Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy, Happy

To all the wonderful people I've met through this little blog, may you have a happy Christmas and a fabulous new year! My daughters school made a series of postcards from the grade 1 drawings and I'm using these as my Gift tags. Does'nt the smile just make your knees buckle?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Endless Feast

I continue to benefit from the bounty of my garden. However my garden and I are at a bit of a cross roads, and have yet to reach some middle ground on my expectations and it's ability to deliver.

So I've decided to do a plan, in fact two, a before and after. Just hang onto your horses, it might take a while. Then again isn't a garden about this case I am not a virtious woman.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Yesterday was the day before.

Yesterday was a lovely day. A day of anticipation. The day before I go on leave! The day I get to meet the real SkinnyLaMinx & Jezzeblog for a cuppa & lunch. The day I bought my home computer lots more brains (so I can work and blog during my hols) and then to top it all I found an old vase (the ones with the glass flower holders inside).

The only thing better than yesterday is today because I got to fill the vase, had a great lunch with two great women, got a clever computer and I go on holiday!

The cast iron background is actually a footscraper but I use it as a general stand for hot pots etc. on my table.

P.S. I hope you will all be a patient with me as I won't be blogging quite as often, I think. But then again I have enjoyed blogging & the people I've met through it so much that I probably won't be able to stay away to long. See ya soon.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The good doctor & other interesting things

I live my country & country garden life vicariously through the Country Life magazine, they have some great plant features. Bush Medicine by Heather Dugmore and Julia Lloyd on Herbs being two of them. In the November issue Julia wrote a great article on the virtues of Yarrow as an anti-bug plant for the organic garden. (By now you all know that this is like gadgets to a man for me.)


"It has a strange pungent (love that word) smell
that many pests can't bear (love that even more),
but ladybugs and wasps love and that means an
end to aphids" and the crowd goes wild..
There was also an article on the marsh rose 'Rose from the dead.' A species of protea that has twice been declared extinct, and is only found in two small areas in the mountains above Betty's Bay and Hermanus. Just look at it! Oh my, the Cape Floral Kingdom is quite something.

'Marsh Rose'

I'm off to buy some Yarrow and the next issue.

P.S. The beautiful pics are also courtesy South African Country Life.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Murder most foul & other happy endings

There, I have finally given in, and opened a beergarden (beertraps in nasty laymens terms) for the snails. With, I have to shay, rather astounding results. These shlimy charactersh have held me to ranshom for faar to long, ash, I am infact, rathersh fond of them individually. But I'sh drawsh the line heresh, I mean here.

Sam's Ghost

My husband kindly donated all the leftover brands from numerous bring and braais and I'm not sure how long that frame of mind is going to last.

Friday, November 30, 2007


The end of this hectic week is in finally in sight. Not only socially, but weatherwise to. (The south easter has been having a go at us again) and like my roses I'm a frayed at the edges but still pretty much in tact. Phew.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I've been a good girl!

Father christmas came early this year. When I got home last night from work to get my kids ready for Christmas Carols round one, before I went on to the opening of my students exhibition and then went home to make a pirates costume I found this delightful little package.

Wrapped beautifully in tissue paper with ribbon and a lovely card to tell me all about the history of my little gift Denise from FreshlyFound did it again ~ she put a smile on my dial and a spring in my step.

This was her PIF gift to me. A beautiful bag to store my garden clippers in (with vinyl inner & all). Made from a tray cloth she bought from the SPCA, this is true Denise Magic. Thank you, I will always enjoy using it.
P.S. I have 2 more clippers :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The End

It's that time of year where my two lives clash. Three schools and all their end of term exhibitions, concerts, prizegivings, auctions, class parties and dress-ups.
I'm finished!

Monday, November 26, 2007

You say tomato...

And I was going to say, where?
But now I have some!
Yes, don't laugh, that is my vegetable patch. An island in the 'Sea of Thorns'.
At the beginning of the season I planted lettuce, onions, strawberries and tomatoes (my first attempt at a vegetable garden) and I looked forward to reaping the rewards of my labour. Well, I'm glad Fruit&Veg never phoned back with that order for local organic produce.

So now you might have a feeling for my huge sense of achievement.

I've had a fabulous weekend. Sunday the sun came out and we spent the perfect day walking on the beach, swimming, pottering in the garden and even ended it with a summer braai & some crisp white wine - perfect. Today is a repeat of last week. Stranger and stranger.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Strange goings on

We've had 3 days of torrential rain in November and...

I saw a snail crossing the road yesterday ~ what was he thinking!
Then I had a photojournalist moment. Do I take a pic or save it? or do I do both? In the end I would've stopped to take the pic & save it, but I was worried I would get run over.
I never did find out if he made it.
On a more expected note: The garden service told me it wasn't worth the time or money putting top soil around the side of the house (always the optimist I subconsiously think of it as the 'Sea of Thorns') It sounds much more prosaic. Places like that are cool in The Lord of The Rings.
See ya monday.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Phycic Fishing Rod

There truly is such a thing. (It simply means that the person or topic of conversation or thought is bound to appear as you speak.) And so it was this morning.

After yesterdays gift from Denise, I decided that I wanted to pass "Be The Blog" on to Heather Moore from SkinnyLaMinx.

So just before I started to put this post together I popped into FreshlyFound, SkinnyLaminx & Jezzeblog as usual for my morning fix. Low and behold, Jezze (no slouch herself) has written the best piece, pictures and all about Heather and how inspirational she and her work are. Have a look here!

Heathers work is often inspired by nature and unbeknownst to her she was an inspiration even before I started my blog. And she really has given me loads of support. Thank You. A constant source of fresh & original illustrations, ideas and designs her blog is a must follow. Heather has recently also become Elle Decoration SA's blogger. What a feather in her cap and well deserved. This girls output would put most of us to shame! You go girl.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ooh Me Gosh!

Today is a big day in my little blogs life. Anybody who has followed me for the short time I've been blogging will know how much I've enjoyed Denise's Freshly Found. She was recently awarded the 'Be The Blog' award by Jezzeblog.

Mark of MeAndMyDrum created this award for bloggers who "make it their own, stay with it, are interactive with their readers, and just plain have fun."

Well, today she gave me an amazing compliment, she passed it on my way. What can I say - thank you. Both these ladies are seriously talented and a pleasure to drop in on. I'm not sure you can call me a serious gardener but I do love my patch and I can hardly believe that sharing something I enjoy so much has just doubled the enjoyment of it.

I would just like to thank my mother and ..................

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

White knights

Thanks Comil & Mill for your combined lavender expertise. I hope to see a revival.

To end on a happier note, even I haven't managed to ruin these white lavenders on my deck, yet. They look wonderfull and fresh in the sun.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The grass is greener

I love grasses. The restio family in particular. They really are one of the few plants that look cool thrashing their hair in a howling weekend south easter.

I've been toying with the idea of a fabric or paper based design for a while and have finally come up with something that I think has legs (excuse the pun). Here is a section. I still need to play around with colour & material but Jezze's printing tutorial might just be the place to start.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Funky Friday Flower

I'm much happier today. Thanks for all the moral support. :-)
My partner in crime at work brought in this grenadilla flower yesterday. I love it.
A classic sixties design of deep purple and acid green. The tie-dye detail in the middle really makes it rock. Peace and Lurve to you all.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I'm SOOOoh depressed.

(Can't you just hear Marvin from the Hitch Hikers Guide.) I can't even give my work away! Two days ago I put out an offer as part of Pay It Forward. And I have had not even a nibble. Was it the snails? I know everyone else displayed theirs with beautiful pictures of nature.

So here it is again accompanied by a beautiful picture of nature. Ready, steady, go...again.

"I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Country Lavenders

Getting old is not for sissies. Every morning I wake up, I know a little less than I did the day before. Every answer just leads to more questions. To start with, I wasn't Gods answer to gardens an'all. But now things are much worse. This corner of my garden has been my pride and joy for a whole year.

And look at it now...Billy-Ray Cyrus Lavenders. My Achy Breaky Heart indeed. Aargh!
My neighbour suggested it was because I trimmed them into the wrong shape, a ball instead of a bump and now the bottom bits don't get enough sun. Is that true? Help!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I love bugs, I hate bugs

I love bugs. I always have. They are often really beautiful ~ in a weird StarWars way. They have amazing colours and shapes. They have six arms/legs to do more things with ~ every mothers dream. Then there's the whole Girl Power thing, Hannibal Lector has nothing on some of these dames. Some of them can even multiply without doing the dirty, now that is weird and not neccesarily desirable.

I really only have one complaint. I've never met a skinny anorexic Kate Moss version. DO THEY HAVE TO EAT AND THEN SO MUCH?! I really hate that.

What got me going in the first place? This great article by Lambert Smith from Insecta on the little suckers to your left. I found it on Gardening in South Africa. But methinks I'm one step ahead. This weekend after burying the bananas I planted Pennyroyal under my roses. Apparently ants don't like it. So their aphid herding days are numbered!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pay It Forward

This is a great idea doing the blog rounds. I discovered it via Freshly Found and see that Skinny LaMinx is also in. I followed it back as far as I could to here and then out of curiosity I googled it to here. So without further ado:

"I will send a handmade gift to the first 3 people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange. I don’t know what that gift will be yet and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, but you will receive it within 365 days, that is my promise! The only thing you have to do in return is pay it forward by making the same promise on your blog."
Ready, Steady, Go...

A Match made in heaven

I have finally proven that going to the hairdresser is good for the garden.

Sitting there yesterday with my roots showing, I got to catch-up on all the hairdresser reads. And lo-and-behold in the latest edition of 'Your Family' I came across these useful tips for the green-fingered. Bury bananas under your rose bushes for a potassium kick and keep the snails away by tieing copper wire around your pots. Who knew. My search through 'Glamour' wasn't quite as useful.

Friends, Romans, Countrywomen...

I've just realised that I've been an official dinkum blogger for a whole month! I never imagined that I'd have this much fun, and I never imagined the amazing people I would meet.

From my Garden corner favourites like Darlene who's blog Gardening in SA I've been following on the quiet for a while (that girl knows what she talking about) to Kathryn's Musings of a garden historian. She's been missing in action for a while but I do hope she returns shortly.
And on the creative front Heather, Denise and Jezze whose fresh designs and ideas make a visit everyday a must. To all the other occasional visitors welcome and come again.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Summer Day

Summer Day Dry Grass

Last note before the weekend. I think I am getting excited about Christmas. Everywhere I look, I see things that I just know will be perfect for someone I love. Skinny LaMinx is another favourite of mine and she's just brought out this new design called Summer Day. Again I might have to buy two.

Summer Day Poppyseed

Freshly Found

Denise this ones for you, may the garden fairies smile on you and I hope you don't mind me borrowing the pic.

As you know I've been following Freshly Found closely. She's had quite an 'interesting' week and has unexpectedly found herself with more water than she bargained for. So I set out to try and come up with a solution to her little problem.

And again as we all know a problem is really just an opportunity waiting to be grasped. See below. (Here I have to ad that I googled water feature & I liked this guys thinking.)

Beautiful water features from green solutions landscaping
Wonderful Water!

Including water in a landscape design not only increases property values by up to 10%, but it can transform the most ordinary garden into something spectacular.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wild Iris

This weekend I came accross this delightful little book at Stark Eyers. Perfect for a Christmas present. In fact so delightful that I had to have one too so I bought two, you know, in case no-one thinks of it for me. Tongue in cheek but full of really useful stuff it soon had me giggling and planning a beer garden. But more on that later.

Wild Iris's Herbal Handbook

Illustrated and written by Sandy Mitchell (see her illustrations on her site) who is clearly great at juggling. (mom, business woman, herbal agony aunt & general fundi, illustrator amonst others) I'm green.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Now you see me, now you don't

I came home yesterday to a mystery.
My much written about rose geranium twig has gone missing.

Short of stature with green eyes and brown stem. Last seen she was wearing 6 bright new leaves. Personally my money is on an alien abduction. (I just know that the garden service couldn't possibly have committed such a heinous crime.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Skeletons in my closet.

This is a post to those dear and departed, who came into my garden full of life and unfortunately left under duress. I would like to offer my condolences to their families and give them my assurance that I will do my utmost not to repeat the mistakes that have lead to their tragic early demise.

The Greatful Dead

Yours sincerely

H. Bottomley

Monday, November 5, 2007

Monday Blues?

Just remember there's always someone out there who is worse off.

The other half live...perfectly

On Saturday I tootled off with my camera to an open garden in Bishopscourt held by an artist in aid of St. Lukes. I dutifully paid my Entrance fee and was handed my tea ticket. And then I wandered in and into another world.

A beautiful formal garden with loads of lavender beds interrupted by serene scenes of bronze cheetahs and buck grazing beneath the trees.

Then there where the gazebos, and the beds in blue and white. Climbing roses drooping with big beautiful apricot heads and more lavender.
Even the 'veggie patch' was beautiful. I saw no bugs, only bees, and looking down a mud patch on my knees.

Clipped hedges with not a hair out of place...well maybe one.

And I suddenly felt much better.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Yesterday I had such a nice comment from Freshly Found who is starting to rival my addiction to coffee. Today as usual I went for my hit and found this great link to Jezzeblog. I am always struck by how much of our inspiration comes from the natural shapes and colours that surround us and how we re-interpret them.

Here is my take on a starfish as paving. If you stop to think about it ,we're really a very funky species. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The guy next door

Is clearly doing better than me as far as creepers go. This is his honeysuckle seen from my side.

It's a bit early for a retrospective, but going back through my posts since I started, I realised that it all looks so 'perfect'. In real life my garden resembles our beautiful country in many ways. Gorgeous & spectacular in many ways but with large arid areas (which have their own interesting charm).

Certainly popular opinion would have the bad guys out numbering the good ten to one and I wouldn't be anywhere else for the world.
So I've undertaken to fess-up slowly.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sex Sells

Or so they say, and I need someone to notice my predicament and come to the rescue.In the last week it's become clear to me that my garden is being eaten alive. So I went hunting for the culprits with my camera. Bug mugshots if you like. This is what I found.

Under every bush, behind every leaf they're all at it and judging by my garden it's not safe sex either. I'm compiling a hitlist as we speak. What I need help with is environmentally friendly ways to dissuade this kind of behaviour and the resultant rise in population.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Sweet, Sweetpeas.

Last year I planted Sweetpeas and they loved the spot I chose for them. So much so that they've come back on their own this year before I had time to put trellises up. So they're creeping ground covers.

With great joy my little girl went 'shopping' yesterday.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Cape Doctor

I woke up feeling like this.

That is what we call the South Easter here and it's arrived in style. Starting early summer (October) and lasting until Feb/March it howls around every corner, lifting skirts Marilyn style, hanging plastic bags from fences, making birds fly backwards, painting Cape Town in dusty colours and generally ruffling everyones feathers. My poor garden is fried.
(By the way if you are into colour have a look at ColourLovers a site I found through Viva.)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Colour Swatch

This collection of colour is inspired by this weekends find.

You're never too old to learn II

I have to say the popularity of my snack has been a bit of a surprise. Suddenly I'm very aware of the power of the web and feel all exposed. (The irony isn't lost on me.)

The real Kusmalva I suspect

Making popular pitas isn't all I was up to though. I went hunting for Pelargoniums of the fynbos family in the veld around my neighbourhood. And I think I've returned with egg on my face.

I found this speciman which I suspect is the real Kusmalva (Coast Geranium in plain Afrikaans). Why? Because it's clearly a Pelargonium and I found it in the veld next to the sea. Sometimes it doesn't pay to fight the obvious.

The problem I'm left with is, what on earth does it make my gardens variety? So I won't quit my day job just yet as I'm clearly not a horticulturist of note.