Spring Garden

Seems the weather hasn’t quite decided if it is Spring yet.  We have had a few splashes of sun here and there with loads of rain and horrible gale winds.  It hasn’t dampened my excitement with getting going in the garden, although some of the seed I have planted may have blown or been washed into the neighbours garden – might have to fetch my veggies there once they grow. 🙂

You may remember the gent I bought our garden bench from a while ago.  I couldn’t help myself and bought this sweet bridge from him a couple of weeks back.  It only cost R200 (± USD $14.48).

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The veggie patch is doing well and our cauliflowers are coming along really nicely.

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The spinach has also grown in leaps and bounds.  I shall have to enjoy it soon before the garden critters finish it.

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The mini cabbages are also doing well after being thinned out.

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I planted pumpkin seed which shot up out of the ground a couple of days after planting – they will be thinned out soon too.

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Pumpkins for Africa!

Also new to the garden is zucchini – I am thrilled at how healthy they are looking.

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Not wanting to worry about stakes and the like, I planted bush beans.

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Naturally no garden would be complete without dill and coriander so they were planted too.

IMG_8139I have added a few more things: butternut, sweetcorn, lettuce, rhubarb, carrots, capsicums, parsley, thyme and lavender.  I am sure I have forgotten something in this list.

Our loquats are all ripening but seems the birds are beating us to them all.IMG_7651And passers by are all picking our lemons off the tree before we can.  IMG_8064

At least our peaches are hidden away and hopefully will be worm free again this year.

IMG_7620Now I patiently await our figs.

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Winter Garden Update

I know I recently shared our garden with you but there have been a few changes since then so for your viewing pleasure (before it starts raining again)…

I could not resit this bench when I saw it for sale down the road from home.  The gentleman selling the furniture fell on hard times and refurbishes and recycles wooden palettes to earn an income.  He lives a very frugal life without electricity and running water and has the most love I have ever seen for his dog and cat.  They are his entire life.  I did not realise until I stopped to make enquiry about the bench that he has the most beautiful fully indigenous garden with veggie patches dotted all around.  Best R350 (± USD $28) I have ever spent on anything.  He even refurbishes the nails before re-using them to make his furniture.

Garden July 2015 3 Rummaging through our leaky old corner back shed I found a piece of sleeper gifted to Pete from our previous neighbours son about a zillion years ago and decided its time to get out into the garden and one can never have too much seating so another bench was made. The cats love this and I often find them sunning themselves on one of the corners while watching over the garden..Garden July 2015 1

From the leaky shed into the wendy house which holds an untold amount of boxes and other storage bits and bobs plus an outdated old satellite dish which I converted into a much wanted bird bath.  Waste not want not I say.  My dad said it should be blue but I thought green blended so much better with the garden.  A few birdies have visited but none I have yet been able to capture on camera.Garden July 2015 2

Going back to the leaky shed, hanging up in a corner was a small ladder which was looking worse for ware so out it came and a quick refurbishment and placed outside our bedroom door with a few potted veld plants and its as pretty as a picture.Garden July 2015 8

On the backside of our bedroom is a strip that never gets any sun and always has a muddy slope of soil so it was morning of laying some unused bricks to make a walk way.  Can’t believe it took me this long to do!Garden July 2015 7

Amongst the unused bits and bobs was a number of pots and bowls which I have started displaying around the garden.  There are a few more to come.  I will take some updated shots as soon as I have been back into the veld for more plants. Garden July 2015 4 Speaking of being in the veld, just over the road from our home is a huge amount of mother in laws tongue which I have potted and standing in a makeshift nursery in front of Pete’s workshop.Garden July 2015 5

After cleaning out the pots outside the front door, it dawned on me we have not had lavender in our garden for the longest time so I had to succumb to spending a little cash on a beautiful lavender bush which I am not able to find in the veld. 🙂Garden July 2015 22

Always at the ready to lend a hand is my beautiful boy who has an incredible knack of bumping me off my feet more often than not when I am trying to take a photo – there are loads of blurry shots in amongst the few I manage to salvage.Garden July 2015 21 On the backside of our lapa is a long bare wall so  a narrow bed was made with a variation of 2 flowering bushes – one is a yellow daisy of sorts and the other is a blue/purple spur something or another.  I am never very good at remembering names of plants.Garden July 2015 20

I hope its not too late but I finally planted last years sweet pea seeds – I saved just the violet colour ones.  Can’t wait for the fragrant flowers for vases throughout the house come Spring.Garden July 2015 6 All things going well, we will have some tasty cauliflowers – I have no idea how long they take to grow but the plants are looking very healthy. 🙂Garden July 2015 16

There is also some healthy happy looking spinach.
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Seems we will also have some mini cabbages at some stage – think I will have to thin this bed soon.Garden July 2015 9 - Copy

And finally is a pot that nearly broke my back.  Our lovely neighbours were kind enough to gift the pot but it was up to me to get it over the wall and obviously I could not wait for help and had to get it over myself.  Not sure if it was the coat of paint or all the rain which has left one of the plants looking a little worse for ware. Hopefully a little TLC will get it all perky again otherwise out it comes.
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How is your winter garden or summer garden if you are in the northern parts of the world?

Garden Update – May 2015

It has been quite a long while since I have shared a garden update so here are a few close ups of our wintery garden for you.

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A little rusty but still works a treat

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Young and tender Brazilian pepper corns

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We have planted spekboom around the perimeter of our garden – can’t wait for it to fill out – need to do a post on this incredible plant

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Pete’s protea keeps on growing and growing

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Our very first and only olive

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Poor pot has been waiting forever for something to be planted in it

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The last of the fig leaves

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Love how ferns are green all year around

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Quite normal having coral in the garden

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Water tank tap is nearly hidden

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A lot of cat claws have been sharpened here

 

Garden Update

I mentioned to Norma over at Garden to Wok who does a weekly round-up of what she has harvested from her garden every Monday that I had recently spent the day in the garden tiding things, well more like ripping everything out and replanting selectively.  I promised to take a couple of photos to share what the garden looks like now before winter really settles in.

The bed below the dining room window was a mix and match of oddments, it is now dedicated to these lovely succulent roses.

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Relaxing in the dappled shade from the fig tree branches

The aloe and succulents outside the front lounge window were getting very crowded and overgrown so much so the stones were all hidden.  Majority have been removed with a few of the bigger ones now evenly spaced.

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Finally room to breathe

The clivia’s have all been moved to a mostly shady spot where they can thrive and hopefully flower.

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Wonder what colour flowers they will produce…

These thing-a-ma-jigs (have no idea what they are called) have been planted as ground cover and will hopefully soon be filling in all the open spots of soil.  They also produce the most beautiful yellow flowers on long stems.

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Having a chat with the air plant

Our lemon tree which we had to hack a while back is thriving again and is enjoying not being crowded by the roses any more.

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Being guarded by two succulents with thing-a-ma-jigs ground cover for company

Clearly not all air plants need to be up in the air – ours slid down its wooden host and has settled nicely on the ground next to our garage.

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Nice view up the driveway from the ground

A few odd bowls next to the front door.  Think they need a bit more attention than they received.

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At least they are colour coded

This poor little birds eye chilli was dug up and transplanted into this pot.  Seems he wasn’t very happy about the move.  Hope he perks up soon.

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CPR may be necessary

By the time I got to the back garden, I was exhausted so the ferns still require a little attention as you can see by all the brown leaves.

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The wheelbarrow nursery also requires much needed attention.

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A touch rusty but still very useful

How are things in your garden?

Pete and I are away for a few days.  I will moderate your lovely comments on our return and catch up with your posts. 

All sorts

I have been wanting to put a few posts together the last while but haven’t got around to any of them, so I will throw them all together here for you.

I promised Karen over at Back Road Journal, I would put a summery garden post together as all she has seen for a while is snow.  Every opportunity I have had to get into the garden, there has either been a gale blowing or it has been raining! Sorry Karen!  Below is one of the two shots I did manage to take.

Potato bush

I also took a  quick shot of the “spare” swallows nest just outside our front door.  They have broken out the base to rebuild and it is the perfect heart shape.

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I think there are triplets in the nest in use and got a flying shot of mommy or daddy coming out the nest heading out to find more insects to feed the very hungry chirping babies.

flying swallow

I made the most incredibly tender and delicious oxtail casserole a couple of weeks ago and was going to do a post with the recipe and wonderful photographs but all I got was this shocker.

Oxtail casserole

I coated the oxtail (1.3kg) in seasoned flour and sealed and browned the pieces and set aside in a casserole dish.   I gently fried 2 large sliced onions added them to the oxtail, added a glass of red wine and about the same of beef stock, maybe a little more, covered it and let it do it’s thing in the oven set at 180°C for 3 hours, then added some carrots and a tin of butter beans in tomato sauce, covered it back up and let it do its thing for another hour and then served it with creamy mashed potatoes. Scrumptious!

I promised the lovely Emma over at Surrey Kitchens I would do a post in acceptance of the Shine On award she passed my way!  Emma in her own words: “Writer, ideas machine, literary geek, food geek, musician, lover of all animals, especially our beloved rescue cat Miles who is working hard for his cat treats as the face of SurreyKitchen.  Working in collaboration with photographer extraordinaire husband.”  Such a lovely “About Me”.  Thanks again Emma.

Kim over at My Inner Chic asked me to do a video tutorial on how I ice (frost) my cupcakes.  I promise I will do this as soon as I know how and have more than myself at home.  I see quite a few takes with lots of chuckles before we have the final video.  So far I have the tripod, the camera (never used the video function), everything to bake the cupcakes and make the icing.  Now I just need my videographer Pete to be home. 

Garden Update

Spring is in the air – oh joyful and happy times!  I am most grateful that we had a mild winter and the joys of spring have come up in wonderful colours in our garden.   Spring seems to start earlier and earlier each year – maybe it’s just me getting older…

We have the most lovely loquat tree in the top corner of our garden.  If memory serves, we got it as a small potted plant from my brother-in-law Derek from his Plettenberg Bay garden.    I’m never sure what to do with the fruit, other than make jam, so sadly I usually leave the birds to feed to the hearts content.  Soon the fruit will be a beautiful yellow.

Loquat

We have two lemon trees.  The older of the two seems to be diseased with the skin of the lemons and branches getting odd spotty growths which rub off easily.  The fruit however is unaffected and I have yet to find juicier lemons.  Our second tree came about after slicing open a lemon for a gin an tonic and found one of the pips had started sprouting inside the lemon.  Pete just popped in the ground, et voila, one lemon tree later which produces the most perfect lemons.

Lemons

Our fig tree has sprouted figs on a bare tree!  Poor tree must be a tad confused – there are no more than two dozen teeny tiny leaves at this stage and nearly as many figs.  Doubt these little fellows will develop properly, let alone ripen as it is far too early in the season.  When we pruned the tree, I took a few cuttings and  stuck them in potting soil after dipping them in hormone growth powder and it seems to have worked!  I am not getting too excited just yet, hence the lack of photos of the cuttings.

first fig

Our two strelitzia plants are both thriving at the moment.  Each plant has no less than 5 flowers in glorious bloom.  They make for the most beautiful cut flowers and last an age in a vase.

sterlitzia

Yay!  My sweet peas have finally started flowering.   The rambling plants look much like a weed sadly and have a tendency to take over but I just love the look and smell of the flowers – definitely one of my favourite smells and it’s a delight to see small vases all over our home of these pretty flowers.

sweet peas

We have three arum lilly plants in our lapa/braai area and all 3 have started producing the biggest lillies we have ever had.  I often have a tall vase filled with arums in our entrance hall standing at attention waiting to greet guests.

arum lillies

Our peach tree literally went from blossoms with no leaves to leaf laden branches with two remaining blossoms before I could get any photos.  No sooner had I taken this photo when a gust of wind come up and blew the pink petals to the ground.

peach blossom

Last but by no means least, are a few chilli plants which I have planted in one of the three box/window planters in front of Pet’s workshop.  I am a little undecided what to plant in the other 2 – possibly marigolds or maybe even some herbs.

chilli plant

I can’t wait to get back in the garden again.  Here’s to a wonderful summer!

Sorry if I am absent from your blogs’ this week, I am away for the week and will catch up with you all next week again. 🙂

View from my friend Desiree’s Back Door

How exciting that Celi’s challenge extended all the way to my dear friends back door.

My friend Des sent me the pictures of what she did after being inspired by my post and utilising her birthday gifts to create the most inspiring view outside her back door.  The results are absolutely stunning!

I love the zink baths.  I think Des planted herbs and vegies in the baths – a modern take on raised beds.  So clever!

Des backdoor 1

How awesome are these angled pots.  To create this, all you need to do is drop a metal pole into the ground and drop the potters on – couldn’t be easier.  Who knew the holes at the bottom of potters would have more than just a drainage function.  Think I may try this for a few of my favourite herbs.  Thanks for this fantastic idea Des.

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Des knows how I love my tea and I love these giant tea cups and saucers equally as much!  Think I am going to have to hunt a few down for my garden too.

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Des, thank you for sharing what you did outside your back door.  Ican’t wait to see your view in person on my next trip to Johannesburg. 🙂 xo

What I See From My Back Porch – Miss C’s Challenge

Our friend Celi over at The Kitchens Garden has a challenge for all of us – to share a view from our back porch / step / door / window.  Celi always shares her daily view with us so I think it’s a great idea for us to share our view with Celi.  Please take part in this fun challenge, it would be lovely to see what you see from your back door; remember to link back to Celi’s post over at The Kitchens Garden so she can share it with everybody else.

Here is a portion of what I see from my back door, sitting on the top step.  What you can’t see in this shot is our lapa which is to the left.  If you look at the overexposed tree on the left of the shot (behind the pot of peppadews) – that’s where our little herb garden is going to be.  The rest of the area is mainly ferns, palms and lilies and see that long brown thing sticking up into the air with finger like things sticking straight up, hold on, let me show you from the other side, then you will see what I am talking about…

Back door view for C  1

Back door view for C  2

There you go, now you can see I am talking about our tree fern.  They really are exquisite to have in your garden and just so long as they get enough shade, they will be very happy, although I must say, having it so close to the house causes a wee bit of havoc as the spores on the back of the fronds blow in through the windows and leave brown mini ball type things on the window sills.  A small price to pay for the beautiful tree.

You can also see Pete’s soon to be retired braai which was fashioned from an old gas cylinder cut in half.  We have had so many wonderful meals from it.  Sadly though it is starting to rust through the bottom.  We will use it as long as we still can before the bottom falls out.

Now it’s your turn – what do you see from your back door?  Celi and I would really like to see.

Garden Update

I have been trying to get into the garden since the beginning of Spring to get a few happy Spring shots for you but alas, life and weather both got in the way so when the sun shone and the temperature was a wonderfully warm 25°C day a about a week ago, I flew out the door with vigour followed very closely by all three fur babies who were also rejoicing in the warmth of the sun.  Sadly they were all moving about too quickly for me to get shots of them – all I managed was fuzzy blurs moving in front of the lens.  I did however manage to get a few shots of things in the garden waking up from a winter slumber.

I never realised how lemon blossoms smell like jasmine. I had treated to the most lovely scent while taking this shot.

Our plum tree is in the most peculiar spot in the garden and for the most part looks dead for the better part of the year and then every Spring we get excited when we see the blossoms. Sadly we never seem to get any fruit. Must be due to where it is.

I am hoping that our “lollipop” pruned peach tree will still produce fruit this year – worm free would be a bonus too.

We have 2 strelitzias in the garden – one which gets for the most part full sun and the other which gets no sun and both do very well producing multiple flowers at one time.

I don’t remember this from previous years but with the new leaves has come figs, lots and lots of figs! How exciting, although I am not entirely convinced we will see any of these mature and ripen. Not to worry, there will be plenty more figs to follow.

A large part of the garden is abuzz with bees busily buzzing around collecting pollen – I would love for them to share where their hive is for a bit of lavender honey.

Can’t say I was thrilled to see the aphids all over this little rose bush – seems it’s time to spray the bushes with a solution of dish washing liquid.

Not that this is only a Spring occurrence but I just love the way a new tree fern leaf (is that what you would call it) presents itself to the world – from a tightly wound ball to an exquisite branch which provides our fur babies shade to lay under during the warm summer afternoons.

Now, for those in the know, I am petrified of spiders – a true arachnophobic! I was extremely proud of myself to get close enough to get this shot – I probably shouldn’t share that I ran around screaming like a little girl after I bravely took the pic because when I looked again it was gone! How can a spider just vanish! Sorry if this gave you the shivers John!