Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Earth Day clean up

I normally miss all these important dates – like “Earth Day” and “Water Week” and read about them in the news paper I lay in the chickens bedding weeks later. So I decided that Earth Day (wednesday, 20 March) was my day in the garden. I spent time cleaning up and looking at ways to help the Earth in my own backyard. We have been thinking of adding a greywater system for the fruit trees and the non-edible garden and to harvest rain water for the veggie patches. More and more we are seeing water as a precious commodity that one day will be too expensive to use in the garden. So that is the plan for this year and to go solar as well will make a big difference to our electricity bill. I already have solar garden lights lighting the paths and creating glowing fairies in my trees.

So much to research and plan, but all good and necessary if we want to contribute to healing mother Earth.

Ok, back to the garden clean up.

The Back Garden





[one_half]The area is looking all neat now[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cleared the walk area[/one_half_last]

Here I added indigenous shrubs – Confetti Bush (Coleonema Album) the lime green bush in the centre of the photo and Salt Bush (Rhagodia Hastata) the silver round leafed bush behind the Irises. Both can be trimmed to create round balls – kinda cute.

[one_half]Need a bench in this area now[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Such a nice part of the garden[/one_half_last]




[one_half]Cleared and neat with new stones in the back[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The Grenadilla vine is now happy here[/one_half_last]

[one_half]This bed needed lots of clearing[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The Tea Tree filling this area[/one_half_last]

The Front Garden

[one_half]New Dietes-mulched and fed to conserve water[/one_half]

[one_half_last]New Carex grasses to replace dried ones[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Waterwise and indigenous Dierama[/one_half]

[one_half_last]New feature for this cleared area-still deciding[/one_half_last]




Well, everything looks great now – fed the garden with Neutrog BOUNCE BACK and mulched all the beds with bark to conserve water and to neaten up the area. I am ready to have the family over for the BIG Easter Egg Hunt this coming weekend!

Have a great week and happy gardening xxxx



Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

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


Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

Something stirring in my garden

I have not been getting the “spring is a coming” feeling! I have been so preoccupied with work and family birthdays and just feeling cold these past weeks in August that my poor garden has been so neglected. I have to admit that the “feeling has not been there”. I gave my favourite hobby a break. But the blooms are happily awaiting spring, regardless of the absent gardener. I have seen new colour and flowers and new shoots and buds today…… something is stirring in my garden…. wow, look!!!

[one_half]Azaleas are taking[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Love the flowers[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lavender is blooming-Yipee![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Purple and raspberry colour[/one_half_last]








[one_half]Broad bean flowers in my veggie patch[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Borage blossom buds[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lobelia, lavender, dietes & borage[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Gerbera still blooming[/one_half_last]






[one_half]Blueberry bush starting to bloom[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Meadow still a good show[/one_half_last]

[one_third]Mint bush[/one_third]

[one_third]Lemon tree in the meadow[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Veggie patch looking bushy[/one_third_last]

I am so excited to see that the garden is about to explode with colour!!! Bring on Spring!!! I’m definitely going in the garden this weekend!

Happy Gardening xxxxx

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Foliage in my wet winter garden

After Barbie showed us her winter garden I thought it was about time I ventured out into the garden between downpours to take a few photographs so I too can show you my wet winter garden. This weekend it has rained pretty much non-stop here in the Newlands valley where I live. Its been cold and chilly and I have not been inspired to do any major garden projects. We’ve been staying indoors, keeping warm and reading the odd gardening book. On my walk-about today I realised that it’s all about the foliage at the moment – and the Camellias of course, but I’ve gone on and on about them in the last few weeks, so today I will focus on the foliage and the promise of things to come …

[one_half]View to my back gate – a burst of redView to my back gate - a burst of red[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Its wet, wet, wet everywhereWet, wet wet everywhere[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Red foliage of the Nandina peeping throughRed foliage of the Nandina peeping through[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The Freesias are coming up in the back gardenThe back garden where the Freesias emerge[/one_half_last]

[one_half]There is colour in the new grass gardenColour in the new grass garden[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cape thatching reed looks wonderfulCape thatching reed looks wonderful[/one_half_last]

[one_third]Irises getting ready for SpringIrises getting ready for Spring[/one_third]

[one_third]The colour on NandinasWonderful colour on the Nandinas[/one_third]

[one_third_last]The wet wintery Alley-wayThe wet wintery Alley-way[/one_third_last]

[one_third]Rain drenched Murraya exoticaRain drenched Murraya exotica[/one_third]

[one_third]Nandinas up against the wallThe Nandinas up against the wall[/one_third]

[one_third_last]Rain, rain, go away …Rain, rain, go away ...[/one_third_last]

[one_half]Ixia bulbs coming up in the grass gardenIxia bulbs coming up in the grass garden[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Ixias in a moveable pot for a sunny bedIxias in a moveable pot for a sunny bed[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The Tulips are doing well in moveable potsThe Tulips are doing well in moveable pots[/one_half]

[one_half_last]I’m growing Dutch Irises for pickingI'm growing Dutch Irises for picking[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Sweet Babianas growing in a pot this yearSweet Babianas growing in a pot this year[/one_half]

[one_half_last]More new Irises are coming upMore new Irises are coming up[/one_half_last]

[one_half]More Tulips in pots for SpringMore Tulips in pots for Spring[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Look! All the new buds on the JasmineLook! All the new buds on the Jasmine[/one_half_last]

I’m joining Christina for June Foliage Day who says her garden looks as if someone went crazy in it with a blow torch!

I hope you enjoyed the walk through my winter garden.
Happy Gardening

Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

What’s this?

While I’ve been cleaning up my garden and planting seedlings, I have been watching these two strange “weed” bushes developing in the corner where the old conifer tree was. I wanted to see what they would eventually become, but I am now curious to know what the dickens these are!

The first bush has a very familiar looking flower – similar to a tomato and the actual potato plant!

[one_half]The plants are in this corner[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Here’s a closer look[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Here is the leaf structure[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Leaf and a flower from the side[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Here is the flower[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Full plant again[/one_half_last]

Any clue??

Then, right next to this plant is this alien looking thing! Quite a scary looking horned-pod head!! The rest of the plant is unassuming and quite small. No flowers anywhere. I would love to know what this is!

[one_half]Look at this weird thing! Any ideas?[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Let’s take a closer look[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Here is the leaf structure[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Here is where it is[/one_half_last]

I hope one of our gardening buddies can help solve this mystery!

Happy Gardening xxxxx


Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

A wet winter garden

The weather man has predicted rain and more rain and cold temperatures, so for this weekend we made soup and collected firewood for the  fireplace and the only thing missing is a good book. I did take some time during the week to take note of the chores still needing my attention. The chicken run needs a landscape artist – sigh! …. and the next lot of seedlings need sowing – ok! ….. and the lawn needs mowing …..argh! No, I’d rather take some photos! My garden is looking beautiful through the eyes of the camera – it does not see the chores that need my attention!! The rain has washed it all clean and it has a fresh face ….take a look at what I saw!

Fuchsia bush is blooming again – I love the rain drops on the leaves!


The sunbird is back! He is looking for a mate!

The Mighty Mugwood tree is collecting rainwater!

My second favourite tree in my garden – Tea Tree (still a young bush)

Protea bush in full bloom and loving the weather

My raised bed with brand new seedlings – all self-seeded from last summer. There is celery, chamomile, Sparaxis and comfrey. Love definitely grows here!

I have Nasturtiums all over my garden – self seeded as well!

Celery – so good for you and so easy to grow – they are popping up everywhere!

Love in my garden!

Cleomes still charming the camera lens!

[one_half]Cleomes and the meadow in the background[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The guava tree and wet meadow[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Bulbs growing in between Soapwort[/one_half]

[one_half_last]My Leopard tree soaked and loving it[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Roses getting a cleansing shower[/one_half]

[one_half_last]The grass feature with its birdbath-full![/one_half_last]

[one_half]My grasses looking divine in winter colour[/one_half]

[one_half_last]More grasses after rain[/one_half_last]

My Artemesia Powiss Castle is just stunning when it rains.

The aphids on this wet rose bud don’t look to happy!

This rose got a real good soaking. But looks happy!

Are you also having a wet weekend? What’s happening in your garden?

Happy gardening xxxx

Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous

Meadow in May

I am so excited to see the carpet of Meadow green is now flowering – that is so quick! It seems like yesterday when I scattered a bunch of Winter Mix meadow seeds onto my bleak back garden patch. There are so many different varieties of plants that I will only know what is what when they start blooming. I am not worried about the weeds because Mother Nature doesn’t either. I want to let it look as authentic as possible. If there are some dreaded nasty weeds then I will spot them and pull them.

Christine suggested I plant a few of my bulbs in the Meadow – I like this idea and have put aside some Sparaxis and Ixias bulbs for this. But I can already see the flowering of the Alyssum and the Cosmos. The arrows will help:

Red arrow – Cosmos; Yellow arrow – Alyssum; Blue arrow – Marigold

This Meadow will be a wonder this winter! Happy Gardening xxxxx

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Foliage Follow-up – What happened?

It’s the 16th day of the month which means its time to join Pam at Diggings for Foliage Follow Up, the monthly gardening meme where garden bloggers showcase the beauty of foliage in their gardens. This month I’m looking for advice …

“Variegation is the appearance of differently coloured zones in the leaves, and sometimes the stems, of plants. This may be due to a number of causes. Some variegation is attractive and ornamental and gardeners tend to preserve these”.

Most gardeners love variegated foliage and I’m no exception. I love the contrast they provide and discovering how one can add interest in a garden with different colours, shapes and textures of foliage is what really got me interested in gardening. I can spend hours looking at different foliage types in a nursery and I have spent many, many hours pouring over books learning about different plants and their foliage and how to use them in a planting scheme.

One of my favourites has been the unassuming Acorus gramineus ‘Variegatus’ (Japanese sweetflag) that I use as a contrast in my back shade garden. I’ve really loved this easy plant and have used it in my big plant bed as a border at intervals, for repetition and colour. Its been a stellar performer up until very recently when I noticed one of the groupings starting to go ‘all green’, i.e. reverting to all one colour (‘reverting to type’ is what I believe it is called).

I thought I’d show a few photos of it … the way it was and how it looks now.

In my ‘brand new’ garden in February 2011 …

Acorum gramineus in February 2011

And then a few weeks later I planted some more in another spot …

More Acorus gramineus

Still more, I have this in groups of five in four differences places …

More Acorus ...

A closer view of the variegated foliage …

Close up of Acorus gramineus ...

Here you can see what a wonderful contrast it provides to some of my foundation plants …

A lovely contrast plant

And now … just a few months later its ‘returning to type’ / going green. Sigh … what to do?

Is this something I should be expecting? Is this normal? It is not an expensive plant. In fact I can buy them very cheaply and am wondering whether I should just yank these out and replace them with fresh new plants, or will they change back again? I love this plant – It’s evergreen, has narrow, shiny erect, fine leaves that are about 12 – 18 inches long. According to my notes it likes Sun to light shade; prefers moist to wet organically enriched soil.

I’d really appreciate any opinions and advice on this. They don’t look attractive the way I’ve planted them if they are all just green like this as they just look like ordinary lawn that has been left to grow wild – which is not the look I was going for, or want right here. It looks exactly like overgrown lawn right now.

Happy gardening

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features Perenniels

The Colour of Autumn

If you look past the mess and obvious work that needs to be done you will find little spots of colour and beauty in my Autumn garden. But, you reee-ally need to look past a lot of debris and fallen leaves to see it. If you love the look of fallen leaves and fading blooms, then you don’t have to look too hard to marvel at the changes that are happening in my garden. And if you go outside at the right time of day … you know, that special time when the sun catches the foliage at that splendid angle … well then you will see lots of beauty and colour in my very messy autumn garden!

Evergreens keep looking good

Lets see what beauty we can find in the foliage and combinations …

[one_half]Carex, H. petiolare & P. RubrumCarex, Helichrysum petiolare & Rubrum[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Pink Camellia has fallen into Dusty MillerPink Camellia bloom dropped into Dusty Miller[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Pandorea, Lavender and Gaura stemsfoliPandorea, Lavender and Gaura stems[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Helichrysum petiolare with Pennisetum rubrumHelichrysum petiolare with Pennisetum rubrum[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Dropped Camellias and dried leaves …Dropped Camellias and dried leaves ...[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Prairie fire and Ipomoea batatasPrairie fire and Ipomoea batatas[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Miscanthus sinesis “Variegatum”Miscanthus sinesis "Variegatum"[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Evergreen combinations that workEvergreen combinations that work[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Carex evergold and Duranta Sheenas GoldCarex evergold and Duranta Sheenas Gold[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Gaura lindheimeri ‘Siskiyou Pink’Gaura lindheimeri 'Siskiyou Pink' Pink Butterfly Bush[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lavender & foliage for Autumn flowersLavender & foliage for Autumn flowers[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Strobilanthes and a single Crocosmia bloomStrobilanthes and a single Crocosmia bloom[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Carex and dainty blue LobeliaCarex and dainty Lobelia[/one_half]

[one_half_last]A small Imperata cilindrica “Red Baron”Imperata cilindrica "Red Baron"[/one_half_last]

[one_half]The new Nandina leaves are pink?Nandina leaves are pink?[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Fallen leaves look beautiful against grassesFallen leaves look beautiful against grasses[/one_half_last]

Blooms are few and far between, and yet there is so much colour courtesy of all the foliage.

Happy Gardening


Barbie's garden Design Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous Perenniels

Grasses highlighted – 1st anniversary

I have been asked a few times by many to put together a more detailed post on the Grass Feature in my front garden. It is one of my very special places in my garden and takes pride of place (ok – the veggie patch is still the number one!) This is the month of its 1st Anniversary, so we can really go back and see how it looked 1 year ago.

There are a variety of grasses and they were all chosen to work well together – height, shape and colour. I remember the planning and drawing and the digging and arranging and re-arranging. It was one of my more dramatic and labour intensive projects because of the dry river bed feature in the middle of it all.

As it looks now – with all the grasses labelled.

1. Pennisetum “Red Buttons”





2. Carex Buchananii



3. Carex Amazon Mist



4. Festuca Glauca



5. & 8. Calamagrostis “Karl Foerster”





6. Miscanthus Sinensis Gracillimus





7. Panicum Virgatum “Shenandoah”


9.  Deschampsia Caespitosa “Tuffed Hair Grass”



10. & 13. Phorium Rubra nana & 11. Pennisetum Setaceum Rubrum-Red Fountain Grass



12. Carex Frosted Curls



14. Aristida & other



I hope that this has been interesting. It was great to see how this Grass Feature keeps changing through the seasons – Autumn shows a new face.

Happy Gardening xxx