Friday, June 2, 2017

June; a winter-garden;

Life means more than just being alive. Ts

The softest pink of the morning sun makes the darkest corner glow. Ts

Variegated, dark red Bougainvillea begins to flower now, a flamboyant winter's treat.

Here a pretty pink C.sasanqua growing since many years in the garden. Always a pleasure to see. These are such easy shrubs/trees, no fuss at all.

Colourful leaves are welcome any time. Especially when they are as easily grown as cordylines.

I am asked:"What is winter like in the subtropics?" Sunny, warm days and cool nights. Sometimes the winter witches are let loose and then the wind blows cold, the landscape looks eerie and bland for a day or two mostly three or four and I can't wait until dust motes dance again in the warming morning sun.


Brugmansia; Angels Trumpets;  The plant may grow to a tree and flowers many times of the year with an abundance which amazes me every time. They scent the air at night and early morning. It is just one of those plants you don't want to miss in your garden.

Nature’s might we do not fully understand,  we are overwhelmed and saddened by its 
relentless reasons of cruelty, or we are awestruck by its actions of beauty and serenity. Ts


Dendrobium Orchids are very easy to grow preparing themselves now to flower in September.

Trees are the perfect place to grow many different kinds of Orchids be it in pots or  holding on to branches with their roots.

Pretty Gerberas,  this is one of the old breeds. growing very well in all conditions in the garden.The new hybrids do not last in my garden.

A modest garden contains for those who know how to look and to wait,
more instruction than a library.
Henri Frédéric Amiel 1821 - 1881


Iceberg rose in the wintry, early morning sun. Everything looks the same despite a big shadow has settled over the garden.  It is absurd but a timeless time,we can not see or touch, heals everything to a certain extend. With every family member you lose settles a bittersweet memory.

No winter without annuals in pots, here Petunia, Daisies violas and carnations.

No winter blog post without my favourite Monsieur Tillier. The rose bush has grown very big full of bud and roses in a steady continuation. In winter the flowers are big. In the summer's heat they are tiny and not growing and flowering as profusely as they do now.
I love the old antique roses, their history and beauty, lived through centuries and looked after by dedicated people.

...and then there is this, as a garden never sleeps, at least this is the case in the subtropics..

and this, palm fronds torn to pieces by my JR Bobby.


Pretty and odd, Malaviscus penduliflorus, with brilliant red flowers, also known under the names of Turk's cap which might be not politically right anymore, but I could not care less what the right, left or centre dictate; also known as sleeping Hibiscus which is rather sweet. For all I know it is a tough floriferous shrub. It may grow quite tall if not pruned.
I like it!

Morning dew blushes the  flowers of Euphorbia millii.

I am an early morning person, even in Winter I love to see the first rays of the sun, here gilding the last colourful leaves of a Persimmon tree.The fence is the boundary for the chickens. Many fruit trees are in the chicken yard, as they will eat all the fallen fruit.

Poinsettias are a real winter treat and make a splendid show for many month with their  beautifully  coloured leaves.

This morning;

Brilliant sunrise.

Sunrise begins
Sunset ends
the day
We see the light
We see the dark
In-between we hear our story
A little spark of happiness
Or silence
Our journey with the light and the dark. Ts

continued ...

©Photos and stories from the garden Ts 

Monday, May 1, 2017

Oh's Mayday, it's Mother's day...

it's Father's day, i'ts Children's day, its Everyday,
always flowers from the garden.

Ended the last month with roses  and start this month with roses, as this, the time of roses, at least in my garden.

Crépuscule is a reliable rose bred by Francis Dubreuil in France in 1904. It is a Noisette, one of the Old Garden Rose categories.

In my garden practically flowering through out the year. With its decorative small clusters, Crépuscule creates a beautiful rose display with intense, sweet, Old Rose fragrance.

Crépuscule can grow into a very large tall shrub rose up to 4m high and 2 to 4m wide. It is also capable of a semi-climbing habit and can be trained against a trellis or along a fence. Crépuscule is orange, fading to apricot-yellow; the name is French for “twilight”, very apt given its colour reminiscent of sunset.

Quickly to repeat to flower, richly fragrant and very disease resistant; these attributes ensure that Crépuscule is for sure a favourite rose in my garden.

Harvested Jaboticaba. These cherry like fruit are absolutely delicious. These had the perfect ripeness and sweetness. Even the fairly tough skin could be eaten. They are like little health bombs; one fruit contains:
Jaboticaba fruit is low in carbohydrates. It is a rich source of vitamin C and also contains other vitamins like vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and folic acid. Minerals like calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, copper, manganese and zinc are also present in this fruit. In addition to vitamins and minerals, Jaboticaba is also a good source of several amino acids, fatty acids and many powerful antioxidants that have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.

Studies reveal that Jabotica peel is a high source of dietary fiber and phenolic compounds (anthocyanins) that have potent antioxidant properties. Jabuticaba along with its Myrtaceae family fruits have high content of ellagitannins. Jaboticaba peel has one of the highest content of ellagic acid. Anthocyanins content increases with ripening of the fruit.

Also made shortbread biscuits today. Recipe from the "Great Dixter Cookbook"
As I have a habit to change recipes to suit me,  I used a bit less butter and added  some white wine to moisten the dough.
350 g plain flour, 175 g Rice flour,  175 g of caster sugar and I used 300g butter instead of 350 g but added  1/3 cup of white wine. Mix  it all together  and roll out on baking paper. Bake 180 C for around 30 min. Cut the shortbread  while still hot but leave it on the tray until cool. The bikkies are delicious.

OK I think that's it for today. 
I worked for about 4 hours in the herb garden, cleaning up. Not yet finished, as there is so much to do. It already looks much better again. 

Many herbs find any nooks and crannies to lodge their seed. Here Mexican Tarragon has seeded into the gaps of the concrete tiles.

Love, whose month is ever May,
Spied a blossom passing fair 
Playing in the wanton air.  

See you soon again.

When I wrote see you soon again I did not know that there was a terrible change on its way which my family and I did not expect to be so quick and final. Today is already the 25. of May and I was not able to continue the garden in May. Today I make myself to continue...

If nature is not broken in its core it has the great tendency to bounce back. This Dahlia was battered and crushed by rain and wind, when Cyclone Debbie was let loose. I thought it might take a year to recover if it does recover at all.. Yet in a short time it has flowered again on crooked, broken limbs. So if nature wants it we can come out of the darkest and saddest corners and flower again.Ts

The roses were just blooming and the next day I picked them for his timeless journey.

This morning one open bloom of this Geranium winked at me and smiled; red Geraniums were Peter's favourites.


Because I could not stop for Death.  Emily Dickinson, 1830 - 1886

 Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.

We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labour and my leisure too,
For His Civility –

We passed the School, where Children strove
At Recess – in the Ring –
We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
We passed the Setting Sun –

Or rather – He passed us –
The Dews drew quivering and chill –
For only Gossamer, my Gown –
My Tippet – only Tulle –

We paused before a House that seemed
A Swelling of the Ground –
The Roof was scarcely visible –
The Cornice – in the Ground –

Since then – ‘tis Centuries – and yet
Feels shorter than the Day
I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
Were toward Eternity –

Today is the last day of autumn. May went and left its mark, I will never forget. I take now every day as it comes, slowly, after my motto "tomorrow is another day". Cooler nights and mornings, brilliant sunny days...winter in the subtropics.

All the pictures were taken this morning around 11AM 31/05/2017 in my garden.

Late autumn and winter provide fresh lemons and Oranges like Washington Navel.

Hibiscus Fiji

One of the newer Poinsettias. This one has a subtle powder pink  middle, very pretty. Received this plant from my daughter Lilli.

The lovely, tough Pentas flower through all the seasons.

A look over the fence.
Miss V's Oak leaf Poinsettia is again in full flower,
 and her giant Eucalyptus tree, soaring into the sky, home of Koalas.

Pretty Poinsettia  "Snowflakes";

There is still a blue banded bee enjoying the new flowers of Salvia "Majestic Towers".

Can not think of a winter in the subtropics without remembering a brilliant blue sky and pink Bougainvillea.

Tomorrow is winter;

Succulent Donkeys Ears, flowering on tall stems. Kalanchoe gastonis bonnierii.

Flowers of Flap Jack; Kalanchoe thyrsifolia.;

As Dad is not here  anymore to  sow and plant  vegetables, which he enjoyed in his own regimental and scientific way, the girls will help  with planting and harvesting.  I am sure Peter would be happy to know that his vegetable garden is still in full production  and very much appreciated.

In the Kitchen garden department sugar peas are growing  plus many brassicas, onions, aubergines  and tomatoes.

Fennel and Kohlrabi are also ready to be planted out.

Even in the subtropics, winter is a time for comfort food. Thick soups and apple pies. The days are short. It is the time for invitations to share food and stories, Ts

Red Plumbago in full regalia climbing up and mingling with long fingers into the next tree.

Pretty Vriesia catching the sun.

Finishing May with the pink roses of Monsieur Tillier. An old rose bush brilliant for the subtropical rose garden.

Next entry will be in June. Stay tuned and enjoy your life. Take care.

Poetry used by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of Amherst College from The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Ralph W. Franklin ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1998 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.

Photos/Text #myGARDEN Ts

Monday, April 3, 2017

APRIL arrived with cyclonic winds and lots of rain.

Early morning in the garden.

It is always hands on in this garden. Still needs a lot of cleanup from the last storm. 

I have also ordered a few new - old Tea roses,  as some of my roses had their swansong last year. They will be delivered at the beginning of June.

General Gallieni; Old Fashioned fragrant Tea  rose from 1899. It needs a frostfree position and will  produce blooms all year round. Happy in sun or shade, cupped fragrant flowers are a coppery red blend of salmon, apricot, pink, yellow and maroon. Olive green foliage. Height : 1.2m

Amelia Anderson; a pillar Tea Rose. Lightly scented, creamy – mauve to pink. Classic buds open to very full blooms with a muddled peony like centre. Recurrent. 2.5m x 1.2m.

Jean Ducher;  an elegant old tea rose; 1873, shrub, continuous flowering, scented, tolerates small amount of shade, some thorns, . Soft peachy-pink blooms

Marie Van Houtte; 1871
 large, globular flowers of lemon yellow, deeper in the center, with pinkish lilac suffusing the tips of the petals. Its dark, shiny  foliage is a good foil to the light flowers. 

St.Francis Xavier;

Rosette Delizy; 1922
 reaching no more than 1.2m  perfect for the smaller garden or pots.. The strongly colored roses have centers of ocher yellow with outer petals of carmine in a neat and shapely form. The flowers have a typical Tea fragrance and are produced with satisfying regularity.

Perle des Jardins; 1874

90x60 cm, warm climate, pots, fragrant, repeat flowering

Bishop’s Lodge Riverina Sunset, a lovely, Tea Rose, pink watercolour quality in its blooms and suggests the airy, pink light in the Riverina plains at the end of a beautiful day. Very recurrent. 1.2m x 1.2m.

Riverina Sunset; 


A new lease of life after pruning and some TLC for the roses.

These hardy Salvia plants have flowered through the hot, dry summer and it seems they do not want to stop. I give them a haircut from time to time, a bit of organic fertilizer, like mulch and a little water and off they go and do their flowering stuff on and on.
The pink one I received as a cutting and I am not sure of its name, as there are so many similar ones. 
The blue/purplish Salvia is known under the odd and awkward name of Mystic Towers.


Autumn in the subtropics is not a good bye to flowers or a welcome to rust flecked leaves. It is like a rehearsal of another spring, especially when the rain gods had a change of mind with their magic wand, plants get a new lease of life, show their lust for life and continue to flourish like their was no change of season. Autumn in the subtropics is welcome with its softer sunlight, its cooler nights and lets wear woolly socks as the spoiled for heat shiver in the slightest breeze. Ts

This part of the back garden was nearly dead this summer as it was so dried out, now in autumn after the rain it got a new lease of life. Tall tropical Salvia and Brillantaisia shrub can not wait to show of  soon their best flowers in colours of purple and pink.

When Mrs Bolton, Azalea/Rhododendron cross shows her best side I know it is the season called autumn.

Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, Flapjack, Paddle plant, 
desert cabbage, it thrives under the most funny names. It is just about to flower. I love its mealy appearance, big, bold leaves red around the rim, intensified in the cool season. 

I hope you enjoy the plants photographed yesterday. 


A beautiful Autumn day.

Diversity in the garden. Plants can live happily together.

Native Palms Bangalow and Alexandra Palm leaves mingle with a tall  growing Hibiscus schizopetalus with its attractive red flowers and different coloured leaves of  climbing Philodendron. I enjoy how easily plants in general fit together without planning. Ts

April is colourful, it sparkles  with pink and golden yellow, purple, blue and hues in between. Sure the days are getting shorter, the heat and humidity are dismissed to make  working in the garden very agreeable. Some plants have outgrown their welcome an d need pruning for next spring. Some plants say goodbye and leave some seed for their rebirth. Glossy foliage turns dull before returning to earth, Flower petals  artistically  carpet the place where they have spend  their glory days in summer. What has flourished slowly integrates into the earth again to nourish the next generations of plants. Fragments of fading light highlight leaves, buds and flowers until early darkness enfolds the garden into its nightly caress. Ts

Tall, tropical Salvia Pink Iceicle

This Salvia may soar over 2 m tall, in its build-up to its autumn/winter blooming period.  Its flowers of soft pink not that often seen in Salvias. An involucrata-type plant, it was a seedling discovered in Australia. It likes to grow in a sunny position. Prune it back after flowering in late winter and fertilize at the same time. It might be beneficial to also prune back hard in early summer to control its size. Propagate from cuttings taken in spring or autumn.

Abutilon x hybridum – Pink (Flowering Maple / Chinese Lantern). Exotic large shrub that has
pink flowers which occur All Year It has green foliage and prefers a part-full sun position in a general soil. Height:1.8 to 2 Width:1 to 1.5.
Much loved by honey eaters in my own garden.

Camelia sasanqua, tiny single petals. It is the first Camellia to flower in my garden together with Camellia setsugekko, single white flowers. Sasanquas are really easy to grow. They grow in clay and are never watered besides rain. S. can be grown in full sun. Mine are in dappled shade under tall trees. 

Tropical Salvia  like Pink Iceicle. 

Tropical Salvia Madrensis.

Pineapple Salvia /gladioly

Ruellia squarrosa

Self seeding Chia/Salvia


Oh, so pretty, old China Rose "Old Blush"
has slept more or less over the hot, humid  and very dry summer.
Now it has recovered and the bush is full of petite, double flowers, each bud opens to a little treasure with a fine fragrance and subtle water colours.


Pots are part of any garden, filled with some favoured plants or empty, perhaps ready for something new. I don't like plastic pots I prefer terracotta.

Geraniums love the cooler season. They languish in the hot and humid summer. 

The pretty new growth of a succulent called "donkey ears" Kalanchoe gastonis bonnierii.

“April hath put a spirit of youth in everything. 

William Shakespeare
 Who could ever say something so positive and nice, better than the great thinker and poet W.S.


quickly a few more April pictures

No one will argue that our native flora is absolutely special and beautiful. Callistemon/Bottlebrushes.

Always liked the easy going and always good looking Tree aloe. 

Behind another one with very fleshy and spiny leaves, already in flower.

Good by April  💚

Fresh, shiny leaves and lots of buds on Camellia japonica "Drama Girl"

Euphorbia millii since many years in my garden, happily, in bloom for most of the year.

Finishing with Rose crepuscule who is ready to show her best side.


See you tomorrow, May be...

Believe it or not;
After April, May arrives, as simple as that, no effort at all we  just say good by April, Hello May.

©Photos/Text Ts #mygarden