Beautiful Birds

One of the things I love about my garden are the birds. I tend to just enjoy having them around and chatting to them when they are hopping around me while I am working in the garden. If I happen to have my camera with me when they are around I will attempt to take a picture, but I don’t have the lens to do a good job so my photos tend to be a bit of a hit and miss affair. We quite often have visitors in the garden who love photographing the birds. At Open Gardens we had a couple who took some wonderful photos of the Paradise Flycatcher. They returned later and took some equally wonderful photos of the Batis. They kindly sent me some of their pics which they were happy for me to put on the Blog. I’m sure you will enjoy them as much as I do.

Female Paradise Flycatcher


Male Paradise Flycatcher on nest


The male and female Cape Batis.


The female Batis with a bee

Many thanks to Matthew & Mary Ann Syphus for their lovely photos.

January 11, 2011 at 9:42 pm Leave a comment

December weddings

December is always a very busy month in every way, and it seems to be the ideal month for weddings! My last wedding before Christmas included flowers for the guest house as well as for the actual wedding day. This was quite a challenge – luckily it was spread over 2 days to accommodate the arrival of the guests and then the wedding the following evening. The theme was fynbos. I used a yellow pin cushion and 2 different varieties of protea. There wasn’t a great choice of either protea or pin cushions as with a lot of the varieties of both, December seems to be a bit of an in between time. Here are some of the photographs. If you would like to view more photographs of the flowers go to my picasa web album

January 2, 2011 at 8:19 pm Leave a comment

What an Open Garden!

We were hoping to have more visitors this year and we certainly were blessed with lots and lots! Many thanks to everyone who came to visit and especially all those who come back just about every year. It is always lovely to see familiar faces – I’m even getting some names right! Life is so busy for everyone that the Open Gardens ‘Event’ does at least get everyone out here. Many thanks also to the friends who came to swell the numbers and give support and especially to those that come and help in the garden every year – you are amazing. I know my children will be saying ‘what about us?’ Thanks guys!

The weather was very kind to us this year. The first time in ages that both week-ends have come up trumps.
I was thrilled that we had some visitors that used the mobility scooter as well as the golf car. It is such a pleasure seeing people who would otherwise struggle to get around the garden enjoying the freedom the vehicles provide.

Here are some photographs of the ‘Event’

A visitor delighted with her 'Silver Tree'

Display of Leucodendrons and Leucospermums

The Heaven Scent Team ready for action.

Emma's Red Wagon


Chris taking 'Dad and the kids' for a trip round the garden

November 29, 2010 at 10:37 pm Leave a comment

Elgin Open Gardens

The seasons seem to come and go so fast. Maybe it is because there are so many specific things to do in the garden each month. I don’t know, but before you know it the correct season for pruning or transplanting or dividing or whatever, seems to have come and gone.
The same applies to Open Gardens. I always think that I will have so many things in place for Open Gardens ‘next year’, and what happens? I spend the month of October rushing around like a scalded cat trying to get things finished! Well, done it again!

Winter in the garden with Wolfie in his favorite position in the golf car.


I have tried to make things a little bit more appealing for a greater number of gardeners this year.
If you have a friend or member of the family who would enjoy the garden but is not that mobile, please remember we have a mobility scooter as well as a golf car. Both are free. I will take visitors around the garden but I can only take one person at a time as the golf car has a ‘boot/cargo box’ and not back seats.
I have worked on an activity booklet for the children so that their parents may enjoy their time in the garden more. It will most probibly cost about R8.00. I haven’t printed it yet so don’t have a final price.
For the Dads, husbands or boyfriends, who really have a limited interest in gardening, there will be cold draught beer and sandwiches on sale, which they can relax and enjoy.
I will give a light hearted talk, illustrated with photographs, of the preparations in the Grand Pavillion at the Chelsea Flower Show at 11.00am on Sunday 31st October and 11.00am on Saturday 6th November. (no charge)
Arnelia Nursery, an excellent producer of Proteas, Leucodendrons and Leucospermums, has supplied me with a lovely selection of their plants which will be on display and for sale. There are some lovely new pincushion hybrids.
As they were unloading the plants, a malachite sunbird landed on one of the pincushions – obviously thought this was ‘meals on wheels’! Anyway the flowers got his vote of approval.
There are a few plants of my favorite miniature protea, Protea scolymacephala. Arnelia has only recently started propagating it and offering it for sale, so I was thrilled that there were some left for us.

Protea scolymacephala


Also remember that the garden is home to a large number of birds, so these can also be enjoyed as you wander around the garden.
Hope to see you on the farm.

October 21, 2010 at 10:10 pm 5 comments

Wedding Flowers

I have done a number of weddings recently and have been delighted by the lovely brides that I have met. I was very dubious about doing weddings but was persuaded by some special people to do their flowers, and what a pleasure it has been – stressful (as I want the flowers to be really special!) but also very satisfying.
So……… if you want the garden flower feel or the fynbos experience I think I could be the flower person for you. I live in Elgin so the venue would have to be in easy reach.
If you tend to want things a very specific way and a very specific colour I will only be able to help within reason as I have the weather and the seasons to contend with. I do however have the support of the local commercial growers from whom I buy flowers when my garden cannot supply what is needed.
Here is a sample of my flowers:

Fynbos Wedding Bouquet April 2010 - held by me!

Garden Flowers for March Wedding Bouquet

If you would like to view more photographs of wedding flowers click on this Wedding flowers link and this Wedding flower link and this for still more.
For wrist corsages follow the link. These are fynbos wrist corsages.

October 10, 2010 at 9:10 pm Leave a comment

Glorious September garden cut flowers

Three glorious September posies

These are posies I did this week. They are all very different – one being just fynbos and the other mixes of indigenous and exotic.
The back left is made up of Protea scolymacephala and Gladiolus carneus.
The back right is the Rice Flower, Narcissus ‘Geranium’ and small arums.
The front one is Alstroemerias, Bletilla striatas and primulas.

If you would like more information and photographs of Gladiolus carneus please follow the fernkloof link. There are also lovely pictures of the scolymacephala protea

More detailed photographs of the above posies are on my Picasa Photo Album.

September 29, 2010 at 8:51 pm Leave a comment

Snails Galore!

When I tell people that we have a snail problem, and that we fill buckets of snails on a fairly regular basis, I can sense that they think I am exaggerating.
I thought I would show you this picture taken last year – the apple trees have been sawn down and the snails have collected on the tree trunks for their winter sleep! Makes collecting them so much easier!
You can imagine what they would do to a collection of bags filled with newly planted delphiniums! I just don’t grow them any more.
In the older section of the garden the problem is much less, but where we have pulled out apples trees to expand the nursery or garden, the problem is pretty severe. Try counting them!

Snails clustered on apple tree trunk.

August 28, 2010 at 2:20 am 1 comment

House and Leisure Magazine

September 2010 edition of House and Leisure


For those of you that have read the article in the September edition of House and Leisure, and would like further information on the Elgin Open Gardens please follow the link. We are featured under Route 3. It would be lovely to have lots of visitors.
If you have not read the article it would be great if you could dash out and buy a copy – although I think the October issue is now out!

The entrance fee is R5 per person with children free.
We have ample parking.
The garden is wheelchair friendly – we also have a mobile scooter for those who have difficulty walking on uneven ground (or who just want a relaxed trip around the garden). There is also a golf car for those who would like to be taken around the garden – it is fairly large! The use of the mobile scooter is free of charge as is the golf car.
We will have a display of proteas, pincushions and Leucodendrons set out. The indigenous section of the garden has been expanded to provide winter cut flowers.
Plants from the nursery will be on sale.
Posies made up from flowers picked in the garden, will also be on sale.
An ‘activity sheet’ for children to ‘discover’ things in the garden will be available at R5 each.
The garden may be used to picnic in as well.

August 26, 2010 at 8:31 am Leave a comment

August in my Heaven Scent Garden

August is a wonderful month – you have the bitter cold, the snow and the rain, and then the most glorious sunny days in between. I am always lulled into thinking winter is over and then a bitterly cold snap brings me up short and reminds me that the weather hasn’t changed, it’s just my memory!
The garden is filled with promise and some of the plants and flowers just can’t wait to explode into action. The Agathosmas (buchu) and Coleonemas (confetti bushes) didn’t wait, and have been looking lovely, alive with bees and full of flowers.

Agathosma ovata 'Glentana' in full flower.


Leucospermum 'Spider' full of buds


The Leucospermums start flowering in August. There is now a wonderful range from which to choose. I have been planting different hybrids over the last few years to see which ones suit our situation and requirements the best. The ‘Spider’ pincushion is very different from the others as it has soft ‘pins’ – so to speak! I think it is very beautiful!

Leucospermum 'Spider'


Other Leucospermum varieties that I have photographed in the garden are on my web album. Find them under Leucospermum hybrids.

August 20, 2010 at 9:32 pm Leave a comment

Late Winter flowers

When the roses get pruned, and it feels as if there really isn’t going to be anything to pick in the garden to make up all the posies and bunches that need to be done, I have this feeling of panic that creeps over me. Will I have to cancel orders or will I be able to coax enough out of the garden? I always tend to forget how privileged we are here in the Western Cape – we have the fynbos that just loves the rain and then those wonderful warm days in between when we think winter is over. Here are some pictures of posies and bunches that we put together this week. There are exotics as well but the majority of plants are indigenous.

Posy with pincushion, daisies, miniature watsonias and viburnum


There is a wonderful indigenous Tulbaghia that smells like narcissus, not garlic, and it flowers now – colours are white or lilac. It is a wonderful flower to have for the posies – both for its scent and prettiness. Its botanical name is Tulbaghia fragrans and it sends up its flower stem before it produces its leaves.

Posy with Blushing Bride, Tulbaghia, Coleonema and lavender


The flowers we are picking at the moment, include the following:
Agathosma – various varieties
Argyanthemum frutescens – various varieties,
Bulbine frutesence – yellow and orange
Chasmanthe floribunda – yellow and orange
Coleonema album and Coleonema pulchellum
Cyrtanthus mackenii – yellow and red
Dodonaea angustifolia – seed heads
Erica tenella
Euryops pectinatus
Hebe – various varieties
Hebenstretia dura – katstert
Helleborus orientalis – once they start setting seed
Lavandula dentata
Lavandula heterophylla “Margaret Roberts”
Lavandula stoechas
Leucadendron – various varieties
Leucospermum – various varieties
Statice – various
Ornithogalum longibracteatum
Protea scolymocephala
Scabiosa africana
Tulbughia fragrans
Watsonia – various colours
Zantedeschia aethiopica – white arum
Zantedeschia aethiopica ‘dwarf white’
Zantedeschia aethiopica ‘Green Goddess’

If you wish to view photographs of other posies and bunches of flowers created this month go to my Late Winter Flowers web album.

August 19, 2010 at 8:59 pm Leave a comment

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