MY SECRET GARDEN REVISITED

The drought has not been kind to my ‘secret’ garden, deliberately left ‘wild’ and undisturbed for the benefit of creatures either living there or finding shelter and sustenance. Several trees and shrubs have died, leaving open spaces and creating sunny spots. This is a view from it looking up the steps to the rest of the front garden.

Over the years the mulch made up of leaves, twigs – and Hadeda ibis droppings – has grown thick and spongy underfoot.

A dead fiddle-wood is kept company by a cluster of other trees growing straight up to reach the light. On the right are branches of another tree that has fallen down during the strong winds.

Behind them the Natal fig towers over everything, its base covered by clivias.

The lowing of cows (part of the Urban Herd) drew me to that spot this morning. These are only a few of many gathered on the verge of a main road leading into town. The curtain of foliage is courtesy of the fig tree.

46 thoughts on “MY SECRET GARDEN REVISITED

    • I think such places are essential in urban gardens. I have a rustic bench there, which is a good place to sit for a while and watch the thrushes turn over the mulch and for seeing the fruit-eating birds feeding on the figs way above my head. Sometimes I see sunbirds collecting spider webs there for their nests too.

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  1. It is heart breaking to watch your lovely Secret Garden perish right before your eyes. Those big trees must be very deep-rooted to withstand the drought. I hope the drought is broken soon.

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    • Some of these trees have been here for over thirty years and must have tapped some underground water during this time. When the ‘proper’ rains eventually arrive, the bits of surviving ground cover will spread and seeds hidden under the mulch will grow. It will be interesting to observe the transformation of the place after a period of wet weather.

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    • The fig must be very old: it has doubled in size since we arrived here over thirty years ago. I love it for it hosts a wide variety of birds throughout the year, providing food and shelter as well as lots of nesting places.

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    • I would love to know what this section of the garden looked like when it was developed around 1945. Perhaps there was more water then – now I cannot even keep the vegetable garden going. This ‘secret garden’ has come about through necessity and yet has yielded so many benefits (including some excellent compost when required).

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    • The roots of the fig must have delved deep down into the earth to find their own source of sustenance. It went through a bad patch when neighbours sank boreholes to tap the underground water for their lush lawns, but it has since recovered making me feel that its roots reached down even deeper.

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    • It was already a large tree when we moved here and we had no idea that it would grow to be so large. We enjoy it for the shade and for all the birds it attracts – even out of the fruiting season.

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  2. Pragtig, ek hoop die droogte word spoedig gestop. Ek sien nou die dag dat damme wat die Oos-Kaap voed, 4% vol is. En dat β€˜n oorstroming nodig is om genoeg water te kry. Dan sien ek ook hoe stede water vermors deur lekkende krane. Sterkte daardie kant.

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      • Ons het water tenks; koop drink water; en hou duimvas dat die munisipaliteit dit sal reg kry om van Sondag af vir ons elke tweede dag water sal kan voorsien.

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      • Ons kry gewoonlik water elke tweede dag, maar daar was erg protes aksie hier en die werkers kon nie by die waterwerke en pompe kom nie. Die paaie en winkels is nou oop, maar dit neem tyd vir die water weer deur die dorp se pype te vloei.

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      • Anne, dit maak my kwaad. En ongelukkig het ek dan geen simpatie met die wat protesteer nie. Ek sien een dorp se lughawe word nou gesluit. Omdat dit verniel is. Ek sien ook dat mense water tenks in die pad aan die brand steek.

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      • Die plakkers wat op daardie lughawe huise bou dink nie aan die gevolge van hulle aksie nie: minder geld vir die dorp en geen plek vir mediese helikopters te land nie. Dit is hoekom my tuin vir my so lekker is – hier kan ek alleen wees met die natuur πŸ™‚

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      • Anne, daarmee stem ek baie met jou saam. En as iemand doodsiek raak en nie per lug gehelp kan word nie, dan staak hulle ook. Ek verstaan hulle gaan privaat aanloopbane op plase gebruik. Uitstekende oplossing dink ek.

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  3. How lovely – it must host such a variety of life even in times of drought. I wish more people with gardens would have at least secret corners to provide shelter and food and sanctuary for the benefit of birds and other creatures.

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    • One doesn’t require a particularly large space. This prolonged drought has meant I am unable to plant vegetables at the moment and so I left the wild grass in one of the beds to grow to seed … another year of the same followed … and now even that small patch has become a haven for Bronze Mannikins especially, as well as for Streakyheaded Seedeaters.

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    • The pathway is the only aspect of this part of the garden that I clear from time to time. The fig tree is absolutely enormous and provides us with a lot of pleasure.

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  4. We are in moderate drought here in Michigan and yesterday I went to a favorite park of mine near a large lake. One one side of the park it was flooded from a storm last week and the other side of the park, the marsh was drying up. Usually the marsh is thriving with lots of reeds and birds clinging to cattails and reeds.

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