Barbie's garden Bloggers Harvest Day Gardening Home page features

May garden walkabout

Today I did a walk-about! I had a look at what was happening in my garden last winter….well I have to pull up my boots – that’s all I have to say!! The garden looks untidy but there are a few “Ahhh!” areas I had to snap. And to be fair, I took photos of the untidy areas as well, because there are some new developments and first-time vegetables!

But first we had a bumper quince crop !! The least tended tree and no attention at all!! But the fruits are plentiful, small and sweet!! I can smell them from here!! I have taken what we need but set up a Free Food Garden Harvest at our front gate – so I hope visitors will be able to make lovely quince preserves and jams!! Enjoy xxx If this takes off then I was thinking of doing a garden harvest swop or just a “take what you need” basket of any surplus I harvest for that week!! I will keep you posted!

[one_half]A wet corner of the garden with Comfrey[/one_half][one_half_last]My Wilde Als (Artemesia) flourishing[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Huh! Where’s my barrow?? Heehee needs a mow[/one_half][one_half_last]An old Lavender bush recharged![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Thyme and Oregano as ground cover[/one_half][one_half_last]
Front garden Ahhh! moment[/one_half_last][one_half]First try at Sweet potatoes-taking forever[/one_half][one_half_last]Fennel in front of Sweet Potatoes[/one_half_last][one_half]

Kale is big in my garden this year[/one_half][one_half_last]

My newbies-Broccolli, Kale, Cauliflower[/one_half_last]

And now for my trees…..

[one_half]Guava is a winter fruit-yipee![/one_half][one_half_last]Awesome lemon tree this year![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Self-seeded Borage – everywhere![/one_half][one_half_last]
Awesome tomatoes still[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lettuces a must-Red Butter and Cos lettuce[/one_half][one_half_last]Herbs close by says Jamie Oliver[/one_half_last]

[one_half]This is my composting area[/one_half][one_half_last]Cabbage-see the greywater still working[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Going to plant these next week[/one_half][one_half_last]My Fig tree is having babies[/one_half_last]

Well, I have to say that eventhough it does not beat last year, at least my garden does not disappoint and my spirits are not dampened. It gives me a new strength to get my boots on!!

Until my next post xxx

Happy gardening xxx

Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Trees

Tea Tree Wonder

I have been surprised this week with a flushing Tea Tree – in full bloom!! This is the first time !! I have had a few bottle brush flowers but this is spectacular!! I think this tree is about 4-5 years old! This year it has grown to quite a size, and we hold the secret to great growth with all our trees (mostly fruit trees) in our back garden!!

The flowers are really so pretty and they have such a delicate smell – a mix between honey suckle and roses!!

The amazing thing is that – when you look closer, the flowers were full of blueflies (we call them brommers (Afrikaans))!!

This was so unusual! We were not hassled by these flies. In fact, we do not get a lot of these flies around! It looked as if they were only in this tree and in a trance while rubbing themselves in the white bristles of the flower – almost as if they were drunk on the nectar!

Then, a few hours later (at about 5pm) they were all gone. Where did they go?? Nowhere to be seen.

Can anyone explain this to me!?? I recon that because these trees come from Australia, they have to attract other insects (maybe bees are scarce) to pollenate them!! And so the FLY!!

Here is some info (ref: wikipedia)

Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) commonly known as narrow-leaved paperbark, narrow-leaved tea-tree, narrow-leaved ti-tree, or snow-in-summer, is a species of tree or tall shrub in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae. Native to Australia, it occurs in southeast Queensland and the north coast and adjacent ranges of New South Wales. It grows along streams and on swampy flats, and is often the dominant species where it occurs. Melaleuca alternifolia is a small tree to about 7 metres (20 ft) with a bushy crown and whitish, papery bark. Leaves are linear, smooth and soft. They are also rich in oil with the glands prominent. Complementary and alternative medicines with tea tree (melaleuca) oil have become increasingly popular in recent decades. This essential oil has been used for almost 100 years in Australia but is now available worldwide both as neat oil and as an active component in an array of products. The primary uses of tea tree oil have historically capitalized on the antiseptic and anti-inflammatory actions of the oil.

Flowers occur in fluffy white masses of spikes (like a bottle brush) and over a short period, mostly spring to early summer. They have a small woody, cup-shaped fruit, 2–3 millimetres  in diameter are scattered along the branches.

I love this tree – not only because it is so pretty – but because of its valuable essential oil. I one day want to extract tea tree oil!! Has anyone ever tried this??? Please let me know – I would love to learn how to do this!

Happy gardening xxxx


Barbie's garden Bloggers Harvest Day Gardening Home page features

Garden revival

You know that feeling when you go away on a holiday and come back to your home – it feels like you are a stranger! It takes awhile to become familiar again with your garden. That’s how I felt!

I felt as if I had been away or hibernating – I had to spend at least a day just greeting everything that was actively growing or peeping out of the soil. So many plants that have re-seeded and started to take over. And the bulbs I was hoping would survive have not disappointed! The Chasmanthe and the Louisiana Irises just make me brighten with pride! I had to chop and carry away all the overgrown borage and nasturtiums – they were like monsters. I should have taken photos….. but I did take a lot of photos of what is happening in my garden revival…..

My first Louisiana Iris this spring!!

[one_half]Quince blossom[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Peach Blossom[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Love the blossoms[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Almond Blossoms[/one_half_last]

[one_half]New Almonds – can’t wait[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Blueberry blossom[/one_half_last]


[one_half_last]Fuchsias just starting[/one_half_last]

[one_half]This is a spekboom[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Lovely lavender[/one_half_last]

[one_half]New rose leaves-patience![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Confetti bush-indigenous[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Angels’ fishing rods-Dierama[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Leopard tree is in seed[/one_half_last]

[one_half]My grasses are coming through-Pennesetum[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Chasmanthe and Iris in raised bed[/one_half_last]

And what’s happening in the vegetable garden?

[one_half]My edible greens-salads, rocket & spinach[/one_half]


[one_half]Chives and Pyrethrum – bug busters[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Flowers, fruit and herbs together[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Empty chicken coup[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Fig tree budding[/one_half_last]










From sunny calendula to the sweet peas – the blossoms and the blooms, I am so enjoying my garden again!!

If I can get this everyday, I am rewarded and grateful.

Happy gardening xxxx


Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels Trees

Front garden activity

This has been such a busy weekend in the garden for me – no longer could I stand the disheveled look and the hanging, overgrown bushes. I had the energy and the will-power to get it right! With my boots and gloves on, I got out the lawn mower,  edge trimer, wheelbarrow, sheers and spade! The neighbour was thunderstruck! She could not believe that I did it all single-handedly! I even had time to fetch more apricot pips and a new (old) bench that was given to me by my best buddy! Thanks for the new addition to my front garden – it stands proudly and awaits friends to come and rest awhile!





I absolutely love it – it fits perfect into my style of garden. Thank you again and we both wait for your next visit!

The front garden is looking good – the one Leopard Tree had a burst of growth this summer – the other always seems to be 6 months behind!

[one_half]My Leopard Tree in the Grass feature[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Grass feature looking dried out![/one_half_last]

[one_half]Barrow of flowers managed through summer[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Grass mowed and edges cleaned[/one_half_last]

[one_third]Leopard Tree One[/one_third]

[one_third]Leopard Tree Two[/one_third]

[one_third_last]New Bench[/one_third_last]

I am exhausted but pleased with the clean up! Now I need to feed the garden. I have placed an order for Neutrog (organic fertilizer). I have found it the best and gives my garden a burst of new vooma! Can’t wait!

Happy gardening xxx

Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Trees

Leopard Tree in bloom

It is such a wonder to watch my Leopard Tree develop. It has so many different “seasons” and this can happen all in a week!! Last week I stood on my front porch and could see the lime green leaves – so delicate and they were all open. I spotted something yellow on top and sure enough – there were flowers!! Very strange time to flower, but, hey! I’m not complaining! I needed something new for GBBD for March. So they start flowering at the end of summer and I will monitor how long they will bloom.

[one_half]Love the changing greens of this tree[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Light green when the leaves are open[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Delicate lovely yellow flowers[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I just love this foliage![/one_half_last]

Check this out – 1 week later:

Now this week I see a totally different tree! Take a look at all the new leaves – this was just after a tiny bit of rain we had this week. Funny, the two Leopard Trees are about 2 weeks apart in “age” the one tree is shooting new leaves and the other not yet a flower…so I am waiting for that one to bloom. I guess the one in the Grass Patch gets a wee bit more attention. And I have dedicated this tree to my late mother and she does love to dress up!

[one_half]All these new leaves shooting out[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The one in the grass patch gets more water[/one_half_last]

Brand new leaves only 1 week old.

[one_half]Difficult to capture true essence of the tree[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Full of new leaves and a few flowers[/one_half_last]

Now you know why I am so fond of these trees. The best part is their bark so the next post I do I will focus on this.

Happy gardening xxxx

Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Lush green for March

I am looking forward to cooler breezes and that crisp morning air in March. Christine shared her garden lovelies in Autumn in Cape Town and I have to say, just taking a walk around my garden today I can see that the lushness of green is predominant in my garden at the moment. The last of the great harvests are behind me and the preparation for the March sowing will begin this week – if work allows me to.

[one_half]This patch brings a cool corner to the back deck[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Patchwork patio is brimming with herbs[/one_half_last]

[one_half]This patch is a work in progress[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The great rosemary bush offers cool shade[/one_half_last]

There are now empty areas and beds that need a compost top up and care for the next seasons plants and edibles. Shady patches and sunny areas have been earmarked for the appropriate sun worshipers and shade lovers. It also seems to get easier which plants to select. Hmmmm….. sounds like I am no longer a beginner at this.

[one_half]Beyond the fig tree is the guava tree[/one_half]

[one_half_last]My tree is full of small guavas-a bumper crop?[/one_half_last]

Not much colour, but it doesn’t matter. I am glad my garden came through the heat of the summer and recovered well. I now know which areas get the most intense heat and where I can plant hardier and heat-tolerant plants for the next summer season.

Happy gardening xxxx


Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

Big clean up!

Today was a go go go day! I had my fabulous hubby as keen to get the garden in great shape. It has been looking shabby and dry and all the spent vegetable plants needed to go. I want to make way for my March planting and get the soil ready for this. I am totally exhausted but so happy that we managed to do the whole garden – every inch was checked and fixed!

[one_half]Here we start – bright and early[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cleaning the protea bush – hard work![/one_half_last]

Ok – enough of the ugly stuff. I didn’t bother to take photos of the before because it is really not a pretty sight! Let’s go straight to after shots! We’ll start with the front, move around the side and then to the back of the house. Then the chicken run!

[one_half]Front grass mowed and beds cleaned[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Grass patch needs little work – just some water[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Fuchsia cut right back so roses have room[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Roses deadheaded and fed with Sudden Impact[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Front garden neat  – awaiting stones for path[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The protea bush cropped just before I mowed[/one_half_last]

Ok, now for the side garden – the veggie patch area.

[one_half]Weeding took forever but worth it[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Front view of veggie patch[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Looking back on the veggie patch[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Oops! Still need to plant these salvias[/one_half_last]

Ok, now we are coming around to the back garden where I have my fruit trees.

[one_half]Area raked and fruit trees mulched[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Fig tree got a real good haircut[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Potato (bush) tree bed all clean[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Looking through Potato bush bed into garden[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Beds cleaned and grass mowed[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Chicken run cleaned up too[/one_half_last]

Whew. Thats it! Gonna hit the sack now. Tomorrow i’m going to order the stones that we want to put around the house. Ok, that’s a whole new post.

Happy gardening xxxx

Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Trees

Death of a tree

It was a sad day today to see my splendid conifer tree fall. After the post I did on the heat of summer, it was inevitable that the big conifer on the corner of our plot was not going to survive the summer. I know that this majestic tree is a common site in the northern hemisphere. I have a feeling that the heat here in Philly is too intense. I was also told that they have a life span of 5 years or so. Is this true?

[one_half]Takes years to get to this height[/one_half]

[one_half_last]How quick it is to take something down[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Thats all that is left behind -a stump[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Everything was dry and dead[/one_half_last]

After we had cleared the area of all the dry branches, I watered the patch and immediately I had visitors. The local Butcher Bird family (Fiscal Shrike) came to enjoy the sprinkler. They were having a ball and my mood brightened to know that I can make this area and my new tree stump a real feature to attract the birds and bees! Oh yes…. the bees were also all over this tree. The sap was oozing out and the bees were going mad.

[one_half]Amazing – there were hundreds of bees[/one_half]

[one_half_last]They were dancing and battling with each other[/one_half_last]

Well, the wonders of nature shows me that the death of one majestic tree gives life to so many other creatures.

I will honour this tree by creating a special feature here. Watch this space!

Happy gardening xxx

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Update on the tree planting

I’m pretty amazed at what one summer can do to a garden. I often find myself humming to the tune of “What a difference a day makes …” and thinking to myself what a difference a season makes in a tended garden.

This small portion of my back garden that I am showing here is where I planted the three Pittosporum nigrescens to get back some privacy after much clearing, tree felling and plumbing went on here. This is an update of the area, nearly eight months later. The trees themselves have not grown much (first year they sleep, second year they creep and so on), but I was not expecting much from them just yet as they will need some time to settle in. But look at everything else! I am thrilled at how things are finally filling in.

Before & Afters

[one_half]Newly planted Pittosporum nigrescens July 2011Newly planted Pittosporum nigrescens July 2011[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Pittosporum nigrescens taken February 2012Pittosporum nigrescens taken February 2012[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Different angle taken in July 2011Different angle taken in July 2011[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Different angle taken in February 2012Different angle taken in February 2012[/one_half_last]

It’s not perfect yet but I’m a whole lot happier already!

Up next, the Second of my Twelve and a Book Review on Monday!

Happy Gardening

Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Summer Heat getting to me

Summer is getting intense! We have had days of nonstop high temperatures and I can’t protect my garden from it. It has been close to 40 degrees here with no letting up. In the early mornings I take this time to water as much as I can as well as early evening – I’m watering twice a day! But the damage is done…. I am devastated by the damage to my huge conifer tree (I don’t know what this type of tree is called). It looks like it has been burnt! And the protea bush next to it looks like it has some kind of disease. All my delicate plants have withered and died and I’m trying to rescue what I can, but watering is not always helping.

[one_half]I am overwhelmed by this heat – so destructive[/one_half]

[one_half_last]It started with this one branch – is it the heat?[/one_half_last]

This was once a beautiful, lush green conifer tree – now it is destroyed beyond repair. It happened instantly – within a week it just seemed to have died! I’m shattered.

The rest of the garden is looking untended, overgrown and debris that needs to be cleared and weeds that have popped up overnight! It is just too hot to do anything in the garden. I am grabbing all the edibles and storing them – well, what I can anyway! I am sad to show you all the ruined plants… some might bounce back, but I think some won’t!

[one_half]The Fuchsia needs cutting back[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Some of the grasses are patchy[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Sunflowers are spent – need to harvest the seeds[/one_half]

[one_half_last]My stevia wilted but might just bounce back[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Totally upset with my barrel flowers – all dead![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Even the waterwise plants can’t take the heat[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Fruit trees are struggling – my poor apple trees[/one_half]

[one_half_last]My strawberries are holding up, but just barely[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Roses need deadheading and cleaning up[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Even in the shade there is no escape! My evening primrose struggling[/one_half_last]

This is the toughest thing I have had to experience as a gardener. It is soul destroying, but everything has a season and we have no control of the elements. I take my hat off to you all in the northern hemisphere during the harsh winter days. Now I know what it feels like.

Oh well, I should be looking forward to the autumn and cooler weather and the ability to start afresh.

Happy gardening xxxxx