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Four months have passed since my last post; although it was not intended as a final chapter, it made an appropriate one. This is my 401st post, written after six years and some days of blogging. Officially it will be my last, although with the new owners of Sequoia Gardens we are planning a joint blog to cross-refer and edit from this blog, so I will in due course post a link; they have decided to continue letting the cottages, and so a marketing tool makes sense.

Late autumn at The House that Jack Built

Soon this will again be my ‘home’ on Sequoia, for I shall stay here as a visitor. It is three years since I put Sequoia Gardens on the market, nine months since the buyers appeared on the scene, but only now have we finalised the sale. Much has happened in the meantime.

My silence for so long was mainly due to my return to teaching. I helped out at Stanford Lake College, my old school 10 minutes away, for a term. Here are a few of the many shots I took as autumn turned to winter in this beautiful setting.

SLC autumn

SLC winter

slc MORNING SLC sillouettes As I started at SLC, I learnt that I would teach from  July at Mitchell House, a very different but very lovely private school in Polokwane, 65km (40 miles) away. At that stage I was well on my way to purchasing a house in our local village, which I consider my home town, and the plan was to commute. I bought a Volkswagen Polo Bluemotion and twice have managed to achieve 4l/100km (58.8mpg) on my 65km run to work! I don’t mind the commute, but any teacher knows that there is always grading to be done at home – and I am losing 10 hours per week to travelling. Almost on a whim last Friday afternoon I popped into an estate agent in Polokwane. On Monday I saw my new home and by the time we returned to Sequoia late on Tuesday, my offer had been accepted. Next Sunday I prepare to start camping out in my new home during the week. After fixing this home, it  will have cost me 25% less than the Haenertsburg home fixed, and will be a much more saleable asset. Thus three years of limbo start drawing to a close…

What are the gardening implications of this move? Small courtyard gardens in a much less kind climate; all very low maintenance but attractive within the limitations. Few of my plants in the greenhouse will make the transition to the new home. There is a borehole and a sophisticated automatic irrigation system, which adds to the lock-up-and-go quality of the property, and the front courtyard and pavement are well loved and beautifully shady – in fact on one side the pavement garden extends three meters across the neighbours’ property. Here it is, with my dirt-road-dirty Polo in the driveway.

New home

Street and entrance courtyard planting

As you can see, the front courtyard is well treed. Excessively so, and we will thin out the palms and unfortunately one of the best white-barked leopard trees, as the 4×4 and caravan need to be parked here. However thinning is needed, and only the one tree will be mourned. Most rooms open out onto the inner courtyard, where there is a small pool, some paving and planting boxes, and a small lawn for the dogs’ pleasure. I see fuchsias in hanging baskets in the side alleyway that the kitchen and living rooms look back onto, some roses added and a rather formal Moorish inspired tinkling  fountain, but the bulk of the planting needs to be hot-climate shade-lovers under the existing canopies.

And what about the future of Sequoia Gardens? Way back in December last year I posted the following:

Amaya's Rose

Take note of the windowsill just showing in the above picture. It is of ‘Sequoia Rose’ growing outside the guest room. I have often written about it. I dedicate this picture to a young lady, turned one this week, whose bedroom this will hopefully one-day become. She crawled purposefully towards the open window, pulled herself up against the burglar bars and tried to pick a bloom. I helped her, then put it in her hair. A real picture moment, but a camera was not handy…

This photo of her, almost walking on her own, dates from January. To Louis and to me she has become like our own grandchild, despite already having four lovely and doting real-life grandparents – who we have met. And her parents have become like our own children. It is as though Sequoia is passing to its heirs, rather than being sold out of the family. And so, with great joy, I hereby officially rename the Sequoia Rose after the young lady. Henceforth it will be known as Amaya’s Rose, and a cutting will go with us to Polokwane as we move our lives across in the months ahead.

Amaya Louis Luan 18 Jan 2015