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Camellia bed update

I don’t really know why I call this ‘The Camellia Bed”, I have far more Camellias in the back garden than in this small corner, but that’s its name … the Camellia Bed. It started out as a very dark corner with overgrown trees casting deep shade onto the swimming pool – as a result we hardly used the pool). We slowly transformed the area as detailed in this post and then later I added the DIY trellis against the wall on which to train the Star Jasmine that thrives in this space.

I realised that it has been a year since I’ve photographed and talked about this corner on its own so today I took a few photos. Winter is not the best time of year for this bed, but three of the large Camellia shrubs are flowering and a ground cover shrub is also in bloom so it has a few pops of delicious pink and cerise blooms. The petals that fall off the spent blooms also create a pool of pink at the foot of the shrubs which just adds to the charm of the Camellias.

Here are a few photos I took today and then a few older ones to show how it used to look. Am I happy with it? Mostly I am … It’s a very shaded area so I am making the most of it.

The Camellia bed from afar
The cerise Camellia

The cerise Camellia

A few “before” photos …

[one_half]Camellia bed in March 2011Camellia bed in March 2011[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Camellia bed in March 2011Camellia bed in March 2011[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Camellia bed in June 2011Camellia bed in June 2011[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Camellia bed in June 2011Camellia bed in June 2011[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Camellia bed in January 2012Camellia bed in January 2012[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Camellia bed in February 2012Camellia bed in February 2012[/one_half_last]

It’s become lush and very green. I might need to start doing some cutting back and pruning. Happy days!

Happy Gardening

30 Day Challenge Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

The 30 Day Challenge – Day 10

Today I am grateful for the scent and perfume of flowers and plants. I marvel at the range of smells that I enjoy as I walk through the garden at all times of day. Walking past the rose bed I smell the sweet fragrance of Alyssum, also much-loved by the bees, the delicate smell of my roses, the Frangipani tree that fills the spring evenings with its oriental notes and the strong aroma the lovely Star Jasmine delights us with during balmy summer evenings.

I love the hint of citrus I get as I water the Lemon and Lime, the smell of Lavender on an early morning walk, and the incredible range of smells that permeates the air around the herb planter, including basil and mint and a strong curry flavour. For these and the myriad of other perfumes I smell at any hour, I am grateful.

Jasminum polyanthum

Photo: Jasminum polyanthum – a gorgeous, fast growing creeper I recently covered two trellises with in the rose bed. It has a strong jasmine scent which I love and I love how quickly it started climbing up the trellises after planting.

Jasminum Polyanthum: In late winter and early spring, this Jasmine is covered in bunches of white flowers, which open from pink-tinted buds. Jasminum polyanthum is an evergreen vigorous climber that looks good throughout the year. Tt can reach over 3m (10ft) tall.

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 and my posts filed under “30 Day Challenge“.

Christine's garden Do it yourself Gardening Home page features

My DIY trellises

My first winter as a gardener and I’m learning all the time. So what have I learnt about winter? I’ve learnt that its a time to take stock of hardscaping projects and getting these done. As many plants die back or hibernate it seems to me one now has the space, time and because it is not so hot one also has more enthusiasm for diy. So whilst this is not quite as strenuous or ambitious as building your own raised bed garden, here is my diy project which finally got off the ground this week.

And anotherI have a number of Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Star Jasmine’ (known as Confederate Jasmine in the Northern Hemisphere) that were planted by the landscaper last year. I never quite understood the objective of this planting as it is against the wall (good) but the plants are tightly wound around a stake (not good). When I say tightly wound, I mean really tightly – the way they are sold at the nurseries (see photo on the left). The plants had “nowhere to go” and as a result they were going nowhere – no light getting into the plant and they have just been “sitting” there, not flowering, not growing much either – just these weird plantings of “a stick with stems and leaves wrapped around them”.

I realised that the solution would be a trellis so that I could unwind the plants from the stakes and “set them free” to do their thing. Actually, it was a blog post by Jess of the blog “Children of the Corm” that really inspired me to get my ‘a into g’ and get this done. (See her post here). Although her post is actually about her now famous statue, I just love her Star Jasmine that is the background to her lovely statue and I love how it grows there – perhaps when mine looks like that one day I might get a lovely statue for that area too.

So here are the photos of before and after.

Before and during …

[one_half]Tightly bound and going nowherePlants tightly bound and going nowhere[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Nails drilled into wallNails drilled into walls[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Fishing line wound around the nailsFishing line wound around the nails[/one_half]

[one_half_last]A close view of the “trellisClose up view of the lines[/one_half_last]

The line we used was fishing line chosen because it is transparent and very strong. From a distance (a few feet) you don’t notice the nails either. Once the plants have grown a bit I think we won’t see any nails.

And After …

I have now unwound the plants from their stakes and guided them onto the new “trellises”. It was a bit like unravelling balls of wool that had become all tangled up. I managed not to break any stems in the process but it took a lot of care – at one stage I thought it would be much easier to just cut them all but then I would have little to train onto the new supports so I persevered and did the untangling with lots of love and care.

[one_half]Unbound with somewhere to go (grow)Unbound with somewhere to go (grow)[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Same plants, different viewUnbound with somewhere to go (grow)[/one_half_last]

[one_half]From the side …Detail view[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Close up viewDetail view[/one_half_last]

You like? I do, I think it will look better given some time. How long do you think it will take for them to fill out? I do hope it will be soon.

Full view

Happy Gardening

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Front bed makeover and patience!

Confession time – In this post, I told you about my big plans for re-doing the front bed, just to the side of my back entrance door. I got as far as ripping out the tree, moving the shade loving plants to the back shade garden and then … well I made lots of plans. And then I researched all sorts of plants, watched DVDs, read magazines, bought more books. And after all that I decided I was just not able to do it all by myself. I got Kathryn from Lavender & Thyme to come and help me with it and today was the day things got planted.

It doesn’t look like much at all at the moment. Little plants. I can’t even really see the vision of it yet in my mind, but I trust Kathryn and she understands what I want here, so now we wait and see. The bed has exactly eight months to settle down and grow, because I hope that by the time my Mom visits in November (from Germany) that this will look pretty and be flowering … it needs to flower specially for her! ♥

So here are the photos and a list of the plants used.

[one_half]Before (4 March 2011)Before: With the tree[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Today after planting (22 March 2011)After planting - 22 March 2011[/one_half_last]

The Plants Used:

The plants used are three Standard Roses – Iceberg; Heliotropium ‘Royal Marine’; Gaura lindheimerii – Pink; Gaura lindheimerii (white) – Angel Wings; Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’. She left a narrow row of the Tulbaghia violacea (because aphids hate them so they will hopefully help to keep the roses protected somewhat), we left the Star Jasmine on the trellises and two wild irises were left from before.

Plant Photographs:

[one_half]Iceberg Rose StandardIceberg Rose Standard[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Duranta ‘Sheena’s Gold’Duranta 'Sheena's Gold'[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Gaura lindheimerii – PinkGaura lindheimerii - Pink[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Gaura lindheimerii (white) – Angel WingsGaura lindheimerii (white) - Angel Wings[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Heliotropium ‘Royal Marine’Heliotropium 'Royal Marine'[/one_half]

[one_half_last]Update on 25 AprilUpdate on 25 April 2011 - one month later[/one_half_last]

[one_half]Progress – photo taken 28 May 201125 May 2011[/one_half]

Now I wait (patiently!) for everything to grow …

I found this lovely quote today which reminds me that I now need to be patient …

“You need patience to be a good gardener. If you don’t have patience, and you stick with gardening, it will teach you patience.” – Bill Turull Jr.

Happy gardening!

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

I get my ‘Chameleon’ Plants!

New plantsI have to compliment Ferndale Nurseries on their service. As I mentioned in my post of last week, when Barbie and I were at Ferndale I saw this gorgeous plant – Trachelospermum jasminoides ‘Chameleon’growing at the nursery and wanted to buy one. Long story short, they phoned me on Friday to tell me they had got the plant in for me. I hot-footed it off to the nursery straight away and I’m so glad I did because they only had ten, of which two had been booked by someone else. So I promptly bought six of them. They are still quite small plants and were fairly pricey, but I love them and think they will be perfect in my garden.

All six have been planted. I’ve planted them in amongst their “relatives”, Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides – Star Jasmine). They’ve been planted in this very new bed which was planted in December and is already becoming one of my favourite spots in the garden. I managed to find some “before” photos to share with you. There used to be two huge trees in this area and it was impossible to grow anything here because it wasn’t just shady, it was dark! Real, midnight-dark – seriously! The trees had to come out because they were damaging the retaining wall and I was told they would eventually damage the pool walls. So it was either the trees or the pool … we chose to keep the pool because we didn’t like the trees much and as you will see from the photos, already have plenty trees in that area.

So here are some “before” and “after” shots and then a bunch of “now” shots.

After the first tree had come down …

One tree down

Still dark behind the remaining tree …

Tree from behind

Newly planted after the trees had been removed (date of photo, 10 December 2010). I planted the annuals just to get some colour going here.

Photo taken from the side view – 10 December 2010.

And here is how it looks now three months later.
(I know, the wall needs to be replastered – it is on my “To Do” list!)

And from the side view – can you spot the “Chameleon” plants?

From the side

I am really starting to love this area … it’s still very shaded because of the willow tree and the other large trees on the other side of the wall. But we have lovely Camellias, the Makaya Bella and lots of Star Jasmine planted here with ornamental grass (Carex Evergold) and now the “Chameleon” plants as ground cover – its going to be beautiful and I love it!

Happy gardening!

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Corner Bed make-over plan

Hi Barbie – When you were here on Tuesday I told you my ideas about the make-over for that corner bed next to the entrance. (The one I used to like and now really dislike). When the rest of my garden was a complete mess, this one had something nice about it (though when I look at it now I’m not really sure what it was I liked). I can’t find any photos of it before the tree was this big, it probably looked better then. Anyway, as we both agreed, the tree actually had to go. It made that whole area very dark, was not attractive and the area was infested with slugs and snails. Last year when the tree was smaller, at least the lilies and tulbaghia flowered and it looked quite nice(ish), but this year the deep shade and mess it was causing made everything so dark in there that nothing was happy anymore. The lilies never flowered, the Tulbaghia were falling over and not flowering, none of the annuals I planted in there grew … no amount of TLC was making any difference and to top it all, the tree made an incredible mess. Everywhere.

So … regretably, this tree finally had to go and on Thursday the deed was done – and I didn’t cry this time :).

Here are the pics of before and after. We’ve kept the Star Jasmine growing on the trellises, I added the bird bath which was intended for the back garden (not sure if it will stay here though), left the Tulbaghia (not sure about those either) and moved all the shade plants to the back where they filled in some gaps. Here are the “before” and “after” pics (click to enlarge).

[one_half]Before: Thursday with the treeBefore: With the tree[/one_half]

[one_half_last]After: Today without the treeAfter: Without the tree[/one_half_last]

I would love to make this a gorgeous, flowering garden and as it gets lots of sun now I think I may have many options. I’ll need to do lots of reasearch and planning before I can go shopping for plants though … I want to get this right as it will be my very first “garden design” project I do all by myself. The only thing I don’t want to change is the Star Jasmine creepers – I love those and now that they get plenty of light I think they will fill the walls beautifully.

For this weekend my plan is to add compost to the soil, clean up the area, get rid of dead leaves etc. and start planning … Any suggestions and advice will be MOST welcome!

Have a happy weekend and don’t work too hard.

Christine's garden Gardening Home page features

Star Jasmine

Star JasmineOn a visit to the famous Cellars-Hohenort in Constantia recently, I was totally enchanted by their gardens. The gardens at Cellars are acknowledged as one of the finest hotel gardens internationally and have been voted by Garden Design, a top American magazine, as one of the top 30 hotel gardens in the world. And a visit to Cellars-Hohenort reveals why …

We parked in the parking lot and walking up towards the Hotels’ main entrance you will find the most enchanting Rose Garden … all beautiful white roses with Star Jasmine everywhere! The scent of Jasmine fills the air and its got to be one of the most magical “walks to the hotel entrance” anywhere. I absolutely love it. Their gardens are extensive and incredibly beautiful. And I’m really very envious of what they have achieved there.

Compared to Cellars, my garden is just a little “wannabee”. We will never be featured in any fancy magazines or win awards, but that’s not why I garden. I garden for the sheer joy of watching things grow and the immense satisfaction I get from seeing the plants thrive. But oh I do so want to smell jasmine when I walk through my garden. So we have the lovely Star Jasmine planted everywhere in the hopes that one day, maybe next spring, the air will be filled with the sweet scent of jasmine, just like at Cellars.

So far so good … the Jasmine planted on the trellisses in the front garden are thriving and the new ones planted in December are growing at a rapid pace. They appear to be “easy” plants – at least for a novice like myself. I have yet to see a pest on one of them and every day they seem to be getting bigger and stronger and are constantly flowering. Very rewarding for a “brown-thumb” like myself!

One of these days I am going to lunch at Cellars-Hohenort again and will go armed with my camera (or with a photographer-buddy in tow) so we can share the beauty of the gardens at Cellars-Hohenort here on the blog.

Happy Gardening

Notes on Star Jasmine:
Common Name: Star jasmine
Genus: Trachelospermum
Species: jasminoides
Skill Level: Experienced
Exposure: Full sun, Partial shade
Hardiness: Half Hardy
Soil type: Well-drained/light
Height: 900cm

Star jasmine is a woody, evergreen climber with rich, dark green leaves which turn bronze in winter. From mid- to late summer, pure white, fragrant flowers are produced. It can be grown against a wall in milder climates or in a greenhouse or conservatory in areas prone to severe frosts. Grow in well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade with protection from cold, drying winds. If growing indoors, plant in loam-based potting compost in full light but not direct sun. Water freely and apply a balanced liquid fertiliser monthly during the growing season, and water sparingly in winter.