Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Six, Seven, Eight

In January this year, Diana of Elephant’s Eye invited us to write a plant portrait each month. “I challenge you, in 2012, each month choose a plant. Archived pictures of flowers, berries, autumn leaves, wildlife endorsing your choice. Start fresh – what will be your signature plant?” In January I profiled Carex evergold and in February I raved about the Pittosporum eugenioides ‘Variegata’. In March it was Dietes grandiflora and in May it was Clivia that was featured. Then in June I was enamoured with my Camellias that were flowering profusely and then … well winter hit us, life got in the way of regular gardening and blogging and so I’ve missed a few months.

So today I am playing “catch up” and featuring three of my favourite plants. Truth be told, I find it hard to wax lyrical for paragraphs on end about some of my choices, so a combined post is perhaps not such a bad idea right now. These next three are all fairly common plants. Common yes, but not in a negative way. Popular is probably a better way to describe them. I’ve also found that being quite new to gardening its been a lot of traial and error that lead me back to these dependable plants and one of the main reasons I feel I could not garden without them.

First of all, I simply love Lavender. I mean really, really love it! My garden with all its shade is really not an ideal environment for Lavender, but I have a narrow bed against a wall, bordering our pool that gets enough sun to allow Lavender to thrive. And thrive it really does. And another absolute favourite that I paired with Lavender is Gaura lindheimeri. I absolutely love the combination of the two and have added plenty of new Gaura this year in the hope of an even more magical display this summer. Both bloom together in this bed for months on end and give me tremendous pleasure. Both get a huge thumbs up from me as plants I will plant in any garden I own … even in pots on a balcony if that is all I have.

Gaura and Lavender, firm favourites

[one_half]Gaura and Lavender togetherGaura and Lavender together[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Perfect companions against a wallPerfect companions against a wall[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The Lavender blooms are so prettyThe Lavender blooms are so pretty[/one_half]

[one_half_last]And the whimsical Gaura lindheimeriAnd the whimsical Gaura lindheimeri[/one_half_last]

And now, I hope I don’t get shot down in flames over this choice, my next one is Nandina domestica. I’ve read very negative reports about Nandinas, I believe they are considered undesirable in some parts of the world, but here in my shaded Cape Town garden, things would be very bare and dull without the backdrop of green provided by evergreen and ever-pretty Nandinas tucked into many places where not much else would provide such a lovely, easy to maintain background to all the other plants in my garden. And I am delighted every season by the changes in these lovely shrubs, especially when they are adorned with massive bunches of bright red berries which some of my birds seem to love.

Nandina domestica

[one_half]How stunning is the foliage on this?How stunning is the foliage on this?[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The leaves when they turn redThe leaves when they turn red[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Sometimes the leaves are pinkSometimes the leaves are pink[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Two as background shrubsTwo as background shrubs[/one_half_last]

So there they are. My numbers six (Lavender), seven (Gaura) and eight (Nandina).

Not the most original choices, I know, but much loved here in my garden.

Happy Gardening

By Christine

Dominated by large trees on a medium sized property, my garden is very shaded. With no “full sun” areas I have to plant shade and partial shade loving plants. I love shrubs and flowers including camellias and azaleas but Roses and Irises are my favourite and getting these to thrive is a challenge …

15 replies on “Six, Seven, Eight”

Gorgeous plants! I have Gaura, and I absolutely love it. It’s so airy and delicate. That’s a great combination with the lavender! Nandina with berries are invasive here in the US, but you can buy non-fruiting cultivars now that still have the beautiful fall/winter foilage without the invasiveness.

The lavender and the gaura together is stunning, I’ve never seen that combo before. I can grow the gaura but the lavenders don’t make it here, unfortunately. 🙁 I have tried, they look great until May, then instant dead.

Tried and tested, the plants that say they are happy to grow with you – absolutely. The lavender and the Nandina are in vases in the house as I write. Gaura I don’t have, but my white pelargonium is giving me bunches of flowers to pick. Took 2 bunches to Cape Town for my sister and my mother – brown beach sage, lavender, shocking pink, and white, pelargoniums, yellow Euryops – a bunch of spring garden colour!

Beautiful lavender and gaura—-wish I could grow them. Nandina is also quite gorgeous. As long as it isn’t invasive in South Africa, I don’t see why you shouldn’t grow it or profile it. It is invasive in the US, but gardeners need to check invasiveness whenever they plant a new plant.

I too love the combo of Lavender and Gaura in your garden! Gaura is tough for me, as it doesn’t overwinter reliably. I think I’ve said that before, but I keep trying it each year (I just bought another one for the new walkway beds!)

Nandina is “eh” for me though. It’s quite common here, so maybe that’s it. It could also be because most people prune theirs, and I’m not a big fan of formal pruning.

Hi Alan – I agree with you about the formal pruning – I’m not a fan. To me the Nandinas are lovely left to their own devices. All I ever do is cut back when they encroach on the Camellias’ space. Good luck with your Gaura – mine looked really miserable during winter – ugly even, but a bit of a cut back in early spring and they are again looking gorgeous. Still small, but great!

Lovely choices Christine. I love the Guara varieties in my gardens, the tiny blossoms seem to float above the other blooms giving an illusion of hovering butterflies.

The lavender paired with the gaura is just perfect. Lovely. And I have just started adding nandinas to my garden. Like you, all I’ve ever heard was rants against this plant, but I am enjoying the ones I have put in. There’s something wonderful about dependable!

Chris, I love your combination of Lavender and Gaura. Sometimes simple plants together give you the special star quality you need. These are two favourites of mine too.

I think they’re great choices, Christine. I do believe that it is a mistake, made by many, to plant too many ‘special plants’ that are difficult to cultivate and often don’t give you the long season of interest something as simple as Gaura will do. In early summer I wrote a couple of posts about the supporting cast, which your choices this month would probably fall under; however the more I garden the more important I think the role of these plants are, far more important in reality than some of the stars! Christina

That is exactly the phrase I was looking for yesterday – “Supporting Cast”. That’s how I feel about these plants – they support the rest. Without these, the others would not show up as well. I am going to look for your supporting cast post. I feel there must be others I can incorporate.

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