Sunday, 27 May 2012

Smashing pumpkins

I’ve so enjoyed my new garden during the past year. It’s been amazing watching how things have grown and changed, and although all the hedges have yet to fill in, the beds have grown gorgeously and the lippia lawns are green and lush.

Last spring was a real joy, when many of the indigenous plants flowered, and every morning was a pantomime of birds and bugs. ‘The ruin’, which was once the maids’ quarters, and now houses garden tools in what was once the ‘bedroom’ (and truly the mind boggles, because it’s barely big enough to turn around in) and chickens in what was the bucket-loo, really came into its own, its enveloping creeper changing seemingly overnight from bare sticks into a plushly verdant cover.

It was while the ruin was hidden by this luxurious pelt of leaves that sculptor Loni Drager created the most amazing set of five wooden squashes to sit atop the roof. (For those unfamiliar with South African rural Karoo scenes, it’s common for pumpkins, which are very heavy for their size, to be used to hold down the sheets of corrugated iron that in many places serve as shelter; and this doubles as storage, as pumpkin skins are incredibly thick and hard, and the squash can be left up on the roof until it’s required for the table.)

When we put the wooden squashes (of various kinds, including pumpkins and butternuts) up on the roof, they were largely hidden from sight by the leaves. But over the last few weeks, the creeper has turned fabulous shades of red and gold, and then shed its leaves, and Loni’s beautiful sculptures are now clearly visible.

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