The removal (an update)

23 Days ago we moved 50 kilometers from Stanford to Napier in the Overberg region in the Western Cape, South Africa. We had to start with a gigantic cleaning operation and since last week we are unpacking. The first plants have since last Wednesday a place in the new garden and many others are still waiting in their pots. In about a month a brand new kitchen (own design, hand crafted by one of the many pensioners around) must be ready and during the present phase one we also intend to channel the drain water (heavy rainfalls every Winter) at least 1 meter from the house. Phase 2 is the refurbishing the cottage and the double garage in the back into respectively a guest room and a studio. This is planned for October/November. In the meantime some B&W snap shots of some details in and around the house.

Napier is named after one of the colonial British governors. The oldest known ancestor of the governor moved from France to England a 1000 or so years ago. ‘Napier’ is also an old French word for ‘table cloth’ or ‘cover’.

Ode to the gardener

I admire landscaper/gardener Tommy Ngwenya. He is a South African and works hard in creating and maintaining the most beautiful gardens in Stanford, Western Cape, South Africa. He is from the (I hate the expression …) “previously disadvantaged” side of the society (hate it because most South Africans are still disadvantaged for whatever reason). His business is named ‘Tommy & Sons”. His sons are still too young (primary school) but the name-giving symbolises the idea that Tommy wants his sons to have it better than what he experienced in his youth.

Hommage-pour-Le-Jardinier

Removal in progress (snapshots)

Since 30 March we reside in Napier after almost 5 unforgettable years in Stanford (thank you guys). But we are still in the middle of the removal as you can see. But we’re getting there. Hopefully the new kitchen will be ready the end of May and also some minor building works still has to be done. In September/October we intend to start with phase 2: refurbishing the double garage into a studio (and the present temporary studio into a gallery) plus refurbishing the additional cottage into a guest room.

Napier; first impressions

Since a few days we live in Napier, Western Cape, South Africa; 50 kilometers from our previous residence in Stanford. Still a lot of unpacking to do plus some minor and major (new kitchen) building work to perform. In the meantime work continues.

Herewith a few first impressions. A few are shot through the window of my new studio and the others from the verandah.

The Removal

Today we removed two four meter high trees from our garden to their new destination. Plenty of precision work; especially avoiding damage of the taproots …

All plants in the garden are sold. But we still have a collection of around 200 succulent plants in pots which are for sale plus our own collection which we move with us.

Yes; in a few weeks we move from Stanford (South Africa) to Napier (a distance of 50 km) where we bought a monumental (Anno 1928) house with twice the inner space of our present house. We love Stanford but we also look forward to the new challenge.

Tommy Ngwenya now also knows how to kiss a cactus

A few years ago we landscaped a no-extra-water-needed garden in the outskirts of Stanford‬. When we recently announced that we are selling the large feature plants in our garden the owners approached us for another round. This time we worked closely together with Tommy Ngwenya and, oh boy, what a delight to work with such a passionate personality. Tommy grew up in J’burg and as many South Africans he was troubled with a lack of funds to study at the university. So he worked his buds off for a distance learning study at UNISA (kind of open university) which was more or less within his reach. And he made it by sheer hard work and perseverance. Tommy loves plants; he even kisses them ‘good luck’ after planting. Since yesterday he also knows how to kiss a cactus. His Garden Service is called ‘Tommy & Sons’. His sons are still young but the naming has a reason: “I want them to be better off than me when I was young”.

The Big, Big Move

Per 1 April we will reside in an heritage house (Anno 1928) in Napier; 50 kilometers drive from Stanford and also in the Overberg region of the Western Cape in South Africa. Besides plenty of administrative ‘issues’ inherent at selling and buying properties there are many other things to think of. Take for example the garden. Luckily we took a precious collection of succulent plants (including cacti) with us almost 5 years ago from our previous residence and I can tell you that investment in the right plants plus some patience bears more fruit than putting money away in the bank despite the fact that we sell the plants 30 to 40% below nursery prices.. The past weeks we sold about 1500 of the approx. 2200 plants and still there are quite a few collector’s items left. Buyers were collectors from all over South Africa from Cape Town to Durban and from there to Pretoria. Even people from the own village had a nice share in the new super kitchen we are planning in Napier (that’s where the plant-money goes into). But it also means a lot of work. The new owners (a lovely German couple) of the house are no gardeners and so all the plants need a new home. Part of the collection (especially very rare caudiciform plants – see picture) move with us and get a place in their pots in the courtyard. It also means that we have to dig all plants up without damaging the roots. This Saturday we get help of a team of experienced gardeners to dig some of the long (pen) rooted plants which are bought by the owners of one of the best restaurants in South Africa for who we designed and created a low maintenance garden some years ago. This will now be extended with the additional collection. Before the end of the month a second truck load of large plants will make their big move to a new home. That leaves us and the dog …. Finding a removal company in the Western Cape that answers emails is like looking for a needle in a haystack so it seems. Most probably we will ask a farmer (like 5 yrs ago) for two staff, a driver and a truck. It’s cheaper and more fun especially when they know there is a BBQ (Braai) waiting as soon as the work is done. Now you wonder why we are selling all those beautiful plants. I will tell you. First of all this house became too small for our businesses; especially the jewellery studio of Yvonne since her work has a wide international interest. She will go from a cramped space of  12 square meter to over 50 square meter. My own modest studio will also be a bit bigger and above all there will be enough space left of a nice gallery (scheduled for 2018/19) next to a spacious living quarter. As there is not much time left for gardening (except every now and then a extraordinary prestigious landscaping project) the new garden in the back will be very minimalistic (root guard and gravel). So the coming weeks you will see less postings (47 archive pictures scheduled; 1 daily) from me but somewhere in AprilMay we catch up again.

First a few pictures of some of the plants we will remove this weekend followed by a gallery of our present house and as finishing touch  a few pics (courtesy of estate agents Linda & Derek Souter of Napier Properties) of the Napier property. I promise you however that as soon as we are more or less settled you will see my pictures ….