Open Garden Season

It’s Open Garden Season in the Cape. Yesterday OH and I visted some of the Franchoek Open Gardens. On the whole it was a lovely day out but the Lions Club did drop the ball somewhat when it came to organising the event. When we purchased our tickets we were not offered a brochure or map showing where the gardens were. On enquiry we were told the brochures had run out and we should go to the Tourism Info Centre and get them there. Well, of course they had run out there too so the lady there kindly tried to mark the gardens on a town map but with no actual addresses. However she got it very wrong and after walking for some time in over 30 degrees we bumped into an estate agent who kindly gave us a spare brochure and we were on our way. Incidentally it would appear that every second property in Franchoek is for sale, can’t help wondering why when it must be an idyllic place to live.

Here are some of the gardens that we visited
Tight and neat formality



One of many lovely Irises

013Fabulously lush borders

011 031

008Col, do you know the names of the above plants? I love this ground cover with leaves that look like variegated mint and tiny pink flowers. One above  – we saw this shrub with grey foliage and crimson blooms in many different colours and I would love to know what it’s called.

This pool area won me over for  a small manageable garden in a lovely setting.

025And then there was my favourite garden, on a much grander scale and in the English country garden style. Perfectly manicured lawns and beautifully co-ordinated borders in cool white, pink, blue and lilac – absolutely breathtaking in it’s perfection.

097 088 048 075 043A lovely statue perched at a water feature


These stunning ornate gates lead to another section of the garden where your eye is drawn down the tunnel of arches planted with jasmine to a stone bench at the end.


060 061

Railway sleepers interplaned with pansies, lobelia, poppies and ground covers provide a walkway to the seating area at the end.
Here is the view from the seating area looking back through the tunnel of jasmine.

After visiting four gardens we were dehydrated and in desperate need of some sustenance so we parked off in the shade at a cafe on the main street and enjoyed a delicious light lunch at a surprisingly reasonable price.  After recovering and a bit of retail therapy in a gift shop next door we got back into the car to drive to one of the gardens on the outskirts of town.

This grand house has the most amazing view from the pool area.
123 127Some more examples of symmetry
105 040Lastly the glorious Franchoek mountains

In all we saw five of the ten gardens that were open to the public, leaving the other five for next year with maybe a return visit to my absolute favourite English country garden.  We are truly blessed to have a gem like Franchoek on our doorstep. It’s Open Gardens in Elgin over the next two weekends – I am already working on OH 😉


Hello Bloggers, I’m still here

The past two weeks have been hectic, I seem to have been constantly on the run with something or other and yet on reflection, none of it was of any great importance.


Last weekend OH and I worked in the garden till we ached all over but a big tree pruning job is now complete and all the cut wood stacked for fire wood. Tomorrow we are going wine tasting, the weather does not look like it will be warm but at least it will be a break from chores.


On a completely different note I have just finished reading JM Coetzee’s “Disgrace”. I am astounded that this work won a prize (can’t remember exactly which one). What a depressing read, the main character is a sorry excuse for a man if there ever was one and the author portrays South Africa as a country without hope or any redeeming features. This book also has the most unsatisfactory abrupt ending I have ever come across. It’s almost like Coetzee said to himself “that’s it, I’m done” and just stopped writing.


The weather in Cape Town is foul today, although we do need the rain. Our two water tanks both filled to overflowing in a matter of hours. Ozzy and Milo have their beds in front of the fire and for them life could not get better.

A glass of red wine and a slab of chocolate would make my life a lot better right now 😉

I am sailing …

Tomorrow is OH’s last working day before he retires. Yesterday the whole company was called together and told that there were to be massive retrenchments and restructuring. This is a company that was taken over by an international company that is on a mission to buy and takeover other companies, wiping out the competition and firing people.  What a lovely Christmas these folk are going to have not knowing where they stand job wise. OH must have been the only one to leave that meeting feeling relieved that he is no longer going to have to deal with all the crap that goes on. At the moment he is probably the most envied person in the company.


Meanwhile I have had some disturbing news about possible restructuring by my major client which could seriously affect my business. If the proposals go ahead my situation will become untenable and will most likely hasten early retirement for me. This might not be a bad thing because we have made plans for five years hence when I was due to retire and we can bring those plans forward although financially we won’t be quite as strong but quality of life is more important to us.  We might even be able to take on a new venture and generate an income to supplement our retirement. I am not stressing about this, what will be, will be.  One door closes and another opens. As long as we have each other and our health we will be happy.


This could be my last blog post for a while because we leave on Monday for our cruise and the weekend is already packed with chores and stuff that we need to do. The weather in Cape Town is terrible at present and the port is windbound, hope it eases up by Monday.  A friend’s son is going to house and dog sit for Ozzy and Milo and hopefully they will behave themselves.  Milo has been on a mission lately to destroy our irrigation system and OH has had to effect repairs every evening when he gets home from work.  This is on top of me giving them filled hooves to try and keep Milo out of trouble when I have been out for an extended period.  He keeps going back to the same spots and I am trying to convince OH to smear wasabi paste on the piping there – am I being cruel or do you think it would be a good deterrent?


So take care bloggers, don’t shop till you drop while I am gone, will catch you on the other side of our cruise.

A bit of this and a lot of that …


Hello Blogpeeps

I have been unable to blog for a while due to too many other things taking up my blogging time (like work) but I have tried to keep up and read the blogs I follow, but I am sure I have missed a few.

Other things that have taken up my time are organising a 65th birthday/retirement celebration for OH, booking a 4 night cruise for the week after he retires to get him in the spirit of being retired, attending a 60th birthday/retirement celebration of a good friend, supervising the cutting down of neighbour’s trees that were blocking out all light and sun in our garden (with their permission, of course), taking Milo for his rabies shot, going to the theatre to see Caberet, and the normal day-to-day stuff of running a home.

We did the neighbour’s trees on Sunday morning beginning just after they left for church. It was a massive job and could not have been undertaken without our trusty gardener who managed to remove all the cutting to our side of the wall before they returned.  Had they seen how much we had cut they would probably have had a heart attack.  This was years and years of neglect on their side (they are elderly and not really interested in gardening) and the gardener they employ is more of a charity case than a gardener. We were very careful to cut so that there is no disfigurement on their side but plenty of light and sun now coming through to our garden.  I noticed yesterday that our potato bush that had just been bare stems on their side is already pushing out green shoots – isn’t nature wonderful!  The gardener is coming back on Saturday to tackle our pussy willow and one of the neighbour’s trees at the back and to plant some grass plugs where the lawn was taken over by shade loving weeds.

My airplants are in full bloom and looking stunning – here is a small selection:


OH is still in quite a lot of pain and can’t really walk for very long without his feet swelling up and becoming very uncomfortable but every day there is a little improvement.

This coming Sunday our daughter from whom we have been estranged for nearly four years is visiting with her baby and partner. She has agreed to come for a braai which means she is not planning to be just in and out. We are so looking forward to meeting our granddaughter for the first time and hoping and praying that this visit represents a change of heart on her side.  From our side we will welcome them as if nothing has happened and when I see that she has relaxed I will ask her if she will remain in contact and allow us to be part of our granddaughter’s life.

What I have learnt over this four year period is that I am stronger than I thought, the thing that I believed I could not survive I survived. Life did eventually become worth living again and this strength has helped me to forgive her and will help me if Sunday does not go well.