"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

Sunday 27 September 2015

Floral beauty

I don't grow flowers for the sake of flowers simply because our water is too precious for that.  In that I'm talking about dahlias, chrysanthemums, tulips, etc.

So - whatever flowers grow here are tough ones.  They must make do with whatever rain falls from the sky, or that which is waste water that I am unable to get to my veggie beds which are situated on the higher part of the property.

Also, if one is observant in late winter / early spring and you will spy incy-wincy wild flowers - bend down almost to ground level for your reward.  It is well worth the effort.

Want a tour of the colour in my garden?

You have already seen the fruit tree blossoms, so I won't repeat those again.

Starting at the back door...

I have a pot of azaleas - they are watered with Scallywags water bowl - whenever we change his water, whatever is left in the bowl gets chucked into the flower pot.
Pink azaleas - still in the pot from our town house
In the only shade bed I have (which is situated on the southern side of the house right next to the kitchen door), I planted some clivia seeds which I had harvested from our old town house before we moved.
Orange clivia propagated from seed
(info on how to do that here)
Three years  later, they are doing a wonderful job of softening the appearance of the worm bins.  As each year passes so each and every plant will increase the number of flower heads it produces.  In the years to come it is going to be a stunning display.

We have a gutter drainpipe which leads to that bed, so any rain / overnight condensation which drizzles from the roof of the kitchen porch does the job.
Gorgeous lavender
Surprisingly, a lavender bush which grew from a piece which landed in that bed (who knows how?) is doing very well.  Bear in mind this bed gets no direct sunshine - ever.  The only "light" it gets is reflected off the garage wall and across the courtyard.
Rose bushes watered by the
 washing machine outflow pipe
visible in the bottom right corner
Then, across the courtyard is our rose bed.  These roses are watered by the washing machine outlet pipe.
Red rose buds bursting forth
on the rose bushes
Even though I seriously pruned these roses roughly a month ago, their growth is astounding, and they are already sporting lots of buds.

And, hiding below the roses...
Chives hiding under the rose bushes
... is a chive plant.  As you can see it just loves it there - it's tiny purple flowers are popping up all over the place.  (Note to self:  it's time to "carefully" harvest some chives :)  )

Out on the driveway, sweet peas grow round the fiddlewood tree - they are only winter rain watered.  And, self-seeded from last year.

And, in the front of the house area, situated next to the grey water bed...

This is and the end of one branch - and
there are currently 10 branches with flowers
this year
The paulownia tree is magnificent this year.  This tree is only 1.5mtrs tall and the display is already breathtaking. 

A close-up of the Paulownia flower

I can only imagine what it will be like when the paulownia is at adult height - anything from 20mtrs to 50mtrs high.  Obviously, 50mtrs is achieved in perfect conditions - the average of 20mtrs will be more than sufficient.
In the actual grey-water pond there are two self-seeded (by the birds, most probably) arum lily plants.
One of the arum lily plants
They are mostly hidden amongst the taller grasses, but they are assisting in the important water filtering / cleaning job.
In the foreground is self-seeded phlox - from a plant
 which was growing in a pot in our town house garden
 in the foreground, and a yellow poker type plant
in the background
Diana - can you help identify this plant?
The front of the house gets sun all year.  That means the temperature can rise to 37oC++ in mid summer, and is exposed to frost in winter.  Not an ideal place to grow much - so that is reserved for indigenous, hardy succulent type plants.
And, finally, I have scarlet and white geraniums, which do their own thing entirely.
Scarlet geranium
plant under the acacia
I enjoy the floral displays whilst they last.  Only the roses next to the garage are the most rewarding with their blooms lasting right through to next autumn.

Once the flowers are gone (azalea, clivia, chive, paulownia, arum and kalanchoe) my veggie garden starts producing.  And that is a different kind of harvest ;)
Marigolds :)
The only flower "grown" in my veggie garden, apart from naturally occurring flowers like borage, are marigolds, which I grow for pest control.

Firstly, my garden gives me food for my eyes, heart and soul, and then food for our bodies.  I have it all :)


  1. I've never seen paulownia or clivia before. All the flowers are beautiful but I think I like those 2 the best.

    1. Dallas - Paulownia's are native to north America :) Yeah, I love clivia's too, and I am so glad a have a small spot for them.

  2. I love all your flowering plants I see that you secretly make sure they get the attention they deserve. They are putting on a beautiful show.

    1. Mum - I guess where there's a will, there's a way... ;)

  3. Wow that is just beautiful...we're winding down here for the season, and I think you are just coming into yours huh? Enjoy, I will get my Spring fix from you during our Winter, ha.

    1. 1st Man - Yeah, Thanks to the Net we are able to encourage each other during the darkest days of winter, aren't we? ;)

  4. I've had no luck with chives in pots, clearly they need to be under the rosebush :)

    1. Possummqueensa - Clearly they do. However, I have also just planted some in my herb tower - let's see if they do as well as those under the roses... ;)

  5. Your flowers are very beautiful. My chickens eat anything green on the ground in the immediate vicinity of the house, but I don't mind since that makes it less probably rattlers and copperheads will get up close to the place.

    1. Harry - Thanks. Yeah, our new 100% free range chickens are proving that bird netting is required - luckily I have some. Just have to find the time to erect it... ;)

  6. I grew a few Paulowina trees from once gave a lot away and kept one that was planted in our last garden, I might have a go at growing them again, all the flower borders here have to look after themselves with water I wouldnt have the time to water them, lovely to see your flowers :-)
    PS the peppers have got flower buds but I think its too late in the season for them nowto produce fruits , I have some seeds left so will get some started in January ready for a harvest next year :-)

    1. Dawn - Are your peppers in pots? Why not try moving them into your greenhouse - perhaps you'll still be able to harvest some ripe ones. Yeah - they tend to ripen here quite late in the season too.

  7. your yellow pokers look like Bulbine
    but with bigger leaves than the one I grow.

    You can use the leaf sap on burns and scratches. Apparently also pet-friendly.

    1. Diana - You're a star. it is of the bulbine family - a bulbine latifolia ( http://kumbulanursery.co.za/blog/bulbine-natalensis-to-the-rescue)

      Thanks :)


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