"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday, 27 September 2014


I have three favourite flowers - daffodils - my all time best, sweet peas (in Spring) and clivia's.
Sweet peas - freshly harvested from the garden
especially for this pic :)
We have never had the climate to grow daffs, but sweet peas - I just chuck 'em in some soil, and if they produce, I score.  As for clivia's - they are such easy plants to grow, and so rewarding - year after year.

Back in mid-2012 before we left our town house I ensured that I had some of the seeds from my favourite flowering garden plant - clivia's.  

Their only requirement is dappled shade and some water, and, although I wasn't sure where I was going to plant them on the smallholding, I wasn't leaving without some :) 

As I hadn't dug up any of the existing plants I didn't think the new owner would object LOL

I took some of the seed heads, peeled off the outer sheath - a bit of a messy job - and shoved them in some sand in seedling trays.
Harvesting clivia seeds whilst we were still in our
town house
Thankfully, enough survived for me to plant.
Clivia's a really easy to propagate from seed
- the details can be here
By the time the plants were ready to go in the ground, I had found the perfect spot for them - outside the kitchen door.
Ugly - I definitely had a plan for this area - even
back in 2010 when this pic was taken
This area had taken a lot of punishment during the building, and had become a repository for scrap, and an accumulation of building materials, etc.  An absolute eyesore.  Because it was the only sheltered, shady spot, it also became the place where I shoved all the small pot plants from the town house - until I could figure out where they needed to be planted.

It was a spot crying out for a bit of colour.  Kitchen doors can be such "messy" places, can't they - and which accumulate anything and everything.
Neat and orderly - just like I like it :)
After clearing up all the bits of plastering cement from the ground (why are builders so lackadaisical  when they plaster?), adding lots of compost and a border of left over bricks I got to work.
Planted up with my clivia seedlings - September 2012
This is what the bed looked like in September 2012 - I couldn't wait for the builders to leave site, so climbed in around them LOL  Once I was finished, the area was strictly off limits - except when they had to paint the exterior walls of the house.  Then I "supervised" their entire time there ;)
A pink azalea in a pot by the back door steps,
my worm bin - handy for the kitchen -
my stacked self-watering herb stand with
parsley, basil an garlic chive plants,
lettuces growing above the clivia's, and
the ducks - all four of them ensuring that
no slugs, snails or other creepy crawlies lurk
in the undergrowth LOL
This is what that spot looks like today.
Clivia - stunning, rewarding and
so simple to care for.
I wasn't planning on having the structure with the self-watering repurposed Styrofoam boxes on it, but it turns out that it is too hot, even in my shadecloth veggie patch, to grow lettuce, so this is the only way I can harvest it year round.

You win some, and you lose some.  I reckon I'm winning all the way :)


Vicki said...

What a lovely spot. And what beautiful flowers! Back doors really do need a bit of pretty, don't they. My choice would be hollyhocks, for those are the flowers that grew by my grandmother's back door. They remind me of home.

Dani said...

Vicki - Yes, back doors need a LOT of pretty LOL

Hollyhocks - I remember them well from my childhood too, but I've been off them for years since I found out they are poisonous - to animals, and, if I recall correctly, to crawling babies too.

I know that daffodil bulbs are also poisonous, but, if I ever planted them, I wouldn't lift them every year, but would rather leave them in the ground, just as they would if they were growing in the wild.

kymber said...

Dani - all i can say is just beautiful! just beautiful! i haven't yet gotten to the point where i can "pretty" up our land...but the birds do a great job of dropping sunflower seeds wherever they want and it sure is beautiful to look out the window and see volunteer sunflowers and volunteer jerusalem artichokes! not to mention all the wild flowers here. one day i will plant my beautiful flower garden...until then i just look at the wildflowers which are plentiful.

you chose the perfect spot for you clivias and they are truly beautiful! good job, gurl! your friend, sending much love to you and yours always,

Harry Flashman said...

Looks to me like you make really good use of your space. My wife had this place looking really beautiful a few years after we got here, but then I got chickens and they did all the flowers in.

Mum said...

You're certainly winning with those beautiful flowers.

Sol said...

Kymber, make seed bombs and with a sling shot cast the seeds wide. it will give a more natural look. Your place is stunning as it is. I always admire the pictures out over your land. "a thousand acres of sky"...

Sol said...

love the colour of the flowers

Dani said...

kymber - It's taken me 2 years to get to this point. I don't want to "waste" water on prettiness only, but both of these flowers tend to be provided by the weather / look after themselves so I don;t feel that guilty ;)

Dani said...

Harry - Have you thought of "allowing" your wife a spot or two which is chicken fenced and will give her some small spot to appreciate? Everyone needs something - you have your blog and guns / ammo / books / magazines / ferrets / dogs / cats. What does the missus have when she is home? :)

Dani said...

Mum - Thanks - it's more than time LOL

Dani said...

Sol - They are magnificent :)

Harry Flashman said...

Quacker factory on QVC! Well, I could ask her if she wants me to put up chicken wire so she can have some plants. It wouldn't be hard to do. Good idea, Dani.

Dani said...

Harry - You're heading towards winter so probably would be best to get tge groubd composted for bext spring. Perhaps the missus would like to plant some daffodil bulbs - their cheerful colour and delicate appearance would be a great welcome to next Spring.

And Daffs are very prevalent in foresty areas :)

Post a few pics if she's keen and you go for it?