Friday, December 31, 2010

Hamba Kahle 2010

Streets Cafe, Stellenbosch Square shopping mall, a must visit for anyone in this area!

The title of today's post is the isiXhosa expression to say, "Farewell!"

IsiXhosa is one of the 11 official languages of South Africa, and a very beautiful one at that, ranking second, with English coming in at 5th place.  Of further interest, Nelson Mandela is of isiXhosa origin. 

Anyway, as a proudly South African citizen, I have chosen to use this expression, in particular, today, as a tribute to the final day of 2010.  Furthermore, my wish for 2011 is that this wonderful country of ours will make even greater strides in our 16 year old democracy.  Let us all build on the tremendous successes achieved in 2010! Please click the read more button below to continue...

The Passage of Time

It's a little over a year since my husband set me up with my very first greenhouse.
  This time last year, it was still virtually brand new, filled with newly bought plants and sought out treasures
to add character and make it "my space"
...a delightful little refuge to escape to...
for dreaming and pottering
...and quite probably, if truth be told, for me to stay safely out of my husband's hair for a few hours each day ;)

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Forty Days!

Our mountain wearing a shawl today, always a sure sign of wind!
This is probably of no interest to anyone but myself, but I'm going to record it here,, to me, it feels like quite a big deal!  For those of you who aren't interested in what I have to say, I'll post plenty of pictures I randomly took while walking around the garden today.  You can just scroll quickly through those and continue on your merry way.  Or leave right now, should you so wish :)
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Prickly Borage and Fragrant Passion Flowers

After a deliriously delightful lull over the Christmas holiday, it's "back to work in the garden" for me.  I spent a good few hours yesterday, trimming, deadheading and lightly pruning excessive growth.  Once again, I was astounded to see how rampantly the plants that populate my garden had grown, in the absence of the normal care they receive from me.  It's as if they deliberately commune with one another to see which one can outgrow the others whilst my back is turned.  The race is on and, by the time I'm ready to resume my daily pottering, I barely recognise the garden as my own.  Please click the read more button below to continue...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Joy and Sorrow

We awoke to a pleasantly cool, cloudy day today - a most welcome change after the searing heat and humidity we've endured the past few days.

I'm holding thumbs tightly we get at least a few spots of rain to make it even better, but as we live in a winter rainfall area and this is SUMMER, I'm probably being a bit too optimistic.
Dietes flowering in the wetland garden today.

Another very pleasing thing about today happened when I came to check if any of my favourite bloggers had been busy posting, while I was snug in dreamland last night.  What a delightful surprise greeted me - no fewer than seven (7) had added new posts to their blog!  So I hurriedly nipped off to make a fresh pot of Early Grey tea, promptly poured myself a cup as soon as it was ready and joyfully returned to enjoy some quiet "catching up time" in front of my computer.
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Scene in the front garden today.

Summer has definitely arrived to stay and, along with it (besides the wind), we've been having some decidedly hot days.  

It's now that our trees really are appreciated and we tend to gravitate to the front garden quite a bit, either to sit beneath their shade, take a dip in the pool or enjoy a light meal under one of the umbrellas.  Today was such a day!  I had my camera with me and took a couple of pictures to share, especially with those of you who are in the midst of your winter season.  

View from the top terrace area looking down towards the pond at the far end.
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Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas nourishment...for soul and mind!

With just 7 days to Christmas, I thought I'd lead you around my garden and show you some of the lovely, decorative items Nature has provided to celebrate this special holiday...remember to take a deep, relaxing breath and leave your stress behind...I want you to enjoy this moment of "time out!"

Hush!  Do you hear them?  Those are our Christmas beetles (cicadas)!  They have just begun their high-pitched strumming (singing) for the day - I love to hear them, although many others find them annoying and for anyone who happens to suffer from tinnitus, it's apparently quite painful.  I hope they aren't bothering you?  To me, they are an essential part of our Christmas experience, as it is now that they make their appearance. 

They aren't easy to spot, but they are by no means what you'd call "pretty" insects.  They look a bit like an oversized fly or moth to me and their colouring is a nondescript brown - this helps with camouflage since they attach themselves to the bark of trees. 

Cicada - photo by Bruce Marlin, Wikimedia Commons.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's an ill wind that blows no good!

Christmas time arrives just as we're entering our hottest months of the year and, along with it, we are battered left, right and centre by strong South Easterly winds, which typically arrive in the Mother City (Cape Town) towards the end of October and through November, picking up in both tempo and frequency through December and January and continuing, on and off, until the end of February and even into early March.

This wind is "affectionately" named, The Cape Doctor (by locals), as it keeps the city air free of pollution, blowing away almost everything in its wake (OK, so it's not a completely ill wind!). However...when it reaches gale force proportions, as it has been doing the last couple of days, it can be almost impossible to stand in places in the city centre and pedestrians are frequently seen clinging to lamp posts, as they desperately try to avoid being blown away.  The highrise buildings in the city tend to funnel the wind, causing it to pick up even more speed and, at times, it can be quite frightening, if not exactly treacherous! 
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas in Summer

This will be my first Christmas as a fellow blogger.  
Little cherub in the greenhouse.

Almost everyone whose blog I follow has been busily preparing her home for Christmas.  I've seen lovely festive wreaths, beautiful little cardboard village montages, mantlepiece displays of much loved, vintage and other collected ornaments, Santa paintings, prettily decorated Christmas trees, brass wise men, homemade handstitched Christmas decorations, well-loved children's handmade decorations, Christmas baked goods and so forth.  In addition, I've been treated to the most exquisite photographic snowy and frosty scenes and have been introduced to the intricate works of art created by hoar frosts as well as other scenes of twinkly Christmas lights and falling snow and it has been a truly wonderful experience sharing all of this with each of you.  So, THANK YOU!  
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Elemental Me!

Without further ado, allow me to hand over to my very first Guest Blogger...

Hi!  I'm Heathcliff...

Alpha Male, I am, but definitely not your regular kind of dog - I don't have "papers" but boy, do I make up for the lack in personality and verve!

Not to put too fine a point on it, I tick all the boxes when it comes to intelligence, astuteness, spunkiness, ease of transportation (believe me, this is an important attribute!) and, I hold the Platinum Award for Best Indoor/Outdoor Canine fact, my merits outnumber any demerits 100 to 1.
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Second time round

Who says you can't have fun the second time round?  Clearly, it all depends on your temperament, because I can happily do lots of things, over and over again and each time, the experience is fun, new and exciting...
~ The Grotto ~
Today was a perfect example of this.  My husband needed to return to the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley a second time.  The first trip was to do the initial logging (GPS recording) of each of a number of sites and to do a rapid baseline assessment.

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Rich Or Poor - How Rich Are You?

It all depends on the way you look at so aptly illustrated by the following story.
The author is unknown.  I found this on the Pearls of Wisdom website @

One day, a rich father took his son on a trip out into the countryside, with the firm purpose of showing him how poor people can be.

They spent a day and a night on the farm of a very poor family.  When they returned home from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"

"Very good Dad!"

"Did you see how poor people can be?" the father asked.


"And what did you learn?"

The son answered, "I saw that we have a dog at home and they have four.  We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden.  They have a creek that has no end!  We have imported lamps in the garden.  They have the stars!  Our patio reaches to the front yard.   They have a whole horizon!"

When the son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are!" his father was speechless.

A simple collection of sticks and stones off set against the peeling bark of our Ulmus Parvifolia (Japanese elm).  The grey spiky foliage of the air plant adds complementary colour and texture.
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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Painterly Incas

Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet and remains in bondage like the princess in the fairy tale 'til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free. 

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hemel-en-Aarde Valley

I've had a wonderful day!  I accompanied my husband on a field trip to the Hemel-en-Aarde (translation: Heaven and Earth) Valley.  

We left shortly after 9h00 and arrived back home just after 19h00, having successfully accomplished our objective, namely to visit and log the nine individual sites required of this survey.

My husband takes his camera everywhere.  He needs to do so to keep an accurate record for his consultancy work and, now that I'm blogging, I proudly took mine along, too.  What fun I had!
To begin, herewith a selection of pictures I took.  I'll also include a few taken by my husband to follow on from these.

View from the highest point on the survey agenda.  This lovely pink pelargonium was growing everywhere.
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Tranquility beyond the picture window

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living.  We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon - instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.

~ Dale Carnegie ~

I bought this potted rose last year (sold as a patio rose).  I do not know what it is called, but after it had flowered, we planted it in a larger pot and put it in the garden outside the greenhouse as this is
where the best sun is.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hard to believe, but there REALLY is a downside to summertime!

"Oh, please, please, PLEEEZE can we go with?" 

"Yes, YES!  We promise we'll be good!"
These were the expressions my husband had to face first thing this morning.  He (and our daughter, who was visiting for the day) was scheduled to do a site visit on a farm about an hour and a half's drive from where we live.  As they were to be meeting with both the owner of the farm and the developer, it had been decided it would be best to leave the dogs at home with me for the morning.  

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Flowers for the soul

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.
~ Eleonora Duse ~ 

All of these are flowering in my garden right now and were photographed yesterday and today.  Without further rambling, allow me to present these beauties...I'll permit the photographs to speak for themselves in the universal language of flowers :)  

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Mirror images

Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror
~ Kahlil Gibran ~

Although not yet sealed, my mirror is now ready to show itself to the world!

I found it quite difficult to photograph, but decided the best approach would be to carry it around my garden and position it in different spots and at different angles.   The idea I had in doing this was to try and discover the best way to present it, so that not only the mosaic edging would be visible, but that the mirror itself would pick up various reflections to enchant and entertain.

I do not use a sophisticated camera.  It's a little point and shoot with both a macro function and zoom option.  My biggest problem was either picking up too much reflected light, or not enough - I just kept on at it until I felt there were at least a few worthy of adding to my blog.

So, here goes...

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Delayed unveiling

Circumstances may cause interruptions and delays, but never lose sight of your goal.  Prepare yourself in every way you can by increasing your knowledge and adding to your experience, so that you can make the most of opportunity when it occurs.
~ Mario Andretti ~
Toby says, "Do I really have to sit here and wait till you're done???  You must be kidding!"
For anyone following the story of my first ever mosaic piece, it was my fervent intention to photograph my mirror today & upload the pictures on my blog.

Unfortunately, I was not able to do this.  The task of trying to clean all the grout off the mosaic proved a good deal more arduous and frustrating than I dreamt possible.  Yes, DREAMT - last night, I dreamed about my mirror but, unlike in my dream where its revelation was super easy, the reality today almost had me crying tears of disappointment.  I felt certain my mirror was going to be doomed to the recycling bin, as it simply would not reveal itself through all the hard, grey grouting (clearly, far too much had been applied!).

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

My first encounter with mosaic

"More grows in the garden than the gardener sows."...Old Spanish Proverb
See how mossy my terracotta pot (housing one of several cymbidiums in my greenhouse) has become in the year since I've had the greenhouse. 

My daughter and I attended a mosaic workshop today.  It was our very first encounter with this craft form and although she knew she wanted to make a number for the entrance to her home, while I was eager to make a mirror for my garden, neither of us had any idea of pattern, colour, design or even the slightest idea of how we'd set about this prior to today. 

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Raucous toad's habitat

This is what I hear first thing upon waking in the morning and last thing before I fall asleep at night.  Meet our Raucous Toad...

I'd brought him home as a teeny tiny little thing, truly no larger than the nail on my ring finger.  He'd hopped across my path and I took it to be serendipitous as I'd been wanting a frog to take up residence in the pond (we'd tried unsuccessfully in the past to relocate tadpoles).  Anyway, I assumed he was a little frog, of the sweet, clicking, chirping kind.  Looks can be so deceiving.  He grew up to be this Raucous Toad (seriously, that's his zoological name, and raucous he certainly is...but in a very nice way, thankfully, as he serenades us all...night...long!  I added the floating pond weed just for him and he LOVES it :)  Remains suspended for hours at a time, trying out his repertoire of croaky notes and sometimes strings enough of them together to make us believe he's working on a melody!  The photograph is courtesy of my husband - now, HE knows how to take a great picture! I have lots to learn.

Hi, Everyone - I'm rather raucous and a bit of a toad, really, but, warts and all, I'm kinda cute if you'll take the time to get to know me!  Look at my lovely string of pearls beneath my chin.  I'm really quite a handsome fellow - would you like to kiss me, then?

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Outside the greenhouse

 Another glorious day to continue our walk in the garden.  Please do join us. 
This is the small area directly behind the pond and to the left of the greenhouse.  The pond is situated on the other side of and slightly below the Modjadji palm (cycad) in the picture above (on the right).  Once again, the logs are off cuts from tree prunings in the garden.  The greenhouse is to the left of where we are standing.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The wetland garden

Looking across to the wetland garden (October 2010).
Before I proceed with the topic of this post, I am going to give you a little background on both the seasonal and climatic zone in which my garden is based.

I live in the western cape of South Africa, not more than 2 hours drive (in an easterly direction from my home), from Cape Agulhas, which is the southernmost town in Africa.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

My greenhouse

Before I take one step towards the greenhouse, I have something I especially want to do (I don't know if this is blog ettiquette or not, but I'm going ahead, anyway!).

Today Gina, from Antique Art Garden, paid me a visit - her first and I do hope it won't be her last. She authors two blogs and I have been avidly following her art garden blog since discovering it several months back.  Gina is a most inspiring woman and her blog is well-worth visiting.  If you're anything like I am, you're certainly going to be hooked!  WELCOME to Driftwood Ramblings, Gina!

OK, now I'll cut to the chase without further delay and introduce you to my very own little sanctuary...!!!

Looking into the greenhouse (brick paving still new).

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Path terminates here

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop.   Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Today will be the final installment of the stroll down my garden path. This is not because I've lost interest in showing you any further, but simply due to the fact that this is where my path stops... 

You may have the impression that my path is quite long, since it has taken three installments to view. This is not the case. It is not much more than 40 metres in length. By having traversed it slowly we have enacted the words of Yogi Berra, namely that “You can see a lot by just looking.”

We shall therefore complete our last few steps by continuing to observe as much as we can of what lies on either side of the path.

Let's begin...who's coming? 

Fork in the path

This post is the continuation of our walk down the garden path. We ended last time at the fork in the road. I cannot let that pass without offering you something to meditate on while we stroll. ”Sometimes it's necessary to go a long distance out of the way in order to come back a short distance correctly.”  Edward Albee

Oh, look! Bonny is first up to greet us today...

Anyone care for a ball game first???
NO? Well then, let's not waste anymore time and head on back home so we can enjoy the next part of our garden path stroll. Here is where we got to last time...

Friday, November 19, 2010

My garden path

"Like a big mountain, a small garden stimulates, restores, and delights us, just as it poses challenges, promotes mastery, provides exercise and relieves monotony."  The Power of Place - Winifred Gallagher

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm on my turning back now!

Today saw me tentatively stepping out of the comfort zone of my obscurity into the unknown that awaits me in Blog Land. I'm pleased to report I survived the leap of faith. No one has written any nasty comments and I've not had my identity highjacked. If things continue this well, I suspect I might end up enjoying the journey.

My fellow travellers - L to R - Heathcliff, Toby & Bonny


WELCOME!  This is my debut as a blogger.

I have been feeling increasingly inspired to start my own blog, so I can share my garden and, hopefully, give as much pleasure to those who happen to stumble upon it, as I've had from the wealth of gardening blogs I've visited over the past several months.

Hi! I'm Toby. Welcome to my garden.

I have not sat down and formulated how I intend to present this blog.  As with my garden, which has evolved largely from intuition, I'll allow this foray into the blogging world to find its own meandering path.   

As my blog name suggests, I'm learning to drift along with the flow of life.  I hope you'll join me on my ramblings, as I'm sure we'll be bound to find some delightfully simple pleasures with which to enrich our souls.  In short, our ability to follow William Blake's injunction to, "See a world in a grain of sand, and a heaven in a wild flower." 

I am also of the assurance that there is no better time for us to be reminded of those wise words spoken by Albert Schweitzer, namely that, "In the hope of reaching the moon, men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet."  

It shouldn't matter whether or not we own large gardens or very tiny balconies.  We are all capable of owning a pot plant or two and nurturing it, or putting out some crumbs or seeds to attract a bird to our little space.  The pleasure derived from these simple actions can help to sustain and nurture us through the trials of every day life if we allow them to.

I'll conclude my very first post with these words by Hans Christian Anderson:

"Just living is not enough.  One must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."  

Toby says, "HAVE A GREAT DAY!"