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?