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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.

30 Day Challenge Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

The 30 Day Challenge – Day 24

Today I am grateful for my Best Gardening Buddy. Not only a gardening buddy but a lifelong best friend, Barbie and I have been through so much together. From playing together as kids to being Moms at the same time, sharing experiences (and clothes!) and all of life’s highs and lows. As we have matured, so have our interests and these days we’ve traded “club hopping” for “nursery shopping” and we are still having fun! Thanks for the ride Barbs … it’s been a blast!


Photo: Impatiens – I have lots of these growing in a very shaded corner of my back garden where I needed a fast growing, white annual to “lift” the darkness of the space. They are easy to grown and flower profusely given the right conditions and have had the desired effect. The area is a mass of white flowers which makes it appear far “lighter” than it is.

New Guinea impatiens form compact, succulent subshrubs with branches growing 1 to 2 feet tall by summer’s end. Leaves are long and narrow, green, bronze, or purple. Flowers, growing up to 2 inches in diameter, are white, pink, lavender, purple, orange, and red.

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 Barbie’s and my posts filed under “30 Day Challenge“.

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New plants

Newest acquisitionsHere are the photographs of the things I bought on Sunday. I went to the Nursery to but a few Alyssum (not in the photos – I planted them straight away) and came home with all these “extras”. The plant you see right in the front is my purchase of a “Margaret Roberts” Lavender – just like yours! I think I will have to plant this in that small “full sun” patch I have at the back, or else I will put it in a pot on the back patio. I was SO excited when I found it at the nursery, because I’ve been hunting for one for ages!

My other purchases includes 2 x Blue Ice™ PBR Agapanthus. The Aggies do so well in my garden and these were different and gorgeous (and were a great price – on special), so … they came home with me. The blurb on them says they do well in containers so they might go into the yet unfilled urn I have. Still deciding on that. The other plants are a Mandevilla to go with the other one I have (I have a white one, this one is bright pink / cerise), some begonias (to see how they do in my shade areas), Impatiens to replace the trampled ones and two shade-loving ground covers for that bare patch which is Dexter’s playground. Lets see how hardy they are and if they can cope with Dexter!

[one_half]The lotThe lot[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Blue Ice AggiesAggies[/one_half_last]

Now for some cooler weather so I can get out and plant them all!

Happy Gardening

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Gardening in February

Gardening in FebruaryFebruary in the Cape is always very hot! Its hot in the morning, sweltering by mid afternoon and stays that way until its too dark to do anything constructive in the garden. Temperatures have been know to reach up to 40 C, although the average is in the low to mid thirties. Today is one such day – it is 34 C, no wind or breeze to speak of and it is uncomfortably hot, even in my shady areas. So today I have the time … but very little enthusiasm to spend time digging, weeding or anything garden related that requires “work”.

So I’ve decided that for today to I’ll confine my gardening activities to ” list making”.

According to all my books and magazines I have, in the Western Cape of South Africa we are supposed to be doing the following…

– Start sowing seeds of all sorts of annuals and bi-ennials (not going to do that – I prefer to buy seedlings)
– Bulb planting season starts soon – Start buying bulbs such as anemones and ranunculus and store until March (Yay! Shopping …)
– Cut back Hydrangeas and other shrubs after they have flowered
– Continue feeding the lawn with 3:2:1, once a month (oops, forgot to do that – better do it soon)
– Spray regularly against pests and diseases
– Water well during hot dry weather, especially azaleas and camellias

It seems that is all I am “supposed” to be doing in my garden in February. Then I’m not doing to badly, apart from forgetting to fertilise the lawn, I’m doing all the above.

Here’s my additions:

– The Hadedas destroyed my bed of Impatiens. They trampled them to death and all that’s left is a mess. So I need to go and get more and start all over again. And how can I protect them from the Hadedas?

Happy gardening

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Controlling weeds in the garden

Weeds in the gardenOur blog has been going for all of a week and we’ve had our first real gardening question. I set up a Facebook page (The Gardening Blog on Facebook) and a Twitter account (@ourgardens) for our blog and as is to be expected, we’ve had few followers so far. In fact, I recognise only our daughters and ourselves following our Facebook page. But then somehow we’ve already managed to attract a few followers on Twitter and we’ve had a real live question! So Liesel, this post is specially for you … you asked; “@ourgardens thanks for the follow. Tips on how 2 get rid of weeds in garden without gardener?”

In August I had my entire garden “replanted” by a gardening expert. It cost a lot and I was determinded not to let all that go to waste by not taking proper care of my “new” garden, so the ongoing battle with the weeds started. Every day I would do a walk around the garden and pull up any new weeds … and it took a lot of time. I’m very busy with work and other things so I found it quite annoying. I am spoilt – I have a garden service who come once every two weeks, but they are not very good at removing weeds – they get rid of all the leaves (I have so many trees and keeping the garden tidy is a huge mission, so that is what they concentrate on) and they do a general clean up. But weed-removing does not seem to be their forte, so I have the ongoing battle of removing the weeds myself. And because all the plants are new and we are waiting for them to grow, there are lots of bare patches just waiting for the weeds … so it really is an almost daily mission. Or at least, it was!

Bark MulchOnce again, Kathryn (my garden expert!) to the resue – At the beginning of December she recommended we lay down bark mulch which makes the soil look more attractive, as well as feeding the acid loving plants and keeping the water in the soil. We did this and an added bonus is, it seems to have totally controlled the weeds! Yes there are still a few stragglers that get through the mulch, but considering that it is summer and prime growing season, the weeds are now few and far between! Another thing I did was plant annuals in some of the bare patches – lots of Impatiens in the very shaded areas and Dianthus in the areas that get more sun. This not only looks pretty, but having plants growing in those areas snuffs out the light so the weeds can’t seem to get through.

I am seriously no gardening expert and am learning as I go along. Experienced gardeners will probably cringe at my advice … but its working for me! The only area I still need to remove weeds from daily is the area outside the property – on the verge – where we did not lay mulch and I haven’t planted anything else. So thats my answer … mulch! You can get it delivered to your house and then you’ll have to throw it down yourself or get a gardener just for a day to do it for you.

On these two photographs you can see how the bark mulch looks in my garden (apologies for the poor quality of the photographs) but it shows that it does look a lot better than bare soil. Click to view the enlargements.

[one_half]Bark Mulch with Impatiens[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Bark Mulch at the back[/one_half_last]