Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A new addition to the garden

This is a new stapelia in our garden.
It is Obea variegata. The very attractive flowers do not smell nearly as bad as the other varieties we have growing in our rockery.
The plany originated in the cape region of South Africa.
This variety has a flower that is yellow and reddish brown but the flowers, even on the same plant can develop differently.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

When to Water Your Food Garden

These tips come from Timeless Herb Secrets and they are correct for our climate here in Zimbabwe:

Drying out of the soil (or water loss) begins at the top of the soil and works its way down. Because you cannot see inside the soil, you need to test your soil to see how wet or dry it is. This will tell you whether your plants need water or not.

Before you apply water, test how dry or wet your soil is by doing the 'knuckle test':
Press your finger (up to the first joint) into the soil. If you are checking a seedling tray, scratch the soil in the tray.
If your soil is dry at this level, the plants have used up all the available water, so you need to water.
If your soil is moist (damp) at this level, your plants are getting enough water and you are watering correctly.
If your soil is soggy at this level, your plants are in danger of 'drowning', and depending on weather conditions and other factors, you can miss a watering session or delay it till later in the day.

With experience you will be able to check whether your plants need water or not, just by looking at them and your soil. Whenever you are in doubt, do the knuckle test as described above.
Remember: your plants need to dry out slightly between watering sessions. Just like humans, plants do not like to have feet that are constantly wet.
Make checking the water condition of the soil part of your morning routine. When possible, water plants in the cool of the early morning because less water is lost to evaporation and this will give you the peace of mind that your crops are supplied with this vital nutrient for the day.
In very dry hot spells recheck the watering needs once more during the day. Water at any time of the day when plants show a need for it. Don't wait till the morning.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Herbs are back in fashion!

Chinese herbal group sets roots in Zimbabwe
Business Reporter
One of the world’s leading suppliers of Traditional Chinese Medicine and nutritional herbal supplements, Tasly Group, is steadily making inroads into the Zimbabwean market.Tasly Group now has four distributor shops and almost six hundred individual distributors in Zimbabwe under the title Tasly World Zimbabwe and is geared to grow its distributorship over the coming year.The Tasly products were endorsed and certified by the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe. The Authority’s Registration Committee agreed that the Tasly Group could market its products locally pending a listing exercise of herbal medicines.Tasly Group Chairman and President, Dr Xijun Yan said they derived confidence in their products on the back of the testimonies from users of the products around the globe."These products bring forth results that people are looking for. They are the result of modern technology applied to ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine Philosophy and are the perfect marriage of the modern and the time-honoured."Many people today are in search of superior nutritional herbal supplements and feel a strong desire to enjoy personal financial freedom . . . Our world class product and equally superior compensation plan demonstrate our commitment to both," said Dr Yan.The distributor shops and individual distributors are found in Harare, Gweru, Bulawayo and Plumtree and all major towns in Zimbabwe and the Tasly Marketing Plan has ensured that they now are proud owners of thriving businesses. Under the plan one pays R237 to become a distributor and they receive a business manual, product manual, a Tasly Bag, Danshen Pill — an all-use pill which is effective in improving blood circulation and hailed as the best killer of cardiovascular diseases.They also receive a badge and distributor card which can be used in any Tasly Shop around the world. Once one becomes a distributor they can now sell up to 34 Tasly products, mainly capsules and teas to individuals and pharmacies. The products include those effective for healing Alimentary Tract, cardiovascular, central nervous system, dermatology, endocrine system, genitor-urinary system, muscular skeletal system, respiratory and sensory systems. The products’ prices range from R9 to R462.The Tasly Group takes the Pan-Health industry as its orientation and the TCM as its core business. It has a portfolio of business in plantation, healthcare products, health drinking and new package industries. It grew from scratch into an international Group of companies by upholding the corporate philosophy of "Harmonising Human and Nature, Improving the Quality of Life" and adhering to the mission of modernisation and globalisation of TCM.Tasly World Zimbabwe was established in August 2006 through its first distributor Mrs Jester Makopola who has been influential in the setting up of the other three distributorships. The Harare distributorship is run by Mrs Viola Mbengwa who launched it in March this year having been introduced to it in September last year.Mrs Mbengwa said she is now able to fulfill her financial dreams thanks to the innovative Tasly marketing plan which enriches every one who registers to become a distributor.Under the plan distributors enjoy retail profit, direct bonus, indirect bonus, leadership bonus, fast developing award and honourable award.All these accolades are there to ensure that distributors play a pivotal role in pushing volumes of products for the Tasly group and in return the distributors stand to win anything between 20 percent retail profit and or tours, brand new motor vehicles or villas.Apart from Zimbabwe, The Tasly Group enjoys a presence in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Swaziland, Kenya, Cote D’Voire Egypt and Uganda. Globally it has business in all five continents.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Summer is here! We have a new gardener and almost from the moment he started the garden started to flourish again. Plants are aware of people - I am certain.

Our last garden helpers planted far too many onions - but can you have too many onions? I actually don't think so!

Maxwell knows how to look after and produce large onions so we are taking his advice.

Eggplant are on the way - we have so many avocados we virtually live on them, our tomatoes are great too - avocado and tomato salad is on the menu every day - we collect about 7 a day and they keep falling out of the tree - we have to get to them before the dogs - but as we have so many why not let the dogs eat them as well!

Strawberries have been good this year already and the raspberries are starting to come up - this year we have many more shoots from the canes and our crop should be good.

The dusty berry bushes are also looking good and now with the facility to water we should get good crops of all our berries!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The National Herbarium of Zimbabwe

The National Herbarium is an important regional herbarium housing approximately 500,000 specimens. It is the largest herbarium in the Flora Zambesiaca region and in southern Africa it ties in second place with the Compton Herbarium at Kirstenbosch, the largest herbarium being Pretoria.

The dried plant collections are subject to attack by a variety of pests and some insect damage has already occurred. Fumigation is essential at regular intervals and the latest scheduled event is now overdue.

Like most other institutions in Zimbabwe, the National Herbarium is suffering from financial difficulties at present.

In order to prevent irreparable damage to this important collection, and as the Tree Society and some of its members make use of this valuable resource, we have agreed to raise money towards covering this cost.

The (one-time) cost of the fumigation is US$ 350. Donations amounting to US$ 70 have already been received, so the outstanding amount is currently US$ 280.

Anyone wishing to donate should give such donation to the Tree Society; specifically to the Treasurer, Mr Terry Fallon (74, Lamenier Village, 4 Ridgeway North, Chisipite; tel: 481076; email: terfall@mango.zw) or to the Chairman, Mark Hyde (29, Harry Pichanick Drive, Alexandra Park, Harare; tel: Harare 745263; email: mahyde@gmail.com) or to any Tree Society Committee member.

Any overseas person wishing to donate should contact me directly to discuss how this could be done.

Receipts will be issued if requested.

May I urge everyone to make a contribution, however small, to this important matter.

Please forward this email to anyone who might be interested in helping to fund this important project.

If anyone has any questions or thoughts about this, please get in touch with me.

Mark Hyde - mahyde@pentact.co.zw
Chairman, Tree Society of Zimbabwe

Gardener’s guide to selecting non-invasive alien plants

Reproduced from the Tress Society of Zimbabwe - September Newsletter:

Do you want to make an environmentally responsible choice of plants for ornament, hedging, landscaping etc? Then consider the following guidelines in selecting species:
• DON’T select known alien species e.g. lantana (Lantana camara hort.).
• AVOID alien species that are similar to known invasive species—e.g. treat ALL species of alien acacias, inkberries (Cestrum spp.), cotoneasters, firethorns (Pyracantha spp.), lantanas etc. as potentially invasive. Substitution of a known invader with another plant having similar attributes will negate efforts to prevent further invasions.
• AVOID alien species that have fleshy fruits—many of the most troublesome invaders are spread by frugivorous birds, bats and other animals e.g. lantana, mulberry, guavas, privets, bugweed, syringa, prickly pears, queen of the night cactus, firethorns, cotoneasters, eglantine rose, brambles, ginger-lilies. Australian brush-cherry (Syzygium paniculatum is often sold as a ’good bird plant’ - and is on its way to becoming invasive!)
• AVOID alien aquatic species—all alien species that are climatically adapted have the potential to become invasive, e.g. sword plant (Echinodorus spp.)
• AVOID alien grasses—which are among the most invasive species in the world. Many spread prolifically from seed, underground stems (rhizomes) and runners (stolons). Fountain grass (Pennisteum setaceum), for example, is becoming increasingly invasive.
• AVOID alien climbers—which have a devastating effect by smothering the native vegetation; they are extremely difficult to control. English Ivy (Hedera helix) provides one good example. Cat’s claw (Macfadyena unguis-cati) is another.
• Avoid alien succulents—some of which have become the most costly and troublesome invasive species in the region, e.g. sour prickly pear (Opuntia stricta). Cacti are ALL alien in southern Africa (with the exception of a single small epiphytic forest species of Rhipsalis). The alien cacti are often confused with the indigenous euphorbias—don’t be fooled into purchasing a cactus that has been incorrectly labelled as euphorbia. Cacti have spines arising from specialized structures called areoles and the spines usually occur in clusters; they do not have a milky latex like the euphorbias. Agaves or American “aloes” with their tall flowering poles should not be confused with indigenous Aloe species with their showy, orange, red or yellow flowers.
Common misconceptions: cultivars and sterile plants
• Cultivars are OK because they can only be reproduced by cuttings, tissue culture etc. WRONG!—many cultivars e.g. variegated forms are able to reproduce by seed and their progeny revert to the original form, e.g. Chinese wax-leaved privet (Ligustrum lucidum) (there are two forms: normal and variegated). Queen of the night (Cereus jamacaru) has a monstrous form that sets seed which develops into the normal form.
• “Sterile” plants are OK because they do not reproduce from seed. WRONG!—some so-called “sterile” plants, e.g. pure yellow–and pure white-flowered, bushy lantana (Lantana camara hort.) produce fertile pollen that can cross-pollinate the normal fertile plants, as well as fertile embryo sacs that occasionally produce seed.
• The creeping, yellow Lantana cultivar Sundancer is marketed as “Lantana montevidensis”, “sterile” and “non-invasive”, however studies in South Africa and Australia indicate that it is partly L. camara, only sterile if planted in isolation, and inter-fertile with L. camara. Research in America indicates that a very similar cultivar, Goldrush, is probably a hybrid derived from the invasive Lantana camara complex and North American Lantana depressa. While there is no evidence that Sundancer and other yellow-flowered creeping lantanas are invasive, they are probably harmful in a much more subtle way—by swapping genes with the invasive lantana and adding the genes of L. depressa and possibly other Lantana species to the gene pool of the invasive, alien lantana complex, almost certainly increasing its genetic heterogeneity, hybrid vigour, resistance to biocontrol agents, invasiveness and suppression of indigenous biodiversity.
• Many sterile plants can reproduce vegetatively—from plant fragments e.g. jointed cactus, weeping willow, salvinia; others reproduce by suckering from the roots e.g. white and grey poplars; others from underground stems or rhizomes, e.g. giant reed, and from aerial tubers, e.g Madeira vine (Anredera cordifolia)
• Plants with only one sex present are OK because they can’t produce seed. WRONG! — purple pampas grass (Cortaderia jubata), for example, can produce seed without pollination (apomictic reproduction)

Reproduced (with minor editing) in the interests of science from SAPIA NEWS No. 10, January 2009.
Mark Hyde Home 745263
Cell 091 233751
Ruth Evans Home 331198
Terry Fallon Home 481076
J-P Felu Home 304916
Eva Keller Home 339368
Richard Oulton Home 870540
Mimi Rowe Home 882719

Tree Life Editor Home 302812
or bkinsey@mango.zw

The Tree Society’s e-mail address is
petra@mango.zw (Ruth Evans)

The Tree Society web site is

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Celery is one of my favourite plants - a herb and a vegetable in one.

Although our winter is not cold we still manage to produce a good crop in the garden.

Did you know that to grow longer stems you should put newspaper around the lower stems?

I use celery in everything I can - and if you get a large plant with a good bulb - it makes a wonderful dish using a cheese sauce over it.

It is detoxifier, antiseptic, a diuretic, a sedative and a general cleanser for the body.

Once it has become to old and tough to use as a culinary herb - it makes excellent compost

Monday, August 17, 2009

Growing Herbs in Zimbabwe

Growing herbs for culinary and/or medicinal use is only a pleasure - once established they need little attention - except to be watered.

Buy good quality seedlings as they are quicker and easier to handle than producing your own seedlings direct from seed. Never buy just one plant - three is a good number and then you will have a reasonable crop as well as filling up your herb garden quickly.

I like to grown herbs so that they form a mass of colour and aroma - i plant wild flowers among them to add interest.

If you follow these guide lines you will have little trouble in establishing a good supply all year round!

You should prepare the ground well in advance and remove weeds (they compete with herbs - after all a weed is only a herb no one has found a use for!), add compost, and rake the soil so that the bed is level. Herbs do not need large amounts of manure or fertiliser and excessive use will only produce soft growth.

Before transplanting your herbs out of their sleeves into the ground, water the plants well because a dry ball of roots is difficult to wet thoroughly once it is in the ground.

Because sleeves are small, herbs tend to become root bound. To encourage new root growth gently loosen the root ball before planting in the ground. Pinch out the tips of shrubby herbs, like thyme, to encourage bushy growth. Add some bone meal or fish meal at the bottom of each planting hole.

If you have designed a herb garden , first set the herbs in their positions. you may find your original plan does not quite appeal to you. It is easier to move them around while they are still in their sleeves, rather than having to transplant them later. Space them according to their expected height and spread so they have room to develop.

After planting, firm the soil gently around the plant and water thoroughly to settle the soil and give the herb a good start.

Some herbs, like the mints and thyme can be invasive. You can restrict their spread by planting them in sunken containers. Remove any spreading material immediately. unless you wish them to cover an area of soil or grow into the grass or path at the edge.

Good herb planting!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Pool

In Zimbabwe a pool is very much an essential part of the garden. ours sits outside the outdoor living area and bar. it is lovely to look at - good for swimming in (some people come during the summer to bathe in the pool as they have no water at home!) but a magnet for leaves from the trees. As we have over 60 trees - all indigenous - we have many leaves falling into the pool and it has to be cleaned twice a day - a chore my husband is always complaining about - but we are grateful for the pool - it provides us with water when we have a power cut and cannot use our bore hole, and during summer is a haven against the sweltering sun!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Wild Herb Garden

This shows what is becoming our wild herb garden. We have just started clearing and planting. In the front bed are thymes, mints chamomile etc and behind we have bulbanella, wile als and the two trees are tamarind and elder.

Quite a mixture!

Rose, lemon and oak geranium, and Rosella with lavender and a mixture of wild flowers are making up the rest of the garden. Whatever will look good here will go in and I am still collecting!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


This Euphorbia was found on a hillside at a place in South Africa called Fort Mistake. It has flourished in our garden for over twenty years. The hill side was very barren and very windy.

This plant is in a rockery and only gets water when the rains come.

It has a small yellow flower.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Aloe Arborescens

Although one of the most common Zimbabwe aloes it is also one of the most beautiful. Its lovely red flowers (some times one finds a yellow variety) are abundant in the Winter.

It has medicinal properties as well - cur early in the morning and pulverised with honey and whisky it makes a liquid which is a protection against cancer.

This plant is many years old and was replanted having been rescued from a friends garden when the left.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The herb garden

The herb gardens are now well on their way - this is the garden outside my dining room and kitchen - mainly culinary herbs - it is starting to take shape! I am still looking for more herbs and for herb seed and would like to be back to having a large number of unusual varieties!

Any idea what these are?

At about 2 pm today we noticed a swarm of insects on our rockery.

Going over to investigate we saw small wasp/bee like creatures swarming around a baobab tree.
They were non aggressive and we were able to get close to them. They did fly around us and our dogs but did not stinging anyone.

Does anyone know what they might be?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

And you thought you had a weed in your garden!


This interesting little plant grows in almost every garden - it is a common weed and many people consider it a menace as it grows in every crook and cranny. It has shiny green leaves and small white and yellow flowers. It originated in Australia. It is, however now a common Zimbabwe plant.
As it matures it appears like a small leafy umbrella.
It is an excellent treatment for skin cancer. i was taught how to use it by a farmer's wife.

One breaks off a section of the stem of the plant.
A white latex will be seen and this should be applied to the area that requires treatment.
Let the latex dry on the area to which it has been applied. One will often experience a taste of pepper in the mouth - this is normal.
The treated area will form a scab - this will heal and fall off leaving almost no scarring.
One should try and treat the area three times a day - the latex is harmless except to cancer growths on the skin.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Walbergia salutaris

The plant shown on the left is Walbergia salutaris. Although it grows in South Africa and through to east Africa - when it is known as the Peper bark tree - this plant as shown here is probably the only existing Zimbabwe plant - all the rest have been taken for 'muti' or medicine by the local people.

i outline below the interesting facts about the plant which grows in our garden:

C BOTANICAL NAME: Warburgia Salutaris
C FAMILY: Canellaceae
C COMMON NAME: Pepper-Bark Tree, fever tree
! SHONA NAME: muranga
A slender tree or round bush normally 5 to 10 meters in height with rough rich brown bark and glossy dark green, elliptic leaves which are paler green and dull on the under surface.
Flowers are white to greenish up to 7mm in diameter on their own or in a tight few flowered head.
The fruit is a berry up to 4cm in diameter - black when mature and leathery - usually appear in October/November.
The heartwood is pale green, oily and aromatic when first cut - drying darker when exposed to the air and loosing its aromatic properties.
It is not a enduring wood and therefore is not cut for any purpose other than medicine.
Its natural habitat is the Chipinge area of Zimbabwe, and to countries north of Zambia and Malawi. It also occurs in the very north east of South Africa and in Zululand. In Zimbabwe there are now no examples of this tree growing in its natural locality - one example is found in the Ruwa area and another - taken as a cutting from this tree - in Harare. The National Botanical Gardens in Harare have imported a few seedlings in hope of growing these to maturity.
This plant has been used medicinally from early times.
The red peppery, bitter inner bark is used for:

A treatment for colds.
Dried and ground to snuff it is used to clear the sinuses.
It is chewed or smoke from the burning bark inhaled for chest complaints.
Boiled in water with the roots it is considered effective against malaria.
Abdominal pains.( Bark - decoction or powder taken in porridge)
Increase in blood. (A fungus that grows on the bark is swallowed in rare cases.)
Relief of headaches - use rare. (Powder applied to cuts or nyora made on temples.)
As a universal remedy (Panacea). (Decoction taken by mouth.)
A cure for mouth sores. (Powdered and mixed with water.)
Treatment for venereal disease. (Bark decoction of bark taken in porridge.)
To cause an abortion (Decoction taken by mouth - rarely used.)

It is also given magical properties and is used in:
Divination. (The bark is boiled together with hakata and the bark chewed and spat upon the hakata.)
The bark used as incense.

The leaves are used to flavour curries and can be easily identified by their burning peppery taste. Although this usage is East African it is interesting to note that the tree can easily be identified by this particular quality.
Little attempt has been made to grow this tree under controlled conditions and as it now faces extinction it could be too later.
Cutting have been taken from the specimen in Harare and some small plants have been grown by Mr. John Cotteril in Bindura from these cuttings. A nursery in the area has also taken a selection of cuttings and we understand that these have also survived.
Further work will be done this year to propagate from cuttings and it is hoped to be able to return specimens to the wild within a few years.
COPYRIGHT O. LIND 12 October 1995 (no update except that there are no other plants growing at this date - 2009)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Succulents in Zimbabwe

Succulent gardens grace Zimbabwe - from the North to the South. Almost all varieties of succulents flourish well the picture here is a perfect example.
One has to be careful about watering - too much water can destroy some species completely - but once on has the hang of it the garden is a joy to look at and easy to maintain.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

One of our Great Gardeners in Zimbabwe

On 29 march this year Voytek Popiel was savagely bludgeoned to death in his home in Sentosa, Harare, Zimbabwe. His beautiful garden was a show place for succulents. He had been ill for some time and it was particularly tragic that he knew when this photograph was taken, the day before his murder, that he did not have very long to live anyway.

He planned, with his wife, his memorial service - which was to be, and tragically did take place, on 31 May 2009. It was a meeting of the Aloe and Cactus Society - with his friends present.

His wife Dorothy had slaved to make sure not a plant was out of place - that all the plants were labeled and not a weed showed.

After tea and a simple ceremony where friends spoke of him and his devotion to plants and his work we walked round the garden where he had spent his last day - sad that it was overshadowed by the house in which he was killed.

It was the right way to celebrate the life of a wonderful and gentle man.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Not much work done

My poor husband has had to revert to doing the gardening as our dysfunctional family who should be doing it are not putting in the work required.

They get free accommodation, free water and power plus they are using furniture we have in excess to our needs but they do not want to put even an hour a day into the garden! Our agreement was that they run the garden and get our facilities free plus as many vegetables etc that they need.

If they have work - landscaping etc - they are up and out by 7 in the morning - if they have nothing to do except help us out they don't get up before 10 - it is very frustrating as weeds are now sprouting up everywhere and what was starting to look like a well run garden is reverting to a wilderness!

I hope we can get some work done as I have spent a lot of time and money on obtaining plants which now sit in sleeves waiting for planting.

Oh the joys of living in Africa!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tomatoes and African Cucumbers

We have harvested our first good tomatoes and some African cucumbers - spiky to look at and sweet to eat. So salad is on the menu again as our lettuce is also big enough to pick. Good red and variegated lettuce that tastes like butter.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Starting the new herb garden

Herbs have always been my passion and some years ago I had 173 varieties.

The Vumba Botanical gardens took plants from me for their herb garden.

With draught and lack of time and staff the herb garden was no more but now i am starting it up again!

Here a bed is being cleared - we had day lilies and roses in the bed - now we have herbs - lavender among the roses and a selection of culinary herbs as seen in the
second photograph below.
The dining room and outside dining area look over the bed and so I have placed mainly culinary herbs here - it is also near to the kitchen for ease of picking what I need for my meals. This is just the start - 30 more seedlings have been obtained and are now ready to be planted. What a joy to have a really good selection of herbs again!
I managed to get hold of four Wilde Als plants to replace my old plant that was being eaten by white ants. One will go in this bed - close by the kitchen for easy of cutting and making herbal tea - the other three will go in a wild garden which will be where the original herb garden was situated.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Wild Basil

In the midst of re-making my herbs gardens I realise that
i can do nothing but leave my wild basil where it is for now.
The clump of bushes - originally planted from seed found on the Zambezi flood plane at RIFA has taken hold in a bed with indigenous trees and acts as a good cover for the bore hole. It always seems to be green and can be used as either a culinary herb or a medicinal herb.
Used in casseroles and stews it is slightly stronger than most forms of culinary basil. it has fury leaves and the seeds are brown and dry very quickly. They fall and reseed the bed naturally and need no care except for a little water during the dry season.

The branches can be thrown under tables to make a natural fly and mosquito repellent at a luncheon or supper outdoors party.

The seeds can be taken in the hands - rubbed to release their aroma and are a welcome relief to someone suffering hay fever when out on a bush walk.

This variety is Zulu Basil.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Vegetables here we go!

The vegetable garden is now in full operation with an abundant amount of plants to feed us and our gardeners. It took time but is worth it with everything coming up well and weeds having been banished.

We have started on the herb garden and I will be posting some before and after pictures - when I power comes back on. no Internet for over a week and now no power - again!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Seedlings and herbs galore!

Yesterday went and bought a mass of vegetable seedlings, seed, and herb plants. It looks like the vegetable garden is getting into full swing.

I am redesigning my herb garden and have most of the basics I need to get it started again. i fancy an informal design to fit with the rest of our garden

And we are holding a course on making compost and another on herb gardening - so this will really give the garden a boost! We are growing both traditional and indigenous herbs and teaching people how to plant them and where - as well as how to use them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Rain and rain and rain!

The rain has put a stop to almost all our gardening - it has been pelting down almost everyday making weeding and mowing a nightmare.

There seems a bit of sun today so we might have some luck again!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Beds are cleared

The beds are being cleared and next the planting - you can only imagine what a mess the garden was in! The thought of all those wonderful organic vegetables is worth all the hard work. We use only compost and it works so well one wonders why people bother with fertilisers. The taste of an organically grown vegetable straight out of the garden is something that no shop bought produce can compare to or equal.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Oh where do we start!!!!!

Well here we have three willing gardeners surveying the mess. It is hard to decide where to start. The beds must be cleared and the mass of vegetation removed before planting can start. Fruit trees have to be trimmed and pruned. however we will get there soon.
Thank goodness my computer and the power is back and I can look on the Internet for tips I might need. We were without both for 12 days!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Our once pristine vegetable garden is now a mass of weeds. With no one to help an achre and a bit of garden can be too much to cope with.
However help is now at hand - we have allowed an old friend to take over our domestic quarters, which we are no longer using, in exchange for helping us out in the garden.
he held a vegetable gardening course a week back and we now have the start of a vegetable garden again!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Day Lilies

The Day Lily is not indigenous but grows prolifically in Zimbabwe gardens.

My dear friend Lynda Sandercock bred them at her nursery in Borrowdale. She had the most wonderful selection of colours and i bought everyone she had - they now give us wonderful colour almost all year round - from yellow to orange to dark red and maroon.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Fairy Garden

With the rain comes a mass of growth in the garden. As we have no gardener much of the garden has become overgrown - I like it that way - natural and one never knows what one will come across as one wanders about looking in the crooks and crannies.

this is what i came across yesterday - flame lilies climbing into our wild gardenia and growing among a mass of 'Mother in Laws Tongues'. We have never seem this display before - perhaps because our gardeners have always - kept the place tidy!!!!!!!

I really think I prefer the garden untidy!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Dorset mega

This little chilli plant looks Innocent. Don't believe it!!!!

We planted the seed - which came from England in July - everyone said far too early - anyway it has thrived and we harvested our first chilli two days ago.

I thought I was used to hot chillies - this one tops the scale - I took a bite of the bottom of the fruit and mentioned that it was not hot at all what was all the fuss! Then I bit further into the flesh - not taking any seeds. I have never tasted anything so hot - it has no flavour just heat that bi=urns. My husband had the same experience.

We went and opened a container of ready made custard - something I never eat as i have a reaction to milk products - well I downed two plates and never had a reaction. i could still feel a slight burning sensation yesterday.

Just beware if you plant this chillie it is really hot!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cycads in our garden

The cycad is a prehistoric dinosaur of the plant world. We are lucky to have a number in our garden and this time of year they are producing the cones which give us the seeds. We have so many seeds that they fall on the ground around the plants and start to shoot - every year we give away cycad seedlings to anyone who wants them. Many people have to have their plants fertilized artificially but ours just reproduce on their own!