Thursday, October 28, 2010

Starting a Garden

Last week Amanda, our younger daughter-in-law asked if I'd help her start a garden for Louis and Wendy, friends of ours from church who have just moved into a new house.  No problem to me;  gardening is one of my passions. I've also been thinning out and cutting back in my garden, so we had lots and LOTS of shrubs, trees, perenials and succulants to plant in Wendy's garden.

Some of the plants we took from my garden: setaria (an indigenous grass which attracts the seed eating birds in the late summer/early autumn), plumbago, bulbines, cotelydon obicalator (which the sunbirds love) and tulbaghia. We also had four white stinkwood saplings. This indigenous tree grows to ten meters tall and makes a lovely shade tree. I always have saplings in my garden from the many mature trees already giving us pleasure in my garden,  so wherever I can, I dig them out and give them to other gardeners

On Tuesday (one of the days my gardeners don't work for me) John and David arrived and we loaded the plants and garden tools into the back of my little pickup and tootled off down the street. (Wendy and Louis live around the corner from us), met Amanda and our little grandson (who was very good all day) and set to work.

Not ten minutes into the digging and clearing, Amanda and I asked Louis if we could fetch Simon who sits on the corner at the bottom of town (with many other jobless men just waiting for a day job) to help us. Louis agreed, we fetched Simon who was thrilled to know he would receive pay that day, and with the three men working, Amanda and I were soon able to place the plants in strategic places for John to plant.

This garden was dead - no-one had lived here for two years and before that I don't think the garden was tended either
Digging, clearing and removing grass roots and stones

Amanda moved our little boy from the push chair into a camp cot and placed him outside under the tree
The three men make short work of the unkempt grass and weeds in this garden

Grandson and I share a funny moment! (BTW, he loves a camera and strikes a pose when he sees me with mine)

John starts to plant the plants we'd brought from my garden. I always tell a person who is trying to establish a garden to plant as much as possible (always trying to stick to indigenous and water-wise) just to establish the garden. Later on they can eradicate whatevery they don't like, or move plants around in their garden - I won't mind at all!
By midday we had the first bed planted up with hardy shrubs, perenials and succulants

Shrubs and perennials planted along the fence

When the gardeners were finished with the first section of the garden, they worked their way around one edge to the front garden. The driver of the grader stopped to talk to my gardeners and I jokingly asked him to bring his machine into the garden and help us!
Our little boy was still cheerful and sweet-tempered by the end of the day

Not only is Wendy's garden showing some form and order, (John and  I will take more plants to her tomorrow) but Wendy has agreed to have Simon to work for her on a Friday. I 'm thrilled that he has another day (he works for me on Wednesday) that he can earn a little money and I'm sure Simon is pleased as well!


  1. A lot of hard work went on there. I was jolted to read about men waiting around, waiting for work. Life is so cushy for some of the men in the UK. So long as their benefits keep coming in they can get on with their lives.

    Your grandson is lovely. I've never heard of a 'camp' ... it's a grand idea. It's great that a child can move about in safety and still see the world outside.

  2. Love that start to the garden, Jo. Great work. Also happy for Simon. So glad his workload has doubled :-)

  3. You and your band of workers have done a kind deed today. Well done. I hope you will show us how the garden progresses.

  4. What a wonderful day working in a neighbors garden and helping out community too.

  5. You are so generous with your time and your resources, Jo! Amanda and Angus will have a wonderful garden within a year thanks to all the work you and they and the other workers have done. You are a blessing to all you know!

  6. How wonderful Jo.... That was so nice of you all to make a garden for those folks... How special is that!!!!!


  7. Hi Jo,I hope you will keep us updated on the progress of the new garden and that was a very thoughtful idea to get Simon another days work.You keep busy as ever!

  8. Wow, instant garden!! I wish you could send one of your gardeners over here.
    I love the pictures of your grandson. I know you and I have never met, but i think he looks like you.

  9. Starting a garden from scratch is hard work. I hope you show us the followup photos once it gets started.
    Your grandson is looking very cute, as he patiently plays while you work.


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