I’ve developed a passion for secret gardens; hidden-away gardens and courtyards.  Having downsized from a property of just under 4000 square metres to one of just over 800, I have a newfound respect for gardeners who can turn a small area into an enticing, exciting, verdant space.  It’s reasonably easy to make a big gardens with huge trees and broad flower beds filled with shrubs, perennials and annuals look impressive.  It takes talent and imagination to make a small garden interesting.

My sister in law has just that talent.  She and my brother live in a townhouse in Cape Town.  Their complex is on the lower slopes of Table Mountain, below the cable station and very close to the city.  Looking at the building from the outside, you’d never guess  that one of the units has a magical garden hidden behind it.

As you walk in the front door of their home, your eye is immediately drawn to the lush, green oasis beyond the French door leading out of their living room.  Their garden is approximately 7 by 10 metres big and all you want to do is go outside:



An old bathtub makes a perfect herb garden.

You’ve got to love the luxuriant tresses of the guy below:


Pam made the pottery planter herself.


That’s a cast iron cat silhouette on the wall above.


An old Xhosa corn grinding stone finds new purpose as a birdbath.

Garden shed in Bridal gear

A Tiny Garden Shed hides beneath Star Jasmine.


Baby Robins in Ivy on the Garden Wall.  


Magnificent Clivia


A Cape Robin Finds Cheese on the Feeder.


Each time I visit Cape Town, I look forward to visiting this enchanting garden.   It’s hard to believe that so much magic has been conjured out of approximately 7X10 metres.


When it comes to gardens, my sister-in-law has made something very clear:  Paradise can come in quite a small package.


(Some of the photographs in this post were taken by my sister-in-law, Pam Parkin.)