Recently I blogged about the inspirational Una van der Spuy, the doyenne of South African gardening, after she passed away just days before her 100th birthday. This particular article and photo's of Old Nectar is posted here. Anyway, since meeting her a few years ago, my interest in gardening was rejuvenated.
It was shortly after her death that I was approached by our local Helderberg Hospice if I would consider opening my garden for their much needed charity drive. The mission of Helderberg Hospice is to promote and provide skilled and compassionate Hospice palliative care to all persons living in the Helderberg community who are facing a life-threatening illness. They offer care and support to those living with cancer, HIV/Aids, Motor Neuron Diseases and any end-stage illness. How could I refuse?
The moment I agreed I started gardening with renewed vigor and in about four weeks, the last two weeks being the most intense, my garden was restored for the Hospice Open garden day. This was achieved mostly by myself with some help by my loyal housekeeper Gracie who often found me underneath a bush pruning and cutting or in a garden bed fighting a huge battle against the weeds, etc. Some trimming, sawing, cutting, pruning took place on a regular basis and most of it were chipped with a chipper and worked back into the garden as mulch.
Here and there hanging baskets were replanted, seedlings added to bare beds, pathways cleared and raked on a daily basis, LOTS of raking, beds reshaped, a few teepees made for a few plants and much more. I'll remember as I take you through the photographs.
Daily watering took place (my shoulders have broadened from dragging the hose-pipes I'm sure). I've gone through 3 rakes (plastic) - raking their teeth away. Despite wearing gloves, my hands took a pounding and I badly need a manicure and my body is aching for a massage. But, all in all, it was wonderful to get back into gardening so intensely and it made me realise again how I adored putting this garden together and see it grow and take shape over the years. What an absolute pleasure to sit in the shade of trees that you've planted.
Saturday finally arrived. Hospice sent a representative to meet visitors at my gate and to check that they have paid :D. I met visitors in the garden and was happy to answer any questions regarding plants.
Thanks for stopping by - I'd LOVE to hear from you if you enjoyed this stroll through my garden - take a moment to comment at the end. Its not too tricky to figure out. So, lets go ...
|Welcoming flags at the gate|
The Brazilian Pepper tree has a sprawling habit and over the years I've trimmed away many branches to create windows to peep through.
|Brazilian Pepper Tree|
This lovely old wrought iron cot has become overgrown and entangled with Ivy and Morning Glory and tucked underneath a canopy of Bignonia Cherere. Its one of the most tranquil spots in the garden.
|Climbing Morning Glory on the old cot|
If you wondered what on earth Bignonia Cherere is - this is it - also known as trumpet vine - grows rampantly and can get out of hand in adjoining trees. We remove it from trees but let it grow a bit wild over the pergola and ramble in other places. I never water it and flowers for a long time in the summer.
Everyone loves roses, me included, but have to admit straight away its not a plant that I have persevered with and have lost quite a few in our harsh summers. I don't like spraying for pests and often gave up with all the spots, rust and goggas that roses often are prone to. This rose, however, charmed my socks off last year when I spotted them during the Elgin Open Garden Fair. I planted My Granny (such a cute name) in pots and have been rewarded with endless blooms this year.
This rustic pergola is in the back garden and even when bare, I just love it. Here some soft tendrils are creeping towards it.
|Pergola and Tendrils|
Another old wrought iron piece has found a place in my garden, this time a bedstead, overgrown with campanula with the prettiest dainty blue flowers.
Because of the lack of roses in my garden, the few that are there deserve a mention. This cluster rose is such a pretty sight when it blooms and I think it would not have survived the summer had I not surrounded it with a few other plants for protection.
|My red 'cluster rose'|
One of my favourite views of the side of the house. This variegated elderberry just livens up any area and is a good contrast next to the starkness of the flax in the foreground. The Nandina to the middle of the photo has bright red berries after flowering and attracts birds.
Raked pathways lined with logs (branches that I have trimmed over the years). A view to one of the garden areas on the upper level which I don't water at all in Summer.
|Foliage and Garden View|
From Una van der Spuy I learnt the value of contrasting foliage - gold with grey. Here the variegated Coprosma on the left next to the purple Geranium Maderense, the wild grey Sage on the right, backed with the golden Elderberry, the grey Budlia (butterfly bush with fragrant purple flowers when it blooms) behind it and the blue flowering potato bush says it all in this one little corner.
The wrought iron cot again showing off
|Wrought iron Cot|
The blue Potato Bush Tree (Solanum Rantonettii) is a lovely one to have in the garden and is more like an overgrown shrub than a tree. Prune it quite hard after flowering to prevent it from getting too scraggly looking.
The Hymenosporum Flavum is one of my all-time favourites (Australian Frangipani). Fast growing with evergreen leaves its an asset to have if your weather conditions allow it. There is a time when it can look a bit drab but when Spring arrives, she bursts into creamy yellow flowers and her scent is magnificent. The scent is at its best in the evening and early morning and there's always some in my bathroom and bedroom when she blooms. Plant it near your entertaining area or where the scent can drift into your bedroom at night. In my opinion this is the seductress of trees and we should all have one.
A close up of the variegated Elderberry which I also prune quite hard and then shove the cuttings in randomly all over the garden and before I know it there are new plants waving at me. The foliage is soft and I love the way it sways in the wind. I believe one can make fritters from the flowers.
Mini forests have been created as the lower branches of shrubs and small trees have been trimmed over the years and pathways lined with sawn branches.
The view from the gate towards the house - Bauhinia Variegata on the right and Gold Crest on the left
This is my favourite lavender and I think its the English Lavender. It has very long stems when blooming and such a pretty sight this time of the year.
|Lavender and Birdbath|
A view towards the gate. Fennel in the foreground, yellow buttercups, variegated coprosma on the left, pink Bauhinia Variegata and Gold Crest on the right.
|I'm blooming for Hospice|
Not yet in full bloom - a rustic pergola with a rose on the left and creeping Star Jasmine on the right. In the foreground buds of miniature Agapanthus.
The rusted tins swinging on the pyramid used to hang in my late Dad's fig tree, filled with one or two stones and attached to a long string of which the other end was tied to his bedpost. When he had his afternoon siesta and heard the birds eating his prized figs, he'd give the string a yank and the clanging tins would scatter the offending birds.
|Rusted tins that used to guard Pa's figtree|
|Neo posing on my son's old bike|
Abalone Shells supported by a few restio branches.
Wonder if the birds will nest here.