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Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Surrounded by Karee's

The front entrance of my home, densely framed by two species of Karee's - Karee viminalis (White Karee) and Karee lancea (black Karee) and various indigenous grasses and aloes. 

I've had a couple of requests to 'share' a bit more about where I live on my little piece of African soil, so I decided to do a short series of my home in Tarlton, South Africa, situated on an 8.5ha smallholding.

I would just like to mention that, when landscaping my garden about 7 years ago, I took inspiration from Africa, and nature in particular, choosing to plant only indigenous trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers, with the result that I have a rather wild garden with not much colour, as indigenous flowers and shrubs tend to be less spectacular than most exotic plants, which just don't do well in our climate at all, with very hot and sometimes dry summers and winters that can dish out the coldest of frosts.

I am not ostentatious by nature and prefer the simple and natural (but good!) things in life. Hope you enjoy and find this interesting! I know I just LOVE to see other people's living spaces, be it small or large, simple or ornate, in suburbia or the country, in a basement or a sky-scraper, inland or at the coast.

A garden ornament hanging from a Karee Viminalis (White Karee), and Jacko sitting at the front door

An old (and now rusty!) paraffin lamp provides some light at night.

On the corner of the pathway is a clump of Restio (Cape Reed grass) and right at the back is planted some Tiger Grass (Miscanthus). Grown in India, Australia and Madagascar, South Africa and other warmer countries in Europe, Tiger grass is believed to be the grass that the Bengal tiger uses to clean and maintain its sleek coat. "With the knowledge that the animal kingdom is more in tune with its habitat, Bengal tigers roll around in this grass to sooth wounds and skin irritations, devouring its leaves while waltzing around!" (Don't ask me if that's true, I read it on a Miscanthus site while looking for info on this plant and now can't remember where it was!)

The Tiger Grass gets these beautiful white plumes at the onset of winter before dying down.

One of the many bird baths in my garden. An old log is being cleaned up by some termites (I've been chasing them all over the garden by pouring Diesel down their holes and this is the latest spot they've surfaced!

My vantage point on the patio from where I survey the birds and my garden. A concrete-relief gecko adorns the patio wall.

Rhamnus prinoides (Dogwood or Shiny Leaf) on the right of the pic - (Afrikaans) : blinkblaar, hondepishout) - a tall, conspicuous evergreen shrub, or small tree - a root decoction has been used to treat pneumonia, and the leaves used as a liniment for sprains. Parts of the plant are also reputed to have protective powers against lightning and evil spirits. It's a rather scrambly plant and seems to be taking over this section of the garden. Planted it in the wrong spot....

My Acacia karroo (Soetdoring) in the foreground - I just LOVE this Acacia's beautiful thorns and little yellow pom-pom flowers. It also provides shelter and safe nesting spots for the Red Bishop, Masked Weaver and the Sparrows.

And so I often sit and drink tea in the mornings, and come out at dusk to listen as the world tucks itself in for the night.



  1. How do you tell the difference between the wit karee ans the swart karee? Thanks, Anne

    1. Hi Anne, it would be quite a lengthy process explaining the difference between the White and the Black Karee, so I suggest you Google 'White Karee Rhus Pendulina, New name is the Searsia Pendulina, and Black Karee (Rhus lancea) where you will be able to see information as well as pictures of the two trees. Thanks for stopping by!


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