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Van Stadens 14.08.2013

There was lots of unfinished business today on the eve of our departure on a month holiday so we got cracking early.

Ellie had denuded our garden (not really) of plants for the entrance circle, mainly Pelargoniums for the Pelargonium patch and some crassula and we managed to plant them before Sheena and Sian O’Keeffe of Free Spirit Adventures arrived to discuss the trail run for our Open Day. They were very enthusiastic and it looks like it is a go. They will check it out on Sunday and let us know.

While we were planting Tony had come and inquired if we needed more soil and as the answer was yes he got Pottaman and his tractor to get us some more scoops and after our meeting we carried on shaping the horse shoe. In the meantime Neil had arrived and he also got stuck in and dug out some deep rooted strelizias to replant in a more appropriate place. Fortunately he shares our vision and comes up with some good suggestions.

This took us the rest of the morning and as we retired for lunch we were most surprised to learn that Sue had also arrived and, as she had promised, attacked a patch of Bryophyllum seedlings in the arboretum.

After lunch we loaded the leftover aloes into the trailer to be planted out in the arboretum in the cycad patch but we first wanted to finish our landscaping. While we were doing that Samantha and V (two of the students) also came to have a look and they got roped in to help with carrying the aloes to where we wanted to plant them. We were quite pleased with the result, it certainly enhances that part of the arboretum.

Lastly Ellie gave the one remaining picnic table a final coat of varnish while I made temporary repairs to the seat of the skedonk. We will need to buy a fair amount of timber to restore the two remaining tables to something a little more reasonable.

I was going to place some more signs for the biking trail, unfortunately we ran out of time and on the way home I realised I had forgotten to fix the faulty sprinkler in the nursery.


The Agapanthus Neil planted last week have taken well


A view of the Pelargonium mound. It does not look like much as yet but we’ll keep on planting. We need more succulents for the middle patch as well.

Van Stadens 2013.08.07

Really too tired to be blogging but if I don’t it will lose its immediacy so here goes.

After the weekend’s hike up Ladyslipper with 17 people it was back to business today. It had rained during the night which made it impossible to start with varnishing the picnic tables so instead we started with the entrance circle. First we collected some more aloes in the nursery and proceeded to plant them on our ‘aloe heap’. Pottaman had brought more soil so we had plenty to work with and Ellie started on the Pellie patch extension while I did more rock work.

After tea we had a short interlude when we accompanied Jenny to the main picnic site to decide on locations for new trees. We noticed that the trees which were planted some years ago are not doing well at all so it will be important to prepare the holes correctly with lots of compost. The only trees that thrive are the bluegums. We chatted to a few visitors who were a bit over the top with their praise for our efforts, still nice to hear though.

Neil arrived and we returned to the entrance circle. It was a big help to have him planting more things and we made great progress.

After lunch the tables had dried out enough to go and give ‘Gwen’s’ table a final coat and the repaired table a second while I looked how to repair the seat on the ‘skedonk’ table. While Ellie was waving the brush I put up various cycling signs and we continued with that after she was finished until it was time for a short breather walk through the arboretum.

We were pleased to see a sunbird busy with its nest. Not easy to spot against the darkening sky.


It was also interesting to see an aphid farm near the nookie. First impulse is to spray it but of course we should let nature take its course.


Our last observation in the arboretum was that the veltheimas do a lot better there than in the rest of the reserve, reason to plant a lot more once they have died back in our garden.


Back to the Fovs room to collect some poles so I can plane a flat piece on them for signs and also to pick up a few more plants to dig into the entrance circle on our way out.

All in all another good day at the office.