A MEADOW MOOD
This gracious Jo’burg property got a new lease on life when the owners gave it a colourful makeover
An old Jo’burg garden gets a colourful makeover
When the present owners of this gracious old property first moved in, the garden was rather bare and somewhat neglected. As the property they had just sold was going to be f lattened for a new office block, they were able to bring loads of plants from their old garden to give it the established look they wanted.
The wife, an avid gardener, organised extra help to prepare beds for the THIS SPREAD, CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: With its colourful annuals such as Namaqualand daisies, larkspurs and linaria, the meadow garden, which replaced the swimming pool, is a bee and butterfly haven. On the top terrace, the bed edging the retaining wall is brimming with a cheerful mix of pelargoniums, mimulus, daisies and linaria. The steps to the front door are lined with terracotta pots overflowing with pelargoniums and pansies.
new arrivals, which included her prize hydrangeas grown from slips given to her by her mother. “Fortunately, they all survived,” she recalls.
Although she had an initial plan for the garden, she admits that she abandoned it and went by instinct, putting plants where she thought they should go. “It all worked out well in the end,” she says.
A number of trees were removed and replaced with Japanese maples and magnolias. The lower level was dug out to create a shade garden. “We discovered building rubble under the soil, which proved to be a challenge,” she recalls. But, once sorted, this area is now home to shade-lovers like clivias and arums.
The meadow garden came about when they discovered that the swimming pool was cracked. “As it was going to be extremely costly to repair, we decided to fill it in.” The concrete f loor was removed to facilitate drainage, but the walls and the coping remain. The pool was filled with new enriched soil and the wife started planting and sowing earlier this year. She included linaria, wallf lowers, spring bulbs such as daffodils, ranunculus, Dutch irises and anemones, and sowed lots of Namaqualand daisies. She even included a couple of roses.
THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE LEFT: The secluded shade garden on the lower level features clivias and arums, a sandstone fountain and a bench.
The Iceland poppies, wallflowers and Namaqualand daisies were all grown from seed. Sam the golden retriever playing on the lawn.
“I love seeds and sow f lowers, herbs and vegetables all over. It is much cheaper than seedlings and more fun too!” she says. As a result, self-seeders such as nasturtium, aquilegia and pink primrose come up year after year.
The veggie garden situated at the back of the house, provides organically grown broad beans, peas, rocket, cherry tomatoes, lettuces, basil, dill and coriander, also grown from seed. No pesticides are used, only organic sprays which encourages insects and in turn attracts many different kinds of birds.
“Fortunately, we have a borehole, but I also mulch regularly to retain moisture and conserve water,” she says. Her advice to new gardeners is to get the soil right first, then the irrigation and only then start thinking of planting. “It saves a lot of time, money and effort in the long run,” she says.
THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE LEFT: A mixed border hugs the pathway leading from the steps to the upper level. A basket containing a cascading ivy-leafed pelargonium screens a downpipe. This winding pathway leads past the shaded hydrangea patch to a secret flower garden next to the house.