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Aloe patch

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Aloe patch 

The aloes are doing very well in this patch and as you can see, when they flower they add a really nice colour and texture to the area too.


Birds welcome!

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Brids welcome!

I put up a couple of bird houses in the front garden this morning, in view of one of our favourite chilling out spots. I hope they get made use of, especially by ‘Flitty Fred‘! (the Graceful Prinias which have made our garden their home, very sweet!)


Lawn repair in progress

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Last week, the lawn was a disaster, looking like almost a desolate muddy lunar landscape than a proper lawn and I resolved to do something about it. I did. But although that the ants are still around (the bastards!) at least with the spreading of five kilograms of ryegrass seed, the results are already astounding. Just over the last couple of days, the new fresh gorgeous green shoots have started to appear, and this morning, well, see for yourself:



See what I mean?


Lawn Problems, sorry Gaia, I had to give up

I’ve succumbed. But before I go on, have a look at the state of my lawn now:


and this is how is used to look like just 3 years ago:

Hope & The Garden

Can you imagine my distress every time I walk into the garden now with the images of how it used to look like firmly in my mind?

For three years I’ve been battling ants with every natural product I can lay my hands on to no avail. I tried Neem Tree Oil and a variety of other “solutions” which were anything but. So this week, the last of the year, I declare that I am beaten. Well and truly beaten by bastard ants. Ants that have dug into every single square inch of the garden and are now seriously threatening the trees too. So, I decided that it is now high time to employ science at its worst. Yes, my friends, I have succumbed and bought a few products from the local vendors in the hope that I would reduce the ant’s effects – there is no hope of ever annihilating them of course – but if I can limit their effect enough to have a semblance of the loan at the hight of its glory, I shall be happy indeed.

So what I’ve done all through the morning is spread Diazinon pellets all over the garden. This was the product which has been recommended to me by the garden centres I’ve visited and the agricultural engineer at the government’s experimental farm. I hope to Gaia that it works!

I know that this is not the season for the grass anyway and that planted South African grass goes into semi-dormancy, but even with that it never looked as bad as it does this year. So to aid it a bit, along with the Diazinon, I spread copious amounts of Ryegrass which I hope will start filling in the ugly gaps until summer arrives.

Once that is done, I had to compress the spongy earth a bit. So out comes the roller and I went all over the garden with it. Now instead of the puffy ugly surface, it’s actually looking somewhat level and compact. Now if the poison does its job, I should see those ugly puffs any more. Whether the lawn will ever look like its former self, I won’t be able to venture a guess, but I can promise you this: if what I’ve done today doesn’t fix it, I’m fully prepared to rip the whole bloody thing off and start all over again. A good lawn is worth it.

Have a wonderful New Year!


Nature’s Christmas gift to me…

Nature's Christmas gift to me...

I brought this hydrangea as a cutting from Canada last summer. I never thought that it would actually survive, it actually almost died when I planted it in a test-tube planter and almost gave up on it. I thought I won’t lose much if I plant it in the garden. It was so poor looking that the gardner thought to pluck it out and throw it! I rescued it from the bucket and once again planted it under the Plumiera. Checking on it this morning (a mere 3 months since it began its journey) it is flourishing with new shoots coming out from the roots, new leaflets appearing from the main stem and new small leaves at the crown.

Needless to say, I am absolutely chuffed!

Merry Christmas!

This is a Variegated Lacecap Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Mariesii Variegata’


The office garden has a white theme this year

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With the change in the weather, the gardening season is most certainly upon us. Not to let our office garden to miss out, we cleaned it up and planted many geraniums and bordered them with lovely alyssum. It’s been a couple of weeks since they were planted, and as you could probably see form the picture, some of the flowers are starting to bloom. So far, the white geraniums have come through, making the garden take on a definite white motif this year.


Chrysanthemums border

Chrysanthemums border

Chrysanthemums border, originally uploaded by malyousif.

I went a bit crazy with chrysanthemums this year as I filled in a complete border with about 40 mumms of pink, red and white. I edged the approximately 4 meter border with 50 lobelias and added red dianthus at one end. I’m sure that if they all take – and as of this morning they’re looking that they are – the border will look quite nice.

Have you started your season’s planting yet? What’s your garden looking like? Would love to know.


Here comes the season! Annuals planted

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I spent a wonderful afternoon in the garden planting some annuals in so far barren borders, and that lifted my spirits and my vision of the borders in a month or so is full of colour and texture. Can’t wait!

Planted so far are:

  • 100 geraniums – white, pink, red and scarlet
  • 50 gazanias
  • 20 carnations
  • 20 marigolds

That should start things quite nicely.

In the coming few days I’ll start my nursery and seed some exotics. The idea is to fill all the borders with as much colour and different textures as possible, capitalizing on the very short season in Bahrain.

Have you started your annuals planting?planted to exchange some seeds? Let me know how you’re getting along…

Happy gardening!


Mission Accomplished: The mound is complete

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It was a hectic day yesterday and only got back home at around 11PM. But immediately I parked the card and walked into the garden, I went to check the progress on “the mound”. Although it was dark (obviously) I was happy to witness its completion. Time is king now as only time will really improve it and get it to weave properly together and make it a complete whole.

I’m happy that the 60 trays of sod was enough to cover the full area. I saw this morning that a couple of slivers are left exposed and will buy just one more tray to cover those little areas. But overall, I’m quite happy with it.

Here are some pictures:


The Mound

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The weather has finally turned in Bahrain. It’s no longer the stifling 50C, to a much more tolerable 35-40C. It was hovering between 30-35C over the weekend, which got me to finally get out and work in the garden. And that I did.

I missed doing “real” things in the garden. My garden is a little of 6 years old so it’s much more mature than it was when we started obviously. But that, I mean the trees have reached a respectable height now and are providing nice shade. The shrubs are all happy with their locations, and some are even fighting with each other. Almost all the plots are filled and there is hardly a place to position new plants unless I allow the lawn to be eaten into, which is something I have allowed to happen over the past few years.

With maturity, I guess it’s only natural to suffer from some hard to get rid of weeds. This is not a declaration of defeat, but just a fact of life and one that makes gardening somewhat interesting. A case in point is a nice mound in our front garden which for some reason got to be taken over by weed. I couldn’t bring myself to pour chemicals over it to get rid of the weeds, so I took this opportunity to take radical action!

I decided to remove all the grass and weed off the complete area and create approximately a five meter circle, get 10 tonnes of garden sand and create a new mound, a bit higher and hopefully much cleaner one. I tasked my trusty gardener Roy to start digging the area and get rid of all the grass and weed. He did that over a week or so (Roy only comes in twice a week for a couple of hours each time) and we left the patch as is to make sure that we didn’t miss anything. That done, Roy moved the sand into the garden and mixed in four 70 liter bags of compost into the sand, added some fertiliser and generally prepared the area to receive a carpet of Japanese grass next week!

Now to make it a bit more interesting, I decided to create a band of about 30 centimeters deep around the circle, inserted plastic divider both on the outside and inside of this band and decided to fill that band with river stones. I think the place will look quite dashing when it’s planted.

Here are a some pictures shot this afternoon for you to have a look at the progress so far.

That wasn’t the only thing we did this past weekend. My wife and I were out in the garden throughout Friday and most of Saturday as well. We purchase 660 kgs of river stones and I covered the area around the two Washingtonias by the pool (pictures to come soon), the first area was around nine square meters and the other was just over four square meters. We also purchased about twenty 70 liter bags of pine bark and spread those over a problematic flower bed on the North side of the garden. The design of the house and the garden there might as well be a Venturi tube! Wind comes in from the sea and almost gusts down that path. So it’s very difficult to get many things to grow there, and even the trees we planted there take a lot longer to establish. The rusty red colour of the bark contrasts very well with the green grass.

I also took the opportunity to cover a small bed by the front door and another under my study’s French windows. The place looks like it has received a nice fresh lick of paint now!

But it’s not over! I have an old small pond whose pump packed up. It was like this for several months I confess, I just didn’t get a chance (or the gumption) to do anything about it other than clean the pump and filter, get it to work for a few minutes – or hours if I’m lucky – and then just leave as is. Well no more! I got a good sized submersible pump and installed it there last evening. Now the water is circulating quote well and at last we hear the nice sounds of a water fall to add to the nice atmosphere of the garden.

It was a pleasant and very satisfying weekend. Needless to say both Frances and I slept like logs those nights to wake up to some welcome muscle pain the next day.

They’re delivering 60 trays of Japanese grass tomorrow so Roy should be able to lay the carpet over the mound. Can’t wait for that operation to complete…