Gorgeous Green House

The Renovation Journey of a 1940’s ‘Traditional’ to 2015 ‘Contemporary, Green & Gorgeous’


Two Different Flowers on One Tree?


Lemon and Tapinanthus flowers growing together.

While gazing at my lemon tree and dreaming up lemony recipes  I thought I must be experiencing a mild hallucination as I could see two different flowers are growing off the same branch!

On closer inspection I was completely thrilled to discover that I had a Tapinanthus growing on the lemon tree (and slightly relieved that I wasn’t losing the plot).

Tapinanthus are partially parasitic plants from the mistletoe family. Birds usually deposit seed by scraping their beaks on the branches of the host plant. It then produces ‘suckers’ that penetrate the host and absorb water and nutrients.

Lemon Tree

Lemon Tree

Why am I happy?  This plant (in addition to being beautiful) is very desired by birds for its nectar and fruit and a host to butterflies.  I can’t tell you which butterflies – though its likely to be Saphires and or Borders – because I’m not 100% sure which Tapinanthus this is.  Can anyone help?


Photo Update on Gorgeous Green House

The construction of the Gorgeous Green House is on track and going well.  The photos show how its going:

Huge footings have been dug for the columns to support the roof garden

Huge footings have been dug for the columns to support the roof garden

Concrete truck with crane arrives (huge thing!)

Concrete truck with crane arrives

Concrete poured into foundations for new rooms
Concrete poured into foundations for new rooms

Foundations secured
Walls emerging


Precious Brides Bush (Pavetta lanceolata) still safe and undamaged behind fence 🙂


Piping for plumbing and electricity in place and metal grid and plastic laid in preparation for the concrete floor

Anther concrete truck arrives to pour the slab

Anther concrete truck arrives to pour the slab


Caitlin and the babies checking out the spreading process


Paradise just beyond the maelstrom of activity


Gorgeous Green House Goes Mainstream Media!

daily_newsNews Flash!  

Gorgeous Green House has gone mainstream media.

Lindsey Ord from the Daily News is covering our progress and a series of articles are planned.  Please go to  http://www.iol.co.za/dailynews/lifestyle/the-green-house-effect-1.1530307#.UcmME_lTDiw  for the on-line version of the first.

So exciting to be getting all this good green info out there. Thanks Lindsey for helping us get to a wider audience.


Free Compost


Leaves scrounged from my neighbours

As the Southern Hemisphere is moving into Winter, Autumn first provides her most important harvest:  fallen leaves.  Natures perfect cycle of replenishment to the soil and the provision of nourishment for all life in the ecosystem.  And what do we do with this abundant gift?  We sweep it up into plastic bags and send it off to land fill.  Come spring we drive to the garden center and buy compost in more plastic bags.

Where did we get this idea that leaves are unsightly and need to be done away with?  When you think about it for a minute it really makes no sense. I appreciate that leaves on hard surfaces are not a good idea so lets sweep them into the flower beds where the mulching provides moisture and nutrition through the harsher winter months.

Exquisite winter colour well nourished by compost

Exquisite winter colour well nourished by compost

Once you get excited about the difference it makes to your garden  (check out my winter colour!) you get quite greedy for the stuff.  I frequently stop on verges as I see people raking leaves into bags and ask them if I can have them.  I get a few strange looks (and comments) but most people are too flummoxed to say no!  hopefully I leave them with some food for thought.

Easy to make wire leaf cage

Easy to make wire leaf cage

I am currently just making a big pile with the leaves but if you prefer a slightly neat tidier approach I’ve also made this very simple cage out of wire fencing.

In a few months beautiful quality compost for free!