Not the best photo I’ve taken lately, you’ll be pleased to hear – but the sprouting of our endemic Scilla natelensis and the sudden honey scent of Buddleja salvifolia on a recent warm walk signify the change in season at Sequoia Gardens – spring is here(ish). This morning we we woke to soft, measurable rain – 25mm in fact, the first rain to speak of since April!

Bluebells sprouting

Cannas sprouting

The Spanish Bluebells are sprouting and will flower if the bokkies (deer) allow; and the Japanese anemones that will mark the swansong of summer are already showing their first leaves. And over at the entrance the cannas which had been brown since June’s frost and were starting to collapse as though an elephant had been rolling on them, have been cleaned away, revealing the sprouting leaves hidden in the mess. Time to water, and to fertilise. (Thanks again for last night’s rain!)

Cleaning and watering cannas

At the entrance


The dominant colour remains wintery, but the first spring colour is beginning to show:

Spring and winter

Few azaleas are ready for full-length portraits, but detail opportunities are becoming plentiful.

Frilly bicolour azalea

whitr azalea

pink face azalea

Frilly palest pink azalea

pink double azale

watermelon double azalea

And as you might have noticed – we had a few drops of rain before last night’s decent downpours.

But back to the somewhat wintery: I have three Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kaku’ in pots. I got them from Sandford Heights Nursery, our wonderful local source of all plants happy here, and fast becoming one of South Africa’s top sources of a huge variety of Japanese maples. Yes, this is a plug, but not paid for; owners Erie and Laurie’s mom, Gub, is my gardening guru. Had it not been for her back in the 80s I don’t think I would have had more than a passing interest in plants. And last night I attended the 40th birthday party of their daughter, one of my good friends; friendship across three generations!

Acer palmatum Sango-kaku

Sango-kaku is my favourite amongst these, my favourite species of trees. Also know as the coral-bark maple – for reasons obvious from these pics – it has small, neat leaves with yellowish veins and stems, and buttery autumn colour; the way the corals and yellows combine is truly magical. Here one last leaf speaks of late winter, not a long gone autumn.

Acer palmatum Sango-kaku detail

Step back from these details and the view widens. We are at the public entrance to the garden, the wintery seats early in the post mark a resting space near the entrance, shaded in summer. The pots with ‘Sango-kaku’ form part of this area.

Rosemary Borders from entrance

The pots are behind the tree to the left. We are looking down the length of the Rosemary Terrace, much foreshortened in this view. Stand back, and the proportions become clearer.

Rosemary Borders from parking

Entrance from parking

Here we are now, looking across the guest parking towards the garden. To the right the avenue of Sequoia trees along the driveway to the house form a visual barier. Ahead the Chinese maples along Flora’s path separate the garden from the parking area; and below – since we’ve been reversing – the boys, the dogs and I set off down the Sequoia avenue at the start of a recent walk. We are halfway through the photos I have prepared…

Sequoia avenue - boys and dogs


4 thoughts on “SAP RISING

  1. As your last few posts demonstate, your garden looks lovely even in winter, but it is exciting to see the first buds of spring. Each day is a pleasure as the world awakens. Happy spring to you, as my own world looks forward to autumn!

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