Sunday, 26 February 2017
Sunday, 8 January 2017
One of our favourite haunts, where we have been going for about 17 or 18 years, is the 'Boomhuisie' (meaning Treehouse) Tea Garden and restaurant in Viljoen Street, Krugersdorp-North (Gauteng, South Africa). They are obviously succulent-lovers and have some of the biggest Barrel cacti I have ever seen. The one above is about half a meter wide and very healthy-looking.
I've had my Barrel Cactus for over 15 years and it is only half the size of these, so I can just imagine how old they are!
Graptoveria "Fred Ives" sharing space with some Echeverias
A collection of cacti
A sign greeting one as you enter the garden - Image credit
Part of the garden overlooking the Koi pond - Image credit
A walk through the garden
A walk past the Koi pond
The Koi pond contains a large number of Koi, some of them almost a meter long!
One of the inside dining rooms - Image credit
The décor is an eclectic mix of vintage and artsy-fartsy creativity - Image credit
The treehouse in one of the large Jacaranda's, from which the tea garden derives its name
Just enjoying! Image credit
Sunday, 1 January 2017
I don't normally make any New Year's resolutions, but here is one that can serve all of us well! May you scatter joy and happiness wherever you go all 365 days of the upcoming year and get the same in return. Happy New Year to you!
Thursday, 29 December 2016
Aloe ferox youngsters in my garden having survived another winter
Have you ever jumped the gun and then regretted it afterwards? Well, that's what happened to me! A couple of months ago we were in the process of selling our smallholding, something we've been thinking of for a couple of years now, planning retirement and all that, and apart from having to have a massive clean-up of all the stuff one accumulates over 38 years of living in one place, one of my biggest worries was all my succulents - those in the garden were OK, but I had dozens of succulents and cacti in pots and it was impossible for me to take all of them with me. After a short search I was lucky and blessed enough to find another succulent-lover who was thrilled to take all of them off my hands.
Now, here's the thing - the sale fell through! (Much to my relief, I must say, as in the process of selling we suddenly realised what we are leaving behind and we fell in love with our life and our smallholding all over again! One doesn't realise what you have until you lose it, or almost lose it, right?)
This new planting was just coming along nicely and the Aeoniums on the left were some of my favourites.
This Echeveria elegans was also just starting to flower for the first time in in about the 4 years I had it
Another first, this Haworthia cooperii var Transiensis was also pushing up it's first tiny little flowers
My only consolation is that I still have a few succulents and cacti left in the garden and it would be easy to take cuttings and start a new collection. But here's the question : do I want to start another potted collection again? At first, after they were all gone, I felt empty and lost, no daily routine of checking up on all of them, spotting new growth and new flowers and softly chatting to each and every one. All their small watering cans are standing empty, calling out for something to water.
But on the other hand, it's also very liberating to not constantly be worried about them and rushing outside to bring them under cover every time it starts hailing. So, for now, I'll be chatting to all my succulents and cacti in the ground in the garden, checking on them daily and giving them some special attention!
Thursday, 1 December 2016
Nature and her bounty is a wonderful thing. My garden, and the succulents in particular, have benefited greatly from all the rain we've been having. The Echverias (E. imbricata) absolutely love all the water (provided there is good drainage) and they have turned into saucer-sized (a big one!) beauties!
However, as bountiful as she gives, she can also take. We've been having extreme hail storms over the past couple of months and although most of my succulents suffered no damage at all and really seemed to thrive afterwards, the tender (huge!) Echeverias bore the brunt of all that pummelling. Some of the hail stones were as big as golf balls.
Hail damage to my Echeverias (E. imbricata)
Shortly after all the hail, just about all the succulents started flowering profusely, making for a wonderful display.
Echinopsis cactus flowers
Epiphyllum crenatum (Litroos)
Mammilleria Cactus Flowers
Rattail cactus flowering
It always amazes me that, no matter how much I water the garden, even after just a few millimeters of rain, everything is lush and green. And it's actually no surprise - Rainwater contains nitrate – the most bio-available form of nitrogen. Nitrogen is one of the three key macro-nutrients that plants need to thrive – necessary for the development of lush foliage. Rainwater is 100% soft water. Free of the salts, minerals, treatment chemicals, and pharmaceuticals that are found in municipal water, groundwater, and surface water, rainwater is pure hydration.
Rainwater is slightly acidic—naturally! Green gardeners know that most organically grown plants prefer soil pH levels between 5.5 and 6.5. This is on the acidic side of the neutral pH 7, and by nature’s design, it is the exact pH range for rainwater. Tap water, on the other hand, is treated to be alkaline to protect metal pipes from corroding, and can have a pH level upwards of 8.5.
So there you have it - if you want your succulents to thrive, try and gather rain water in barrels and use that to water your potted succulents. Stored rainwater contains some organic matter. If collected from your rooftop, rainwater contains traces of organic material, like leaf litter, pollen, bird droppings and the like, which are great for your plants.
Monday, 26 September 2016
Reasons Succulents Are The Best Plants Ever
They are low maintenance
they come in all kinds of colours
They're fat and happy
They like hanging out
They can live in teacups or anywhere else
they regularly have babies
You can use their cuttings to make more succulents
The succulent grows in symmetry,
Budding as a flower,
Reaching for moisture,
And sunlight every hour,
She waits in peace for loving,
Someone to grow beside,
Hopeful in the waiting,
With no shade to hide behind,
But then, a plant is placed by her,
A quiet friend to greet,
So, now they'll grow in harmony,
Until their purpose is complete.