Archives for posts with tag: gardening from scratch. Parktown Gardens

We have builders back on site.  Not the original ones, mind you.  We don’t want to see them again any time soon.  If ever.  Bernard has found us someone new and we’re doing a small alteration.

When we decided to downsize to a house with a small manageable garden, I believed I’d get by with only a garden service company every fortnight.  The small toilet and handbasin next to the garage would then have been more than adequate.  But during the moving process we ‘borrowed’ William, a young, enthusiastic Malawian man who works for friends of ours once a week.

William helped us in all sorts of ways both when we packed up the old house and put things into storage.  When we eventually moved into this house  and needed to collect  various potted plants and other garden paraphernalia which had been in the care of  long-suffering friends, we borrowed him again.

William showed himself to have great initiative and to cut a long story short, he is now our once-a-week gardener.  As our exceptionally hot summer dragged on and on, I started to feel the need of providing him with a shower rather than just a basin and I spent some time thinking about ways we could extend the little bathroom to accommodate one.

I asked Bernard about it and he came up with an excellent idea.  Our garage is extra- big and he suggested knocking an opening through the garage/bathroom wall and building the the shower cubicle out into the extra garage space.  It meant that neither the basin nor toilet needed to move and was quite the simplest and best option.

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So that is what it taking place right now.  This little job has had little impact on us and the workmen tidy up so thoroughly each night, you’d hardly know they had been here at all.  And I think it will make a big difference to William when it’s finished.

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The garden is growing beautifully despite the heat and water restrictions.  Desperately hot days have been interspersed with some spectacular and violent Highveld summer storms bringing drenching rains of several millimetres at a time.

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Summer Storm building up

This is what the garden looks like now:

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Fortunately the carefully thought out drainage on the south side of the house has worked well.  Unfortunately we have sprung a leak over the bay window on the north side and now need to get that roof more or less redone.

Inside, we’re making progress on a weekly basis.  Pictures have been hung and small changes made to the arrangement of furniture.  I decided to offset the yellow wood dining room table by using ghost chairs rather than more conventional wooden ones.  They look good and pick up on the glass of the staircase balustrades:

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I like the way the Ghost chairs leave the view almost unimpeded.

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After a Storm: The view from our balcony.

 

 

My wire chickens have finally come home to roost.

My beautiful beaded, wire chickens – made by a Zimbabwean called Stuart and bought on a nearby street corner – have finally come home to roost.

It’s been a while….  Settling into a house still teeming with workmen has been quite challenging and very time-consuming but in the meantime, the garden has started to take shape and it’s all looking more like home.

There are four distinct parts to the garden:  the pavement (sidewalk) garden, the office garden, the driveway and what we call the front garden but which would probably be called the ‘back’ garden in the States.

I called in the help of a friend of mine who has a small landscaping business, Parktown Gardens.  Marion helped with various ‘rejuvenations’ of our old Dunkeld garden and I knew we’d understand each other here.

So this is how things are looking now:

The garden team arrives and gets started.

The garden team arrives and gets started.

 

Laying out the flower beds in the front (north) garden.

Laying out the flower beds in the front (north) garden.

The bench against the wall was originally in my mother’s East London garden and has survived several moves.

Plants waiting in line.

Plants waiting in line.

Standard Iceberg Roses, Jasmine and Agapanthus in the narrow bed on the west side of the driveway.

Standard Iceberg Roses, Jasmine and Agapanthus in the narrow bed on the west side of the driveway.

 

Front entrance taking shape.

Front entrance taking shape.

Starting to come together.

Starting to come together.

Water feature functioning at last.

Water feature functioning at last.

Water Feature up-close.

Water Feature up-close.

The flower bed along the front of the house.

The flower bed along the front of the house.

As you can see, there is still some building work to be done.  Where the loose tiles are laid between the beds, there are supposed to be more steps.  Unable to face asking this contractor to start anything else at this stage, I will tackle these sometime in the future…

The bed along the east boundary wall.

The bed along the east boundary wall.

First Crested Barbets to visit.

First Crested Barbets to visit.

In the absence of a big enough tree, I have resorted to a metal stand on which to hang a bird-feeder.  Perhaps it’s the proximity to the park but we were astonished at how promptly the local bird population came to visit.  Within hours of hanging up the feeder, Thrush, Cape Robins,  Grey Louries, Weavers and these beautiful Barbets had all come to their own house-warming party.

As you can see, there are still building materials piled up in the corner next to the pool and we’re still waiting for the decking to be installed.

 

Garden office yellow cymbid

Garden office pink cymbidBoth these cymbidiums survived the move including a few months of neglect while we were in Cape Town.

The first clivia and first (white) azalea flowering in front of the office.

The first clivia and first (white) azalea flowering in front of the office.

We’ve planted buffalo grass in between the pavers but it seems to be taking rather a long time to get established.

Planters around the office.

Planters around the office.

We’ve put five of these planters along the high-level bed around the office.  There are bougainvillea plants in all of them, chosen to withstand the heat and in the hopes that they will eventually ‘tumble’ over the edge of the stone wall.

Standard fuschia next to the front step to the house.

Standard fuschia next to the front step to the house.

There are lots of gaps to be filled in with annuals and I hope to get to that soon.  In the meantime, it’s such a relief to have a garden again and the lawn has even had its first mowing which took all of 5 minutes.   The sprinkler system is up and running and we hope our summer storms will not be too late in starting this year.  Watch this garden grow!