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Sunday, 5 November 2017

Please don't go away!


I know I've been awfully quiet over the past few weeks, but there's a very good reason for that. As you may (or may not!) know, our smallholding has been up for sale for the past year and twice we've had a buyer, and twice the sale has fallen through. We now have an offer in place and it seems that THIS IS IT! I'll be moving to the coast in a few weeks!

Although I'm looking forward to the change, there's a lot of sadness ... saying goodbye to a garden that has been part of my life for the past thirteen years is not easy, and even more devastating is saying goodbye to my girls. I've had to find a new home for my chooks as it is impossible for me to take them with me.

Lots has happened since our last summer rains, like a tornado and a mega-storm with hail as big as tennis balls hitting the area. My garden is pretty much annihilated, but nature is wonderful - already the trees and plants are bouncing back and will probably look much better for the wear!



This picture was taken the next morning, the day after the storm, and none of the hail in the garden had melted yet.

So please don't go away, as soon as I have more news, I'll be back. See you later!

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Our summer rains are here!


05:00h - Oh, how joyous! Our summer rains are here! Had 10mm yesterday and the garden is smiling! Listening to the sound of the rain on our roof at the moment - applauding every drop - nothing better than being inside on a rainy day watching raindrops run down the window. A high of 17℃ for Gauteng today. Will be cuddling under the duvet watching Law & Order!


Like me, my garden will be  enjoyng our first seasonal rains and I wil visit her as soon as it clears up.


Enjoy the rest of your week!


Thursday, 24 August 2017

Clivias, and Bronchitis



My Clivias flowered right through winter (weird, right?) and some of the flowers show a bit of frost damage.The later flowers, like the ones below that started flowering last week, are a gorgeous colour and large and healthy.



Now, of course, I'm looking forward to the "rose hips" seeds, which also make the most beautiful display post-flowering. Two years ago I gathered some seeds and tried to grow my own plants, but it was a dismal failure. So now I know why these gorgeous plants are so expensive!



I have not  been around blogging for some time now (well, it feels like AGES!) At the end of May I went down with Pneumonia and just as I thought I was getting better 3 or 4 weeks later, I developed Chronic Bronchitis and ended up in bed, deadly ill, for three weeks and after surviving that, it took me another two weeks before I could get out of bed and function properly. Not something I would wish on my worst enemy.

But now I'm better, finally able to get round to my favourite past-times, gardening and blogging! At one stage I thought I was going to die and it has given me a new appreciation for life and being able to breathe in particular. I hope you have all been well and looking forward to connecting with you again.

Monday, 19 June 2017

First Aloe ferox flowers for the season!


I am so excited! Early already this winter has been freezing and I've been afraid that I won't have any Aloes flowering this season. And yet, here it is! My first flowers for the season! This fairly young Aloe (about 4 years old) is just outside my garden gate and is in full sun, maybe that's the secret. This area also gets very little water as it consists mostly of Aloes and the Coco splumosa trees are big enough to not need all that much water, rain only suffices.

I'm holding thumbs that my other older and bigger Aloes will follow suit with their lovely display of oranges.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Planning a garden

Ink sketch and colour wash - A corner in my garden

How do you go about planning a new garden or adding something new to your existing garden?


When I started my garden way back in 2004, the first thing I did was to measure the area I intended to plant and then drew up a scale plan of the area. I included intended pathways, trees, rocks and indigenous plants. I rigorously stuck to the map and the completed lay-out was (almost) perfect. Of course the garden has changed plenty over the years with new pathways added, trees that were too close to one another have been removed and new areas like a succulent garden added.

Now, when planning something new in my garden, I often do some quick sketches with notes in my Moleskine Gardening Journal, adding colour just to see what it will look like.

Notes
Put large terracotta pot lying on its side under Tree Fuchsia (Haleria lucida), Plant Echeverias in front, add stepping stones and pebbles.


Friday, 28 April 2017

Summer's end


Autumn struck with a vengeance this year. I say 'with a vengeance', because it's more like winter! We're having extremely cold days, like 20℃, where are the balmy 24℃ and 25℃ temperatures? This will probably be the last cutting of the lawn that Chrissie does this season, already the grass is turning yellow in patches. We were lucky to have good rains this past summer, so all the plants are strong and healthy and ready for the winter.



It was a good flowering season for the Red Hot Pokers (Kniphofia), attracting lots of bees, butterflies and sunbirds.

A Geranium sharing a pot with some Senecio Blue chalk succulents

The Hydrangea blooms were also exceptional this summer

After all that rain, the Sword Ferns spread like wild fire 

The last of the succulents left in my garden. All those in pots went to a good home (more about that later)

I always love it when these Leafy Foliose Lichens appear after good rains

The weather patterns are really peculiar lately and I just hope this coming winter won't be too severe, I feel heavy frost looming deep in my bones. But here's the thing - I might not experience winter in my garden this year as we are in the process of selling our smallholding. There is an offer in place and if that goes through, we will be moving down to Ballito on the North Coast (KwaZulu Natal). And of course I will keep you up-to-date on the progress of the (possible) big move.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

My Marigold kitchen


Just outside my dining room I have this wonderful clump of Marigolds (Tagetes). The flowers are tasty, fresh and couldn’t be more local: straight from the garden! There are some cookbooks out now which show how edible flowers on food are more than just pretty. The use of fresh herbs has come back into fashion and has proven to be more than a passing fad: edible flowers are all the rage.


Many of us have Marigold flowers growing in our gardens, but did you know that marigold flowers have great healing abilities? It’s true, these beautiful golden flowers will heal your body in many different ways. Marigold flower tea has great antioxidants that help to prevent cardiovascular disease, strokes, and cancer.

To make tea or infuse the flowers, make sure that you boil the water and then add 1 tablespoon of the flowers to the pot of tea and let it steep. Do not add the dried flowers to cold water and then let it boil. The tea purifies the blood, so drink this tea regularly.

Marigolds are also great insect repellents, mosquitoes hate them! By growing these flowers in your yard, you can be assured that mosquitoes will leave you alone and you’ll be helping out your local bees, too.


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