little garden companion!


Dianthus and bunny

Dianthus & Bunny[/one_half]


Gardening companion


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Alyssum in little pots

Just before Christmas, Stefani (my daughter for those who don’t know) talked me into buying this crate with the little pots in it for the garden. It’s been sitting around for a month now “waiting” for me to plant something in the pots. I was going to plant herbs in it, but then decided it would look pretty straight away with something that’s flowering, so yesterday I planted some of the Alyssum seedlings that were meant for a border into the pots. And I think it looks cute!

What I love about gardening is that things are always changing and can be changed. If a plant is not thriving somewhere it can be moved to a better position. If a patch is not enchanting, one can add to it, subtract from it, move things around, heck, maybe even add a garden gnome for effect! (I don’t have any yet but I do have a metal frog!). And whilst there is so much for me to learn about plants and taking good care of then to get them to thrive, gardening allows me to be a bit creative with colour and form.

Hope you are having a great week!