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How appropriate, these three together!

Moraea spathulata

In 35 years I have never seen the most iris-like of all South African irises, Moraea spathulata on Sequoia. I have seen it 300m away on my neighbours’ property. I have often seen it on The Mountain, but never here. And then last week – there it was, flowering right next to a road on the farm. At last!

Farewell Gub

There are two people I consider to be my gardening mentors. One was our first foreman, Phineas Magwale. The other was our neighbour, creator of a beautiful garden and Wegraakbosch Nursery – Gub Turner. We would arrive on the farm, 30 years ago, and at least twice fill the car with plants from her nursery; the first loads for the farm, the last for the garden in Johannesburg. Copious cups of tea, and much talk of plants and gardening, and I would leave with my head spinning. We said farewell to her on Monday. She passed 3 days before her 91st birthday. Her family spent hours lovingly creating the flower arrangement on the altar, with a photo of her in her youth, and the stick with which she took her daily walk till the last weeks of her life. Fare ye well, Gub!


Sequoia Gardens is all but sold, and the next home bought. This coming week we will sign the documents to set the processes in motion. Officially my gardening days are over. The new house has no garden, only some lawn cut by the local gardening contractor. In theory I intend to keep it much like that, focusing my energies elsewhere. But the reality is that for the past 18 months we have been striking cuttings in preparation for the next garden, and my greenhouse is filled to overflowing. This is the sight I looked out on this morning… To garden or not to garden; that is the question.

A full greenhouse