Sunday, July 10, 2011

Camellia in flower

I can't claim that I've had much luck with the single camellia plant in my garden. And no wonder. Judging by the information I read after acquiring the plant in my local nursery, camellias are a tad demanding. They are a slow grower, a host of pests love them, they need to be pruned a little after flowering. Not that I ever did that in the four years I had it - it seems so small anyway... Which might be why so many leaves of my camellia tend to turn yellow, causing me heart ache when I have to tear them off.

Then there is some delicate operation (called gibbing) that you are supposed to do to the buds if you suspect that they will not flower. I never did them, naturally, and witnessed a season or two without any of those beautiful, large blooms.

But this July my camellia did not disappoint me. It developed some lovely - alas, all to short lived! - flowers. What a sight in an otherwise rather drab winter garden!


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The big picture

Gardens change constantly, mostly because the gardener cannot let it be. At least I can't. My garden went through many metamorphosis; some came about because new plants were introduced, some because old plants died, and some because I keep moving plants about. I am currently contemplating moving the golden-leafed bushes from the mid-section to one of the corners... In any case, this is how my 10 x 4 metres garden looks now (more or less - in this collage, most of the flowering plants are in bloom, which is not strictly true for this time of the year):

And here is the list of my plants, more or less as they appear in the image, clock-wise:
  • Fern
  • Ardisia crenata (In poor condition - I'll give it a couple of years.)
  • Chicken and hen
  • Cat’s tails (There are three of them! For a while, I was in love with this plan. Not so sure any more.)
  • Mint 
  • Azalea (Two lovely azalea bushes, one dark pink and the other a lighter pink.)
  • Day lily (The only plant still surviving from the original garden - not that there were many when I moved in some six or seven years ago.)
  • Echeveria (Lovely little plants - I only wish birds would not peck at them, disfiguring their leaves.)
  • Japanese maple (My pride and joy.)
  • Geranium (One pink and two red - the latter are a beauty to behold when they flower - which happens rarely in my garden)
  • Yesterday today and tomorrow (Three years on, and it is still a midget... Buy I am still hoping.) 
  • Jasmine (An absolute beauty.)
  • Camellia (Not all that robust in my garden - and very loath to flower. But when it does!...)
  • Duranta sheena gold (Undemanding and refreshing to the eye.)
  • Plumbago (Going strong, and I am constantly picking its sticky flowers out of my hair.)
  • Strawberry (Love to munch them, if the birds do not get to them first.)
  • Erigeron daisy (The closest I could find to camomile flowers.)
  • Camomile (Not at all like wild growing camomile from my childhood - but the fragrance is still lovely.)
  • Oleander (A baby oleander, really.)
  • Salvia / sage (Beautiful flowers.)
  • Rosemary (The parent plant did not survive, but four or five of its progeny are growing strong.)
  • Lemon thyme (Looks nice, smells nice too.)
  • Australian bush cherry (My attempt at topiary.)
  • Ground covers: pratia, penny royal, Irish moss, peace in the house, and some others I cannot identify any loner (Constantly fighting each other for supremacy, with a little help from me. Currently, I am biased towards Irish moss and pratia, though trying to keep the latter out of the peace-in-the-house domain.)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Jasmin, spring 2010

Gasp! I just realised that I neglected to post the images of my beloved jasmin as it looked this spring, in September 2010. Alas, its flowering season is so short, but the memory lives on... Every morning when I woke up I used to bury my face into the delicate fragrant white flowers. Till next spring!

Plumbago, growing upwards

Unlike normal gardeners, I do not grow my plumbago as a bush or a hedge, but as a climber. I read somewhere that plumbago plant, if given a chance, will cling onto a tree and grow upwards. In fact, I have seen the blue plumbago flowers peering high up from among tree leaves while driving in Northern suburbs of Johannesburg.

And since I have a bare wall (lots of bare walls, actually) in my garden and since one of them features now unused hooks (they were positioned there to hold my old washing line, but that’s another story), I decided that the combination was ideal for making my newly acquired plumbalo plant go up.

When I brought it home from the nursery, my plumbago plant did not look very promising. I had done what I promised to myself I’ll never do again: I had bought an inferior specimen, simply because it was the only one available and I was too lazy to make a trip to another nursery.

But my scruffy plumbago lived up to its reputation of surviving almost anything and soon started sprouting new growth. As the branches extended, I tied them up and up, until they reached respectable height. I find that now, three or four years later, they look quite decorative against the West facing wall of my garden.

It is worth repeating that the chalky, white residue that can appear on older plumbago leaves is not a pestilence, but a natural feature of the plant. You may read more about that in this entry.

My plumbago then (about one year old)...

...and now: