Jack Holloway
Passionate Gardener
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SEQUOIA FARM Haenertsburg South Africa

Revisiting the grasslands

7 Oct '07 6:56 pm
Thank you all for the comments - I went back yesterday afternoon and, after two weeks of rain, I was even more aware of how many OTHER plants there were among the grasses - plants with beautiful foliage, rich with promise and variety, and I started thinking -yet again! - about the scope for experiment with indigenous plants when one moves away from the concept of continuous colour and concentrates more on the beauty of foliage. The Scillas (S. natalensis) are in flower in these pics - arrows of pale blue. On average I'd say their leaves are now about 10cm long and the flowers stand 40cm tall. I'll post a pic of these flowers in our garden where they get pampered (well, watered, anyway) all year round. How many of these indigenous plants will improve - or, for that matter, deteriorate - when given garden conditions? I know my idol, Eva Palmer, was very disappointed with some of the arid Karroo plants she took from the family farm into her garden in Pretoria.

Bulbinella, Mark: I have the orange one standing waiting to be planted, part of a birthday present! And here is a reference to the medicinal value; one of the reasons South Africans grow them near the house is for use on bee stings. That happens to me 5-10 times a year! - http://www.herbgarden.co.za/mountainher ... ulbine.htm

When you spoke of grades, I imagined an end-of-term situation, which is why I asked about holidays. You have the advantage of 10 weeks in summer where we have six. However we have 2+ over Easter (there are many public holidays at that time), three in midwinter and one in late September. I guess you too are hopelessly underpayed for the amount of work you do, and the importance of it. Having been out of teaching for 13 years before I 'helped out' at my local school and got hooked (snared?), I accept that the financial rewards are non-existent, but the long holidays during which you don't have to feel guilty about not earning money, are a definite bonus - besides the fact that they are a necessity due to the emotional input one makes. (I trained teachers for three years; I couldn't believe the speed with which holiday followed holiday once one was working with adults!)
The grasslands two weeks on.JPG
The grasslands two weeks on 2.JPG
The grasslands two weeks on 3.JPG
Yellow pea in the grasslands.JPG
The grasslands two weeks on 4.JPG
1/3 from left there is a tall gum tree on the horizon. At 5 o'clock from the tree and where it meets the next darker horizon lies my farm; this is rather a typical view of our mountain!
Line between burnt and unburnt grasslands.JPG
I've spoken of the importance of fire in the flowering of the grasslands. Only a small part did not burn this year. Here is the line of division.
Scilla natalensis in the garden.JPG
Much bigger and much earlier than in the wild.

head gardener
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Peas and Teachers

8 Oct '07 4:56 pm
How big is the yellow pea - and what is it? Does it have peas? It looks really interesting, and now I want to know if it towers over a person, or if you could squash it with your boot.

You two surviving teachers Mark and Jack, imagine some scales, on one side is all the stuff you've taught others, and on the other side is all the stuff that you've learned from them. You might have to average this out over a semi-lifetime. What's the balance? Even?

Lots of love from ex-teacher meeeeee. My friends went back to work (school) today, and I don't envy them. I try hard not to let on, though!
Head Gardener

Jack Holloway
Passionate Gardener
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SEQUOIA FARM Haenertsburg South Africa

Teaching scales

9 Oct '07 2:54 am
What do we teach kids? What do we learn from them? We (hopefully) mould them, they (hopefully) keep us pliant. As a language teacher to a maths teacher: I would say that just about evens out.

In SA there is a further issue: one is doing your little bit to redress the educational iniquities of the past, to help black people prove that given the opportunity they are every bit as capable as white people - and often more creative and energetic than tired and spoilt old colonials...)

As for the pea - the flowers are slightly smaller than a sweetpea, the stalk rather squat like a stock. I didn't sniff it; I assume it is a pea and will carry pods; I guess that it will be a little ungainly like a poor lupin at that stage. I will try to identify it, but yellow (or magenta) peas aren't always easy to ID around here. I found only a small group of them, so unless these were early, they aren't too common. However... I intend to go and try some seed harvesting later in the year.

jack two
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The new improved Jack Holloway v.2

Return to the grasslands

10 Nov '07 6:36 am
On 4 November I went to see what the grasslands look like and to harvest my first seed: Chocolate Bells. Here are a few shots.
Grassland in full summer flower.JPG
Helichrysum oxyphyllum -it also has  gorgeous  felted leaves silver-grey underneath.JPG
A clump of them.JPG
The white daisy has a simple charm.JPG
The orange Crossandra  flower is still going strong 7 weeks later - why do we not see it in cultivation.JPG
The hills are alight... with the Sound of Music!!.JPG

gardening consultant
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Waterloo, Belgium

12 Nov '07 1:39 am
Very interesting photos, Jack, of a lovely graceland! :D :D
"..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

Faith S
Perpetually learning gardener
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Alabama, USA


14 Nov '07 1:39 am
They are still beautiful Jack. I am also still amazed at the plants growing wild there, which are considered rare treats here and in other places around the globe. The Crossandra being a prime example. Do keep us posted about your success with the Chocolate Bells. I remember the photos you posted of them in bloom. I hope they will take kindly to your garden.
Faith at Bide-a-Wee Farm, Alabama, USA

Come abide with me a wee while.


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