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 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

October clean up

It is always a good idea to have a family visit to motivate you to get the garden looking great! This got me energized and I have enjoyed the manual labour! Got all the muscle groups working! I ordered bags and bags of compost and bark for mulch and got my act together! It might not look like much from the photos but the whole garden was tackled!

I also have some really beautiful blooms to show you!

My roses are finally blooming!

Apple blossoms all over. I can’t wait for these to become golden delicious apples this year!

Love my Irises – the white are my favourite!

My little broody Tara – I can’t snap her out of this! There are NO eggs and she sits and sits on the nest! So I have closed the door – but this makes me more sad! She sits on the balcony! What to do!?

[one_half]Apple blossoms![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Fuchsias are looking so pretty[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Rose bush full of roses! Fab![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Buckets of Lavnder[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Wild corn flowers[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Chamomile are in bloom-Tea anyone?[/one_half_last]

Tea Tree bush is also in bloom

[one_half]Love the mix of peas with nasturtium flowers[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Chives in bloom[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Blueberries en masse[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Peaches growing! Yum![/one_half_last]

Angel’s fishing rods! Dierama – I love them!




Favourite Figs for summer!




[one_half]Everything composted and mulched![/one_half]

[one_half_last]Cut and cleared! lots of work[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Attention shows its colours![/one_half]

[one_half_last]First rose in the rose patch[/one_half_last]

What I see is so many more flowers than I planned for when I originally started my vegetable garden. However, they are all linked. Every bloom gives a treasure or a pleasure – they are all welcome now in my part of the world!

Happy spring gardening xxxx


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

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

Lavender and Gaura

You might remember I ripped out all my Lavender plants four months ago and replaced them with new plants. (I blogged about it here: New Lavender to replace the old). Shortly after I planted the new Lavender I acquired a four pack of Gaura lindheimeri seedlings. Not really having a plan for them them (impulse buy), I thought they might look nice peeping through the Lavender. I planted the four seedlings at intervals behind the Lavender and whilst it’s probably not exactly “designer garden”, I think they look rather pretty floating above the Lavender.

New lavender

[one_third]New lavender[/one_third]

[one_third]Lavender and Gaura[/one_third]

[one_third_last]A closer look[/one_third_last]

New lavender

The Star Jasmine is doing well and filling the evening air with its lovely scent. That combined with the smell of Lavender when I walk around the pool area is really delightful. The Star Jasmine is flowering prolifically and the trellis I trained it onto is almost a mass of green and white, but my favourite is how it is “tumbling” down the wall in the spot where I did not want it trained upwards but let it cascade down the wall at the side of the pool. Its coming on slowly and looking better than I had expected.

In other news – I did a massive clean up in the back garden today. Ground covers were running rampant and needed severe cutting back, lots of weeding to be done, yellowing leaves had to be removed from the Aggies, a few bulbs needed planting … and a whole lot more kept me busy all day. By the time I thought of taking photos for a blog post or two the light was gone and I needed a well deserved and rarely taken “Sunday Afternoon Siesta”.

Oh, if you are a member of Blotanical, keep an eye open for the much-anticipated roll out of the new version coming in 2012! Stuart and his team are hard at work upgrading our favourite Garden Website, Blotanical to an all new look with heaps more functionality, the new Blotanical Blog and other surprises to come. And if you are not yet a member, you really should be! It’s where all the best gardeners hang out on the web 🙂

Have a great gardening week!

30 Day Challenge Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

The 30 Day Challenge – Day 12

Today I am grateful for the fact that my garden has taught me to be environmentally aware. I never used to worry much about the planet or what I was potentially doing to it until I started gardening. The garden has taught me to care about what I put out into the world and what I take from it. I’ve stopped using any chemical pesticides preferring to let nature take its course and if I really need to use anything to get rid of pests I use organic methods. I compost, I use water sparingly, I only use organic fertilisers and natural pest control and I’m coming around to recycling things …

Lavender Dentata

Photo: Lavender dentata – I have Lavender growing around one side of our swimming pool. I love the smell of Lavender and the way it grows with its lovely upright lavender flowers … whats not to like?

Lavandula dentata is a species of lavender, the main species known by the English common name French lavender. It is native to the Mediterranean region. It is commonly grown as an ornamental plant and its essential oil is used in perfumes. This aromatic shrub grows up to nearly a meter in height. The gray-green, linear or lance-shaped leaves have toothed edges and a lightly woolly texture.

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 Barbie’s and my posts filed under “30 Day Challenge“.

Annuals Barbie's garden Gardening Home page features Miscellaneous Perenniels

Bugs eye view

It is amazing what we see through our eyes. But what if we could see through the eyes of a bug? It is of course impossible for humans to percieve what an insect sees, but we think that a compound eye, consisting of 2 to 20 000 lenses will project a sort of mosaic image. So our eyes are very sophisticated to see near and far, like we do.

What an amazing world opens up to us when we add lenses to our eyes, in the form of a magnifying glass, macro lenses on cameras or microscopes.  I love looking closely at things, flowers, leaves and insects. I also have a nicroscope in my kitchen that I use often to see what is bothering my plants – a fungus or an insect. When I can get that on camera for you, I will definitely post it, but in the meantime I will use my camera!

[one_half]Borage in bloom[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Bugs eye view[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Onion flower[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Bugs eye view[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Violas still in bloom[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Bugs eye view[/one_half_last]


[one_half_last]Bugs eye view[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Leopard Tree’s new leaves[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Bugs eye view[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Blueberry blossoms[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Bugs eye view[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Lavender always lovely[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Bugs eye view[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Fuschias – the bell of the ball[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Bugs eye view[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Wild flowers in my back garden[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Bugs eye view[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Rosemary blooms delight[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Bugs eye view[/one_half_last]

Happy Gardening


Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

New Lavender to replace the old

I had Lavender dentata planted in the narrow beds poolside about ten months ago. From the start the plants had a strange shape and as they grew, they sort of flopped around and never flowered. Two of the plants succumbed to mildew and I replaced them with new lavender plants, bought from the local nursery. Also sold as Lavender dentata, these were different from the start. They grew differently and have not stopped flowering from day one. The growth habit is upright and straight and they’ve responded beautifully to deadheading, rewarding me with constant flowering. And the shape of the plants is more what I expected when I first decided I wanted Lavender in the garden.

The “old” lavender bushes looked untidy and messy, were very “woody” and hard and have not flowered at all in ten months. As they are the first thing I see every morning from my kitchen window they really annoyed me on a daily basis and no amount of care seemed to be working. So now, after finding someone to take the old bushes, the deed is finally done … out with the old, in with the new.

Its the third time I’ve replanted this bed in four years – lets hope third time’s the charm! What I haven’t shown in the photo is that there are three sections to this bed – three trellises with Bower vines (Pandorea jasminoides “Charisma”) growing on them (also ten months old) and in total there are 12 Lavender plants with Mandevilla’s planted at the columns (in between the trellises).

[one_half]Before: Old Lavender bushesOld Lavender[/one_half]

[one_half_last]After: Newly planted LavenderNew Lavender[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Detail of the Old LavenderOld Lavender detail[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Detail of the New Lavender[/one_half_last]

The last two photos showing the closer views of the lavender bushes shows the old lavender at about 8 months and the newer one after three months of growing in the garden (it was a really tiny plant when I first planted it).

Happy Gardening