Garden Bleu

Garden Bleu offers a variety of french gardern furniture, Victorian designed outdoor and garden accesories, as well as interior décor products and beautiful fabrics.  Garden Bleu also does Garden landscaping and decorative building.

Topiary, the pruning and training of living plants into shapes

Topiary, the pruning and training of living plants into shapes, is very popular – especially “portable” topiaries grown in pots that may be moved from room to room or from indoors to outdoors with the change of seasons. Particularly when grown in clay pots, they give a “European garden” look to a room and compliment many decorating schemes.

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All of the above topiaries are available at Garden Bleu, visit our Product Page to view more Topiaries.

Vegetable Garden Inspiration

Garden Bleu is so excited about our organic herbs and vegetable seedlings stocked at both Greenside and Pretoria branches.  All our herbs are grown in healthy soil which have broken down in an organic matter (humus) where millions of organisms would thrive and thereby your herb seedling would be stronger and more resistant to pests.  Herbs at Garden Bleu are grown in a nursery environment on the North Eastern side of Pretoria where we enjoy a more tropical climate.  Should you be buying organic versions of herbs?  Yes because your others herbs could be harbouring the potentially dangerous pesticides!

Article below:

Some people make it look so easy. On late summer afternoons, blogger Christine Chitnis heads to her community garden plot to tend her vegetables—toddler in tow. "This part of my day is so idyllic," she says. "Vik is such an easygoing soul, he's happy to eat some dirt and hang out while I fuss with my plot." Here are her secrets to creating a kid-friendly garden:

 Plant vegetables and fruit that your kids like—and some they don't. "Planting produce that your kids love is a no-brainer. But try planting a few things they claim not to like," Chitnis says. "Once they help it grow, and pick it straight from the vine, they may change their minds."

 Plant vegetables and fruit that your kids like—and some they don't. "Planting produce that your kids love is a no-brainer. But try planting a few things they claim not to like," Chitnis says. "Once they help it grow, and pick it straight from the vine, they may change their minds."

 "My garden certainly doesn't look perfect, but it's a place where my boys are welcome and encouraged to get their hands dirty," says Chitnis. 

 "My garden certainly doesn't look perfect, but it's a place where my boys are welcome and encouraged to get their hands dirty," says Chitnis. 

Set yourself up for success by laying the groundwork, so to speak. Growing vegetables in raised beds "is the best idea, in my humble opinion—the soil is so rich and the weeds so few," she says. 

Set yourself up for success by laying the groundwork, so to speak. Growing vegetables in raised beds "is the best idea, in my humble opinion—the soil is so rich and the weeds so few," she says. 

Stake your peas as soon as they start to sprout. Otherwise? They'll turn into "a tangled disaster,"  says Chitnis.

Stake your peas as soon as they start to sprout. Otherwise? They'll turn into "a tangled disaster,"  says Chitnis.

Let go of your expectations. Kids want to "help," and that means plants will get uprooted, herbs over-watered, produce picked before its time, and pots knocked over, says Chitnis. All of which is a good thing. "By letting kids help, and giving them the space to get messy and make mistakes, you will nurture their love of gardening," she says.

Let go of your expectations. Kids want to "help," and that means plants will get uprooted, herbs over-watered, produce picked before its time, and pots knocked over, says Chitnis. All of which is a good thing. "By letting kids help, and giving them the space to get messy and make mistakes, you will nurture their love of gardening," she says.

Keep a journal, recording successes (and failures) that your kids can page through with you during the winter months. It will also remind you what you want to plant, come next year.

Keep a journal, recording successes (and failures) that your kids can page through with you during the winter months. It will also remind you what you want to plant, come next year.

"And then comes the most laughable part of our urban gardening experience—chicken wrangling," says Chitnis. "Our four 'girls' don't seem to understand the concept of coming back to their coop once night falls. And so we head out into the backyard to chase them down. It's always comical, with one of us wielding a rake, Vijay making matters worse by scaring them away, and my husband cursing lightly under his breath as he crawls through the bushes." 

"And then comes the most laughable part of our urban gardening experience—chicken wrangling," says Chitnis. "Our four 'girls' don't seem to understand the concept of coming back to their coop once night falls. And so we head out into the backyard to chase them down. It's always comical, with one of us wielding a rake, Vijay making matters worse by scaring them away, and my husband cursing lightly under his breath as he crawls through the bushes." 

Make it a family affair. "We all help in the garden and with the chickens," says Chitnis. "Kids love chores that involve shovels, rakes, and other tools, not to mention hoses and watering cans." 

Make it a family affair. "We all help in the garden and with the chickens," says Chitnis. "Kids love chores that involve shovels, rakes, and other tools, not to mention hoses and watering cans." 

Text and Images via here

Photographs by Christine Chitnis.

We love Hydrangeas!

Hydrangeas (or Christmas roses, as they are affectionately referred to in South Africa) are native to Asia and America, but they grow well in almost all parts of South Africa, from our coastal areas to the interior. The word hydrangea comes from the Greek “hydr-” (meaning water) and “angeion” (meaning jar or vessel) – so roughly translated hydrangea means “water container”, which is possibly a reference to the large amount of water that this plant requires in order to thrive. Most hydrangeas flower during summer and autumn and fare best when planted in partial shade.

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How to choose the right hydrangeas for your garden :

Hydrangea is a large plant genus which consists of over 80 different species, including deciduous and evergreen shrubs and climbers. The most common species which are grown in South African gardens are Hydrangea macrophylla, Hydrangea arborescens, Hydrangea paniculata, Hydrangea quercifolia and Hydrangea serrata.

  • Hydrangea macrophylla is the most popularly grown hydrangea in South Africa. It occurs in two forms – the mophead hydrangea and the lacecap hydrangea. Mopheads form large pom-pom shaped balls of flowers, while lacecap hydrangeas are round and flat with tiny flowers in the centre, surrounded by showy flowers on the outside. H. macrophylla can be blue, pink, or any shade in between, depending on the acidity of the soil they are planted in (See “Colour by numbers”).
  • Hydrangea arborescens (sometimes referred to as the ‘wild hydrangea’) bears small white to green coloured flowers. It is also referred to as “sevenbark” due to the fact that the stem of this variety tends to peel off in layers leaving various different shades of bark on the stem. The most popular variety of H. arborescens is ‘Annabelle’.
  • Hydrangea paniculata is the giant of the hydrangea genus. If well cared for, it will grow into a large shrub about 3m tall. The flowers on many H. paniculata varieties change in colour throughout the flowering season.
  • Hydrangea quercifolia (also known as the oak leaf hydrangea, due to the appearance of its leaves) grows best in inland gardens in South Africa. It bears pretty white flowers in the summer, followed by beautiful foliage in autumn – the leaves turn deep shades of orange and red.
  • Hydrangea serrata is closely related to H. macrophylla, but it is smaller and finer than its popular cousin. It is also hardier than H. macrophylla.

Where to plant then :

Most hydrangeas fare best when planted in dappled or partial shade. They will grow well under trees and along the west side of your home, where they are protected from the midday sun. Many hydrangea species hail from the coastal areas of Japan, so they cope well in coastal gardens, provided they are given some protection from the wind. Good companion plants for hydrangeas are shade-loving azaleas and magnolias.
If you are aiming for a strong blue colour, avoid planting hydrangeas close to a concrete wall or foundation as this can leach lime into the soil, making it difficult to obtain a true blue colour.

Colour by numbers :

The colour of hydrangea flowers is determined by the pH level of the soil. Acidic soil (pH of less than 5.5) will produce blue flowers, while alkaline soil (pH of higher than 5.5) produces pink blooms. You cannot change the colour of white hydrangeas.

  • For blue hydrangeas : Make soil more acidic by adding acidic peat to the soil. Feed plants with 25g of aliminium sulphate dissolved in 5 litres of water at two-weekly intervals from early spring onwards. Feed with Shake n Grow Blue Hydrangea Plant Food.
  • For pink hydrangeas : Make soil more alkaline by adding agricultural lime to the soil. Dust lime at the roots of the plant and water in well at two-weekly intervals from early spring onwards. Feed with Shake n Grow PinkPink Hydrangea Plant Food.

If you struggle to obtain the colour that you would like, try planting hydrangeas in pots instead. It is far easier to manage the pH level of soil in a pot than in an entire garden bed. It may also be worth checking the pH of your tap water (you can use a pool test kit to do this). The pH of the water may determine the colour that is most feasible to aim for in your garden.

Pruning hydrangeas :

Hydrangeas should be pruned twice a year – in winter and in summer, just after they have finished flowering. 
The winter pruning (ideally in June or July) is the harder pruning session. Remove all the dead, old or weak stems. Prune all the remaining stems back to just above a cluster of buds. The idea is to channel all the plant’s energy into producing new flowers. After pruning, feed with hydrangea food and mulch the soil well (an acidic mulch like pine needles works well if you are aiming for blue flowers).
Summer pruning (ideally at the end of January) entails cutting off any dead flowers and removing dead or old stems. Add plenty of compost to the soil to encourage the next season’s growth and mulch well to conserve water in the soil.

To read more about Hydrangeas click here

Text and tips via here

Images via here

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Hanging Plants

The new trend of hanging plants has taken us by storm. Create your own hanging garden right by your kitchen window to brighten your cold winter mornings.

Visit our Johannesburg and Pretoria stores to get 20% discount on all our hanging plants.

Scroll down to read more about Angus & Celeste's planters.

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Angus & Celeste began as a collaboration between Asha Celeste and Keir Angus when they finished art school, but now it has taken on a life of its own. By adding colorant to liquid porcelain before it’s fired in the kiln, they’ve created soft colors for their so-called “jelly planters” inspired by gelatin molds. On the other hand, their “hanging garden” series come stamped with patterns that are hand drawn, then stenciled onto the bowl.


“Living spaces are shrinking as cities get bigger and more built up, but hanging planters foliate your home or balcony from the top down without wasting floor space,” Asha says. “Indoor plants also last a lot longer than cut flowers which is a huge benefit.”

Text courtesy of Trendland

Story via here

Dutch Gardenista Piet Oudolf

While Andre is busy with his project at Dunkeld Estate, we thought we could share some of his inspiration from the Dutch landscaper Piet Oudolf

Piet is a legend amongst landscapers and has worked on projects such as Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London and the High Line in Manhattan. 

Be inspired!

Images above via

Here is a sneek preview of his documentary, Titled - 'Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall'

“I think it’s the journey in your life to find out what real beauty is, of course, but also discover beauty in things that are at first sight not beautiful”. 

Andre's Project at Dunkeld Estate Dullstroom

Andre's Project at Dunkeld Estate Dullstroom

Andre's Project at Dunkeld Estate Dullstroom

Andre's Project at Dunkeld Estate Dullstroom

Andre's Project at Dunkeld Estate Dullstroom

Andre's Project at Dunkeld Estate Dullstroom

View more of Andre's work here

Story via here

Garden Inspiration

We have just received new stock of the moss balls and felt that we would share that news with you by showing you this inspiring greenhouse, just before the start of the weekend.

I feel that the best way to get rid of the winter blues is to spend time in the garden under the warm winter sun. Come and get a moss ball at our shop to hang one in the sun.

Have a lovely weekend all!

Found via

Found via

New Moss ball in store now!

New Moss ball in store now!

Our favourite Store's new look

 

As most entrepreneurs will tell you, a small business can take over your life. For Claudia Zinzan and Nick Hutchinson, better known as Father Rabbit Limited, this literally became true when, following the successful December 2010 launch their online shop, the goods started taking over their New Zealand home.

The solution came last fall when a turnover in the second half of their weatherboard split villa allowed them to expand their web-based enterprise to include a physical showroom-style store. Now Father Rabbit has a home that is every bit equal to the sublimely simple housewares within. And though Claudia and Nick are no less busy with the business, they can't beat their commute.

We just love their new look, some inspiration for us as small business owners!

 

 

Artwork done by Sascha Opper

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