Friday, November 2, 2018

November Garden Tour: Back Garden

Yesterday, on the 1st day of November, I took a walk around the garden to see what there was to see.  I took lots of photos, but, early afternoon is not the best time of day to take photos, especially with a cell phone camera, because, often, due to the glare, I couldn't see the screen to see what I was photographing and a lot of my pictures turned out to be rather unfocused and blurry!  So, I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos.

In general, the tour of the back yard is going counter clockwise, starting with the plants along the side (south) wall to the right,  taking a bit of a detour to visit the hibiscus and the rose growing in the middle of the back garden, and continuing along the back (east) wall, up the other side (north) wall, and ending by the side of the garage.

In the back yard, there are colorful berries on the curry leaf tree (Murraya koenigii); they will eventually turn purplish black when fully ripe; the berries are edible, they have a sweet but a faintly licorice-like taste, but I don't like licorice, so I am not fond of the berries.  In any case, we grow this tree for the leaves, which we use in our curries.  The leaves are also used to make a type of porridge (mixed with rice) and as a sambol, ground up into a paste:

Curry Leaf Berries
And red hibiscus; we used to call them "shoe flowers" in Sri Lanka, because we'd use the flowers to shine shoes!  The flowers are edible, as well:

The oranges are forming on the tree:

Most look good, but, some are already starting to split:

Splitting Orange

For the most part, I try to grow the plants in beds, but there are the occasional rebels who refuse to stay within boundaries - I found this crocosmia plant has decided to grow just outside of the bricks defining the planting bed!  Border crossers!  LOL!

Crocosmia - escaping boundaries!
This is definitely not the last rose of summer, nor the first rose of fall - there's a yellow rose growing nearby, which bloomed before this and another pink bud on a different rose plant, waiting to bloom:

Not the last rose of summer!
Nearby, the rosemary bush is flowering:

Rosemary Flowers
This rosemary plant is several years old; my mother grew it from a cutting a friend gave her:

Rosemary Plant
It's almost like an overgrown bonsai, isn't it?  I took another photo of its trunk (can't really call it a stem, at this point, I think) from the other side:

Rosemary Trunk

It has wrapped itself around the Purple Orchid tree (Bauhinia) that my mother grew from a seed her brother gave her.   My mother could grow practically anything; me, not so much, although I try.

Then, there are the two pink oleander shrubs growing along the back wall - they are the only two that survived the oleander blight that killed the rest of my oleanders:

Pink Oleander
Although I have two oleander shrubs, only one is visible, because this euphorbia (Euphorbia tiruccali) is blocking the second shrub.  I grew it from a cutting friend M gave me and he says he's never seen one grow so big!  We've hacked it back, several times, and each time, it comes back, big and strong, and I have cuttings from it growing elsewhere in the back garden and the front:                                 

The euphorbia that's trying to take over the back garden!
The majority of my garden is in the sun, but, in the north east corner of the back garden, in the shade of the pine tree that has grown quite tall since I planted it from a free seedling, about 26 years ago, there is a micro-climate, which enables these dayflowers (Commelina communis) to grow:

They were originally grown from a cutting I received from a colleague and grown in a container.  The stems reached down to the ground and self rooted in the ground.  Eventually, the original plants in the container died out, but these plants are thriving and have formed a sort of ground cover in this one area.  Apparently, they provide a nice, cool bed for the garden cats, as I find these hollow areas, where a cat has napped:

"Cat Nest"
Nearby is a calamondin tree (which I didn't photograph, yesterday), and under its shade, a variegated scheffelera plant is growing.  It was originally a potted plant that was moved to the shade one summer, but it burst through the pot (which is still in place) and rooted itself into the ground!  It has since grown quite huge.  I was trying to photograph the flowers, but the picture is blurry:

Scheffelera Flower Clusters
They form little green berries:

Scheffelera Berries - green
Which ripen to all the colors of autumn:

Ripe Scheffelera Berries
Once upon a time, I put down paving stones to form a garden path, going by the calamondin tree and the Scheffelera plant, but, as you can see, the path has been taken over by the Scheffelera plant (and weeds):

"Lost" Garden Path!

And these gazanias that have self-seeded themselves all around the path:

Every so often, I dig some of them up and try to plant them elsewhere in the garden (like the front flower bed), but they die out where I plant them and thrive in this area, instead!

The euphorbia growing along the back (east) wall is not the only plant that is trying to take over the back garden.  This is the lantana/plumbago hedge growing along the side (north) wall:

Lantana/Plumbago Hedge


This is taken from the side to try to show how deep it has grown - at least 4 feet from the wall, which is on the right, when looking at the picture:

I will need to have M prune it back, quite a bit, maybe in the spring, as it is only now recovering from the summer burn!

This area of the back garden, behind the garage and near the shed, has been neglected and rather over-grown:

Curry Leaf "Jungle"
Some plants, like the curry leaf seedlings (suckers, actually, from the roots of the second curry leaf tree growing behind the garage) are doing quite well, but others, like the Martha Washington geraniums are looking rather scraggly:

Martha Washington Geraniums
These were grown from cuttings from a plant that came up under the wall, from the next door neighbor's garden, a long time ago!  They have gorgeous purple flowers.   Might be time to take fresh cuttings and replant them.

Finally, by the side of the garage, the lemon trees (three of them) are forming lemons:

 With the promise of more fruit to come:

Lemon Flowers (and a photo-bombing fly in the bottom picture - do you see it?)

"The Eye of the Fly" (peering from the top of the center flower)
Thank you for coming along on the tour of the back garden! I hope you enjoyed it.  I will do another post for the front garden, another day.  How is your garden coming along?

* Updated to include two photos that took longer to upload than the rest and correct a typo!


  1. Oh what beautiful flowers and fruits! Thank you for sharing them with us all. I never knew one could shine shoes with a hibiscus flower, but I think I heard of using a banana skin!

    It was a damp, chilly day today. There was only a drizzle, though, so at least it wasn't too bad to be out in. You can see why I so appreciate your garden photos, can't you?

    1. Thank you, Bushlady. I was thinking of you and one or two others who live up north where winter is setting in. :) I will keep posting pictures of the garden throughout winter, I promise!

      It was 90F, here, today! With no rain in our forecast for the next several days. :)

  2. Thank you for the tour. Your garden is so colourful with flowers, berries and leaves. I consider the fruit and variegated foliage all part of the garden interest. I like to consider what the plant will look like after the flowers are spent because it adds to the overall look of the garden, and your beds are exceptionally wonderful. I recognized the crocosmia as that plant I found wonderful this summer while going through Oregon. I have since found out that I can buy it here in our nurseries. I have always loved lantana (although we have to buy it as an annual here every summer). The dayflowers are so lovely and delicate that they seem wholly out of place among the rest of your exotic looking flowers. Your rosemary roots are gorgeous and remind me a lot of my lavender bush which just grows wider and woodier each year.

    I feel badly that I have been ragging on about all the dismal wet days we have been having. I'm sure you would appreciate some of this rain for yourself from time to time. We should celebrate the differences in our weather and how nature provides us a unique garden. I know we each envy what the other is able to grow.

    1. Yes, a little rain would be much welcomed, Susan. We had that one shower of rain on October 12, but that was the first shower of rain since May; we've not had any since then and nothing in the forecast. It was 90F and sunny, yesterday; today is going to be warm, too. I am not complaining of the heat or the sunshine, as that's what I like, but a little shower of rain would be good. :)

      Thank you for your kind comments about the garden and the plants. You have a lovely garden, yourself, with your drifts of snow-in-summer and all the other plants you've been digging up to give away. The crocosmia and the paperwhites (not shown) come back, year after year, but, other bulbs such as tulips and daffodils are annuals, for us. I used to grow them, but haven't done so in years.

  3. You have a lot of colour in your garden. How lovely! I have one hibiscus growing here, it's a bright orange one. My son chose it to plant when he was 3years old and it was his favourite colour back then. Meg:)

    1. Thank you, Meg. Your hibiscus is special because your son chose it. :) That's the sort of story that makes a garden such a special place, isn't it? When my mother died, I wanted to make a memorial garden for her and then, I realized that the entire garden was a memorial garden for her, because it was she who planted a lot of the plants in the garden and her touch is seen everywhere.

  4. Such a variety, so many lovely plants some I have never seen
    or heard of before.

    Take Care x

    1. Thank you, Fiona. As I've said many times, my garden has been neglected and the recent years of drought killed off many plants, but, the good things about gardens is, they evolve and continue to grow. Now that I am regaining my health and have time in which to garden, I am hoping I'll be able to restore it to its former glory. At one time, I had close to 100 rose bushes and I miss them.

  5. I love your garden. You have lots of flowers, and lovely oranges.
    I've never tasted curry leaf berries. I too don't like licorice, but next time when I see curry leaf berries, I'm going to taste one. 😊

    1. Thank you, Nil. I enjoy the oranges from my tree; I am thinking of planting another one.

      The curry leaf berries have an interesting taste - a little sweet, but, also a bit like medicine! Something I might nibble on, occasionally, but not pick a bowl and eat.

  6. Thanks for the tour, Bless. I always enjoy seeing your garden. It's so interesting for me to see the different plants that grow in your area. Many of them I've never heard of and many of them I only know as annuals.

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the tour, Live and Learn. I guess I take a lot of these plants for granted as they are the ones that have managed to survive the drought and the recent neglect! :)


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