I am in Johannesburg, busy with a marketing expo for Warriors, but I hear the garden is again wet and cold. An ideal build-up to the spring fair, especially as we planted up pots and annuals during the week, and sowed over 150m2 (150 sq. yards) of scatterpack – the annual meadow mix flowers which were spectacularly successful several years ago, but which I’ve not repeated since.

After all the close-ups over the last two posts, lets take a look at the bigger picture. The arboretum is often now a closed view down a path, suddenly opening up to bigger views and even distant views, and from some spots a panorama down onto the main formal gardens in front of the big house. The thousands of azaleas planted here are starting to flower…

Along the top edge of the arboretum there is an avenue of crab-apples, looking magnificent en masse.

And even more magnificent in detail…

This is Malus floribunda – and abundantly it flowers! Malus purpurea might not be purple, but as is so often the case with plants, ‘purpurea’ indicates a darkness of leaf and flower. I love these dusky shades!

Near the top end of Freddie’s Dam there is a viburnum which has a short magnificent flowering season when its scent spreads far and wide. I’m certain I know what it is called, but I don’t have my resources with me to check… beyond it against the water is the purple new-leaved maple I referred to in my previous post.

Here is a close-up of the flowers – both beautiful and scented. For the rest of the year it is, like so many viburnums, a very non-descript shrub.

And here it is again because – well, why not?

Nearby are some dogwood trees – Cornus florida. Their ‘flowers’ are in fact bracts which start expanding in August and last through to October –much longer than the fragile blossoms!

In the close-up you can see the tiny flowers which are surrounded by the bracts.

I also have a red version of which I am extraordinarily proud.

Another shrub or small tree which does well with  us, and of which I am proud, is Magnolia, considered to be one of the most primitive flowering plants.  This one is M. x soulangiana. It has a fist-sized fleshy flower, heavily scented of… soap. That is merely because I got to know the scented soap before the flower. It only slightly dulls my pleasure in it!

So where does that leave us? With more blossoms to explore, in particular the various pyrus (pears) and prunus (cherries, almonds etc.); here is a taste. I’ll need to get home and get my camera out for more.

One last indulgence. Wisteria. In particular the wisteria and japonica together in the Anniversary Garden.


wisteria and japonica

One last one… in the bed up against the house the first diaramas shoot from nothingness to ther mauve flowers in only a week or two. They combine rather dramatically with the last of the orange aloes…



  1. the dusky blossoms are my favourite too yet can we really choose between such sensational Spring blooms. The wisteria and japonica image looks like an oil painting – wish it was on my wall. I hear natal greeetings are in order – Happy Birthday Jack and enjoy the Spring…and your meadow

  2. Jack, It’s always such a treat to see your flush of gorgeous spring blooms just as the garden is winding down here. Wishing you a slightly belated Happy Birthday. -Jean

  3. Your spring photos are lovely. Your pots look wonderful, as do other parts of your garden. You and your staff are doing a great job! I went back and read the post where the visitor commented about your empty pots and had to laugh. In my own garden, empty pots are a design feature.

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