Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Update of the lower back garden

Just a quickie post – I’m quite thrilled with the way the lower corner of my back garden is taking shape. Just four months ago this area was ruined by plumbing works and I was left with a really horrid looking corner, full of rubble and poor soil and a lot of very sad little plants.

After improving the soil, laying lawn and paying this area some attention with selects plants, its starting to take shape. At the moment it looks a lot like a “foliage garden”. Very little flowering here at the moment, but thats ok. I’ll add a few summer flowering plants when I find the right ones.

Before …


After …


Quite a difference a few months make! I’m loving my ” combinations” – most will stay, a few might get moved around but for now I’m enjoying all the greenery. The ‘patches’ you see in the lawn are an indication of how much my dogs are ‘enjoying’ the lawn too. C’est la vie, I’m not looking for perfection, just a garden for us (dogs and all) to enjoy.

Here are a few more shots of the greenery …

[one_half]A closer viewA closer view[/one_half]

[one_half_last]My favourite comboMy favourite combo[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Another favourite comboAnother favourite combo[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Another combo I likeAnother combo I like[/one_half_last]

Happy Gardening

Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

My extended back garden

When we moved into our house here in Philadelphia, we were so captivated by the rural feel and the long dirt roads where you can take long walks next to the wheat fields, that we added a gate to the back garden wall. This allowed us easy access to the meadow behind our house and to the long dirt road. Well, now that we have had to pen our chickens, so that they don’t run rampant around my newly planted garden, I feel so terribly guilty that I open the back gate for them for an hour every day so they can run wild – literally. I do supervise this little extra mural excursion! This has now become our extended back garden. We have made new friends now and they wait for us every day!

[one_half]The field behind our house[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The natural vegetation – lovely![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Our sheep friends![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Getting tired of waiting for us![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Our favourite friend – the yellow weaver bird![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Giving us the eye! Making sure we are looking![/one_half_last]

The yellow weaver bird is our favourite little friend who lives in the big Pepper Tree in the meadow behind our house. He is the first one to greet me in the morning when the chickens are let out to play! He joins them for morning breakfast! He is so busy with nest building that he has a monsterous appetite.

[one_half]May I join you?[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Buffy is happy to share[/one_half_last]

I am so fond of the wild flowers that grow here in the meadow. The daisies, the butter cups and the other colourful flowers – I don’t know the name of these. This is such a pretty place.

[one_half]African daisy – I think![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Our small friend the grasshopper greets too![/one_half_last]

[one_half]I can see you, Buffy![/one_half]

[one_half_last]I love these wild flowers[/one_half_last]

Thank you for joining us! Ok, the sheep have to go now and the weaver bird  too, so we are going to go in now too.

[one_half]Time to go home now![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Weaver bird has also had to go home![/one_half_last]


Bye bye for now and enjoy your garden today xxx


Christine's garden Do it yourself Gardening Home page features

New Lawn and instant gratification

I’ve been battling with the small lawn area in my back garden for two years. It never looked good. I played around with the idea of getting rid of the lawn altogether, but it’s really a small area (31m²) and it’s the only “soft” area in my garden for kids to play on so I lived in hope that it would eventually grow. Then about 2 months ago we had the tree fellers and plumbers here within a week of each other who stomped around and dug up what was there, and the little excuse of a lawn I had, was completely destroyed. What to do?

I looked at my back garden despondently for a few weeks and got some quotes and was really unimpressed by what was being offered. (somebody recommended Kikuyu which I don’t like – invasive water-guzzler that it is, amongst others). So I decided to do most of it myself. (I’ve learnt so many times in life that if you want something done properly you need to do it yourself!). So I got out my books, hunted online and after hours and hours of research I finally put a plan of action together. With the help of my painter, we dug up the existing area to 300mm deep and worked in TONS of compost into the soil (the soil had become hard and compacted and I could see nothing was going to grow well if we didn’t prepare the area really, really well). We added the prescribed soil amendments and then I was ready to “find” my lawn.

I decided on Gulf Green for many reasons. Firstly because its harder wearing than Berea shade lawn (which from experience I know does not work in that area) and because although it requires sun – which it now gets, it is 45% shade tolerant (whatever that means, I’m taking my chances). Finally I got hold of a roll on lawn company who would deliver my lawn and, for a very nominal fee they laid it too (seeing as we had adequately prepared the lawn I think they gave me a really good deal). The service was outstanding, I was very happy with the execution and I am seriously delighted with my new lawn! I can now see exactly what I need to do in the beds surrounding it as opposed to being overwhelmed by the bare ugly lawn patches.

Here are the photographs …

The new lawn area

[one_half]Before plumbing – The old lawn at it’s “best”Before the plumbing works[/one_half]

[one_half_last]After the plumbersAfter the plumbers – destroyed[/one_half_last]

[one_half]”Dexters Garden” before"Dexters Garden" before[/one_half]

[one_half_last]”Dexters Garden” after (Yes, I have a plan for it!)"Dexters Garden" after[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Prepped and ready …Prepped and ready ...[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Newly laid lawnNewly laid lawn[/one_half_last]

[one_third]Looking from the top – downLooking from the top - down[/one_third]

[one_third]Looking from the bottom, upLooking from the bottom, up[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Taking a closer lookTaking a closer look[/one_third_last]

I have lots of work to do now for the next three weeks to make sure that the lawn establishes itself well so that it can grow and thrive, but I believe it will be well worth it in the long run and I am now looking forward to planting up all the bare patches in the beds – especially the little area we call “Dexters Garden”.

Anybody in the Cape Town area looking for really good service, great quality lawn and good prices, get hold of Brian at I can’t recommend them highly enough!

Happy gardening!

Christine's garden Gardening

Weekend project and redoing the lawn

I have a huge large area in my back garden that is made up of two sections. One was destroyed by recent plumbing works and the other was previously reserved for my dog to play in and mess up to his hearts content. He has grown up and is a lot less boisterous and better behaved (well, a BIT better behaved), so its time to change what was called “Dexter’s garden” from a dumping ground to a pretty garden. We’ve also cut the trees back drastically to allow more light into this area so things might actually grow here now.

This area is the lower corner of the L-shape that makes up my back garden (sort of out of sight unless you actually walk around there). I thought I’d share some “before” photos. As you can see it really is very unattractive and quite a mess. To add to the messy look of it all, the existing lawn was destroyed by the plumbing guys (unintentionally, but unavoidable with all the rubble that was removed). The ground is now completely compacted and I am preparing it properly before I plant up new grass.

This weekend I’ll be removing a lot of debris, adding compost, moving some of the plants I want to keep (the Clivias and Nandinas) and then I will be adding the same plants to the two curves at the front of this border which I already have at the other end. Once I’ve done all that I’ll have a clearer picture of how much space I still have to fill and will work out how many plants I need to buy to fill the area. It will take a while to get the area planted up as the plants I’m wanting to have in this area are not all available right now. I’m tired of planting things just to “not have bare patches”. This time it’s all about being patient and waiting for the right plants to be available.

Before Photographs

[one_half]BEFORE the plumbing (it wasn’t perfect)Before[/one_half]

[one_half_last]AFTER – the area ruined by plumbingthe Corner[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The lower “L” – This was “Dexter’s garden”Dexters garden[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Another “after the plumbing pic”After[/one_half_last]

Close ups of the compacted soil

On to the lawn … the lawn is a touchy subject with me right now because this will be the THIRD time it gets replanted. I will save the entire “lawn saga” for another post – but this time I am going to redo it by myself seeing as the previous attempts which were left to so called professionals have been unsuccessful. It seems that if you want something done properly, you need to do it yourself OR stand over the people who are supposed to do it and watch that they actually do it properly! (In that case, I might as well just do it myself!). The entire area is small. 15 m x 1.5 at the small curve and 2m at the wide curves (so +/- 30m²). “Dexters lawn area” is 2 x 4 m.

[one_half]Close up of compacted areaCompacted earth[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Another close upCompacted earth[/one_half_last]

Digging, composting, revitalising

And now here we are revitalising the soil. Digging to a depth of 30cm (as the books tell me to), adding and mixing it with lots of fresh compost, turning the soil etc. Here are some progress pics.

[one_third]Starting to dig & compostStarted revitalising[/one_third]

[one_third]Half way doneHalf way there[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Contrast between Old & NewOld and new[/one_third_last]

So that’s my weekend gardening plan. Once I’ve completed the prep work I’ll document what I did. I’m working from a book and doing exactly what they say …

What are you doing this weekend in your garden? Anything exciting?

Barbie's garden Do it yourself Gardening Miscellaneous

Project Back garden starts!

Concrete removalHi Chris, hope you are enjoying your garden! I have had a busy work week, but with a public holiday yesterday I took the opportunity to do some heavy work in the back garden and I managed to convince my wonderful (and muscular) hubby to help tear down the ugly washing lines I so dislike! I don’t think you even know this area because it is hidden from sight behind the shade cloth screen. It was not such a simple job as we both thought. I had visions of us pulling out the small concrete “feet” the poles were set in and put the kettle on for tea! Well, we eventually had to hire a jack hammer – a zooper-dooper industrial one – to breakdown these colossal concrete beds to pick-up size chunks! Wow! I was amazed at the over-engineering to hold up a few washed towels and sheets …… and all that concrete you see in the foreground….there was just as much in the hole at the back (near the gate).

Here is my strong-man! What would I do without him???

We finally pulled all the concrete out of the ground and now we have reclaimed a huge piece of garden that was wasted with this huge washing line. It must be at least 20 square metres worth of plantable ground! So now we are really and truly starting the back garden. I’ll keep you up to date on our progress!

Some before photos – this is really a clean and virgin canvass to work on! A landscaper’s paradise! 🙂

[one_half]Back garden project 1[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Back garden 2[/one_half_last]

Happy gardening this weekend! xxx