Recently I went through all (at least I think – hope! – all) my dad’s unscanned slides to see what needs to be preserved. Hundreds of overseas holiday pictures, with the occasional one of my mom with her ‘must you point that thing at me!’ expression, will be dumped. But some gems came to light. This series dates from late 1982. The Plett was 15 months old and our second summer was commencing… (see here for the Coming of The Plett.) In a still very raw garden my mom is giving plants the kind of individual attention that was still possible at that stage – or perhaps she is picking for the vase. The dog kennel testifies to the importance of our animals over many years.
I love this pic for the way it illustrates the conscious searching for a garden composition… it is difficult to believe today that one white azalea could be so important!
Here we are looking across what is today the main garden. The picture below, taken when my mom was already on her deathbed, shows these same azaleas in maturity and add a poignant note to the above view.
The main achievement of that first summer was the building of the access road to the pine plantation across the valley (today the arboretum) which had the great advantage of lifting the dam wall at the Makou Dam, thus making more water visible from the house. However as a result of the heightened water level the willow tree on its banks died. Over the next few years the scar in the hill would dominate many of our planting plans. Much has changed, but my mom’s tree (which has a whole post to itself here remains a constant on Sequoia!
Below, an historical shot: trees and shrubs wait to be planted. In the foreground the copper beech (what a find!) and Japanese maples would have been destined for the grouping along the fountain stream.
I photographed those maples extensively when I was home for a few days at the beginning of May, but never got to post on them – so here is a link to last year’s post, and a picture from this year with both maples and copper beech!
Against the Plett there seem to be the Chinese maples which would become Flora’s Path, the edge of the main garden today, forming the division between the New Old Rose Garden and the visitor’s parking area. This was the summer we realised what a perfect spot this was up against the Plett, receiving morning sun only, for a nursery. A mini greenhouse was soon built here and this is where the greater majority of my father’s trees were germinated and nurtured by him and old Phineas… I wonder whether a picture of it will ever come to light…. That sink (still without water here) was central to the success, and was moved into my new greenhouse behind the big house when I built it two years ago – here it is under construction, again without taps!
To end with, two photos of the Makou Dam from nearly the same spot but taken some 30 years apart…