Saturday, May 28, 2016

Wonderful Wilderness and Moontide

Wilderness is one of those forever charming little places that we often whiz passed - either on our way to Knysna and beyond or the other way towards Cape Town.  Everyone should stop over sometime and actually spend a day or two there and it will make you realize why some people choose to live there permanently.  Its really a little paradise.  

We love going to Knysna -  also a lovely place of which I've blogged many a time - and not too long ago decided to stay over at Moontide in Wilderness en route.   Rescued and beautifully restored by Maureen Mansfield, during the 1980's, it was surely saved from ruin.  Built in the 1920's, one can only imagine how wonderfully unspoiled it must have been back then.

Wilderness is quite the ideal base from which to explore the Garden Route and even the Klein Karoo. Beautiful but sometimes busy Knysna is a mere 25 minutes away. Another 20 minutes to Plettenberg Bay while Oudtshoorn, famous for the Cango Caves, Ostriches and crocs - an hour's drive.  Mountain passes, lakes and ocean views make each drive a pleasant outing.

Wilderness is a small town with quaint shops and lovely walks along the board walk where one can really just be one with nature.  

One does not need a lot of words to justify a visit here.  I think the pictures are convincing enough.

There are so many lovely places to stay in Wilderness - Moontide was certainly a good choice

I think we stayed in
Moonriver Suite and its really as pretty as the pictures on their website.

That bed looked so inviting - but too much to explore for now 
Tasteful decor 

Even with a ladder leading to a little loft

Nice touches everywhere

The perfect spot for a dip on a hot summers day or a sundowner

A piece of wood rescued and given a second chance

Up the staircase to this charming loft.  Spot the paw prints?  Will make an effort to find my visitor

Love the smell, texture and look of thatch

Its so cozy - let's pause here a little while

Any person who makes an effort to save trees and work around them get my healthy respect.
400 year old Milkwood trees standing firm and tall.

Everywhere is a reason to pause - I didn't realize the trees were 400 years old.  I should have given them a hug.

When you do a 360 turn from the previous picture - this is what you see.
Talk about difficult choices of what deserves the most attention here.

Let's go into the communal lounge and restaurant.  I imagine with the fire place lit in winter and that pile of books and that seriously comfortable looking couch, one could spend hours if not days here.

High ceilings, lovely lamps and of course, our Country's famous national flower and most flamboyant fynbos specimen - the Protea Cynroides - completes the scene

Similar to a previous one but its so lovely it deserves to be repeated
How could I resist another little rest (ps my feet hovered in the air for the pic :) )

Touches of Africa

Outside - coffee and scones would have been perfect here

Tim, the friendly Manager, checking that the view is perfect for the guests

Aha - the evidence of the footprints in the loft room! - sitting close to Tim and checking that the view is behaving itself.  It was.

Want to go for a row / paddle?

I peeped into one of the other rooms - close to the water's edge.
There were petals on the bed and champagne in a cooler.  Hmmm - set for a romantic interlude?

Must be cozy when that fireplace is lit

Just watching out for you
The walk way stretches all along the lagoon

Relaxing along the water's edge is effortless
Lots of bird life - some ducks going for a morning swim

A boat?
Plenty of overhanging trees carefully trimmed to make  you still feel that you are being hugged by nature.  Spot the bird in the tree?

A clump of bright daisies close to the walk way.  Moontide across the way.

On a peddle boat - with a strong peddler - so I could take pictures

Had some company along the way.  Rather kind of the boat to just lie there,
 waiting for this photo.  Even with a hint of reflection.  
Of course the bright yellow bird posed just for this photo

Perfect for a boat ride

I wonder if these people don't want to sell - must be lovely to live here :)
Peek-a-boo - I see you

And there we are back at Moontide - time for a sundowner

Tranquil waters, reflections, quiet - nature and bliss

Across the lagoon - a boy and his dog - both on his board.
I regret not having a strong zoom lens here

The welcome back committee and also phantom footprint leaver

Set for breakfast - sigh - yep time to say goodbye to Wilderness and Moontide.  

You've left me with lovely memories Moontide - who knows - maybe one day I'll come visit again. Thank you.

About Knysna here and  here and here
About Plettenberg Bay here

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Gaga for Gardening - A Secret Garden

Gaga about gardening - that's me.  Gaga about trees. Gaga about foliage.  Gaga about sticks and twigs.  Gaga about creepers, climbers and ground covers.  Gaga about the smell of a good compost.  I go a bit potty about pots as well and am forever potting another pot.  

All kinds of things that I've collected over the years become part of the garden, eg watering cans that belonged to my grandfather, full of holes - will be hanging somewhere.  Rusted cast iron cot - became the perfect place for star jasmine and sweetpeas to scramble over.  Broken pots become water receptacles for feathered and furry creatures.   Reeds from my brother's farm become perfect stakes for a tomato plant. Trimmed vines get wrapped around trees and pots or become wreaths.  

Passionate.  Cuckoo.  Gaga for gardening. Probably a little nuts in some people's eyes.  All this happens when its gardening season. Family and friends get neglected because I'm in the garden.  I seldom come out the garden without my hair being full of bush.  My vocabulary goes a bit haywire when its gardening time and I do better at showing pictures then.  

Let me begin with a few nice ones.  This is what the garden looks like today - I can't bear to begin the blog post with those ugly ones first.  So look at some pretty ones first. 

Variegated elderberry in foreground.  Wrought iron bedstead with sweetpeas and other scramblers.  Sutera creeping around the broken pot which is the dog's favourite drinking bowl.  Alyssum, lavender, lambs ear - all a bit crammed I know - all of that underneath the chinese stinkwood.

The coriander is flowering profusely.  Fennel, tomatoes and greenpepper are merrily growing together in a planter box made from pallets - pallet not visible

This picture taken in same spot as the BEFORE one below.  Flagstones with pebbles in a pathway flanked by a variety of plants with contrasting foliage.  Initially there were two rows of pavers next to each other all the way.  It looked awful. Just like a runway.  Some pavers were removed and replaced with plants and a variety of things to break the intimidating pathway.  
Two and a half years ago.  My gaga for gardening vanished into thin air when I saw this bleak picture.  It was dismal.  It was depressing.  It was gaga-less.  (The view below is same position as the one above - the top of the picture is just cut off.  The pathway you see above leads to that door down there).

The dreadful BEFORE.  Gagaless

BEFORE : From the other side - I was speechless.  Bleak. Neglected.  
AFTER - Same view as above picture

A hopeless case (I thought)
Two and a half years later - with some tender loving care - she gives me great joy.  Here's a few more pics of the gaga woman's garden.

The wooden box made from pallets with some edibles.  The bed on the right flourishes from my washing machine's water that we lead into the garden.  (Saving water)

Old wrought iron twirly wirly bits 

Buddleia Davidii is a fragrant plant rewarding me with vigorous growth and flowers (also called the Butterfly Bush)

Just swinging around here

A bunch from my garden (My granny rose, lavender, nicotiana, miniature agapanthus and a mystery white flower

An ornate wrought iron trellis plus old weathered doors hide the dreadful washing line.  Plumbago planted either side of a concrete bench.  Reeds make a teepee around a wannabe topiary tree.


Clipped vines wrapped around an ugly tree trunk

Buddleia blooming merrily

Come sit a bit

Tomorrow's tomatoes



I hang around  here often

Sweet little creeper

Hanging Basket

Watering can hanging as decoration

Retired watering cans

This structure made from wrought iron bits and pieces providing a frame work for the star jasmine to grow over.

An old bell 

Big leafed elephant ear the main focus here

Elephant ear has a flower, Star jasmine on the left.  Sutera and another little groundcover doing well.

Quite a beauty - flower of the elephant ear

Metal hoops of an old barrel provide willing gripping for the creepers

An old bucket hanging in a tree

Chester's favourite drinking bowl is a broken old flower pot

Growing in a crack in the pathway

A pottery frog serves as landing perch for timid birds

Trapped in a sunray

Star jasmine

Star jasmine and wrought iron making friends

Geranium Maderense

Geranium Maderense close up

He lives in a  hanging basket

A cement pillar and bench became a feature in this bed.  

Low down - flowering prettily.

Rugged and Beautiful

Budding Buddleia again

A damaged abalone shell 

Another glimpse

My blooming garden makes me gaga

Shhh - not ready yet

Buds on the lemon tree

The little purple creeper going gaga in my garden = like me

The best of all - a bunch from my garden
Giving thanks - a tiny bottle with flowers
hanging in the garden
in memory of my Mum
For my Mum who loved my offerings from my garden
And there I have revealed my secret escape to you - my back yard.  If you see me in the shops with bush in my hair - be sweet about it please.

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