long time growing

We moved in in 1979. Only two plants from that garden remain today, in the same position now as they were then. They are situated next to each other, between the side fence and the path that goes along the side of the house, just outside the kitchen window.

One of these loyal survivors is a Camellia shrub with a red flower, the other is Coprosma repens, aka Mirror bush or Looking glass bush. Both have survived extreme heat and drought, as well as having their roots mangled when a new fence was erected. They have been cut back, shaped and mis-shaped on numerous occasions. But they have always grown back, sturdy as ever.

Mirror Bush
Soon after starting the garden, a loquat seed from the mature loquat tree next door penetrated in the newly turned and weeded soil at the bottom of the back garden. I let it grow there for a while, then decided I didn't want a deciduous tree there, so moved it to another position in the back garden, nearer to the house. And there it has stayed. It is a favourite night time hangout (or clingto?) for possums and I often find their poo on the stone path at the foot of the shrub. Last year they ate many of the leaves but they all grew back later.

Loquat Tree
I love crab apple trees, and one winter in the early 1980s I bought one. Before it found its home in its present position in the middle of the back garden it must have been moved at least 4 times. It was in front of my son's window for a while until I realized how large it would grow. It graced the front garden too for a while. It has grown slowly, partly on account of its nomadic status but also because of the lack of watering. But this year, the wettest by far since the beginning of the garden, it has fruited for the first time.
Crab Apple
The tree below is an Agonis flexuosa. It is an Australian native, aka Peppermint tree or Willow myrtle. It is without doubt the jewel in the crown of the garden. I think I didn't realize how large it would grow when I took it home in the back of the car. It didn't look so wonderful until it matured. Now it has nesting boxes for an owl and a possum family.

Agonis flexuosa
The trees below are an assortment of eucalypts and tea trees. I planted them when I was a complete novice gardener, and now they tower over the garden and attract and provide shelter for lots of birds.

Eucalypts and Leptospermums (Tea Trees)

I planted this Magnolia stellata at the side of the house many years ago and it's still here today.

Magnolia stellata
Finally -  the olive tree in the front garden. It was planted when I made the front garden and has not moved since. It has really been getting too big lately, so a few weeks ago I tried to cut it back. Since then it looks dreadful and I realize I need help with dealing with large trees and shrubs. For my protection and theirs.
Olive Tree


  1. When I see all your tall plants, I put some in my list which I like to grow when we have our own land to grow the things we like.

  2. The olive tree you can pollard like a willow. Don't ask me when. But I remember being appalled when I saw our wild olive trees cut back to bald stumps at Kirstenbosch gardens. On a later visit, there they were. Lovely small trees with a lush green top.

  3. It's heartwarming to see the trees you planted grow so big, isn't it? Greet photos.

  4. I love your Willow myrtle, Catmint - the owl box sits well on it. The shot appears to depict a natural setting...which makes it even more appealing.

  5. Dear MKG, I hope you manage to get your own land soon, I know I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to put down roots like the trees.

    Dear Diana, I looked up the word pollard and realized that I had inadvertently/accidentally done this with trees a few times. I would do it now with the olive tree as you suggest but the garden will be open to the public in Sept. so I had better do anything too radical. Thank you so much for your helpful advice.

    Dear Kate, thank you so much for your comment. The photos are the first time I have used manual setting, inspired and encouraged by a short course in DSLR photography.

    Dear Faisal, thank you for your comment, I do try for a naturalistic garden look.

    cheers, catmint

  6. Beautiful tall growing things in your garden! That loquat did so well from a stray seed! Do you eat them too or just leave them for the possoms? The myrtle is beautiful.

  7. ooh, I love that olive tree with olives on it! We had lots of crabapple trees growing up and used them like chalk on sidewalks.

  8. I loved my "visit" to your garden this morning - and I didnt even have to get in a plane (my worst fear).

  9. Girl you have some great trees in your garden. I wish I could grow Camellias.I do not have too many plants that are in there first planting spots. I am always moving something.Have a wonderful week.

  10. Oooh, some very nice pictures of the leaves! Your classes are paying off. I so wish I could have a camellia here. How nice to hear about your sturdy specimen.

  11. Every time you mention that you have been gardening in that spot since 1979 I have a 'holy cow' moment. :) Its inspiring.

  12. Love the combination of flower and fruit trees you have. I can imagine camellia and magnolia to be really gorgeous when they are in bloom. And I like the deep green of the loquat and olive leaves. Have a great week Catmint!

  13. They all start out so small and in time grow strong and tall dont they. I had a prized Loquat tree and it just up and died on me last year. I never knew what happen to it as it was thriving for several years and a focal point to the garden. I suspect the drought season of year and me being absent took its toll. I miss that beautiful tree and may replace it some day…

  14. Dear Mrs B, thanks for the comment, we eat the loquat and leave lots for the birds and possums as well.

    Hi Wendy, I'm wondering how you used the crabapples like chalk?

    Hi Jayne, the blogosphere is a cheap and convenient way to travel - no flying necessary!

    Hi Lona, I was always moving things, and was quite surprised I had so many originals. Camellias here are quite tough, or at some varieties are.

    Hi VW, thanks for the positive feedback re the photography - you are an inspiration, I can see how much you have learned in the last couple of years or so.

    Thanks Jess - it has been a journey and I'm so pleased I've got the blog to record it.

    Thanks for your comment Steph.

    Hi Skeeter, your comment makes me think how some plants stay and others go, we don't even know why.

    Cheers, catmint


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