Thursday, June 4, 2009

The first garden

My mom photographed this magazine -note to self: scanner for Christmas - to show someone who is helping cut back and re-arrange her garden, what the herb garden used to look like. It's the first garden I designed, when I was either 13 or 14, and fresh from a trip to England, where I saw a herb garden like this growing at a hotel in the New Forest.

This was the year we moved into this house in Constantia, evident from the fact that one can see all the way to the greenbelt beyond. The hedge at the bottom of the garden is now some 12 feet high in places, a glorious tangle of trees, shrubs, and climbers, home to many birds.

The herb garden is now very shaded and not too useful for many herbs, and so that is changing. It reminds me that one of my first loves was herbs and their lore, and remains so.


  1. You mean the pool actually used to be blue? ;-)

  2. We used to have a photo in our corridor of our house on the farm when my parent first moved there. The maize fields went right up to the veranda, with the bare red soil contrasting sharply with the white lime-washed walls and the pale sky above. In the background, the top of a eucalyptus was visible. The mother promptly annexed a good part around the house - by the time I could start remembering it was already mostly green, with a tall hedge of pines separating the well-watered lawn from the harsh sunburnt Highveld. (anyone want to do a post-colonial reading of this?) And now, the garden is a mass of tall trees and sometimes frustratingly deep shade. On the plus side, a lot of frost free spots exist, and some trees need to be taken out, creating focal spots for new adventures.

    The garden has settled.

  3. Beence - shame, I know you don't like the blek pool.

    jvdh - have we settled?

  4. HP (and others) make some wonderful All-in-one printer/scanner/copier colour inkjets that are about the same price as a standalone scanner. We have had great service from ours which also has a built-in card reader.

    Yes, "color" has a "u" in it outside the USA!

  5. Settled? Naah... You might be closer to it though - exorcising the demon of communism is said to help. Looking back, I can see a trail of plants, books, furniture and kitchen utensils donated to grannies, friends and good people over the years. I like to believe that I have a garden that stretches across borders, a bookcase that crops up in odd spots in different houses, and that all kitchens really are my own...

    (But sadly, the nomadic lifestyle has rarely let me own a plant that I couldn't carry with just one hand.)

  6. Dankie, Meneer Louw :-) I still spell it that way. I think. I wonder how much it costs in dear SA, compared with here. Still, I don't see myself importing one. It'll have to be there. Hmmm, time to talk to my dad. It's an annual thing.

    Meneer Van der Horst: I like the idea, very much, of the borderless book cases, kitchens, gardens. Maybe a very, very small terrarium.


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