Dahlia delight!


I simply can’t get enough of the dahlias in my garden. They never fail to delight and every day something new emerges in a different colour, shape and size. The neon yellow dinner plate dahlias are totally irresistible! It’s been a while since my dahlia patch looked this good so early in the season. Dahlias have been a staple in the Vastrap garden since Quentin’s grandmother lived here over 50 years ago. There weren’t any when I arrived, but it didn’t take long for me to revive the tradition, because they are so easy to grow and make wonderful picking flowers. Exactly the type I like, the more you pick the more they flower! Livia and I are loving summer, spending more and more time out in the garden. We’ve had such lovely rain followed by beautiful hot sunny days, exactly what one expects from a good summer season in the Eastern Free State. It’s the definition of delicious and exactly what’s needed to keep the farmer in our house content and happy over the planting and harvesting season.

Quentin's grandparents at Vastrap circa 1940s.

Quentin’s grandmother Berry’s dahlias. 

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Garden colours

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While the roses are preparing for their next big flush, the rest of the Vastrap garden is coming to life thanks to some healing rain. Hydrangeas, agapanthus, dahlias, pelargonium, hollyhocks, daylilies, lavender, scabiosa, salvia, nasturtiums, echinacea, buddleja, and many more have all started to flower. The herb garden in the courtyard has gone crazy with tarragon and mint growing like weeds! Despite my lack of energy for gardening over the past few months it seems we’ll have no shortage of colour around the house over Christmas. But it’s probably wise for me to enjoy it all from a distance rather than getting into extensive flower arranging, because even taking these photos today has completely exhausted me. I guess that’s to be expected with my growing belly and only a month to go until the big day! Deep breath in, deep breath out… the countdown really has begun.


An explosion of colour!


As most people start returning home from their holidays, we are setting off for a short seaside break tomorrow. I absolutely cannot wait! This will mean a total break from technology and blogging for a while.

For anyone interested in cattle, I’ve been working on a website/blog for Vastrap Boran (http://vastrapboran.com) to showcase our herd and keep people informed of latest developments. It’s very much a work in progress and not particularly sophisticated given my minimal IT knowledge, but it’s a start. The blog posts will focus on Boran-specific topics that I would not necessary include in my own blog. Many people come to my blog via searches for Boran-related information and I’m sure they don’t want to have to wade through photos of my garden and kitchen before finding what they are looking for! Please have a look and let me know what you think.

In the meantime I leave you with some photos of the garden taken in the beautiful afternoon light on 2 January. I am just loving all the bright colours of the roses, dahlias, hollyhocks, hydrangeas, agapanthus, salvia, cannas and geranium. I even still have a few sweet peas! My garden is a totally uncoordinated mish-mash of colour, but I love how it is developing, especially all the old-style flowers that don’t always find a place in modern gardens.

Salvia, agapanthus and violas.

Salvia, agapanthus and violas.

Mixed bag.

A mixed bag.

My favourite towering hollyhocks.

My favourite towering hollyhocks.

Rose garden ready for its second flush, but the bright pink Rina Hugo never seems to tire.

Rose garden just starting its second flush, but the bright pink Rina Hugo never seems to tire.

Mixed dahlias.

Colourful dahlias.

The dahlias in these photos were planted last year and came up on their own quite early in summer, but I have planted a whole new patch in oranges, yellows and reds that is now on the brink of flowering. The last photo shows the first tiny pom-pom dahlia from the new bed. I had no idea it would be so small, but it’s just too gorgeous and delicate. I can’t wait to see what they all look like in 10 days’ time when we get home. By that time the rose garden should also be well into its second flush, which is just starting now. So much to look forward to. Au revoir!