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Another rainy day

Oh well, the spring sun was covered with clouds today and the rain came tumbling down – again. But Spring is all about the warmth and the rain – the flowers and the showers, right? So here is my garden today – wet and warm. The Spring feeling is in the air and the blues have melted and the spirits are high. I’ve been in the garden all day yesterday – pulling, clearing, weeding, cutting……..

I wonder what colour this Iris will be??

[one_half]I have groups of Irises all over the garden[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Going to be a glorious Spring!![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Sparaxis in bloom[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Festuca Glauca a strong favourite[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The Blue Bed – all the flowers blue or purple![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Azaleas loving the rain![/one_half_last]

[one_half]More Sparaxis, heavy with rain[/one_half]

[one_half_last]My Raspberry Lavender, lovely colour[/one_half_last]

A single Freeshia – what a delight!




[one_half]Veggie patch all wet – again![/one_half]

[one_half_last]View from the front porch[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Newly cut grasses – waiting for the spring growth[/one_half]

[one_half_last]View from the back porch[/one_half_last]

[one_third]Front lawn needs mowing[/one_third]

[one_third]Rose bed clipped[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Erigeron creeping furiously[/one_third_last]

[one_half]Getting my seeds planted, while weather poor[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Took Thyme clippings – growing very well[/one_half_last]

I am quite surprised how much I managed to get done this weekend, despite the rainy weather! My garden is budding and growing in leaps and bounds. The rain is always welcome in my neck of the woods – only not days of it!

I hope my next post is on my Irises blooming!! 🙂

Happy gardening xxxxxx


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New patch plantings

Hi Chris – I know I mentioned this to you last week already, but I had little time to get the photo’s done and up for you to see. I know I keep telling you how I love your Nandina, well I have now bought some as well as azaleas to go in my shade patch in the back garden. Everything else I have planted here has died; either ripped out by chickens, or rotted away or just simply faded into nothing. It is such a focal position next to my back deck. In summer it is the only real shady area in the back garden and all the birds flock here for warmth in winter and to cool off in the summer. It is a watering hole and it’s also where the chameleons and bees hang out. I have created a rock pile for my frogs and lizards and the bucket just for fun! There is a yearly arum lily that comes up in winter… look you can see it popping out of the new stone path. I’m going to keep it because it has been there ever since we moved into the house. I remember putting the big tree stump on that area one year and it still managed to push through, so I love plants that love to be here, no matter what the circumstance!



Here are the white azaleas and the nandina pygmaea-Dwarf Bamboo – planted behind the Tea Tree and the Pineapple Sage. These shrubs will give shade in the intense afternoon sun in summer. I also have a few Irises I cannot wait to see flower in spring. I have a few Lilium bulbs too. The Arum Lily that comes up every year is Zantedeschia, a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the family Araceae, native to southern Africa from South Africa north to Malawi.

[one_half]Nandina Pygmaea[/one_half]

[one_half_last]White Azaleas[/one_half_last]

[one_half]A thatching plant but not Cape Thatch[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I have pruned the Pineapple Sage[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The yearly arum lily plant[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The Shady Patch corner at sunset[/one_half_last]

I really hope that this will be the winning combo. I am looking at a more perennial garden patch here with lots of flowers and little work. A bushy, flowery area with nice colourful foliage. I love the Nandina now – the reds are so beautiful. I selected white azaleas because I wanted something neutral as perennial and I can add colour with bulbs and other annual flowers here and there.  I am now going to sit back, water and wait!

The weatherman says storms ahead, so I guess the weekend will be spent in front of the fire with a good book!

Happy reading….I mean gardening xxxx


Christine's garden Gardening

Bulb planting 2012

Last year I spent quite a bit on spring-flowering bulbs and populated my garden with lots of Daffodils, Ranunculus, Tulips, Ixias, Freesias and a few Dutch Irises. After my initial ‘bulb planting’ fest I planted quite a few Asiatic Lilies in the Azalea bed and loved the show I had during Spring right through to the beginning of summer. It gave me so much pleasure to be able to pick flowers in my garden and bring them into my home as well as the many hours spent taking photographs and just generally enjoying the flower filled garden.

So this year I’m adding to my collection. Last year I discovered which bulbs do well in my garden and which don’t, and I’ve bought more of the winners. I especially enjoyed the Freesias and the Ixias last year (both are indigenous South African bulbs), so I’ve bought loads more of those. I’ve bought only a few extra daffodils to add to the collection in the front garden which did well. I’m thrilled to see the ones planted last year are already coming up again. The Dutch Irises are also coming back as well as the Ixias which were planted in a pot and the Freesis which were planted in shade. This year I’m adding another 100 Ixias directly into my sunniest bed and I’m adding the small Ipheon to the mix.

[one_half]Dutch Irises coming up againDutch Irises coming up again[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Bulb planting tools make it easyBulb planting tools make it easy[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Some new bulbs (lots of Freesias)Some of the new bulbs (Freesias)[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Lots more Ixias and new IpheonLots more Ixias and new Ipheon[/one_half_last]

[one_half]More Dutch Irises for the backMore Dutch Irises for the back[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Louisiana Irises (not really bulbs)Louisiana Irises (not really bulbs)[/one_half_last]

Planting bulbs is not too labour intensive either – I use a dibber (I think that’s what it is called) and a special ‘bulb planting’ tool. Of course planting them into pots is even easier to do. This year I am also planting up a few pots with bulbs which I can then move into beds once they are flowering. This because some of my favourites require sun and I have limited sunny beds.

I hope it all works out as well as it did last year.

Happy Gardening


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Miss you

I miss your posts and the laughter in your garden… I miss the way you hug your plants… I miss the birds, the blommies and even your moles… I miss the fun in your voice when you blog about Dex and Hercules… but most of all I miss you!

Here are the first batch of irises I have dedicated.








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Adieu to the Tulips

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve loved having the Tulips in my garden. They are beautiful and they’ve added glorious colour to the spring garden, but were they “worth it”?

Adieu to the Tulips

According to Wikipedia, During the Ottoman Empire, the tulip became very popular in Ottoman territories and was seen as a symbol of abundance and indulgence – I understand why.

The bulbs are fairly expensive, certainly the ones I bought were. The standard tulips were quite reasonable but were sold out so quickly that I only managed to get my hands on a few – and only red were left when I bought. As Tulips are my daughters favourite flowers, I had promised her “lots of tulips”, so when the exotic tulips became available, I indulged and bought a lot of them. They were pricey considering that they are only worth keeping for one season, or so the bulb-people tell you. But order them I did and I lovingly planted all the bulbs and waited in anticipation for a marvellous show of tulips.

Was it marvellous? Well … it certainly was lovely. It was a fun experiment. It was great being able to cut tulips and bring them into the house (and my cut tulips lasted a whole lot longer in the vase than the ones from Woolies do). But was it “show-stoppingly marvellous”? I would have to say no. The exotic tulips all seemed to bloom at different times so I never had a single “wow” moment in the bed they were planted in. We had plenty of “thats very pretty” moments, but never a “Wow, that is a great show of Tulips” moment. And once the blooms are spent you are left with the collapsing greenery … and no chance of another bloom (indulgence!).

The standard red tulips are blooming now and they look lovely. I don’t think the the way I planted them induces a “Wow” moment when you see them, but we are enjoying them for now.

[one_third]Adieu to the Tulips[/one_third]

[one_third]Adieu to the Tulips[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Adieu to the Tulips[/one_third_last]

My final verdict: If (and its a rather big if) I buy tulips again, I will plant them in pots which I can move around or in an area that isn’t that obvious (but then whats the point really?). For the amount of time they took to grow and flower (4-5 months growing time for 2 to 3 weeks of flowers), that’s just not worth it in my book. I think I can do a lot better by choosing any number of the perennials on my “I want these” list, which will give me pleasure for a lot longer than three weeks. It’s not that I expect a plant to flower continuously, far from it, but I don’t see the point of devoting an entire flower bed to six months of growth for a fleeting showing by the tulips, only to trash them afterwards. I just don’t have that much space in my garden (or cash in my bank account :)).

So much like one says to friends you know you won’t be seeing again for a while, I bid Adieu to the Tulips … till we meet again!

In Memory of the Tulips …

[one_third]I loved you ...[/one_third]

[one_third]... and the two of you[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Very pretty[/one_third_last]

[one_third]More lovliness[/one_third]

[one_third]A perfect yellow bloom[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Maybe I will "indulge" again ...[/one_third_last]

[one_third]Pretty ruffled edges[/one_third]

[one_third]Dew kissed beauty[/one_third]

[one_third_last]One more yellow beauty[/one_third_last]

[one_third]More of the lovely[/one_third]

[one_third]About to bloom[/one_third]


Perhaps I will look back on this post next year and change my mind and do it all over again … time will tell.

Happy Gardening

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Ixia – a lovely South African native

Ixia - a lovely South African nativeOK, so I’m a convert. I’ve been gardening mostly with “exotic” plants (i.e. not our native South African plants) simply because I prefer the so-called exotics. Or so I thought. I do have a few indigenous plants in my garden but if I’m being very honest, they are not my favourites, and were not planted by me. Hence the belief that I prefer “exotics”. In April I planted all the bulbs I bought and amongst those were Freesias and my new favourite, Ixias, both of which are native to South Africa.

The Ixias were a freebie included by the Bulb Company when I ordered all my spring flowering bulbs. After lovingly planting all my “exotic” bulbs, as an after thought,  I bunged the free Ixias in a huge, slightly broken, not very attractive terracotta pot that I put right outside my office doors – the doors that lead outside. They sat in the pot and I confess that I didn’t water them very regularly, was disinterested in them and paid them no very little attention. Not even when the shoots emerged and looked kinda scraggly did I take much notice. I just kept thinking “I must move that awful pot sometime”.  The leaves of the plants continued to grow and started looking moderately attractive. “Hmmm, not too shabby after all”, I thought as the stems started to emerge.

And then two weeks ago a wonderful thing happened…

The first flower buds started appearing atop a long wiry stem. And oh they are sooo pretty! My pack of bulbs must have been mixed, because I seem to have them in all sorts of colours. Reds, orange, yellows, yellow with a touch of red, pinks … and they look sort of wild and wonderful all tumbling over the rim of the pot. Some stand upright but mostly they are waving around and tumbling. Now the first thing I do every morning is go to the pot to see if there are any new colours and I waste about half an hour taking endless photos of them … they are a delight to photograph (Click the images below to view the enlargements).

Some photographs of the Ixias …

[one_half]The first budsThe first buds[/one_half]

[one_half_last]More buds, different coloursMore buds, different colours[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Tumbling out of the pot …In the pot ...[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Even the pot looks quite nice nowEven the pot looks quite nice now[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Pretty pink IxiasPretty pink Ixias[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Yellow with red centresYellow with red centres[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Yellow with darker centresYellow with darker centres[/one_half]

[one_half_last]More pinks – in the sunMore pinks - in the sun[/one_half_last]

[one_third]Orange with dark centresOrange with dark centres[/one_third]

[one_third]The yellow IxiasThe yellow Ixias[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Orangey pink colourOrangey pink colour[/one_third_last]

This Info from Wikipedia …

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”. 

I think they are supposed to stand straigh up – mine are sort of “tumbling” towards the sun. I don’t think they get quite enough sun in that spot but thats as sunny as it gets in my garden. Only about 20 are in bloom right now with another 80 in bud! Should be pretty spectacular when more are flowering. I even have two Ixia Viridiflora – they are a rare version which are turquoise – I wonder if they will make it – I don’t remember where in the pot I planted them. (Known as Green ixia or groenkalossie – in Afrikaans- it is an exquisite species with many-flowered spikes of sea-green blooms with black centres).

So now I’m wondering … have YOU ever planted something half-heartedly, just because it “was there”, and then fallen in love with it? I’d love to hear!

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Bulbalicious Beauties on this Fabulous Friday

I thought I’d share some of the beautiful blooms being produced in my garden by the bulbs I planted back in April. It’s only the start of the blooms and I’m loving them! My favourites right now are the gorgeous Freesias that are providing a bright splash of yellow to an otherwise uninteresting corner in the back garden. They seem to light up the whole area with their bright yellow flowers and lovely scent, and are quite a show stopper! Why didn’t I plant more of them? I’d happily have had hundreds more of these and a few less of some others. Now I know for next year!

Freesias in the planting scheme

Fabulous Freesias …

[one_half]The lovely FreesiasThe lovely Freesias[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Lots of flowers and budsFlowers and buds[/one_half_last]

Other Bulbs flowering today …

[one_half]Pretty in pink RanunculusRanunculus[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Exotic Tulip from the Hadeco rangeExotic Tulip from the Hadeco range[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Exotic Tulip from the Hadeco range *Exotic Tulip from the Hadeco range[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Another pretty TulipAnother pretty Tulip[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Another lovely exotic TulipAnother lovely Tulip[/one_half]

[one_half_last]A gorgeous DaffodilA gorgeous Daffodil[/one_half_last]

About Freesias (from Wikipedia)

Freesia Ecklon ex Klatt is a genus of 14–16 species of flowering plants in the family Iridaceae, native to Africa. Of the 14 species, 12 are native to Cape Province, South Africa, the remaining two to tropical Africa, one species extending north of the equator to Sudan. They are herbaceous plants which grow from a corm 1–2.5 cm diameter, which sends up a tuft of narrow leaves 10–30 cm long, and a sparsely branched stem 10–40 cm tall bearing a few leaves and a loose one-sided spike of fragrant narrowly funnel-shaped flowers.

Freesias are very popular garden plants, grown for their often strongly scented flowers. The most commonly cultivated species is F. refracta, which was crossed with F. leichtlinii in the 19th century. Numerous cultivars have been bred from these species and the pink- and yellow-flowered forms of F. corymbosa. Modern tetraploid cultivars have flowers ranging from white to yellow, pink, red and blue-mauve. They are widely cultivated and readily increased from seed. Due to their specific and pleasing scent, they are often used in hand creams, shampoos, candles, etc.

* I have no idea what type of Tulip this is – I’ve checked my original order and I didn’t order this (or anything that looks remotely like this). Perhaps it was a “freebie” or it is a mutation of some sort (is that possible?). If it weren’t for the foliage I would seriously doubt it even is a tulip 🙂

Happy Gardening

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The first tulip emerges and other joys from my winter garden

You might remember that I spent ages planting up all the hundreds of bulbs I bought in April and May. Most of the bulbs were planted at the end of April over the long Easter weekend and made their presence known very quickly with shoots emerging and now we wait for them to flower in Spring. The few Narcissus I planted have already flowered (I admit I was underwhelmed by them, they were pretty but nothing to get terribly excited about). The Tulips I planted have not shown any signs of planning to emerge until today! I found the first bit of life from the tulips and I’m very excited about it.

The Asiatic Lilies are coming up and look very strong and healthy and at last the Daffodils are starting to come through. The Potato bush which I thought I had killed has erupted into a mass of flowers so it goes to show that moving a plant from a position where it seems unhappy to another, really pays off. Then the last bit of joy is that my Camellias are all flowering and Azaleas in pink and cerise are adding colour to my winter garden.

[one_half]The first Tulip emergesThe first Tulip emerges[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The Asiatic Lilies are looking goodThe Lilies are looking good[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Potato bush comes back to lifePotato bush come back to life[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Violas hide emerging DaffodilsViolas hide the Daffodils[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Pink AzaleasPink Azaleas[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Does Lavender flower all year long?Does Lavender flower all year long?[/one_half_last]

[one_half]My only white Camellia openingMy only white Camellia opening[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Ranunculus waiting for SpringRanunculus waiting for Spring[/one_half_last]

Oh I just can’t wait for Spring … only two more months (59 more sleeps!)

Happy Gardening

I’ve added this post to Helen’s meme: End of Month View over at her blog, The Patient Gardener.

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

I Heart Liliums ♥

Liliums are on at the top of my favourite cut-flower list! Liliums and Dutch Irises to be exact, but St Josephs Lilies are easier to purchase here. Every two weeks throughout winter I hotfoot it to Woolies and buy two bunches of St Josephs Lilies for the very large vase which lives on the table as you enter my home (via the back entrance). The flower filled vase is also in my direct line of sight whenever I glance up from the computer screen in my office. So now you understand just how much I love these Lilies. I want to see them all day long, and I do. And I smell them. They fill the entrance of my home with their lovely scent which can be a bit overpowering in winter if doors and windows are kept closed for too long.

Lilium - St Josephs Lilies

I love the huge vases filled with these beautiful flowers I regularly see in Home Decor magazines. Huge vases filled with these long stemmed white lilies – I love the green colour of the foliage, the way the flowers stand upright, the beautiful glossy petals … to me they are the perfect “architectural” blooms. One lily on its own in a long slender glass vase, 20 or more in a massive ceramic vase … always perfect. Always beautiful. And the cut Liliums I buy for my vase always last at least two weeks, sometimes more.

If I love them so much, why don’t I have them in my garden was the question I asked myself when I saw Hadeco were selling Lilium bulbs online. Because I didn’t know that they are easy to grow. I didn’t know you could just buy the bulbs, plant them in the right place and then sit back and enjoy their lovely blooms in a few months time. I thought anything this beautiful must be massively difficult to grow. Which is why I keep buying them as cut flowers. But having seen them for sale and reading that they are easy to grow – well it seems like a no-brainer that I should at least try.

So after much online research and finally convincing myself that I can do this and have a few “perfect places” for them, I took the plunge and ordered. Two days later they arrived in a box, 3 bulbs per pack of the varieties I bought and the kind people at Hadeco included 30 extra bulbs of Mixed Asiatic Lilies for free! I have no idea why I got the extras, but thank you Hadeco – I will plant and love them!

[one_half]Today’s Liliums in the vaseLilies in the vase[/one_half]

[one_half_last]A perfect bloom up closePerfect Bloom[/one_half_last]

[one_half]It doesn’t get much prettier than thisPerfect Bloom[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Two are pretty togetherTwo pretty faces[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Beautiful leavesBeautiful Leaves[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Yes! I bought my ownLilium Bulbs[/one_half_last]

The Lilium bulbs I bought are:

  • Lilium Longiflorum – Snow Queen (I believe these are the type I always buy as cut flowers like the ones in the photographs above)
  • Lilium Asiatic – Soft Pink
  • Lilium Asiatic – Salmon
  • Lilium Asiatic – White
  • Lilium Asiatic – Mixed (the free ones)

I’ve spent the whole afternoon cleaning up and preparing the bed where I plan to plant my Lilium bulbs! Then it got dark and I had to stop for today. Wish me luck with these – I’m really excited about having them in the garden.

I’d love to hear from anyone that has Liliums growing in their garden – How do they grow for you?

Happy Gardening

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Final bulb delivery and bulb update

I finished planting out all my bulbs for the season over the Easter Weekend but wanted to get a few more Tulip Bulbs, because tulips are my daughters favourite flower. When I look at the varieties of Tulips available to purchase overseas (both in Europe and in the USA) I am very disappointed that all that is available to us here is the standard, ordinary tulip (see update below – they seem to have just become available). Coupled with that the colour options available here are extremely limited – all the colour options appear as “sold out” on the website of South Africa’s major Bulb Provider (the company everyone seems to get their bulbs from) and yet I have not seen a single tulip bulb on sale at any of the nurseries. Perhaps they are still coming, I don’t know, but I only had 32 red tulip bulbs and so jumped on the “mixed” packs when the website finally had stock. I received my delivery yesterday and now I have another 75 Tulip bulbs to plant. And, they sent me ANOTHER one of those “Free Gift Packs” … so I have another 300 bulbs to plant this weekend.

A lot of the bulbs I planted two/three weeks ago are already coming up – I have no idea whether this is normal. I was not expecting to see them so soon, but there it is. Most of them have sent up shoots and its fun to see – and at least I know they haven’t been eaten by the mole rats. I took a few photos to share with you of my “bulb sprouts” (what is the correct terminology for this?).

[one_half]Tulip bulbs deliveryTulip Bulbs[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Ixias and Ixia ViridifloraIxias[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Dutch IrisesDutch Irises[/one_half]


I’d be interested to know if it is normal for bulbs to grow so quickly. I can’t find any info in my books about how soon exactly after planting the shoots should appear.

UPDATE: I have just visited the website again and now they have all sorts of tulips available including the less ordinary ones that I have admired on some overseas gardening websites. YAY!! But unfortunately they are expensive and I have already blown my entire “bulb budget”, so I’ll have to see what I can do …

Happy Gardening