Mum’s Garden

I have been spending time with Mum. Enjoying her springtime garden.   

Cool fountain in pool

There are some really huge tadpoles in this pool.

(right click on images and open in new tab to view as larger image)

Bench under Jasmine covered arch

Early morning view while drinking coffee.

Lonesome arum lily

This arum seeded itself in the stones in the pathway.

Ceramic sculptured head

All the plants bursting forth with new growth.

Blue flowers

I love the colour of these flowers…such a pretty border.

Yellow pansies

Yellow Black-eyed Susan's

Pergola

View

Pink daisies

Mosaic bird bath

Close-up of mosaic bird bath

This bird bath Mum made (the mosaic) It is so pretty. The birds love it too. Especially a particular Robin who comes several times a day for a pre-longed splash.

Ceramic sculpture peeping through the Rue.

Herbs

Parsley

Bedroom view

Especially for you Rog and Shari!

Pink flowers

Sundial

Late afternoon

Such a pretty light in the late afternoon. We love to sit outdoors and watch all the birds visiting the garden.

Orchid

This particular orchid has four fronds of flowers like this!

heart's-ease

My favourite!

Tree tomatoes

This plant is laden with tree tomatoes. We are soon in for a feast! I will bring some home for you guys!

Walk way to the bottom of the garden.

Furry tree-fern

Clivia

Lovely lawn for romps and runs with Coco.

Pathway

Dietes Iris

Iris

Iris

Strelitzia

Native to South Africa
A common name  is a bird of paradise flower, or crane flower.

Bottle-brush

The birds love this plant. The branches are continually bobbing with birds landing and taking off.

Erigeron

For you Marti! Your daisies’ petals seem sparser and thinner.

A cabbage-like succulent

Kalanchoe

White rosebud

This rosebud is one the first of literally hundreds of white roses that will be opening over the next few days!

Everyday the garden has a new surprise.

“From all this peril here at last set free. In the garden all find security” Sufi Poet (unknown)

A place of comfort, nuturance and colourful insights.

Supportive, peaceful and uplifting.

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Self Watering Planters

Cuttings planted in self watering planters made from recycled 2 litre bottles.

  • Cut the top third off a two-litre plastic bottle.
  • Drill a small hole in the cap.
  • Pass a string through the hole.
  • Fill the bottom of the bottle with water, reaching just below the cap.
  • Place the top upside-down in the bottom half of the bottle and plant your cutting.
  • The string will pull the water up the string wick into the soil.
  • As you can see it works very well for cuttings.

This is so true..

“Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.”  ~Mrs. C.W. Earle, Pot-Pourri from a Surrey Garden, 1897

A lot of the herbs established in the garden are cuttings taken from selections of cut herb packs bought in the supermarket. Rosemary, sage, thyme and mint are all doing well.

As you can see any size or shape bottle will do. Sage cutting in small bottle. Seeds in a large empty vinegar bottle.
Rosemary, Sage, Lemon Verbena, Rue, Wilde Als (artemisia indigenous to South Africa) amongst others all thrived in these planters.

The link below takes you to a lovely clear picture of a planter….

http://www.flickr.com/photos/67029806@N00/3865507914/

Self explanatory diagram….

If you study this diagram you get a pretty clear idea what to do.

So easy and very effective.

Have fun. I love growing from cuttings.

“Gardening is a kind of disease. It infects you, you cannot escape it. When you go visiting, your eyes rove about the garden; you interrupt the serious cocktail drinking because of an irresistible impulse to get up and pull a weed.”  ~Lewis Gannit.

….or in my case an irresistible impulse to get up and take a cutting!!

Circle Gardens

I would like to share this idea with anyone who might live in a dry area, not have easy access to water or who might simply be forgetful about watering plants.

Due to water restrictions on this property I am unable to water my garden. This is a brilliant solution that Bob, my good friend, neighbour and fellow growing enthusiast emailed me.

It is a wonderful article titled “Circle Gardens: a discovery par excellence!” (pdf format) written by Pat Featherstone of “Soil for Life”. It contains simple and concise instructions on how to make a circle garden.

Thank you Pat for kindly giving me permission to use your delightful hand drawn diagrams to insert in-between my photographs. They brought special inspiration!

A discovery par excellence it certainly is! This Circle Garden

Link to download the pdf

http://www.soilforlife.co.za/docs/biophile/Biophile%2010.pdf

“No unemployment insurance can be compared to an alliance between a man and a plot of land.”
~ Henry Ford

This is a diagram of the first step..

Measuring the circle.

Using a stick and a piece of string measure a circle 1 metre in diameter. (The size of a hula hoop if you have one!)

Removing the soil.

Remove 20-30 cm of the topsoil and place in a neat pile beside the circle.

Placing the subsoil and topsoil in separate piles.

Remove 20-30 cm of the subsoil and place it in a separate pile. The hole will now be knee deep (50 -60 cm deep)

Making 16 holes in the bottle with a hot needle.

Stick an old sewing needle into a cork to insulate your fingers – heat it in the flame of a candle – and push the needle into an empty 2 litre plastic bottle. Melting 16 holes in vertical rows as shown.

Covering the bottom layer of the hole.

Place a layer of cardboard, newspaper or egg boxes covering the base of the knee-deep hole. I added a layer of kitchen refuse.

Using the subsoil to fill the lower layers.

Place the bottle at the bottom of the hole, in the centre of the circle. Add a 2 cm layer (one finger) of compost (or well-rotted kraal manure, kitchen waste or dry grass, or cardboard) in the base of the hole and cover this with an 8 cm layer (four fingers) of subsoil. Water these two layers well.

Bottle placed in the hole.

Continue replacing the subsoil, layering it with compost (or the other materials mentioned above) and watering each layer as you go until all the subsoil has been replaced.

Flooding.

After replacing the soil with added layers, I flooded the hole thoroughly in-between addition of layers.

By adding organic matter and watering each level in turn a sponge effect is created which will retain water below the surface so that plant roots are encouraged to grow downwards, giving them greater strength. Surface watering tends to make plant roots stay near the surface.

The sponge effect is maintained by the burying of the bottle (or alternatively a tin can with holes in the bottom) into which water can be poured so that all the plants in the ecocircle can be reached with one watering session.

When the top soil is replaced it will be higher than the surrounding ground, forming a raised bed.

Having added all the subsoil, replace the topsoil. The surface of the bed will be higher than the surrounding ground. This creates a raised circular bed.

Scoop the soil towards the outer edge making it a basin shape - lower in the middle.

In areas of high rainfall, the surface of the bed should be flat to prevent water-logging. In dry areas the basin shape promotes the sinking of water.

Filling the bottle with water.

Fill the bottle with water (it is only necessary to do this once a week if the bed is well mulched. This means that you are using only 2 litres of water per bed per week. Tighten the cap and then loosen a little but so that no vacuum is created once the water drips out into the soil.

Deep watering encourages good root growth. A strong, well-developed root system will ensure a healthy plant.

Newly planted circle.

Mulch the surface of the basin and plant seeds or seedlings on the inside of the ridge, in circles.Very young seedlings planted in the centre of the circle are protected from wind. Keep the beds well mulched to retain water. One bed can accommodate 10 lettuces or 5 to 8 cabbages, or 4 rows of beans or a variety of different crops.

Five lovely cabbages.

Five cabbages, interplanted with faster growing lettuces that were harvested earlier.

Records on planting and crop rotation can be kept easily and accurately to ensure good soil, and therefore, good plant health.

Stripped of outer leaves.

“Prevention is so much better than healing because it saves the labor of being sick.”
~ Thomas Adams; 17th century English preacher

http://www.myhealthyfoods.com/vegetables/health-benefits-of-cabbage/

Circle garden expanded.

I have now prepared 5 circle gardens in total. I have found that the surrounding area of the circle gardens has retained a lot of moisture, and is looking quite lush so I have decided to link them with “no dig” beds.  They are prepared permaculture style – I have made spokes joining the beds. The layers of cardboard and mulch will be soon ready to plant up. That will be my next update.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and are inspired to make your own!

“There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.”
~ Mirabel Osler

Please leave links to your circle gardens (or other good gardening ideas)  in the comment box…..I would love to hear from you.

This is a link I really enjoyed on planting a spiral garden.

http://www.herbcompanion.com/in-the-herb-garden/plant-a-spiral-garden.aspx

And this link to a Ugandan Keyhole garden posted by “Garden Castle” on face book. Thank you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykCXfjzfaco&feature=youtu.be

“A garden is a friend you can visit any time.”