270 degree from road at Makou Dam

To not have posted for over a month, and that month – almost to a day, mid April to mid-May – being the highlight of our gardening year, is comment indeed that I have been pre-occupied elsewhere of late… Anyway, a 270 degree panorama seems an appropriate first pic for an overview; yesterday for the first time in weeks months I took my good camera, my tripod and sufficient time to go Photographing! Clicking on photos will, by the way, show them in larger format.

Children at public entrance to garden

As I was taking this panorama a family, regular visitors, arrived at the visitors entrance and I captured their children and friends as they made their excited entrance. It was a beautiful sunny morning. I have always reckoned 15 May to be the end of high autumn, but the garden was at its glorious best. Although not our most spectacular autumn by far – we have not had the cold nights which really bring out the colours – we have not had the typical winds either, and all of autumn has been a good week or ten days later than usual.

Makou Dam from Flora's Path

This is the view the visitors would have seen as they moved from the parking area through the trees and into the garden along the Rosemary Terrace in the above photo. You can see clearly why it is known thus: the Rosemary hedge, originally planted as cuttings in situ some 8 years ago and now beginning to look a little dishevelled, is over 60m long.

Freddie's Dam autumn panorama

A sight I see too seldom since I moved up to the big house: morning light on Freddie’s Dam. The House that Jack Built, over to the right from this shot, looks out on the dam and there are many posts from four years back that look out over this view as the sun hits the water and wisps of mist drift down the valley off the water…Marigolds in autumn

The view across the big house’s lawn is my daily view now. The basic old french marigold Tagetes patula flowers from late summer, complimenting the autumn foliage. There are few flowers more willing, or in my view more beautifully coloured…

Tagetes patula detail

Tagetes patula

Aloe arborescens is another late (or in this case, being a winter-flowering aloe, early) flower with colours that enhance the autumn scene. This very late afternoon view from the veranda is rather typical of what many recent photography sessions have been like:

Aloe arborescens 

autumn colours sans leaves

The Watsonia below is another flower that compliments the autumn colours – it is a soft orange.


Walks have tended to quick late afternoon outings, often with the dogs or the boys, or all, for company, and photography has been of the snapshot variety, usually with my phone which is remarkably good in low light. Here is a rather random selection from the last month with some comments.

Freddie's Dam from bridge

One of the classic views – Freddie’s Dam from the bridge, with The House that Jack Built just to the right of the frame and below a view of it from across the dam.


Taken from nearby, a few more shots:

Late autumn colour

THtJB from the Carpet Garden

Panorama from Freddie's Dam Bridge

One of the joys of my phone’s camera is the instant panoramas it takes – I’ve had a lot of fun with it of late. Here follow a few shots which capture a sense of place like ordinary photography can not.

Freddie's Dam panorama

fallen leaves

Tulip trees in avenue

Under the trees

On either side of this extensive panorama the road across Freddie’s Dam stretches away.

Louis and Abigail

 Here we have Abigail wearing her megaphone and Louis peering back down the path to check on her progress. It was one of her early walks after being hurt by the neighbour’s dog, who was on heat. Monty brought  her onto our property and for the third time Abigail ignored the fact that she was not much bigger than the neighbour’s dog’s head and told her in no uncertain terms to get the hell out… She wore the megaphone for 4 weeks before the last stitches were removed.

Abigail the day after her second lot of stitches

Abigail recovering Abigail looking whole again

On her first walk without the megaphone, showing the wrap-around scar from her tummy tuck which we hope will not show once the hair has grown, and a front view where she seems her chipper and unscathed self. And whilst on dogs… her father crossing the stream on that same walk.

Monty crossing the stream

Boys and dogs at play

My other companions, my foreman and housekeeper’s sons to whom I refer on the blog as Alpha and Beta, at play on the water’s edge. In the background the Acer palmatum which is officially marketed by my friends the Railtons from our local Sandford Heights Nursery as ‘Jack’s Red’ – they are specialists in Japanese Maples. To the right the dogs wait patiently on the path. Another view below.

Sunset in the tree

Japanese maple behind Mothers' Garden

This Japanese Maple on the edge of the main lawn has featured often in the middle distance of photos. The leafhopper below is not as well camouflaged as it might think!

Not so camouflaged

Red plane

I have often reported on the ‘Red Plane’ which turns red, not yellow. The Railtons were showing me a picture of one of the cuttings they have growing in their garden, now waist high and after 2 months it still carries its red leaves! They start to turn in mid-Feb I’ve found, and in mid June there are still leaves on the tree!

viburnum plicatum

This is Viburnum plicatum. The viburnums, I once read, fall into two groups: those with summer flowers and lovely autumn colours, and those whose main feature is scented flowers during the colder month. Viburnum x bodnantiensis below is an ungainly shrub with the latter virtue.

Viburnum x bodnantiensis

Since we are now off the topic of autumn colour, let me share this little vignette: Persicaria capitata is a knotweed, and easy enough to be very close to a weed with us. It looks after itself and is a wonderful filler. Here it is growing under and through one of the many azaleas carrying tentative autumn flowers. When stressed – as now with the cold – the leaves take on wonderful red tints.

Persicaria capitata  and azalea

Let’s get back to walks… some shots that appeal to me…

Abi & Beta

Acer buergerianum Chinese maple

Acer buergerianum, the Chinese maple, is the only maple which seeds – and germinates! – freely for us. In fact it grows a little too easily but at this time of year provides many pleasant surprises as the young trees colour best. Every few springs we remove them with the ‘tree plucker’.

Cornus florida

Fallen leaves - tulip trees

First acer

Main axis

virginia creeper

THtJB in its setting

Vitis vitifolium


And to end this rather long post – a rather elegiac shot of leaves on the water…

autumn on the water



  1. Jack! It is, in total, all so beautiful. I love the House That Jack Built and its reflection framed in red leaves. It looks as if poor Abigail really came away from that fracas as close to death as she could be and still be alive! How bad was the internal damage? Am very glad you took some time to admire your garden, and let us enjoy the tour with your tour de force pictures.

    • How nice to hear from you, Bonny Brook! Luckily there were no internal injuries, but Abigail’s skin was badly ripped and there was quite some (expected) dieback of skin which necessitated further cleaning and stitching after 2 weeks.

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