Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Indoor succulent plant gardens
Aloes succulents and fat plants grow easy indoors in pots or containers. Good drainage and strong light is all that they need. Here are two indoor gardens. A succulent indoor garden in a flat container with mainly fat plants from South Africa and a desert garden in a bowl with succulents and aloes from Namibia. The soil mix contains dolomite gravel, coarse sand and soil. A very weak plant food is given every 6 months with a sprinkling of a few Magnesium sulphate crystal between the plants. (A quarter teaspoon at the most.)

click on the photo to enlarge. The succulent plants in this indoor garden from South Africa. The white plant at the back is a Cotyledon, next row from the left is Aloe davyana, Aloe hybrid in the center and to the right back. Front row from the left is Euphorbia mammilaris. Gasteria species, Gasteria x Aloe hybrid and a group of Aloe brevifolia plants. The ground cover is two Crassula sp. The container is watered thoroughly and then permitted to dry out.

click on the photo to enlarge. This is a desert garden with plants from Namibia. The back row left to right:- mesemb, Tylecodon species, Aloe variegata, Euphorbia gariepina. Front left to right:- mesemb, Cotyledon species, the small plants are Euphorbia juttae, Aloe melanacantha and the small plant to the right of Aloe melanacantha is Anacampseros buderiana. This garden receives only enough rain water to damp the soil. It is then permitted to dry out. It may be necessary to merge the bowl in rain water once a year to rinse out salts or better would be to replace the growing medium with a fresh mix.
For more information and tips see cultivating succulent plants in pots and containers

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Stop a minute to smell the rosesIt is an honor to be too busy to smell roses after the age of 60 years. I have so much to do, never worked so physically hard in my life and never realized how lucky I am being able to do it.
The photo below was taken by Sandra Legg who is now the Mom of this boy who likes to smell roses.

Not even a dog is too tough to resist the beauty of a rose!
Between you and me, that rose lasted a few minutes. This dog belongs to our son-in-law and our grand daughter Else took the photo, she is a real sport to do things with grandma.
I think I should introduce Else to you

One thing about retirement bothers me - time passes so fast ! The week is at the most 2 days long, a good month has one week and I will not mention how quick a year flies by.
They say that doing something new is important at this stage. Come to think of it - A year feels very long for a child because there are so many new things that the child experience and do, but at this stage of my life new things are either very expensive or against the law. joking, but it is very near to the truth .. sigh..

I did smell the roses after I finished the earnest task of taking a photo. This photo was taken in England visiting my son. That was a lovely visit. Now how do I get my other son into the USA so that I can smell roses there too.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The lilies are always welcome in the aloe garden. They remain in the ground during the resting period and appear again each year to brag a little with their pretty flowers.

Ammaryllis belladonna a scented lily endemic to the Western Cape Province, South Africa. The wild lily is as lovely as the cultivated lilies of this very popular genus. It blooms in March and is known by the name Marchlily, which is a pity as what could be prettier than the name Belladonna.
The smaller bright red Haemanthus coccinius (just behind the lilies photo above) is starting to open too.

Haemanthus coccinius. A month early for this lily but it might be the heavy rain shower we had in February that confused the lily. The flower is not fully open and smaller than it should be, but it is welcome all the same.

Four days later and the Haemanthus coccinius lilies are open. It is obvious why this lily is known as Paintbrush.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

This orchid Eulophia petersii which grows widespread in eastern Africa is very happy in the aloe garden. The plants are doing well under trees where they do not get or need any special attention. The relative small flowers look charming with the curling petals.
My mother got these orchids from a Fauna&Flora rescue expedition where a road would be built Natal. I did not take any plants as I always thought they would be difficult until about three years ago when I decided to give them a try.

The orchids bloomed in our garden for the first time December 2006, the same month my mother died. I spent 2 weeks with her and then 2-3 days after I returned I found the orchids hidden under the tree in full bloom. The first thing I thought was I have to phone Mom and tell her ... then I realized I can not phone her anymore.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

every drop countsWith the ongoing water shortage gardeners started to replace lawns with pebbles, gravel and crushed rocks. Some designs are remarkably eye-catching. Even where nothing more was done than to replace the lawn with pebbles, it looked pleasing in a calm way. It could be that it seems like that to me because I am aware that every drop of water saved counts, while the gardener just wanted something different to a lawn, but the end result is it saves water. Most of my life in Namibia saving water was part of life. Now saving water is starting to become the part of life in most cities all over the world.
I used to think it was difficult to keep gravel neat, but now I am surprised at how neat it remains. We have a gravel path on one side of the aloe garden for eight years now. The dust and small debris disappear under the gravel. We have never needed to rake as the gravel is open on all sides and the wind blows the leaves away.
A tip:- Nobody can walk quiet on gravel. Work the gravel into the garden's design to look pleasing but also as security on those sides of the house where it is needed.
Whatever the reason for the new designs in gardening, it opens a lot of possibilities for something different in the garden. Here are a few photos.

The lawn of the garden on the other side is just visible on the photo. Which garden looks better - with or without lawn is not the question. The point is that it is refreshing to see something different.

This garden used to have lawn all the way. That was somewhat dull.