With those words a radio program from my youth called ‘Open House’ started week after week. I remember nothing of it, I guess there was a visitor who then shared stories and favourite music. Anyway – we’ve had open house at Sequoia!

1 New visitors entrance

The week-long Haenertsburg Spring Festival started on Saturday. We were ready – for the first time we were officially open to day visitors and we had three cottages to let. The signage went up last week, and all three cottages were fully booked for the weekend.

2 Visitors entance and notice board

The post box next to the information board is made of thick solid copper plate. When Louis bought his house ten years ago and threw it out, painted with peeling black and white paint, I claimed it. It has finally been put to (more or less) the use I envisaged for it: I don’t charge an entrance fee, but the pictures top left on the board are of our Rotary Club’s projects, and I request that a donation to the club be put in the box. Count after two days: just on 200 rand, which is only about half of what I would have got if I’d charged an entrance fee… Come on people – give! On the information board there also are maps and information sheets, and a pouch with business cards.

3 Boiling pot - final form

The ‘Boiling Pot’ in its final incarnation. The pots I bought for the four arms of the cross looked hopelessly small and out of scale. So we constructed the bench you see in the above photos for them and the four corners became merely textural changes, contained by painted galvanised plate. As so often happens, simplicity was the answer!

4 Visitors to the garden - incl DG

On Saturday the dogs and I got to take a proper walk for the first time in days. I HAD to photograph visitors to the garden… moments later I discovered that the couple behind this lady were good friends from Johannesburg – last year’s Rotary District Governor (like the annual regional president) and his wife. What a lovely surprise!

But it is spring, and I guess I owe you a few wow pictures of spring on the mountain – so here goes!

5 Mateczka among the azaleas

Up in the arboretum some azaleas demonstrate why we are most famous, despite all the other joys we offer throughout the year, for our spring display of azaleas and blossoms. Mateczka’s joy was entirely related to our walk, and had little to do with aesthetic appreciation  (I think…)

6 Mateczka among the azaleas2

More subtle, but infinitely more precious are moments like this…

7 Mateczka at the changing maple

This Japanese maple by the water’s edge has the most delicate of red leaves in spring. Within less than a month they are green like those of its neighbour. But for now, fleetingly, the delicacy of their colour is the most beautiful sight on Sequoia!

8 Changing Maple - detail

Let us return to the arboretum, where the view over the garden includes the wisteria in the Anniversary Garden, going fortissimo now, and an ever expanding number of trees whose  leaves are showing their first sparkling green.

9 House from arboretum

Postscript; This was written on Monday evening. By now it is Wednesday evening. I have completely lost the ability to get onto the internet on the computer on which my blog-writer is installed Sad smile So I had to come in to school where I can connect it to the school’s network in order to post. And Tuesday and Wednesday just sped past… My new life will include new internet at whatever price. I better start investigating!



  1. Isn’t Spring wonderful, Jack? Especially on a mountain in such a favoured climate as yours is, it just enchants one.

    As usual, your pictures are wonderful, with the azaleas reminding me of that old animated film, “L’il Abner”, when Spring came to the Ozark Mts. and the wild azaleas and other flowering trees burst into bloom. I didn’t see many films as a child, but that one has always stuck in my memory, mainly because of the enchantment of that scene in it. Your azaleas are the closest real ones to that image that I’ve seen! Well done!

    • What a lovely association, Gordon! And it is only now, looking at my blog for the first time on my Blackberry, that I see I have not yet responded to it 😦 So far I am thrilled with what the bb has meant when I need quick internet access :

  2. Wow!! How fabulous your garden is!! Everything is just beautiful!! I love your
    ‘red’ dog :0) and the red soil as well! Would simply love to be able to take that

  3. Jack, I always love seeing your azaleas in bloom just as my garden is winding down. Congratulations on your open house and your full guest cottages! -Jean

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