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Category Archives: Urban Garden

What a buzz!

Some new visitors decided to make a stop in our garden: Bees!

Bees are settling in our garden.

Bees are settling in our garden.

Every now and then a bee colony runs out of space. Part of the bees pack up and decide to find a new place: They swarm.

On their way they stopped in our garden. Unfortunately they didn’t stay. Maybe not yet enough plants around for them to make it an attractive spot.

But a nice inspiration for what could be: Some homemade honey sounds very appetising.

Maybe next time they’ll settle for good. 🙂

 

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Your dirty dishwater could kill some of those creepy bugs.

Your dirty dishwater could kill some creepy bugs.

 

My urban gardening guerrilla tomatoes (guerrilla because they kind of have the tendency to grow themselves) were all of a sudden not faring so well. A close inspection revealed they were under attack: Red Spider Mites!

 

When I researched How to Get Rid of Red Spider Mites Organically I was surprised to read a simple recipe for bug spray listed:

 

Easy recipe for bug spray

1 litre water

+  2 tablespoons cooking oil

+  2 tablespoons soap

 

That’s basically my dirty dishwater!

 

If you brush your dishes free from food leftovers and wash them with biodegradable dishwashing liquid, you can use the dirty dishwater on your plants as a bug repellent. You might need to add oil or soap, or just want to use it as a preventative in a mild mixture.

 

Vinegar, lemon juice, hot sauce, essential oils are also great bug repellents. So if you have any of these left over, don’t waste them down the drain, but spritz them on your plants instead.

 

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DIY Dog Digging Defence: Our dogs are allowed do dig anywhere in the garden, except here.

DIY Dog Digging Defence: Our dogs are allowed do dig anywhere in the garden, except here.

 

We have clay soil in our garden and it’s super difficult to work:

When it’s dry it’s rock hard and requires a pick axe to be loosened up.

When it’s wet, it’s so dense, it’s waterproof and we have puddles in our garden.

 

In addition, we have a whole house buried in our backyard and any gardening work is interrupted by digging up rubble and rubbish and excavating the odd curious piece easily dating back several decades if not 100 years.

 

So I don’t mind our dogs digging. They’re doing us a great favour with this unmanageable soil and are inspiring in their determination to keep on digging.

However, out of all the places in our garden, the dogs choose the one corner they’re not allowed to dig: Where our paving meets the clay ground. – In order for the pavers to stay in place, we need the clay ground to stay put.

 

How to explain to dogs they’re allowed to dig over there, but not over here?

 

So I put up a DIY Dog Digging Defence:

Every time the dogs started digging too close to the pavers, I’d plonk down a concrete brick.

Needless to say: Our dogs would just start digging right beside it next time they got a chance.

So I’d plonk down another concrete brick.

Now we have a row of concrete bricks forming a small divider wall between pavers and clay ground.

 

Turns out this has additional benefits:

With the ground becoming loose in times of drought and Cape Town wind, we have dust everywhere. This small barrier helps keep the sand at bay.

It also works as a little jump in the obstacle course that our garden turns into when our dogs get the zoomies. They love any reason to jump, which seems to more than make up for the lost digging opportunity. 😉

 

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This piece of glass excavated from our garden can tell a story.

This piece of glass excavated from our garden can tell a story.

 

I love excavating things that have enough information on them to date them.

Amongst the endless amount of glass shards buried in our garden, I do find every now and then an intact bottle or a piece of glass with some inscription on it.

 

This small piece of the bottom of a bottle reads “Harveys Bristol”.

Turns out this is a sherry called Harveys Bristol Cream.

 

Furthermore, their bottles are blue now, and changed from green to blue in 1994.

So this bottle is definitely from before 1994, and probably vintage.

 

I can just picture how the residents at The Broken Palace sat on their stoep, sipping on a glass of sherry on a warm summer evening.

Does this ring true or is it just a romantic notion? If you know more kindly get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de

 

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I can start a coin collection:

South Africa, 1952, Threepence (1937 to 1952), King George VI Series – Silver Threepence (Tickey)

South African 1952 Silver Threepence (Tickey) (1937 to 1952), King George VI series. As per Professional Coin Grading Service: The obverse design: Head of King George VI. Inscription: “GEORGIVS VI REX”. Designed by Henry Paget (“HP”).

1952 George VI South African Silver Threepence

1952 George VI South African Silver Threepence. As per the PCGS: The reverse design: A Protea (National Flower), in full bloom, forms the center of the design. An inverted triangle surrounds it. The sides of the triangle consist of three bundles of four sticks each. The three bundles denote the coin’s value and the sticks represent the four provinces of the Union of South Africa (Transvaal, Cape, Orange Free State, and Natal). Inscription “SOUTH AFRICA” to the left, the date at top center, “SUID-AFRIKA” to the right and “3p”, flanked by two little flowers to the left and right, at the bottom center. Reverse design artist: Kruger Gray (“K” to the left and “G” to the right of the flower’s stem).

I found another 3 pence coin amidst the rubble of The Broken Palace in our garden.

It is part of the 1937 to 1952 King George VI series coins from South Africa and made from real silver.

But it’s so small and so light the value of the coin outweighs the value of the silver.

The 3 pence coin is also known as the “Tickey” in South Africa.

Even though the tickey was only around until 1960, after which the British currency was replaced by the Rand, the word stuck in South African vocabulary.

Many South Africans will remember the “Tickey Box”, the old public telephone:

Excavating relics from our garden is like a history lesson in action.

If you know more about The Broken Palace, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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Look what I excavated from our garden: A vintage Mother of Pearl button

Look what I excavated from our garden: A vintage Mother of Pearl button

 

The excitement of excavating something shiny when cleaning up the garden soil from rubble and debris!

 

I gave this Mother of Pearl button a rinse and it’s gleaming in the sun.

 

According to Vintage Button Emporium this nacre button is even worth something, like a pound or two. It is the rim that makes it more valuable than just a plain version. Craftsmanship is always worth something.

 

Interestingly, this button seems to have been fastened with a metal noose, which is still attached to it. So was it part of some sort of uniform maybe?

 

If you know more about The Broken Palace or the people who lived there and what happened that we’re digging up so many artefacts. please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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These pieces of plaster have been around for a while: They all show different layers of paint.

These pieces of plaster have been around for a while: They all show different layers of paint.

 

This looks like we have many houses buried in our garden, with the colour palette ranging through the entire colour spectrum.

I love how each plaster piece has at least 2 different colour layers.

Do they all come from one house? That must’ve looked like Pippi Longstocking’s Villa Villekulla.

Or are these remains of the houses that stood on the now abandoned corner of Greatmore and York Street?

And why are they still in our garden, why did no-one ever clean up the rubble?

If you know more about The Broken Palace, please get in touch: TrulyJuly@web.de 🙂

 

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