Our garden has always been too large for me to maintain on my own. When I was younger, I had the stamina and strength to mow the lawns and prune the trees. No more! It was a relief when we had a swimming pool installed for not only has it provided a welcome relief from the summer heat, but it cut down on the expanse of lawn to mow!
It was an even greater relief to sub-divide our plot, which lopped off the section of the garden which I had, through necessity, allowed to revert to an indigenous jungle. As it is, the bottom terrace of our garden has always been my ‘wild’ or ‘secret’ garden. This is where the Natal fig tree dominates and other trees have seeded themselves. Birds and other creatures remain undisturbed here.
Our double-storey house used to stick out like a sore thumb and now, thirty four years later, it is barely visible from the street. That is how I like it.
We are surrounded by Pompon trees (mostly self-seeded) that are bursting into bloom now.
There is also a beautiful Cape chestnut tree, dog plums, white stinkwood and enormous Erythrina trees. Clivias thrive in the semi-shaded areas.
Aloes enjoy the sunny spots.
I used to lavish attention and water on a variety of flowering shrubs and bushes … alas, the ongoing drought put an end to that. We all need ‘frivolous’ splashes of colour though and so I hacked into the encroaching jungle to clear a small space where I could plant seeds and seedlings with varying degrees of success. The rest are grown in pots.
In the back garden the old lemon tree is barely surviving the drought.
My garden has become less ‘landscaped’ as I have grown older and our water supply has become less reliable. I don’t mind though: during the worst of the drought the lawns turned into dust-bowls and even the leaves on the evergreen trees shrivelled and dropped to the ground. Our garden looked skeletal. Indigenous trees bounce back after even a little rain. Look at it now: we are surrounded by greenery, enjoy a wide variety of birds, lizards, geckos, butterflies and beetles.
Our garden remains a happy place to be.