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Six, Seven, Eight

In January this year, Diana of Elephant’s Eye invited us to write a plant portrait each month. “I challenge you, in 2012, each month choose a plant. Archived pictures of flowers, berries, autumn leaves, wildlife endorsing your choice. Start fresh – what will be your signature plant?” In January I profiled Carex evergold and in February I raved about the Pittosporum eugenioides ‘Variegata’. In March it was Dietes grandiflora and in May it was Clivia that was featured. Then in June I was enamoured with my Camellias that were flowering profusely and then … well winter hit us, life got in the way of regular gardening and blogging and so I’ve missed a few months.

So today I am playing “catch up” and featuring three of my favourite plants. Truth be told, I find it hard to wax lyrical for paragraphs on end about some of my choices, so a combined post is perhaps not such a bad idea right now. These next three are all fairly common plants. Common yes, but not in a negative way. Popular is probably a better way to describe them. I’ve also found that being quite new to gardening its been a lot of traial and error that lead me back to these dependable plants and one of the main reasons I feel I could not garden without them.

First of all, I simply love Lavender. I mean really, really love it! My garden with all its shade is really not an ideal environment for Lavender, but I have a narrow bed against a wall, bordering our pool that gets enough sun to allow Lavender to thrive. And thrive it really does. And another absolute favourite that I paired with Lavender is Gaura lindheimeri. I absolutely love the combination of the two and have added plenty of new Gaura this year in the hope of an even more magical display this summer. Both bloom together in this bed for months on end and give me tremendous pleasure. Both get a huge thumbs up from me as plants I will plant in any garden I own … even in pots on a balcony if that is all I have.

Gaura and Lavender, firm favourites

[one_half]Gaura and Lavender togetherGaura and Lavender together[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Perfect companions against a wallPerfect companions against a wall[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The Lavender blooms are so prettyThe Lavender blooms are so pretty[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And the whimsical Gaura lindheimeriAnd the whimsical Gaura lindheimeri[/one_half_last]

And now, I hope I don’t get shot down in flames over this choice, my next one is Nandina domestica. I’ve read very negative reports about Nandinas, I believe they are considered undesirable in some parts of the world, but here in my shaded Cape Town garden, things would be very bare and dull without the backdrop of green provided by evergreen and ever-pretty Nandinas tucked into many places where not much else would provide such a lovely, easy to maintain background to all the other plants in my garden. And I am delighted every season by the changes in these lovely shrubs, especially when they are adorned with massive bunches of bright red berries which some of my birds seem to love.

Nandina domestica

[one_half]How stunning is the foliage on this?How stunning is the foliage on this?[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The leaves when they turn redThe leaves when they turn red[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Sometimes the leaves are pinkSometimes the leaves are pink[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Two as background shrubsTwo as background shrubs[/one_half_last]

So there they are. My numbers six (Lavender), seven (Gaura) and eight (Nandina).

Not the most original choices, I know, but much loved here in my garden.

Happy Gardening

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Lavender and Gaura

You might remember I ripped out all my Lavender plants four months ago and replaced them with new plants. (I blogged about it here: New Lavender to replace the old). Shortly after I planted the new Lavender I acquired a four pack of Gaura lindheimeri seedlings. Not really having a plan for them them (impulse buy), I thought they might look nice peeping through the Lavender. I planted the four seedlings at intervals behind the Lavender and whilst it’s probably not exactly “designer garden”, I think they look rather pretty floating above the Lavender.

New lavender

[one_third]New lavender[/one_third]

[one_third]Lavender and Gaura[/one_third]

[one_third_last]A closer look[/one_third_last]

New lavender

The Star Jasmine is doing well and filling the evening air with its lovely scent. That combined with the smell of Lavender when I walk around the pool area is really delightful. The Star Jasmine is flowering prolifically and the trellis I trained it onto is almost a mass of green and white, but my favourite is how it is “tumbling” down the wall in the spot where I did not want it trained upwards but let it cascade down the wall at the side of the pool. Its coming on slowly and looking better than I had expected.

In other news – I did a massive clean up in the back garden today. Ground covers were running rampant and needed severe cutting back, lots of weeding to be done, yellowing leaves had to be removed from the Aggies, a few bulbs needed planting … and a whole lot more kept me busy all day. By the time I thought of taking photos for a blog post or two the light was gone and I needed a well deserved and rarely taken “Sunday Afternoon Siesta”.

Oh, if you are a member of Blotanical, keep an eye open for the much-anticipated roll out of the new version coming in 2012! Stuart and his team are hard at work upgrading our favourite Garden Website, Blotanical to an all new look with heaps more functionality, the new Blotanical Blog and other surprises to come. And if you are not yet a member, you really should be! It’s where all the best gardeners hang out on the web 🙂

Have a great gardening week!

30 Day Challenge Christine's garden Home page features

The 30 Day Challenge – Day 1

So I’m running a few days behind, but here we go … One of my favourite Garden Bloggers is Cat of The Whimsical Gardener – Cat has invited Garden Bloggers the world over to join her in the 30 day challenge of posting a photograph and sentiment that you are thankful for – every day for 30 days. Think about it – to find something you are thankful for every day, for 30 days, can’t be too difficult, can it? (I’m adding another layer to MY 30 day challenge – My daily photo will be of a different bloom from my garden every day for the next 30 days …

Day 1:

Today I am wildly thankful to my garden for its forgiving nature. I’ve made mistakes a plenty, and the garden forgives and forgets … and as I correct my “gardening blunders”, the garden picks right up where it left off and rewards me with wonderful growth and blooms. For that I am grateful.

Gaura lindheimeri

Photo: Gaura lindheimeri – Gaura lindheimeri (Lindheimer’s Beeblossom, White Gaura, Pink Gaura, Lindheimer’s Clockweed) is a species of Gaura native to southern Louisiana and Texas. I chose this photo today in honour of Cat as she gardens in Austin, Texas. I LOVE Gaura in my garden – when I see the gorgeous blooms I always think they are a bit “whimsical”, a bit like Cat 🙂

whimsical (adjective)
1. spontaneously fanciful or playful
2. given to whims; capricious
3. quaint, unusual, or fantastic

About the 30 Day Challenge:

What inspired Cat to start this 30 day challenge? A pretty cool video that might inspire you if you watch it, as it inspired me … See her original blog post about it here. Then join us – its easy and fun. A photo and thought a day …