Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Garden Clutter

Ok – so now I am back in my garden and all I see is clutter and mishmash and an overgrown, totally out-of-control garden. Well, that is not so bad because I don’t particularly like too much order in my garden! They say that weeds are plants that haven’t learnt to grow in rows! But a happy companion growth is good!! All I decided to do today was record the, aah-hem! mess! I’m feeling less and less energetic! But I know that this is my weekend in the garden – I have earned it!! And if I don’t get the veggie seeds planted, I’ll have nothing to show this summer!  I have been sketching and drawing and planning and have a new vegetable patch design – I will post it to show you how I spend rainy days – I still think of my garden! And this design is all based on good companion planting!

Ok – here is the BEFORE photos ….. just to let you all know my garden gets really, really wild!!

[one_half]Peas in the Potato Patch[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Peaches in this jungle[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lots going on here[/one_half]

[one_half_last]This is my FIRST almond!![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lemon juice for Africa!![/one_half]

[one_half_last]What!?  Figs again!?[/one_half_last]




[one_half]Veggie patch going wild![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Chamomile growing wild with weeds[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Veggie patch needs lots of work-whew![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Wow! Front garden looking savage[/one_half_last]




[one_half]How sad-needs some love![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Back garden chicken demolished![/one_half_last]

Wish me good luck and I will most definitely show the AFTER photos!!

Happy gardening xxxxx


Barbie's garden Design Do it yourself Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

Shabby Chic for the garden

I have been told that my home is Shabby chic!

This is something I have not heard before – where have I been? There is a definition for it in Wikipedia! Shabby Chic is a form of interior design where furniture and furnishings are either chosen for their appearance of age and signs of wear and tear or where new items are distressed to achieve the appearance of an antique.

We take pride in making almost all our furniture out of recyclable wood, steel, corrugated sheeting, chains, and other stuff. Here you will see what we have built to make our outside space “Shabby Chic”. My next post, I will share with you the inside of our house, because in the 8 years we have been here, we have tackled huge renovation projects. You might be interested what we keep ourselves busy with – when I’m not gardening! 🙂

[one_half]Love this bench-gift from my friend![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Our Mugwood Tree[/one_half_last]

Buckets are a big feature in my garden

[one_half]Stones & steel add to the grass feature[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Stones and wood used here too[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Sticks & wooden planks as a fence[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Buckets as a feature here too[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Back garden deck[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Simple wood chips[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Deck and fencing we built[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Handmade fencing[/one_half_last]




[one_half]Barrels used too[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Bucket and barrows![/one_half_last]

This is real old-fashioned and now Shabby Chic!

[one_half]Fun with wire and beads[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Another view of buckets and barrow[/one_half_last]

The Chicken house!

Hope you enjoyed my Shabby Chic interpretation – do you have anything in your garden that fits the bill?

Hope you have a great gardening day!! xxxxx

Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous Perenniels

Miscanthus probe

Well, Alan – this post has finally been uploaded. You have been patiently asking me to get a closer view of this big question mark – my bold grass and centre piece of my grass feature. I have done a close up inspection of my Miscanthus Sinensis Gracillimus (it was labelled and sold to me as this!). I know that the last post I did of my Grass Feature update you did question this, so here we are! A up close and personal – and I also found more than I bargained for … check it out!





Oh, what have we here? Lots of hidden treasures …



On closer inspection…. Buffy, what are you doing under there??





Well, Buffy is as proud as punch and was happy to pose for me with her egg stash, but don’t tell her that they won’t hatch – she is a real mother hen. At a ripe age (for a chicken, I guess) of 5 years old she can still lay a beautiful egg! Oh, but she is standing in my dry river bed – not an egg clutch!! 🙂

Ok, but getting back to the mystery grass – is it a Miscanthus or not? Maybe we will get it right! Should I get closer photos of the blades? Let me know…

Thanks Alan, for your constant interest in all we do in our Two Gardens – we are both better gardeners for it!

Happy Gardening xxx

Annuals Barbie's garden Design Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Back garden highlighted

Hi Chris, I have been busy with planting and cleaning and creating and just enjoying the back area of my garden. I know that I have these silent moments where no one knows where I am and what I’m up to – even my hubby looks for me…… I am in my garden. I have become very close to my garden again, now that the time has come to reawaken and refresh all the beds. I take long moments just looking and imagining. I look at funny corners and visualize an old chair or an old ladder with a creeper growing up it, a bucket or a few old pieces of wood and some stones.

Here is what I’ve been creating and planting…….

[one_half]My new area of interest-near the back wall[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The new bed under development[/one_half_last]

Still needs lots of work, but the idea is there and I want a lush area of green in the back garden. It has been stark and barren for too long – cheerless and somber before I got my hands on it. I want to have this organised jungly effect. A place you forage for vegetables and fruit and berries and medicinal flowers…..

There will be grenadilla, yarrow, grasses, peaches and blueberries all growing together.

[one_half]Grenadilla will creep up an old ladder[/one_half]

[one_half_last]With neat little walkways of interest[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Old wood holding bird bath bowls[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Wood and stones always featuring[/one_half_last]

I have tansy and borage bringing scores of bees and butterflies to pollinate the peach and blueberry blossoms, Black Pearl peppers and Irises all enjoying the same bed. I love the idea of adding flowers in amongst herbs and vegetables and fruit.

[one_half]Grasses in between finishes it off[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Each area has a water feature [/one_half_last]

And these beautiful pots on the big table on the back deck just paints this lovely picture of rest and tranquility. Thank you, my friend, for this lovely gift – they work so perfectly in my garden and soon the Freesias will be blooming!

Happy Gardening xxx

Christine's garden Design Gardening Home page features

Pattern and Texture

Donna from Garden Walk, Garden Talk is again hosting her fortnightly “Word for Wednesday” meme – this time the word is Texture. Well actually, its two words this week, Pattern and Texture. I don’t often take part in this meme because the quality of the photography and writing of the participants is intimidating, but this week the theme intrigued me. Donna’s post was incredibly informative and I learnt a lot (Donna is a landscape designer). After reading and absorbing her design advice, I trawled through my photo archives to see what photos depicting Pattern and Texture – as it applies to my garden – I could find. I was quite surprised to discover that I had about thirty reasonable looking photos that spoke “texture” or “pattern” to me and once I’d culled the collection down further, I was left with twenty photographs that I’d like to share.

What I found to be very valuable was Donna’s suggestion of desaturating an image … Donna suggests: “A designer trick is to desaturate an image to better see pattern and texture. It is a good tool to see why a grouping works or does not. The lights, darks and small detail are more evident, and that is an important aspect in textural differentiation“. I have been working on foliage combinations in my garden of late. Some work better than others, as I’ve now seen.  I took all the photos I showed in this post of yesterday and “desaturated” them and what surprised me was how well most of the groupings seem to work. (Interesting to me, the combination I like the most, is the least appealing using this method – too many similar plant types, i.e. spiky grass-like plants grouped together). We live and learn!

I’m showing two repeats from yesterdays photos because I believe they fit the theme of “Pattern & Texture”, and I’ve taken Donna’s suggestion of desaturating the images to show why these combinations may work. (These were in fact my least favourite – but now I look at them this way I think they do work). You can click to enlarge the photos to see the full effect.

Do they work?

[one_half]Pattern on leaves, Texture of grassDuranta and Festuca scoparis[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Now the leaves sparkle, grass contrastsDesaturated - love the look[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Pattern on grass, texture of barkNewly planted: Miscanthus sinesis "Zebrinus"[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I think it works well for contrastWorks well desaturated[/one_half_last]

Below are the photos I chose from my archives that speak to me of “Pattern and Texture”. The first two I’ve shown as  large photos because they speak loudest to me …


You can’t dispute that Mother Nature is an artist of the highest order when you examine a flower as beautiful as this. Look at the intricate, beautiful patterns she has woven into the petals of the Iris, like a painting on silk …

Patterns on the Iris


And for texture you can’t beat the contrasting softness of the fur on the Persian cat and the rough texture of the weathered bench …

Soft fur of the cat and rough wood of the weathered bench

Other random images depicting Texture and/or Pattern:

[one_half]Texture of the tree trunk (I see pattern too)Texture of the tree (I see pattern too)[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Texture of the delicate Rose petalsTexture of the Rose petals[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Texture of and pattern in the nestTexture of the birds' nest[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Texture of the grass and leavesTexture of the grass and leaves[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Paper thin petals of the AnemonePaper thin petals of the Anemone[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Texture of stones, pattern in the layoutTexture of stones, pattern in the layout[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Texture of bark contasts with petals of the LilyTexture of bark contasts with petals of the Lily[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Texture of grasses is appealing to manyThe texture of grasses is very appealing[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Dry, brittle leaves and lush green onesDry, brittle leaves and lush green ones[/one_half]

[one_half_last]More paper thin petals …More paper thin petals ...[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Hard texture of cement against foliageHard texture of cement[/one_half]

[one_half_last]… I see pattern in the repetition of the blooms... and pattern in buds and blooms[/one_half_last]

Happy Gardening (and photographing)

Barbie's garden Design Do it yourself Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

Before and after continued ..

Thank you all for the interest shown in the Before and After! of my front garden. As promised, I have taken the latest photos of the back garden today, so now I can show you the big changes!

The Back Garden


It was a ruined area, the chickens had taken over the back garden and as any chicken owner knows – I’ve learnt – they scratch and peck until it is pretty much all gone! So now, they have their own area behind the shade cloth and I have taken back my garden! Hooray! Let’s see the process.

[one_half]The place is bleak and bare….shame![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Just a pool of mud in May[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Only an idea at this stage[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Still a long way to go![/one_half_last]

[one_half]The great gardening project starts![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cleaning and digging and composting![/one_half_last]

Now that I look back at what I have accomplished, I am amazed where all that energy came from! But man oh man – It was so worth it! I enjoy my garden so much now and I love sharing it with you, my garden friends! It will be wonderful to enjoy it this summer! My hubby takes care of the pool, so we are all ready for the summer sunshine!


[one_half]The back garden as it is now![/one_half]

[one_half_last]This patch is looking so lush and full![/one_half_last]

[one_half]The patchwork patio works so well in the garden[/one_half]

[one_half_last]All my herbs I planted in the patchwork  patio[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The raised beds with vegetables[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Potatoes and beetroot growing well[/one_half_last]


The Chickens had the whole run of the garden to play, and now they have to be contained. Not happy campers, but still a large area for them to play! They have plenty of space and a new house – the three little pigs could not have built a better one ….with a huff and a puff …and …well at least it’s brick! It’s only temporary until we can build them a real nice place and fix the area up for them to play! Ok….I know ….. another BIG project. But something to blog about.


[one_half]The girls play area[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The rest area in some shade[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lots of room for 3 chickens[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Love their new lapa[/one_half_last]

Thanks for sharing and Happy Gardening xxx


Barbie's garden Design Do it yourself Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous Perenniels

Before and After

I have been watching the growth of my garden and, with the gentle prodding from our friends, I had to do this post to showcase the tremendous change that happened in my small part of the world in the short 6 months since I started my whirlwind, one-woman landscaping exploit. I will do each part separate: I have divided the garden into front, veggie patch (along the side), the fruit tree area (back east section) and the back garden (the entertainment area).

The Front Garden


Remember the front area with the huge lavender bushes that took over the whole bed? They also hid the dry river bed that I so lovingly created…for no one to see! The grass was dry and patchy. I loved my garden like this….. funny how we grow as gardeners! These pictures were taken right in the beginning of our blog in January.

[one_half]Remember my huge lavender bushes?[/one_half]

[one_half_last]My pride and joy, but outgrew their place[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Already starting to look tatty and woody[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The protea bush and the patchy lawn[/one_half_last]


The action starts in earnest round about April – it all began with the Leopard Trees then the redesigning begins……

[one_half]The hard work starts ….[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The lavenders are a memory now[/one_half_last]

[one_half]My rose patch at the end of June[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The new grass patch in June this year[/one_half_last]



These photos were taken this week, so this is how my garden is looking like NOW!

[one_half]Its all looking so green and healthy[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Tall corn flowers are temporary as gap filler[/one_half_last]

[one_half]My rose patch is thick and bursting with health![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Can’t wait for the roses to bloom[/one_half_last]

[one_half]I love how lush and full it all is![/one_half]

[one_half_last]The fuchsia is also happy and well mulched![/one_half_last]

I am really pleased that all the love and care you give to your garden, it gives it right back! The mulching and feeding and watering. It is all so rewarding.

Wait until you see the before and after photos of the back garden – you will not believe it is the same garden! Well, I’ll leave that for tomorrow’s post!

Unfortunately, my roses are still shy, so I will have to wait some more before I do a rose post!

Happy gardening to you all xxx

Let’s all send our love to Christine who misses her home and animals and her garden and her gardening buddies!! Send her home safe on angels wings xxx


Barbie's garden Design Do it yourself Gardening Home page features

Design beginnings for the back

Hi Chris, I was busy again this weekend – I don’t know where this energy comes from!! The bags of compost arrived from Nonke – all 30 of them!! They are super heavy and I had to scheme how I was going to bring each one to the back garden. I worked out a 3-phase plan to get each bag into the wheel barrow, whew! I managed to get 15 bags (one at a time!) to the back. I filled the raised beds.

[one_half]30 bags of compost![/one_half]

[one_half_last]4 bags per raised bed[/one_half_last]

I also created a work of art with the plants I bought at the Nonke Plants Open Day. Here are the lavender – yes, more lavender – and the ground-cover grasses.

[one_half]Lavendula stoechas-Lavender Lace[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Lavendula-Raspberry Ruffles and Festuca glauca[/one_half_last]

Now the fun starts!! I am glad the weather played along. I have to say, that this was really hard work and my body was full of aches and pains the next morning.

[one_half]Now let’s begin[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Let’s start small[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Nod of approval[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Starting with a pathway[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Keep it straight![/one_half]

[one_half_last]First landscape design complete![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Looks fabulous![/one_half]

[one_half_last]I’m super happy with results![/one_half_last]

I hope you enjoyed and approve of my first designed pathway. I like doing small projects now so I can see my garden develop. Next will be the lawn patch. I’ll keep you posted! I can’t wait for next weekend!

I must keep the chickens off the pathway – I have a feather duster stuck in the ground next to it!  So amazing how great this works!

Have a great week!

Barbie's garden Design Do it yourself Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

back-breaking back garden project

I have finally completed the hard landscaping of my back garden. It has been a gruelling weekend with great weather to help me complete the job! I don’t know where the energy came from, but I was literally in the back garden from sun up to sun down. I think the photos say it all! I was constantly being “assessed” by the chicken brigade! But I did get the final nod by Buffy and the girls!

I am so glad this part of the job is finished. I have a few ideas on the design, but that you will have to wait for in the next installment.

Happy gardening xxx

[one_half]The levelling begins![/one_half]

[one_half_last]The chickens get into everything![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Adding the soil now![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Need a few thousand bags of compost[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Now for the next layer![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Getting tired now, but not giving up![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Job finished and just before the sun set[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Inspection team gives stamp of approval![/one_half_last]

Annuals Barbie's garden Design Gardening Home page features

The great big gardening makeover!

Hi Chris, I have been so busy with work and stuff this past week, I hardly had a moment free! So now I have to catch up on all my posts I have been saving up! I am so inspired and excited to let you in on my BIG gardening makeover. After our trip to Elgin I have been reading and researching on grasses and paths and designs and permiculture. I am ready for a totally new garden. I have even inspired my wonderful hubby – when he took one look at the beautiful grasses I bought at Fairholme Nursery. I also wanted a tree for this area and remembered I saw this beautiful tree when we took that trip to the Cape Garden Centre and I fell in love with this one tree. I had to know what it was – asking the nursery staff for the name. I knew I had to have it. Then you told me about this place that sells big trees!!! Yes, I went to Trees-SA in Stellenbosch today to order my tree – the Leopard Tree/Brazillian Ironwood. Well, I am so in love with this tree I had to have TWO! So they are going to deliver them next week! Yey! You will love this place! We have to add this to our list of places to visit!

So here is PART 1 of the Grass Feature Project! We are removing the overgrown lavender bushes in the front of the garden. The next post will be on the grasses. This is going to be a beautiful feature! I can’t wait to show you the final look! Here you can already see the grasses all lined up on the deck and I’m giving them a watering! You can also see the dried river bed feature I added to this bed when the lavender was still small. You could not see it anymore, so just as well the lavender is now gone.

[one_half]Old lavender[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Hubby help[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Clean patch[/one_half]