Tuesday, April 10, 2012


We were at our plot in March for three days but it was so dry and unattractive, I never took a single photograph. I think my apathy was also linked to the inexplicable demise of one of the Wild Pears. It had bloomed so beautifully in Spring yet had died in the last month. We spent those three days watering our trees, both from the local water system and also from our three rain-water storage tanks. These tanks were all filled to the brim from previous year rains and  rain that had fallen a day or so before we arrived. We made a huge effort to use much of this water because I am fearful of the one tank overflowing and flooding out Roy's Folly (a 1 metre high space below the verandah.....we won't explore the wisdom of this build for now!)

By the time we returned to Cape Town on 7 March, the three tanks' levels were down to a third each.

On our arrival at the plot on 1 April, we were greeted with a new, green world. We were incredulous at the difference. It could only be attributed to the bit of rain just prior to our visit a month ago.

Again, in the few days before we arrived, it had rained, this time very heavily, and so, no doubt, next month will see even greener pastures. The water tanks were full again.

We were immediately charmed with the five honeysuckle bushes (Tecoma Capensis) which were all in bloom. They are planted along the road boundary fence and eventually we hope they will grow and spread along to create a wonderful sight. Each one is different in colour.

Two Olive trees were bearing their first crop ever.

We noticed blossoms on one Keurboom attracted some bumble bees every morning on their breakfast run.


Various insect offspring are tucked up for winter.


 Things are looking good.

Acacia Robusta

 However, nothing seems to survive under the huge Black Wattle on the fence.

A Struggle: second attempt at growing the eventual replacement for the Wattle

We planted out some new trees. 

A Mission Olive next to the dead Wild Pear.

Some Keurbooms, Cape Ashes, a Num-num (Carissa bispinosa), all grown at home from seed. Some were given shade-cloth for wind protection while others were protected against rabbits until they reach a secure height.

I noticed that the Wild Peach injured many years ago by trespassing cattle is finally getting a grip on life again. This experience taught me the consequence of pruning off lower branches to stimulate height gains. Now I leave lower branches as an insurance against major setbacks to the top part of a tree in this harsh environment.

Kiggeleria Africana

Keurbooms do not live forever. Ten years is probably the average lifespan. Below some of our six year old trees, the replacements are slowly developing. Not indigenous to the region specifically, nevertheless to the country, they rely on the Keurbooms for shade and wind protection in their nursery phase of life.
Blue guarri (Euclea crispa)

Jacket Plum (Pappea Capensis) 

Lavender Tree (Heteropyxis natalensis)
(For some of these, we will have to acquire same species companions to ensure reproduction and fruit.)

The flowerbox on the East wall needed some thinning out.

We have decided to incorporate a small flower box on the West side where we are going to build a platform for repositioning the one water tank, in order to make way for the stairway up to the wooden deck.  John dug some foundations for this new construction. The ground was relatively easier to dig after all the rains.


To tempt Mujaji, we blew our savings and bought two more water storage tanks. 

This one will deal with the overflow from the main roof tank. 

We positioned one further away, in a spot that would allow the draining off of  the other tanks. In fact, we did drain off the three full ones to prepare space for their capture of winter rain, so this one is now completely full.

And so we returned to Cape Town after a lovely six days of making provision for water and trees in the future. Our last look until next time!

          These two municipal water tanks are positioned outside our gate,                     
but on our property, with our blessing.

1 comment:

  1. Love that you have planted so many indigenous trees.