Jack and Voni have been living on Leisure Island since 2002 after moving from Zimbabwe. Jack who is, incidently 93 years young, has one of the best gardens on Leisure Isle. Approaching it from the entrance off The Grove one will admire the perfectly maintained succulent grouping, then the potted greenery on the entrance deck, through the house and then……. Alice would never have left this burst of bright and beautiful ‘Wonderland’.
Jack loves bright colours particularly blues and yellows and has a dislike of ugly walls in a garden. The magician has transformed his garden walls by the clever use of many beautiful baskets, both hanging and fixed, as well as creepers, shrubs of varying height, shape and colour and cheeky nasturtiums which greet one with an exuberant splash of bright, brash orange and pale lemon.
There is only one rose in the garden which is the climber Blossom Magic with its huge masses of cerise pink clusters of blooms clambering over an end wall. The gently curving edges clipped evenly and highlighted with lime green Lamium among others plants, leads one onto a feature of a trellis covered with pots tied onto it and filled with different coloured blobs of an allsorts collection such as Verbenas, Lamium and blue Swan river daisy. There is a secret path leading up between the trellis and the garden where one can view among other things, a stunning Clematis which is a new planting.
Old fashioned plants such as Billy Green fuschias, Corn cockles or Agrostemma , Larkspur, Snapdragons, Alstroemerias, Pansies, Violas and a Dracaena “Indian maid”, all have a place in this abundant and perfect place. The ‘broekie lace’ around the ceiling on the verandah is framed with a Solanum jasminoides which highlights the vista beyond and forms a cameo looking back towards the vegetable garden where herbs, lettuces, beans and spring onions flourish in the fertile soil.
He has a garden help two mornings a week who he has employed for 8 years. Jack feeds the garden with Bounce Back and once in a while uses sawdust, from the saw mill, to break down the soil. Some years ago Voni’s son, who was a farmer in Zimbabwe, conducted soil tests and found that their garden needed gypsum. These tests can be simply done and Tuin Route Agri will send a sample away for a correct analysis.
We have all come to know and to treasure the generous ‘plant gifts’ Jack so willingly shares with fellow gardeners, “Jack’s’ echervaria” which his late son-in-law researched and came up with the name of Ruth Pink, is flourishing in many gardens around the Island and Knysna.
We pay tribute to this amazing gardener, who despite his advancing years has created this wonderful Eden, where both plants and birds have found the perfect home.
Sadly, Jack passed away in 2017.
Text – Carol Kennedy
Photos – Carol Kennedy & Esther Townsend