More Elgin Open Gardens

For all the garden lovers who follow my blog, it was impossible to visit all 20, so herewith my favourite shots from Fresh Woods, Fairholme, Keurbos Garden Nursery and Wildekrans Country House.  They’re all beautiful spaces filled with life in every possible hue, shape and form. IMG_3835 IMG_4021 IMG_4055 IMG_4101 IMG_4103 IMG_4126IMG_4132 IMG_4135 IMG_4202 IMG_4142IMG_4238 IMG_4256IMG_3827IMG_3795IMG_3740



It’s Open Gardens time in this part of the world, with Elgin showcasing 20 amazing and diverse gardens over two consecutive weekends.

Having grown up in England, I’m naturally drawn to English country gardens and instantly fell for Lavenham, owned by Norma Bridgman and local artist Bert Touwen.  Fitting for a garden that shares the name of a picturesque medieval town in Sussex, it’s a tranquil space of lush woodland lawns surrounded by a palette of colour of herbaceous borders, roses around an unpretentious thatched cottage with a wonderful lived-in feel.  Oh, and a tiny Fairy Garden.

Here are some highlights:

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Pit Bull Love (part II)

Meet some of the characters, both big and small, from the SA Show Pits event held in Muizenberg recently.  I was overwhelmed by all the love and licks from these beautiful animals like Winston below.  And no, Leo doesn’t know my affections were temporarily elsewhere as I left him at home. :-)

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Pit Bull Love (part I)

I’ve agonised over this post for a week now because despite longing to share photographs from a recent Pit Bull show, I know Pit Bulls are a controversial subject at the best of times.  The thing is my blog is the last place I want to entertain a raging debate on the breed, because it’s my space and really intended to showcase life on the tip of Africa.

That said, here in the Western Cape their reputation is often in the spotlight for the uglier side of these dogs:  The vicious and brutal world of dog fighting and the added association with gangsterism and thugs, where the breed has unwittingly become a status symbol and mascot.  From time to time our local papers also report on fatal attacks on other dogs on our beaches by seemingly well socialised pit bulls.

Add to the mix the fact that I also happen to own one and I adore him despite the baggage he comes with, so I’m going to dedicate one post to him and a second to a couple of other beautiful Pitties I met at the show.  In doing so I’m going to nip any debate in the bud by agreeing 200 percent with an animal behaviour practitioner who said in our local paper this week that “owning one requires serious dedication, an ability to accept their limitations with regards to other animals and a willingness to manage the dogs so they are not put in a position where they may cause harm to other people’s dogs”.**  Amen to that.

Without further ado, meet Leo.

IMG_3956 20140830_201909~3 IMG-20130429-WA0001He came into my life quite unexpectedly as a 6-month old rescue pup when our gorgeous golden Lab left for the Big Kennel in the Sky seven years ago.  He’d been rescued in Ocean View by Tears,* who found him locked up in an outside toilet severely malnourished and with broken ribs and a broken back leg.

Despite his horrific start in life, Leo loves people with all his heart and more.  But other dogs?  Not so much, apart from Sarah our much older no nonsense Staffie who is the Matriarch.

DSCF3992 IMG-20130429-WA0002Owning Leo is not a walk in the park so we don’t go (sic).  Visiting the Vet’s rooms is a nightmare requiring vigilance, dexterity and strength, but otherwise Leo gives us immense pleasure and an abundance of love, so we micro-manage around his shortcomings.  And that’s good enough for me.

Meet all the gorgeous Pitties who showered me with affection at the SA Show Pits event in Part 2.

* The Emma Animal Rescue Society

** Taryn Blythe, False Bay Echo, 16 October 2014


Summer creeping in …..

October and some much-needed sunshine.  Hopefully Summer is finally on the way.  In the mountains and indigenous gardens Pincushion Proteas are still abundantly evident. 5-IMG_3453 6-IMG_3454

Little wonder everyone’s popping out of hiding to soak up the sunshine.


Scenes from Kleinmond

If you find yourself travelling up the Whale Coast from Cape Town to Hermanus, fight the urge to get there quicker over Sir Lowry’s Pass and take the coastal route.  Slow the car down, inhale the breeze coming off the sea, count how many types of wild flowers hug the roadside and stop to take in interesting mini hamlets like Rooi Els, Pringle Bay, Betty’s Bay and my birthday destination of choice this year, Kleinmond.

The harbour area is all about interesting shops, cosy eateries and friendly locals (bar the grumpy proprietress of a lovely gift shop who oozed hostility and wouldn’t allow photographs, so we walked right out.  Attitude counts for everything lady and as my mother always said, it’s not what you say but how you say it!!.)

Anyway, take a stroll through the other shops with me ….


What an amazing breakfast at Derric van Rensburg’s Art Café.  French toast, bacon, banana and berry compote with slivered almonds.  Approx 12 000+ calories on one plate, but it was my birthday after all :-)  We arrived on an overcast morning to a wonderful fire and fleecy blankets in primary colours slung over the chairs.  It beat the icy reception at the “strictly no photographs” gift shop down the road by far.


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The Potters Garden Nursery is a must visit.


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And you can’t miss the colony of weaver birds nesting outside.


And then take in the shops.

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Funnily even cars from a bygone era don’t seem out of place here. 28-IMG_3434

Harassed, hardworking husbands

Male Weavers have got to be the most industrious, hardworking birds I know.  Common throughout sub-Saharan Africa with their bright yellow plumage and elaborately woven nests, they are harassed and henpecked until they get that nursery basket just right.  If not the female will rip it to shreds and demand a new one immediately.

This poor harassed Cape Weaver male is part of a colony nesting outside a gallery in Kleinmond.



The Quest for Postcard Perfect Photos

It’s one of the most photographed Cape Town scenes and doing it justice was much harder than I anticipated.  I will go back again and again until I’m really happy with the results.  Or some fancy filters fall out of the sky. Sigh.