Barbie's garden Design Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

Grasses revisited

I have been slack with my blog posts of late – not because I’m not in the garden and taking photos, its because work has me tied to the computer all day! I spend every spare moment in the garden and at every opportunity, I have my camera with me. So the photo library is full, I just have to take time now and tell you whats been happening. Have a look and see …..


[one_third]Red Buttons[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Angel’s Fishing Rod[/one_third_last]


[one_half_last]Miscanthus “Zebra”[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Filling out nicely[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Carex and Calamagrostis[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Different textures[/one_half]


I am so pleased with the grasses patch and it is only young still. Wait until it fills out and matures! I’ll keep you posted

Happy Gardening xxxxx

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Another favourite Native

Another favourite indigenous (native) plant I have in my garden is Dietes or “wild Iris”. Perennial, evergreen plants which grow in large clumps, I have Dietes Grandiflora and Dietes Bicolor. Both are super easy to grow and care for, devoid it seems, of any attack by bugs and disease. I love the spikey upright foliage that remains a feature in the garden throughout the year and the flowers in spring and summer are delightful.

Dietes grandiflora

[one_half]Dietes GrandifloraDietes Grandiflora[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Dietes GrandifloraDietes Grandiflora[/one_half_last]

I am particularly fond of Dietes grandiflora with its bright white flowers, yellow/orange markings and purple central segments. The leaves are dark green and can reach up to 1.5 metres in length. The plant seems to flowers en-mass at certain periods, especially after rain in summer (hence all the rain droplets on my photos :)).

The individual flowers don’t last more than a few days but the plant bears so many flowers during the peak periods, that it really doesn’t matter. I have it growing in full sun as well as in partial shade – it does very well in my back shade garden and I highly recommend this plant to local gardeners – this one is a winner!

Dietes bicolor

[one_half]Dietes BicolorDietes Bicolour[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Dietes BicolorDietes Bicolour[/one_half_last]

Commonly known as Yellow Wild Iris or Peacock Flower, Dietes bicolor also forms clumps of erect sword-shaped leaves that provide a great foliage contrast in my garden. The flowers are about 60 mm in diameter, flat, light yellow with brown markings and only last a day, but it doesn’t really matter as it flowers non stop it seems, from about October through to May. It does well in a sunny position but is also thriving in my shaded back garden. Another winner for local gardeners!

Happy Gardening

30 Day Challenge Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

The 30 Day Challenge – Day 3

Today I am grateful for the beauty and ease of growing native or indigenous plants in my garden. After planting mainly non-natives or exotics in my garden, this spring I “accidentally” discovered the beauty of and ease with which indigenous plants grow and flourish in my garden – a valuable lesson learned and one I’ll recommend to all newbie-gardeners. Exotics are of course great, but if you don’t have the greenest of fingers, planting indigenous flowering plants in your garden that are suited to your growing conditions is a sure recipe for success – wonderful blooms and foliage with minimum fuss!

Indigeneous Ixias

Photograph: Ixias. See my original post on Ixias that “converted” me from gardening with exotics to including more and more native plants in my garden.

The genus Ixia consists of a number of cormous plants native to South Africa from the Iridaceae family and Ixioideae subfamily. Some of them are known as the corn lily. Some distinctive traits include the sword-like leaves, and long wiry stems with star-shaped flowers. The popular corn lily has a specific, not very intense fragrance (Wikipedia says it smells like vegetables, I don’t agree!). The Ixia are also used sometimes as ornamental plants. The genus name is derived from the Greek words ixias, meaning “the chameleon plant”, and physis, meaning “bladder”.

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“.

Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Grass feature revisited





On the 5th of April, our great day trip to Elgin took us to Fairholme, where I bought all my grasses in my patch – well 90% of them. It is now 5 months later – whew, time flies – and the grass patch is still quite dormant – until yesterday! I was pleasantly surprised to see that the dry tufts of Panicum virgatum and Miscanthus are finally showing signs of life.

[one_half]PanicumVirgatum “Shenandoah” now[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Panicum Virgatum-ShenandoahThis is when I bought it[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Eragrostis Curvula now[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Eragrostis CurvulaWhen I bought it[/one_half_last]

As you can see, the grasses are showing a few sprouts, so this will be a spectacular area once these grasses mature and achieve a nice height. I am a patient gardener! Even the way they looked when I bought them, I will be totally satisfied to see all my grasses reach this original height!! But the potential of what I can expect will be surprizing! I love these grasses and I will definitely add to my garden more grasses in different areas.

[one_half]My Carex Buchanii[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I love the Carex Amazon Mist[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The “Red Baron” needs some growing[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The sisyrinchium in bloom[/one_half_last]

You might ask what the big patch of green is behind the bird bath – well, these are corn flowers. I scattered seeds in a bald patch and these have come up. I am looking forward to these flowering.

Enjoy your weekend gardening xx it is a bit cold today so I am going to spend some time visiting our friends’ gardens.

Happy gardening



Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

On my Wish List – Crocosmia

Hi Barbie – The plant I was telling you about today that I couldn’t remember the name of is Crocosmia. If  you do a Google search for “Crocosmia” and then click on images you will see how gorgeous these flowers looks when planted in large groupings. They come in orange (Crocosmia “Aurea”) and red (Crocosmia “Lucifer”). I really love this indigenous flowering plant. It likes a shaded position so would really brighten up the shaded area at the back of my garden that is currently still a mess and crying for some attention …


[one_half_last]Crocosmia “Lucifer”Crocosmia Lucifer[/one_half_last]

Notes: Crocosmia is a genus in the Iridaceae family from tropical and eastern South Africa. It is well known because of its frequently cultivated hybrid between Crocosmia pottsii and Crocosmia aurea, Crocosmia × crosmiiflora. Plants have erect sword shaped leaved and spikes of tubular or funnel shaped orange to red flowers.

Crocosmias produce dense clumps of upright iris-like foliage. In midsummer this makes a good background for the small, profuse flowers. ‘Lucifer’ is an aptly-named variety because its flowers are the hottest coloured of all – a searing paprika red. The individual blooms are not as big as other crocosmias’, but small-flowered varieties such as this are the hardiest which makes them a wise choice in cold districts. Grown in a flower border, they provide structure and colour. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it the Award of Garden Merit (AGM).

I have to wait until after the 6th June when they come to sort out the trees at the back that are causing such dense deep shade that nothing is growing well there. After that, I will have to get cracking on doing something. At the moment I have a few Clivias there and the rest is all junk … left overs from the “Ivy garden” I inherited. I can’t wait …

[one_half]I love the strappy leavesCrocosmia[/one_half]

[one_half_last]More CrocosmiaCrocosmia[/one_half_last]

What do you think?

Happy Gardening

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

Rare Indigenous Bulb purchases

My only gardening experience prior to my current garden was many, many years ago (20 to be exact) when I lived in a rented cottage in Green Point. The cottage had a tiny garden, total size about 8 square metres of which most was lawn. In the beds around the lawn I half-heartedly dabbled with planting a few things – mostly annuals and one year I bought a batch of bulbs and by some fluke ended up with a lovely little garden full of spring flowers – I recall daffodils, ranunculus and freesias – and for weeks on end I had huge bunches of cut flowers in the cottage, thanks to that one time planting. I remember it being very easy (all I did was plant and water, I don’t think I ever fed them). I am hoping to do something similar in my own garden this year, so I’ve already purchased Alliums, Freesias, Anemones, Ranunculus and Dutch Iris which will be going into the ground next month. I still want to get some Daffodils and Tulip bulbs which I haven’t found yet at the nurseries.

At the Rare Plant Fair held at Rustenberg which I attended yesterday I met a Horticulturist called Jim Holmes ( He had an interesting selection of rare bulbs for sale. Initially I walked on thinking I had quite enough bulbs already but after tea we wondered back over to Jim’s stand and the photographs of the blooms these bulbs will morph into had me taking a second look. Needless to say I walked away with a bunch of bulbs I had no clue about other than that they may give me some pretty interesting flowers if I plant and treat them right. A few months ago I bought a book called “Grow Bulbs” by Graham Duncan, a specialist horticulturist at Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden where he curates the collection of indigenous South African bulbs. How useful that book is now! I’ve spent a few hours doing my “homework” and realise now that these bulbs are going to require some commitment and extra care. Many are rare or classified as vulnerable so I feel some sort of responsibility in making them grow and hopefully getting them to thrive.

So here are notes and photos I have found on my purchases and for those that are interested I have added notes about how I have to plant them and care for them to get them to flower.


1). ALL the bulbs I purchased require full sun. (yikes!). That will be the biggest challenge and may require daily moving around of the bulbs. To do that I will have to plant them in pots as I have very limited full sun areas.
2). I have a mole / vole / some underground-digger-animal problem here from time to time. So planting the bulbs in pots is definitely the way to go.

The Bulbs and my notes

Geissorhiza radians
Geissorhiza radiansThis is an endangered plant know as Cup of Wine. These require constant moisture throughout the growing period and at flowering time. According to the book they do best in containers that are placed in saucers filled with water in winter and spring. I have eight.[/one_half]

Geissorhiza splendidissima
Geissorhiza splendidiAlso an endangered plant, this is called the “Blue pride-of-Niewoudtville. They grow 10 – 20 cm in height. An early flowering species with intensely blue flowers. As for radians, they will require deep drenching throughout the growing and flowering period. I have four of these.[/one_half_last]

Gladiolus alatus
Gladiolus alatusThe flower spikes hold large orange and green coloured flowers. Very similar to Gladiolus equitans but more slender foliage. The flowers are fragrant. Grows in sandy soil so best grown in a pot with some extra sand added to the soil. Should be allowed to go dry in summer during dormant period. I have three bulbs.[/one_half]

Ixia viridiflora
Ixia viridifloraIsn’t this one exquisite? Known as Green ixia or groenkalossie (in Afrikaans), it is an exquisite species with many-flowered spikes of sea-green blooms with black centres. According to the book it will do well in deep terracotta pots but will be short lived in a plastic pot! I have four of these bulbs.[/one_half_last]

Moraea villosa
Moraea villosaThis plant is classified as vulnerable. Its a large flowered species that is apparently easily cultivated in deep pots or raised beds and rock gardens. These plants also require regular deep drenching throughout the growing period. I have six of these.[/one_half]

Oxalis purpurea
Oxalis purpureaFlowering time is April to October so I better plant these right now! Apparently it is an large-flowered species that is “an ideal subject for naturalising in lawns as it can withstand summer irrigation” (according to the book). I have four of them.[/one_half_last]

Sparaxis elegans
Sparaxis elegansSparaxis elegans is classified as vulnerable. Its a very pretty salmon-pink flowered species that is ideal for growing in pots. The corms are highly sensitive to summer moisture so not for planting in amongst my plants. I only have two of these.[/one_half]

Watsonia hysterantha
Watsonia hysteranthaThese I recognise – I think they are not that unusual, I see them growing on the Cape West Coast. Flowering is from April to July so I better plant them pronto. The corms multiply quickly and need to be lifted and divided to encourage flowering. I have four of them.[/one_half_last]

Narcissus Cantabricus

My last purchase was Narcissus cantabricus. The Narcissus is not an indigenous plant, but very beautiful in my opinion. It appears to do well in semi-shade to full sun so this one will be easier for me to grow. As I only have four bulbs I’ll still keep them in pots. Its deciduous, low maintenance and perennial so might be best planted along with my other standard bulbs.

Note: “Narcissus is a genus in the Amaryllidaceae family native to Europe, North Africa and Asia. As a popular garden plant it has been hybridized heavily, and there are new ones being introduced every year“.

Narcissus cantabricus
Narcissus cantabricus[/one_half]

Narcissus cantabricus
Narcissus cantabricus[/one_half_last]

My Questions / concerns

What I don’t really understand or get is whether I should put each of the indigenous bulbs in an individual pot or whether planting all of them in one large container will work. Visually I would imagine one (or two) containers filled with different blooms may look better but I don’t know what is best for the plants. Does anyone have any opinions or suggestions?