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Monday, 31 August 2009

My New Garden - Progress 9 - August 2009

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
-- Marcel Proust

August has arrived, with all the winds it brings, and hopefully Spring is already peeping through. We've just had our first spring rains on the 1st August and within a week all the peach trees were dressed in their beautiful pink blossoms, but within 2 weeks, the August winds had all but blown all of them off.

August 2009: The Acacias at the pond are still splendidly dressed in their white Winter thorns and provide a safe haven for many a bird trying to get out of the Fiscal Shrike's way, but also serves as her larder, where she spikes many insects on the thorns for later consumption.

The aloes putting on a beautiful show, as usual, throughout the Winter.

Beginning-August : These Butterfly bushes (Buddleia Salvifolia) will shortly be covered in dense white flowers, inviting all the butterflies in the area for a snack and safe egg hosting.

The pond still devoid of any greenery apart from the Eugenia on the left and the Butterfly bushes on the right.

Torti (my Leopard tortoise) spent most of the winter hibernating in her home-made nest at the pond.

The Tiger Grass hit by the frost, but luckily it springs back to life with the first rains although it does need to be cut back.

A new little water feature I added next to the pathway

My faithful gardener, Chrissie, who tends to it all

I planted these Black Karees and Celtises about 2 seasons ago in an empty corner next to the pond and they're starting to take shape. Need to start trimming and forming them into shape soon.

More of the Aloes - As with every winter, the Aloes were not a disappointment this year. I've never actually seen them so full of flowers.

Bees flitting around the Aloes caught my attention, and just before taking the close-up of these bees making full use of collecting the available nectar, I missed the Black Sunbird taking his fill. I've been waiting for them to enjoy this luscious smorgasbord.

I placed some logs next to the pathway in various spots.

The Cycad made it through the winter - Cycas revoluta (Sago palm)

The beautiful Feather grass turns big and bushy every winter

My Secretary birds standing proud under the Black Karees - maybe they need a coat of varnish?

End-August : The Butterfly Bushes in full flower (Buddleia salvifolia) - all the grass around the pond is still yellow and dead

Butterfly bush flowers

The aloes are still lingering in their last glory

The patio desperately needs new varnish! Next on my list...

The area for the new rain garden now in progress. Lawn removed and will be adding compost, rocks, pebbles and water-loving plants.


Saturday, 15 August 2009

My New Garden - Progress 8 - Jan - July 2009

Garden making, like gardening itself, concerns the relationship of the human being to his natural surroundings.
- Russell Page

Well, I've caught up with my posts on my new garden's progress an am now up to speed until June 2009. Cannot believe it's 2009 and half-way through already - it seems like yesterday that we were all expectantly awaiting the millennium and all the havoc it was expected to wreak upon computers, clocks, calendars and any equipment with a semblance of a date mechanism in it.

The next important date is looming just around the corner - 2012, and all the forecasts of doom. But all is not doom and gloom and we are heading towards Earth's entry into the Golden Age - read the full 2012 story HERE at The Nature of Earth...

It's January and the garden is in full bloom. Last Winter's rains just carried on right through into Spring! and I've decided to make a Rain Garden, as I have one spot where the water gushes down the down-pipe from the gutter and then floods all the indigenous grasses. Don't think they mind too much, but I will incorporate some pebbles, stones and rocks into the area, together with some water-loving plants.

Area for the Rain Garden - will remove the lawn on the right of the
picture and fill with water loving plants and pebbles and rocks.

January 2009 - The Aloes are now over a meter tall and I had to
move some plants to give them some more space.

The front door being obscured by the Tree Fuchsia (Halleria Lucida)

The Tree Fuchsia also sports berry-like pods.

The White Karees (Rhus Viminalis)providing lovely shade in the summer heat.

February 2009 - The wonderful Phormium again ... just goes on and on.

March 2009 - I built an aviary for Mai, my Mynah, with the help of Solly and Johnny, still needs a coat of paint. Mai absolutely hates to be in a cage, and has free access to the house and the garden all day long, but unfortunately she's still not quite independent yet and during the times that I do have to leave home to go to town, she spends a couple of hours in the aviary, loudly declaring her disgust upon my return and heading straight for her favourite spots in the garden to hunt some insects as soon as I open the door.

Mai eyeing the birdbath out before taking the plunge

Mai having a bath

Mai heading inside to dry off

Johnny, above, and Solly, below, who helped me build the Aviary.

March 2009 - the aloes are strong and sturdy and surely preparing to flower for the winter.

This Echevaria that I planted in an old piece of concrete block formed a lovely waterfall-like trail down the broken opening

June 2009 - the rain garden area has been prepared for planting in early Spring.

View from the patio over the garden

The Fiscal Shrike singing a winter sun with the Laughing Dove looking on.
Previously I watched this Shrike chasing and harassing the Laughing Dove before settling down for a song. And the Laughing Dove returned and joined him in the same tree!

The Laughing Dove is more worried about me photographing him than
any danger the Fiscal Shrike may be posing.

Jacko patiently waiting at the front door while I take photographs

June 2009: The ferns next to the pathway leading to the front door have already
been hit by the frost

The waterfall and fountain at the pond.

July 2009 : Unused corner on the deck - all the cushions stored in cupboards inside - much too cold to be sitting outside!

See you in Spring!


Tuesday, 4 August 2009

My New Garden - Progress 7 - Jan - Dec 2008

The best way to garden is to put on a wide-brimmed straw hat and some old clothes. And with a hoe in one hand and a cold drink in the other, tell someone else where to dig!
~ Texas Bix Bender

2008 was the year when I started setting up my websites, with the result that I never spent much time in the garden - entrusted the whole shebang to the trusty gardener and spent a sinful amount of time indoors. Managed to venture outside for a couple of photographs in the middle of June, hurriedly scurrying inside to get away from the cold - lots of frost and a freezing wind...

June 2008: Early morning and the lawn covered in frost, but the aloes make a stunning show of orange against the bleakness of winter.

Never saw this tiny praying mantis clinging to one of the flower pods when I took the picture!

Bleak and grey outlook from the patio on a rainy day

The indigenous grasses showing signs of the Winter,
but the Sword Ferns were protected under the Black Karee

Leafless trees and the lawn white with frost

No birds venturing near the bird bath on this cold and rainy day
in the middle of June! Rain this time of the year is very unusual
as we here near Johannesburg live in a Summer rain-fall area -
this is real Cape Town weather!

As usual, the cacti flowered through-out the winter, seemingly unaware of frost and freezing winds and offering rich nectar to all the insects.

September 2008 - Spring is in the air and the Euphorbia managed
to survive the winter, even though I forgot to bring him inside - again!

The Sword ferns needed a major cut-back after the winter, leaving large, open patches.

October 2008 - the grasses next to the deck are still a bit meager after this cold winter.

November 2008 - lush greenery reigns everywhere (this is the front door of my house)

The ferns have fully recovered and are spreading at an amazing pace.

Above and below: the Pennisentum had their first flower show this year.

November 2008: The indigenous Tree Fuchsia (Halleria Lucida) on the right, which is deciduous, next to the wooden sculpture, is beautiful and lush after the rains we've had. It gets these Fuchsia-like flowers, hence its name.

The flowers of the Tree Fuchsia

The White Karees next to the patio are also sporting their full summer greenery.
This is their fifth year and they are about 10m tall.

December 2008: The garden path is now fully established, with the entrance
area being flanked with these beautiful grasses and a log I dragged from the
bush across the road.

The end of another year and how time flies!


A fond farewell to an excellent 2008 and hoping that 2009 will be topping it!
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