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Flowers to say “I’m Sorry”

Flowers to say I'm Sorry!

To all my dear gardening friends, I owe you an apology. Life and work (mostly work) caught up with me and have kept me from my garden and my blog. I miss the daily banter and commenting about our gardens tremendously and I’ve missed ‘watching your gardens grow’. Unfortunately it doesn’t look as if things will slow down anytime soon and I’m committed to this crazy work schedule for at least another three weeks.

I promise I will be back soon to following all my dear garden-blogging friends!


Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Seasonal Celebrations in the Rose Bed

If you come to visit me you’ll ring the door bell from outside and then as you enter and close the door, this is the first thing you will see …

Summer garden

It’s what I see every time I look out of my back door and its bursting with blooms right now. In this small corner of my back garden, the roses are maturing and much larger this year. Covered in so many more blooms than last year, I’m really thrilled with them. Who said roses are difficult? I find them easy – the instructions are so precise: I know exactly when and how much to water and fertilise each shrub and how and when to prune.

Besides the once a year chop, I finger prune my roses occasionally and I am rewarded with such wonderful blooms and greenery, they are an absolute pleasure to me. And when they are pruned and bare for a short while, they just blend into the scenery allowing the other plants in their midst to shine – but only for a brief time while they recover and then come back to steal the lime-light, because once they are flowering its hard not to notice them.

[one_half]Basking in the shadows of the RosesBasking in the shodows of the Roses[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Quite a few blooms on Monday …The rose bushes on Monday ...[/one_half_last]

[one_half]And lots more blooms by WednesdayAnd lots more blooms on Wednesday[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And even more today!And even more today![/one_half_last]

I’m tempted to cut the roses and bring them indoors, but I am enjoying this view so much I just can’t bring myself to cut them.

This is a ‘Summer’ Bed, at it’s best from December through to March. It’s far from perfect … I’ve made many changes and keep trying different things, but the roses are a constant around which everything else changes from time to time – except I think I’ll leave the Jasmine on the trellises now – I’m happy with them, even if they are too close in colour to the roses (the foliage). The result is that you do not notice the bare rose stalks when they are pruned and bare from the end of July through to early September – and when the Jasmine flowers in September and October, the scent as you enter the property is wonderful. Jasmine and Lavender …

Growing in the bed below I have Dietes grandilora, Penstemon, a Daisy bush, Heliotropium, a Duranta gold on either side and at the very front some of my Lobularia and Carex’s are really struggling because the dogs and the moles are at war here. Those dogs and moles have cost me a lot of plants! I’m considering other options – when they make me really cross then thorny plants, scarecrows, fences, ‘get off’ pellets … and other scary options spring to mind!

In other news, it’s a busy work time with little time for the garden and even less for blogging, but in two weeks time we will have a break and with it lots of lovely time to spend in the garden!

I’m joining Donna of Garden’s Eye View for Seasonal Celebrations. Seasonal Celebrations is a time for marking the change of seasons and what is happening in your part of the world during this time!

Happy Gardening, wherever you are!


30 Day Challenge Christine's garden

The 30 Day Challenge – Day 2

Today I am thankful for the changing of seasons. With each new season come new gardening opportunities, new growth, and for me – growth and new knowledge as a gardener.

Iceberg Roses
Photo: Iceberg Rose. First introduced in Germany in 1958, Iceberg is a very popular, white rose. It is a shrub that can be trained as a standard or tree form. Iceberg is an outstanding, free flowering white rose with lovely foliage that makes an excellent hedge or standard. The Iceberg Rose is one of the most popular rose varieties because of its vigorous growth and prolific flowering habit.

About the 30 Day Challenge

Cat of The Whimsical Gardener, 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. Find something you are thankful for every day, for 30 days, can’t be too difficult, can it? See all my posts filed under “30 Day Challenge“.

Christine's garden Fertiliser Gardening Home page features Perenniels

The Rookie Rose Grower

My first roses which I planted were three Iceberg standard roses. I blogged about them when they first started blooming here and of course when they were first planted in March this year here. They’ve produced lovely blooms throughout the year but I’ve never been overly impressed with the actual plants since day one. They were not particularly good looking specimens, but once they were in the garden they were mine and I resolved to care for them and make it work.

Here is how the newly planted roses looked in March 2011 (not great, huh?)

March 2011

According to all the South African literature on roses, the last week in July is the final date for hard pruning roses. I educated myself as best I could, reading books, magazine articles, blogs and I even watched a few videos on how best to prune roses. Suitably intimidated, I nonetheless did the big chop, as I was told to at the end of July. They looked pretty pathetic after the pruning – three sticks with a few twigs – and I was very apprehensive about my “prune job”, to say the least.

So how did I do?

Here is how they look right now, October 2011:

October 2011

There are plenty of buds on the roses, lots of growth and, if I say so myself, they look about one hundred times better than the plants I was sold back in March (see first photo above), so I’m quite happy. I’ve subsequently done some finger pruning (which I read about) and removed some extra buds, so I’m hoping over the next few weeks my roses will continue to flourish.

[one_half]First bloom of the seasonFirst bloom of the season[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Love how pure the white looksLove how pure the white looks[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lots of new budsLots of new buds[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Beautiful Iceberg roseBeautiful Iceberg rose[/one_half_last]

[one_third]All the new growthAll the new growth[/one_third]

[one_third]From 5 twigs to thisFrom 5 twigs to this[/one_third]

[one_third_last]I think its looking goodLooking good[/one_third_last]

[one_half]Another beauty about to unfurlAnother beauty[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I like them best at this stageI like them best at this stage[/one_half_last]

Today I’ve mulched, fed, finger pruned and watered and I’m hoping for good growth and lots more blooms over the next few months. I’m even contemplating buying a few new rose bushes – pink this time, and not standards.

How are your roses doing?

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Stopping to smell the flowers

I did a walk about the garden this morning to access and photograph the storm damage as well as the damage to the back garden after the plumbers redid the french drain. The photographs I took are all so bleak and unattractive that they have been relegated to a “before” file – no brag-worthy photos today unfortunately. Now usually Dexter (the 65 kg Rottweiler) accompanies me when I’m in the garden and my sweet little kitty stays well away, but as Dexter was away on a play-date today, Hercules got to enjoy gardening time with me without being harassed by his ‘big brother’.

I thought I would share my photos of him – he absolutely loves spending time in the garden with me and follows me around, stopping to smell the flowers, digging when I dig, tip-toeing around in the grass. Its too cute! Here he is smelling the potato bush.

[one_half]Stopping to smell the flowersHercules stops to smell the flowers[/one_half]

[one_half_last]This one smells good!Aren't I a beautiful cat?[/one_half_last]

And then there is a lot flowering again. We have flowering Camellias all over the place, lots of red berries on the Nandinas, lush growth after the rains … and as I’ve keep being told by my fellow garden-bloggers, I really have nothing to complain about (even if my back garden looks a bit like a dump site right now). I am blessed to have a lot of prettyness going on in the garden right now, even though its the middle of winter.

[one_half]Camellias and Nandina berriesCamellias and Nandina berries[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Iceberg flowering againIceberg flowering again[/one_half_last]

Happy Gardening

Christine's garden Home page features

First Iceberg Standard Rose opening

Very exciting for me is that my first Iceberg Standard Rose has produced a whole bunch of buds and here is the first Rose starting to open. I’m happy about this because I was actually very unimpressed by the three standard roses I was sold. When I compare the state they were in (not great) and what I was charged, to the Iceberg Standards I saw last week in Elgin available from Duncan’s Roses. Their specimens were in 1000% better condition, totally beautiful specimens and cost less that half of what I was charged. But we live and learn … right?

And it is very rewarding that mine is opening up and looking like its going to be verrrry pretty!

Iceberg Rose openingIf you love Roses, visit my two favourite “Garden Blogging Buddies” who have the most magnificent Rose Gardens. They are Holley’s Blog at “Roses & Other Gardening Joys“, and Masha’s Blog at “A Rose is a Rose …“. These two ladies and their lovely Rose Gardens inspired me to try Roses in my garden!

Happy Gardening

Here is an update – Fully opened today (Tuesday) and lots of buds on the bushes!

Iceberg Rose in Bloom

PS: And now I want MORE Roses!!

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Front bed makeover and patience!

Confession time – In this post, I told you about my big plans for re-doing the front bed, just to the side of my back entrance door. I got as far as ripping out the tree, moving the shade loving plants to the back shade garden and then … well I made lots of plans. And then I researched all sorts of plants, watched DVDs, read magazines, bought more books. And after all that I decided I was just not able to do it all by myself. I got Kathryn from Lavender & Thyme to come and help me with it and today was the day things got planted.

It doesn’t look like much at all at the moment. Little plants. I can’t even really see the vision of it yet in my mind, but I trust Kathryn and she understands what I want here, so now we wait and see. The bed has exactly eight months to settle down and grow, because I hope that by the time my Mom visits in November (from Germany) that this will look pretty and be flowering … it needs to flower specially for her! ♥

So here are the photos and a list of the plants used.

[one_half]Before (4 March 2011)Before: With the tree[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Today after planting (22 March 2011)After planting - 22 March 2011[/one_half_last]

The Plants Used:

The plants used are three Standard Roses – Iceberg; Heliotropium ‘Royal Marine’; Gaura lindheimerii – Pink; Gaura lindheimerii (white) – Angel Wings; Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’. She left a narrow row of the Tulbaghia violacea (because aphids hate them so they will hopefully help to keep the roses protected somewhat), we left the Star Jasmine on the trellises and two wild irises were left from before.

Plant Photographs:

[one_half]Iceberg Rose StandardIceberg Rose Standard[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’Duranta 'Sheena's Gold'[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Gaura lindheimerii – PinkGaura lindheimerii - Pink[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Gaura lindheimerii (white) – Angel WingsGaura lindheimerii (white) - Angel Wings[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Heliotropium ‘Royal Marine’Heliotropium 'Royal Marine'[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Update on 25 AprilUpdate on 25 April 2011 - one month later[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Progress – photo taken 28 May 201125 May 2011[/one_half]

Now I wait (patiently!) for everything to grow …

I found this lovely quote today which reminds me that I now need to be patient …

“You need patience to be a good gardener. If you don’t have patience, and you stick with gardening, it will teach you patience.” – Bill Turull Jr.

Happy gardening!