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Sunday, 1 February 2009

My Old Garden - Saying Goodbye

In August 2004 we were in the throes of moving from our one smallholding to the other - moving from a garden of 2 acres of green splendour and flowers and borders and Koi and duck pond to NOTHING! No garden, half a house, no fencing and no infrastructure to speak of.

After the initial set-up of the old garden in 1985, I spent every spare moment in the garden - planting, moving plants, changing beds, making pathways, removing pathways, building retaining walls, carting rocks, logs and ornaments.

With my trusty and knowledgeable helper, Ben, we managed to build a wildlife pond to house the Koi, ducks and geese (and every other stray animal that would constantly pitch up for help, like the Reed Cormorant whose wing got broken by power lines and a Hedgehog that had been mauled by dogs) and after the initial digging, lining, building of the filter, planting and laying of rocks, it was filled with fresh, clean water. The ducks were in their element after having spent weeks in a make-shift pen, waiting for the pond to be finished.

Getting the ducks and gees from the old enclosure to the new pond was quite an exercise - the gate was opened and they were slowly herded towards the gate of the new pond, with all sorts of detours happening on the way, but eventually they were all inside, stretching their necks and checking out the new environment. Mama duck was the first to venture into the water, quickly followed by the rest of the crowd and great splashing and bathing ensued!

The next venture was catching all the Koi, putting them in buckets and hauling them over to the new pond. They were all fairly small, but within a couple of weeks they turned into real whoppers!

Over the years the garden evolved, got over-grown, some plants obviously not suitable to the environment died of frost, and there was always something that needed tending and fixing up. The indigenous trees like the Celtis Africana, White Karee (Rhus Viminalis), Black Karee and 'Vaderslandwilg' grew to huge proportions, attracting birds of all sizes and shapes.

The Fiscal Shrike got to know when the bird table would be filled with mince and suet, the Cape Robin nested in the ivy outside the kitchen window and the Wagtails explored every nook and cranny. The Ground Scraper Thrush would investigate the leaf litter for tasty bugs and the Olive Thrush would wake us every morning with its sweet song.

Saying goodbye to a gardening passion of almost 30 years is always difficult, but I trust and believe that the new owners will enjoy the garden as much as I did.

Driveway Entrance to 8,5ha smallholding

The driveway in full Winter splendour

The Philodendron (delicious monster) actually survived the severe Tarlton frost

My Agave Attenuata - also survived several winters of frost

I'm really going to be missing the birds - they gave hours of pleasure at the bird feeders

Stretching green lawns and borders

My favourite parking space


Every winter the Red Hot Pokers amazed with their prolific flowering

Walkway to cottage

Bridge across pond

The Carolina Ducks seeking shelter

East side of pond

The Agapanthus enjoying some mid-day shade

Hedgie the Hedgehog's playing area


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