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.

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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

Kirstenbosch Exhibit at Chelsea

The time just continues to fly – not only is it June already, but the 2010 World Cup is upon us! It was always just something that was going to happen in the future when we were hopefully going to be ready for it! Well, it has been a wonderful experience – just proving once again that South Africa and South Africans are amazing! There is nothing that we cannot do together if we put our minds to it. Ayoba!
Well back to what my blog is all about……..gardening and all things garden related.
May is the time I try and go to The U.K. to see my daughter and help at the Kirstenbosch Exhibit at the Chelsea Flower Show if possible.
My break in England was wonderful. I was able to help at Chelsea for about 5 days. A really special experience. The design was excellent. David Davidson and Raymond Hudson do us proud each year. This year was rather more stressful than usual however, as the plant material/fynbos and proteas etc were held up at Heathrow for 3 days. This meant that the flowers were enclosed in the container (not in coldstorage) without water for an extra 3 days. By the time they reached us the plants were not happy and we were seriously running short of time to set up the exhibit. Needless to say David and Ray still managed to produce a medal winning exhibit – with all of us ‘handlangers’ scurrying around helping where possible and Sarah Struys seeing that everything ran smoothly. We literally had to be ‘tagged’ to get in and out! Well done Sarah as that was no mean feat. If you would like to see photos of the Kirstenbosch Exhibit at Chelsea follow the link, view the photo album, and then click on Linda’s Gallery and view the other 3 Chelsea albums.

June 24, 2010 at 9:29 pm Leave a comment

The Paradise Flycatcher

What a wonderful surprise………this year we were not treated to just the occasional flash of beauty as the Paradise Flycatcher darted by, but by at least 3 of them at times. I think there was a bit of competition as to which male was the most presentable!  Well once things were finally settled and the unhappy ‘other’ male dispatched,  we were privileged to be able to observe the most wonderful display of nest-sitting and rearing of the young.  They chose a spot that was so exposed to the comings and goings of people – I was quite amazed that they didn’t seem to worry about us at all.  Both the male and female birds were equally involved in the routine of nest sitting and feeding.  It was lovely to watch them. The photos are not great.  The nest were a bit far away for my little camera and also on a rather ‘wavy’ branch.

Please click on the photos to get a larger image.  Look for the male bird’s tail feathers – they go right up to the edge of the photo.  For some detail and better photos of the Paradise Flycatcher.

Dad feeding them

December 6, 2009 at 9:00 pm Leave a comment

The Fernkloof Flower Show

This year the format for the show was a bit different.

There were no show gardens on display or outside nurseries selling their plants.

The display in the main hall was a veld scene designed by David Davidson and Riaan, with a few suggestions from me!   David, Riaan and the Fernkloof team did the hard landscaping – ‘creating a pathway through the veld with the signposts dipicting the names of the people who have served Fernkloof so faithfully over the years’.  A beautiful photographic backdrop was mounted on the back wall.  The photograph was taken by Pat Millar.  The next stage was creating the floral display.  As always David’s creation was beautiful.  I have learned a huge amount from David and have so enjoyed working with him.

There were so many members of the Fernkloof Flower Show that did a wonderful job of picking, cataloguing and displaying the plants that were flowering in the reserve.  The amount of knowledge is simply awesome  – in the true sense of the word!  There will be photos on their website, but if you wish to view my photographs of the Fernkloof Flower Show then follow this link.

December 6, 2009 at 7:04 pm Leave a comment

Beautiful Hellebores

These are one of my favourite flowers.  I really love it when they flower in the winter.

Hellebore creamy white

White Hellebore with shades of green

They have the most beautiful ‘faces’ and they are always a wonderful surprise when you lift them up and gaze into them.  I have a number of different colours and shades in the garden, with my originals coming from Archie’s Plants in Johannesburg.  They cross pollinate very happily and the seedling flowers are always a surprise.

Hellebore growing under the trees

Hellebore growing under the trees

Hellebores floating in a bowl as a table centre piece.

Hellebores floating in a bowl as a table centre piece.

They don’t keep well in water unless you cut a short stem and float them in a bowl of water – then they look lovely and their ‘faces’ are perfectly presented.

For more information on Helleborus hybrids and how to grow them go to  http://www.hellebores.org/helleborushybridus.html

September 6, 2009 at 7:27 pm Leave a comment

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