Summer shots


Jack Holloway
Passionate Gardener
User avatar
SEQUOIA FARM Haenertsburg South Africa

Summer shots

7 Nov '06 10:44 pm
Let me start my summer postings by updating my avatar - and then to follow: some notes written over the weekend on the shots posted below.

Saturday - I’ve been fighting a cold through a hectic week and I’m determined to get over it this weekend. So I have had a really lazy day, and slept most of the morning. But I did go out into the garden immediately outside my house for a few minutes at around nine and took these pics.

‘Felicité et Perpétue’ grows in the railing of the seating area under the water oak (Quercus nigra). I developed this area about 5 years ago by building up a double terrace on the sloping ground under the tree. I never realised just what a wonderful vantage point I was creating, simply by lifting one’s footing by a meter on the edge of the dam!

From there one looks across the Cottage Garden to the house. The curved wooden window was rescued from the pavement outside my parents’ neighbours in Johannesburg. It was painted black and its back was broken after being removed during the ‘renovation’ of a rather lovely International Style house. The blue bay window, through which I take so many of my early morning shots, is 3m wide and 3m high.

Originally there were 4 or 5 pine trees on this side of the house, but I cut them down for fear they would eventually fall on the house. It took me 18 months to figure how to deal with the resulting barrenness – the house was tucked in so beautifully up against the trees. However the intimate scale of this garden with its rustic stone paths and combination of planted and self-sown flowers now gives me huge satisfaction for most of the year. It was a lesson I learnt from my friend Julie, whose children hunt Easter eggs here every year: her house is perched high up with magnificent views – but her garden is on such an intimate scale that one stoops to pass through arches. It was the first and most important lesson I learnt about planning my gardens – work with contrasting scale. In fact, to get a little philosophical, my approach is best described as symphonic. Create and vary contrasting themes and, and build it all up into a complex composition.

The white diarama was a very special present from a very special gardening friend on the mountain – I have since divided it successfully and have several plants. Last year we planted trays and trays of seeds and I have hundreds of finger length plants now; I wonder when they will flower, and if they will all be white, because the parents were mostly interplanted with the pink ones. You can see from the pics just how grass-like their growth is.

You might recall a winter pic of ‘Silver and Gold’; it is a most wonderful plant, always looking groomed, growing to fill the available space without being unduly invasive. The leaves have a silver edging, and the tiny button flowers are gold – hence its name. The miniature blue agapanthus are easy plants that look after themselves and mix beautifully with the predominantly white and soft pink of the planting in this area. When not in flower their leaves are attractive too. Their flowers stand about 40cm high, and the leaves are about 1 cm across and 25cm long. ‘Jacques Cartier’ is a Portland rose that grows very easily from cuttings. Just as well, as my original - in the Rondel - upt ‘n died on me. It repeat flowers and carries its gorgeously scented flowers quite upright on very short necks.

The pink gaura does not appeal to me nearly as much as the purer and more airy white one, but this enthusiastic plant has really won me over – it was attractive as a foliage plant through winter and from early spring was ‘doing its thing’ without being fussed over. It works well with the osteospermum which compliments the darker shades of pink in it and subdues the more garish ones; the gaura is one of those plants which to me seems to have just a little too much pink pigment! (Like some ornamental peaches and cherries, and cheap strawberry yoghurts…)

I’m very excited about ‘Tiger Eyes’. It is due to become quite a bit larger, and all indications are that it is an exceptional shrub, with beautiful neat foliage, a soft growth pattern and quite beautiful and unique flowers. I wrote about it in an earlier post, and its parent Rosa persica – I think in the rose forum in September…

After lunch I sat for ages in the bay window listening to and watching a gathering storm. It became quite dark and very still, the water olive green and thick as oil, the reflections as solid as the trees themselves. Suddenly there was a wind and the trees swayed and lit up as their leaves showed their pale bottoms. Then the rain started. Immediately the water turned silver as the myriad ripples caught the light.

We had 25mm in a beautiful shower, taking us to 45mm for the first 4 days of the month. Then 40mm on Sunday afternoon. Glorious, gorgeous, welcome summer rains!
1 looking across the lake from under the oak.JPG
2 Felicite et Perpetue.JPG
3 The house that Jack built.JPG
4 white diarama next to path.JPG
5 white diarama against 'Penelope'.JPG
6 The irresistable 'Penelope'.JPG
7 'Jacques Cartier' with Chrysanthemum 'Silver and Gold' and miniature blue agapanthus just beginning to show colour.JPG
8 across Cottage Garden to lake.JPG
9 Gaura and Osteospermum.JPG
10 'Tiger Eyes'.JPG
11 From 'Tiger Eyes' across Cottage Garden.JPG
12 growing darker before the storm.JPG
13 rain on the dam.JPG

Dixie
garden enthusiast
User avatar
Waikato-New Zealand

Pondering

8 Nov '06 10:12 am
You have provided much to ponder in this posting ,Jack .'The house that Jack built 'would exist in our imagination of a magic house set amongst nature's beauty .I adore the window ,and your wry wording "renovation" was not lost on me.
Your friend's garden sounds intelligently planned -mention of 'contrasting scale'is a bit hard for me to understand .Can you give specific examples please?It is so interesting in these forums to see plants that we may never have heard of ,such as 'white diarama'It looks exquisite .White flowers really light up a garden .I have white gaura too ,and my Penelope has just started flowering this week -with ,to my utter dismay ,something chomping on the blooms -I can't find out what it is ! I also like the way the big pot is nestled in among the flowers ,and might do something similar .
And to finish -We were watching 'Millionaire' from British TV a couple of weeks ago ,and the contestant had reached the million dollar question : and that question was -wait for it -"What is a Qercus? IS it a fish -a plant -a bird -or an animal ?" My mouth dropped open at (to me ) such an easy question -IT'S AN OAK TREE ! ! (the contestant answered correctly ,but only after much dithering )
Dixie

Anna
Gone to seed
User avatar
Hamilton, New Zealand

8 Nov '06 1:09 pm
I saw that episode! I was yelling at the TV let me tell you! :D

My Penelope is 'almost.....' flowering. Not quite. *waits not quite so patiently*
My 'Meg' put out her first flower of the season last week, on the neighbour's side of the fence! I had to reach over and haul her towards me to get my first look.

One of these days I'll post some piccies from the current garden, but I must confess to being more than a little intimidated by all the professionalism shown by all of you. Your photos, including this latest batch Jack, are gorgeous!
My garden is a little pathetic by comparison I'm afraid.

I have all the enthusiasm 'in my head', it's just the 'doing' that doesn't go down so well. :D

Road to hell, paved with good intentions etc, etc...
Woof?

Jack Holloway
Passionate Gardener
User avatar
SEQUOIA FARM Haenertsburg South Africa

The editing nature of photos

8 Nov '06 7:05 pm
Said sternly: Anna, you scared me! Instead of a beautiful rose there's a ghoul. (Aha, I think our Anna might be trying to tell us something...)

Seriously, about the confidence to share photos of our gardens:
yes, I have a beautiful garden - it is spacious and in a magnificent natural setting. Much of it - like the views across water, are on a grand scale and therefore detail is not important. I have been working at it for 25 years, and TIME is the single most important element in any garden.

But why did I join the forum and what have I got out of it? Sure I brag and get pleasure bragging. But MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY: I get to look at my garden in a different way. I edit out the mistakes, the weeds, the deadheads by choosing what to photograph and present to you. The reality is nowhere near the romantic perfection in your head. The photos are much closer to the romantic perfection in MY head than is the reality. And your approval makes my enjoyment so much greater.

Now all these things we can share equally. Look at Eggy with his balcony, go look at Sarah from China who posted on the rose forum but has been quiet for ages. It is the sharing of the joy, the capturing of a detail - no matter how small a part of a small whole - and the sharing of the dream that makes this conglomorate of global gardeners the wonderful family we are. We must celebrate that two tomatoes on a windowsill can give as much pleasure as ten hectares, and that spread out around this silver ball we all talk the same language.

Go for it! A photo is great when it makes what you have look just slightly better than you think it actually is!

Liza
gardening consultant
User avatar
Waterloo, Belgium

What an inspiration!

8 Nov '06 11:17 pm
Dearest Jack! I saw this new magnificent parade of photos last night... And SO many things suddenly filled my being! Good, inspiring things! And right now, I need to concentrate, to feel at ease, in order to express them all in written speech. I'll do it tonight , before going to bed, as alawys -almost- with this site..I am garden-dressed right now , going out to my poor garden.. See you tonight! I promise!
"..So,perhaps, it is easiest, through awareness of flowers in particular, of their radiant beauty and purity, their vibrant colour, to come to the excellence of the One and be uplifted beyond thought to our divine selves".Dorothy Maclean

Bambi
Slowly Learning Gardener
User avatar
Kent, England

9 Nov '06 1:10 am
Anna, I just wanted to add my two-pennoth to Jack's comments re the photos and detail.

It would be my absolute dream to have the scope that Jack has; the glorious setting, the room (and time, dare I say? although I know you’re always doing something extra-curricular for your students, Jack!! :shock: ) to experiment with different plants and combinations of plants, but at the moment it’s just not the case for me. :(

Right now I have roughly a 20ft x 20ft walled patch with narrow beds and a big ol’ mess in one corner :wink: (and after reading Liza’s posts in the butterflies section, I’m forcing myself not to cut the nettles down now!! :roll: ).

I have to admit that, seeing everyone else’s photos here just made me excited to do the same (maybe that’s just my attention-seeking side coming out though! :roll: :wink: ), but I do have a confession to make: I posted a month or two ago, some photos of my cacti that sit on my kitchen window sill, but I did actually move a couple of things off before taking the photo (soap dispenser, washing up liquid!! :oops: ), and I also airbrushed out my neighbours’ bin bags and recycling boxes which they’d left on their front lawn for collection that day!! :oops: :oops: :oops:

What I’m trying to say is that, despite mine and my garden’s shortcomings, everyone here has been so kind and encouraging, so go ahead and share that part of your life which so obviously gives you joy (otherwise you wouldn’t be here! :) ) because every picture and description I’ve seen here has only served to egg me on to bigger and better things in my own garden! :D :D
"If you'd have a mind at peace
A heart that cannot harden
Go find a door that opens wide
Upon a beautiful garden."
Author Unknown

goose
Weekend Gardener
User avatar
Coatesville , New Zealand

Re: What are we in this forum for

9 Nov '06 8:12 pm
Jack Holloway wrote:Said sternly: Anna, you scared me! Instead of a beautiful rose there's a ghoul. (Aha, I think our Anna might be trying to tell us something...)
But why did I join the forum and what have I got out of it? Sure I brag and get pleasure bragging. But MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY: I get to look at my garden in a different way. I edit out the mistakes, the weeds, the deadheads by choosing what to photograph and present to you. The reality is nowhere near the romantic perfection in your head. The photos are much closer to the romantic perfection in MY head than is the reality. And your approval makes my enjoyment so much greater.

I also joined this forum for the above reasons and feel that we need to keep to 'The Garden Theme' -
Our gardens, my garden,your garden, we seem to be getting into never never land more & more. GARDENING is what I enjoy most from this forum, comparing plants, flowers and enjoying others gardens from all around the world. Dear Liza you apologised to me in my thread but I assure you,there is no need as I totally agree with all you said.
Last edited by goose on 9 Nov '06 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Goose

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.-
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jack Holloway
Passionate Gardener
User avatar
SEQUOIA FARM Haenertsburg South Africa

"The Garden"

9 Nov '06 8:52 pm
This morning over breakfast I sneaked a peep at the latest edition of the RHS magazine "The Garden" - and guess the theme: New Zeeland and its plants and gardens! I look forward to reading it all in detail!

To dear Bambi, on the subject of time to garden: these days there is precious little time on a regular basis - I work on average 10 hrs a day and often over weekends and at night as well. But I do have the nice long school holidays. And more importantly time put in over 25 years also adds up - it is not just the passage of time that is important from a time point of view. And then - and here I am extremely fortunate - I have a wonderful caring factotum in old Frans Seale (on whom I did a post under 'a walk in my garden' during ?June) and farm labour that can be diverted from time to time to help with a project.

Dixie - I will write about scale (and other design principles) soon, but it is also a way of sorting things out for myself, so it will be a careful, considered essay. First I must get through the last 4 weeks of the academic year, and the pressure is on!

(Oh - another 'time' issue: I promised myself that this year school would not swallow all my energy, and the involvement with the forum is a direct result of the decision to attempt a more balanced life!)

Bambi
Slowly Learning Gardener
User avatar
Kent, England

9 Nov '06 10:56 pm
Hee hee! Jack, I stand utterly corrected!! I knew you were involved in a lot at your school but have to admit that I didn't quite realise just how much! :oops: You are an inspiration in all you do, and I now feel positively lazy :lol:

And Goose, you're absolutely right. I apologise for digressing so much on my various posts, I do have a habit of rambling on to anyone who’ll listen to me and, seeing as it’s rather difficult to interrupt in this forum, that does tend to give me free reign in my rabbiting!! :roll: :wink: I shall try better in the future. :D O:)
"If you'd have a mind at peace
A heart that cannot harden
Go find a door that opens wide
Upon a beautiful garden."
Author Unknown

jacqueline
Thankful Gardener
User avatar
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

10 Nov '06 2:57 am
Wow! Such lovely summer shots of your garden, Jack! Beautiful flowers and scenic landscape, love them all. Thanks for sharing your pictures, accompanied with a lovely narration and for being you - a thoughtful, encouraging and inspiring person as usual!

So, Anna dear, please heed Jack's encouraging advice and roll in your garden pictures, you needn't feel intimidated at all! We're all here to learn, share and enjoy! :)

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