For a long time I’ve suspected the moment will come. But somehow I didn’t think it would, and not so soon.

The Icon of my garden

I have put Sequoia Gardens on the market and taken an option on a stand at Clearwaters Cove, a security development on the Ebenezer Dam a few kilometers away. Why? Some years back I watched an uncle and aunt age whilst their lovely farm went backwards, eventually to be sold on auction. It left a lasting impression. I have often stated that I live a wealthy man’s life on a poor man’s income. I’ve done the sums. I will never be able to retire if I stay on. Sequoia Gardens has never looked more beautiful and well cared for. I have a marvellous team who have helped me achieve this. I’d love to take the gardens to the next step, but the 80-20 rule applies: the next 20% of effect will take 80% more effort, money and time – all of which I have too little. It is time to hand over the reigns…

panorama of view from site

What clinched the decision was a house at Clearwaters coming on the market, a lovely home, and ideal for us. But the bridging finance will cost way more than we could ever afford; and one does not sell a farm as fast as you do a house. Ergo: the farm has to go first. I discovered the very lovely stand next door was available. At a stretch we can afford to finance that in the interim. Above, the view from the stand across the Ebenezer Dam and the mountains.


In this view of The House that Jack Built from the neighbours’ hill, the mountains in the background are the same I will be looking at from my new house (as I’m already thinking of it!). The Ebenezer Dam lies between the second and third horizons.  Below you see them as they will look from my southern windows.

view to south

South is of course the ‘unsunny’ side in the Southern hemisphere. I will have good northern light and a view down the dam to the east. Here it is.

view to east

And my garden? I intend once again to have a house in a meadow, just like THtJB was, but this time there will be almost no exotics around me.  Instead I intend to find most of my plants amongst the locals, those that grow on the slopes of these mountains. Working on our recent Rotary fundraiser, the Iron Crown Trail Run which takes you to the top of the highest mountain in Limpopo (off to the right in the panorama), I photographed a few wintery candidates.  And thoughts are glowing in my head about their use here…


Once you have created beauty, what do you do with it? Does one ever really own beauty? Is it any less yours if you do not own it?  How hard is it going to be to let go? Many questions. But I do believe I live in a beautiful part of a beautiful country in a beautiful world. And Sequoia Gardens ties me down too much, keeps me from experiencing all the unowned beauty… Time for us both to be set free, to face new and exciting challenges! Up on the Iron Crown


24 thoughts on “ALL ABOUT OWNERSHIP

  1. well now Jack: i grieve.
    but you must do what you feel is ok
    i pray for the future ‘owners’ of Sequoia Gardens

  2. Sad but exciting as you say. I hope you find a buyer interested in the beauty of the place. Then I’m sure you would be an esteemed visitor and living so close by you can enjoy it without the burden.

    My first thought was what you might be digging up to take with you. The idea of incorporating local plants would seem like a good one for a fellow who wants to travel a bit. Perhaps I missed how large the new property will be. I assume not as large but probably roomy compared to what we city dwellers are used to. I can’t imagine you won’t enhance the land around you with a garden of some sort.

    I hope the reports will continue for a while more to let us know how things settle out. Hoping for a happy resolution,


    • Thanks Mark! My new stand is about 1400m2 – about 1/275th of my present ‘garden’ but still biggish for a modern suburban garden. What excited me, besides the view, is that it is bordered on the east by the lake, on the south by a nature reserve (rolling grasslands on a peninsula in the lake) and on the north by a 400m2 servitude. On about half of the stand I want the natural vegetation to remain as intact as possible, and anything not completely endemic must be contained and part of the structured entry/parking area.

  3. First, I got shocked. Then, I read the whole article. You are right, Jack. Life is bigger than a garden. The world is bigger than a garden. Your garden is beautiful. I hope, it’ll get a great new owner. Even after that, it will always be yours. It’s a part of you, and you are a part of it. People move, change location, but they always keep their gardens in their hearts. Good luck!

  4. Ah Jack, I haven’t been reading about Sequoia Gardens for long (and have only visited the farm once), and yet I was a little sad when I read this post. So I can only imagine how you feel! But having read the whole thing I am amazed by your approach to the situation. Here’s to the next adventure, and hopefully many posts about it!

  5. I was shocked at first – but you sound mellow, the time has come.
    We are feeling thoughtful about stuff, as we clear my mother’s cottage.
    All this stuff made my great-niece say to her mother – if you do that to me I’ll burn the place down, stuff and all.
    Yes ma’am, we ARE going to clear our stuff.
    It’s this undecided limbo in between which is hard. For you starting a new garden will be MAGICAL!

    • Thank you Diana. You too understand that life is a journey. I try not to think of myself as a gardener there, but I guess it is inevitable. And the challenge this time will be to stick to the self-imposed restrictions. But what about the roses…??

  6. Well – all the best in the new endeavours, Jack! I’ve enjoyed reading about your adventures at Sequoia for, lo, these many years, and have thoroughly enjoyed them. I do hope you’ll continue with a new blog, and postings at Moosey’s as you proceed on it!

    • Anne, you and your beautiful gardens were often in my thoughts in making this decision…
      I’m going to be putting info on the blog to entice overseas buyers, and am looking at the RHS to advertise there… so if you know anyone who would like to garden on a large scale but can’t afford it in the UK – please let them know!

  7. A brave decision Jack, but I think a wise one. My grandparents made a similar decision when they felt the time was right and it enabled them to enjoy a long and stress free retirement. My grandpa continued gardening in my parent’s garden until his mid nineties and knew more than I ever will. Someone will be very lucky to take over the beautiful garden you’ve created, whilst you have the opportunity to start again on something new. I wish you lots of luck but hope very much that you’ll continue blogging 🙂

  8. Wow, Jack, what a wrenching decision — but I can feel your excitement about new directions and adventures. I think part of growing older and wiser is learning when it is time to let go of some of our dreams to embrace the real possibilities available to us. I look forward to hearing (and seeing) more about your new holding.

  9. Wow! This is knock-me-down news. but wow! New beginnings, scary stuff, but so important to get the timing right… Well done, you. All the very best, Jack. Take care, M

    • Thank you, Moosey! Such a change in mindset still needed: I found myself admiring pics of dahlias, but where in the past it would lead to covetousness, it now leads to a resignation to abstinence. That is either two or three sins fewer. How boring! 😉

  10. Gosh, Jack. Indeed a shock, read about it on Moosey’s. But. Very savvy to realize one’s limitations before they become too great. Brain is just about constantly yeowling at body for its apostasy. Sigh. As for gardening, mine will never be as fantastic as Sequoia or Moosey’s, but I persisteth. “But what about the roses. . . .??” Yikes. Brave you, I could not totally give them up, nor irises, wince.
    I surely mercy and goodness hope you got the painting. Was there a drawing off wee slips of paper? Actually, since it is so well-loved and freighted with wonderful memories, how about a revolving custodianship? Say four months each?
    The lady said growing older and wiser, and learning to let go of some of our dreams . . . . Well. My ultimate, biggest dream for decades and decades has been to journey to Africa. I leave for a horseback riding safari in the Maasai Mara in three weeks. This was my 68th birthday present to self, and convinced hubband to come, as yowza celebration of our forty-fifth anniversary in December. Jack. Having been beyond fortunate to have an incredible stallion in my life for thirty years, this feels as a culmination of all I have admired and held as a shimmering reality in my life.
    As for lions trumping leopards, or any other big cat, no. I love them all fiercely, equally. And to see a lion in the wild before that awesome spirit is extinguished by the likes of Homo SAPiens? Beyond priceless.
    Oh, Jack. I wish you well and many stirring journeys and adventures, new vistas to see. Vaya con Dios, translation God be with you, my friend. Always said before a trip.


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