A GROW­ING PAS­SION A pretty Cape gar­den

When she couldn’t find suitable help, this gar­dener de­cided to tackle the gar­den on her own

South African Garden and Home - - Contents -

When the hus­band re­tired, this cou­ple moved to the Cape to be near their chil­dren. When they moved to this Con­stan­tia prop­erty, they looked for a suitable land­scaper to help them es­tab­lish a new gar­den and in­te­grate it with what was al­ready

there. But they felt the plant list from one land­scaper was unin­spired, while the other was so ex­pen­sive they could have built a small cottage in­stead. The wife, on im­pulse, de­cided to go it alone, al­though her only pre­vi­ous gar­den­ing ex­pe­ri­ence had been to carry out tasks given to her by a ‘gar­den­ing ad­viser’. “As I was guided by her and never felt that the gar­den was mine, I took very lit­tle in­ter­est in it. Now it was ex­cit­ing to be able to plan the gar­den my­self us­ing a site plan,” she says.

She ad­mits to mak­ing mis­takes, but af­ter a fal­ter­ing start, with tele­phonic help from a land­scap­ing friend from

the Mid­lands, and ad hoc ad­vice from a land­scaper, her con­fi­dence grew. Sud­denly she found gar­den­ing ex­cit­ing and started en­joy­ing it.

The ex­ist­ing gar­den was rather tired and over­grown so the first task was to de­cide which trees to prune and which to re­move to let in more light and open

up views of Ta­ble Moun­tain. Wellestab­lished trees were also brought in to screen neigh­bour­ing houses and soften the high walls. Creep­ers were trained up bound­ary fences where there was no space for trees.

To get the in­for­mal look she wanted, she laid out gen­tly curv­ing beds around the perime­ter to link the older part of the gar­den and its es­tab­lished shrub­bery with newer beds near the house.

Through her ju­di­cious plant se­lec­tion, which in­cludes white and blue aga­pan­thus, Tul­baghia vi­o­lacea (wild gar­lic) and white and pink gaura, and by en­rich­ing the soil with com­post and adding wa­ter-ab­sorb­ing crys­tals, she es­tab­lished a gar­den that’s wa­ter-wise.

To cre­ate a sense of mys­tery and depth, she in­cluded an­nu­als like petu­nias, be­go­nias and snap­drag­ons as fillers while the more per­ma­nent plants such as hebes, pelargo­ni­ums, salvias and laven­ders brought from her Jo’burg gar­den, grow un­der the large trees.

One tip she re­called from her old gar­den was never to plant just one of

any­thing, rather three or five to pro­mote flow and har­mony. In just 15 months since she and her gar­dener planted the first bed, her colour and plant themes weave their way through the gar­den cre­at­ing a sense of con­ti­nu­ity. These are com­ple­mented by bold and f lorif­er­ous f lori­bunda roses, which she says laugh­ing, were se­lected not by choice but purely by availabili­ty, colour and how

pro­lific they would be.

Her favourite out­door liv­ing area is the grav­elled court­yard off the open­plan kitchen-din­ing area where a wa­ter fea­ture masks the sounds of traf­fic. Herbs and veg­eta­bles are grown in a raised bed within easy reach of the kitchen. This is the fam­ily’s pre­ferred gath­er­ing spot in the shade of a tall liq­uid am­ber tree.

THIS SPREAD, CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Stat­ice, salvias and roses thrive on the north side of the tipuana tree. A con­tainer planted with a stan­dard wild olive adds height to this bed filled with petu­nias and white ver­bena. The in­trigu­ing shape of a flow­er­ing ar­ti­choke stands out among the veg­eta­bles. Al­fresco meals are en­joyed in the shade of a liq­uid am­ber tree against a lush back­drop of vibur­nums and a frame of bougainvil­lea. Luna the cat en­joys the shade un­der the wrought iron ta­ble.

THIS PAGE, FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: This bed un­der the ex­ist­ing tree re­ceives some late afternoon sun so that he­liotropes and salvias thrive among shade-lovers like fuch­sias and fox­gloves. Low plant­ings of ver­bena, gaura, wild gar­lic and lamb’s ears along the drive­way.

THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Gaura and stat­ice cre­ate a splash of colour. The blues of he­liotrope and ‘Mys­tic Spires’ salvia weave through the pinks of roses, ver­bena and gaura. The sound of wa­ter in the court­yard off the din­ing room muf­fles ex­tra­ne­ous noise. A gap was left to so that lamb’s ears could be planted against the wa­ter fea­ture. Shasta daisies make a stun­ning dis­play in sum­mer.

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