Our bit of Paradise

Posted by on July 23, 2013

Sur Ciel

Sur Ciel

Sur Ciel

Sur Ciel

‘SUR CIEL’ is our home-cooked-French-type name meaning ‘NEAR THE SKY’ and that is just where we garden. We feel really privileged to be gardening, surrounded by such beauty. When we moved here three years ago we decided to work with the nature around us and plant indigenously but to include some water wise plants as well. The garden is on a steep slope so paths became essential and slowly we have been creating areas and pushing boundaries.

We are amazed by the generosity of these plants which provide such contrasts, colour and excitement throughout the year. Our Leucodendrons and Leucospermums are becoming legendary, as are the vygies, plectranthus, sages and salvias. Most trees are bending backwards to grow and soon we will sit in their shade.

Sur Ciel

Sur Ciel

Sur Ciel

Sur Ciel

We are also fast learning which plants do not thrive and how to cope with a hungry family of bushbuck – alas we can’t. Dry periods, moles and enormous caterpillars are also a challenge. Every time we flatten molehills and ponder the buck-pruning that goes on, we shake our heads and continue, determined to avoid any poisons, insecticides or fertilizers, happy in the knowledge that our creatures, nuisance though they are, are healthy animals, after all our mission is to live with nature.

Growing Proteas & Leucodendrons:

Sur Ciel 2012 038

A for treatment of the proteas, perhaps all I can say is that we have found that Proteas and their family do love living on a north facing slope. We never use compost or fertilizer when planting but line the base of the hole with well rotted pine needles and then surround the planted protea with more pine needles.

These plants also love living on a slope where excess water will drain away and they enjoy the wind in their branches.

I am finding after 3 years there is some die back on lower branches but I just cut it out. Sur Ciel 2012 037We have lost a few and I put some of the losses down to heavy mole and mouse activity at the roots – or maybe they just didn’t want to live there. However, we have been delighted at how few have died – touch wood! We have also been awed by the variety of foliage offered by the different Leucodendrons and so happy to find that the resident bushbuck leave them alone.

~ Clare Miller is a member of Gardening at Leisure

~ Photographs and Text by Clair

2 Comments

  1. I love the website! And so lovely to see the garden featured! Can’t wait to be there in December. We miss you and Duncan so much. xx

  2. Oh my goodness – too, too beautiful Clare and Duncan – well done! What a gorgeous garden in such a pretty place. I really love the fact that your garden is also insect and animal friendly! I can see so much love and effort has gone into this lovely garden. I hope you get lots of website visits as I have put the website address on the staff room whiteboard. Your garden is really a sight for sore eyes – just love it. Lots of love, Kate (APPS) xx

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