marina da gama garden club

A group of greenfingers gathering for the passion of their gardens


More from the Christmas Tea!

Dear Garden Club Members,

We have already seen Eve’s excellent photos of the Christmas tea, but Pam was also taking some pics , and up until now was unable to send them on because of the sort of computer glitches that we all know and hate! However, she has now found a way of sending them to me, and here are a selection for your enjoyment.

And here is our little Chaffinch:

Under the lovely trees:




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An endorsement

Dear Garden Club Members,

I would not normally use our garden club blog to endorse an individual or a company, because that is not really what our blog is for. However, I am going to make an exception in this particular case.

You may remember that Dave Jubb mentioned, during our Q & A session in June, that he could recommend someone for fixing or installing well points. Martyn and I were having increasing difficulty with our well point. It often needed priming (with clean, potable, municipal water!!!) and only worked intermittently without priming. Once it got going the pressure was good, but the water was very smelly and sulphurous.

So, we decided to get Dave’s recommended fixer to come and help us. This turned out to be a charming young man called Juma Makalani. He came and had a look at our well point and recommended that rather than fuss about trying to make it work, he could dig a new one, but since our pump was quite new, he could use this on the new well point.  On the day and time  that he said he’d be there he turned up with his work gang and they quickly and efficiently dug the new well point. The water pressure seemed good and the water was quite a bit less smelly. All seemed good!

However, a few days later, when I tried to use the well point, it started off quite briskly, but within minutes, the pressure fell off and the pump shut down. I have to say that we were very disappointed and worried that it was now going to cost a fair bit to sort the system out. We were agreeably surprised that when we phoned Juma, he made arrangements to come and rectify the problem as soon as possible. It did take a couple of visits to get things working perfectly, and at one point we were worried that the well point pump was tripping the electricity, but Juma stuck with it until it was put right and did not charge us anything more, except for some ball valves that needed replacing because the old ones were corroded and playing havoc with the pressure.

So this is why I would like to recommend him and his company. He was polite, professional and knowledgeable. Whereas many businesses in Cape Town have driven us mad by promising to phone and never doing so, or failing to turn up at the agreed date or time, Juma was there when he said he’d be, or if arrangements had to be changed, he phoned ahead to change the planned time.

He does landscaping, paving, lawns and many other garden works. We are certainly thinking of employing his company for some of our future projects. His details are:

Juma’s Irrigation & Garden Solutions

Cell: 071 813 4422


While I am doing recommendations, I’d also like to mention that for those who need precast walls (not permitted for your outer walls, but sometimes useful for internal  garden divisions) that Mouton Precast are very fast and efficient Their details are:

Mouton Precast Walls cc

021 715 6000


I hope you are having a wonderful  New Year, and I  also hope to see most of you on February 7 2018, if not before!



the garden in happier times

Our garden in happier times before everything dried out!

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Reflections on our Christmas quiz

Dear Garden Club Members,

Everyone who was at the Christmas tea and participated in the quiz can congratulate themselves on having paid attention during the talks we’ve had throughout the year. All groups got at least four out of five of the factual questions right, and many got five out of five. The question that posed the most problems was the ‘easy’ question: How many petals does a poppy normally have? The answer is ‘four’, but many thought ‘five’.

Everyone also did really well in the creative questions. There were some very funny answers and I will bring the answer papers to the February meeting so that those interested can look at them. Here is a small selection of the answers I liked most, but they were all good:

2017 Creative Questions for blog

The most fiendishly difficult part of the quiz was the who’s who. Obviously, most of the committee do not look very similar to their childhood selves. Time has changed us unrecognizably! The best score for this was four out of nine, and many guessed fewer than that.

2017 Quiz Qestion 5 for blog

I would have liked to have included some of Pam’s pictures of the party, to add to the excellent ones Eve has already shared, but Pam’s computer and my computer are not talking to each other, at present. Perhaps it will become possible later. I would particularly have liked to post some of her pictures of the cheeky little chaffinch who was cleaning up some of our crumbs. Instead, here is an internet chaffinch: not nearly as nice as the Little Stream one, but all we have for now:


Merry Christmas!



Christmas Tea in dappled greenery


IMG_1620The end of the year function settled out in the lovely, established gardens of Little Stream in Constantia, where one could be disbelieving of the fact we are struggling through severe drought here in the Western Cape. Here the gardens were startlingly verdant with huge trees casting dappled light over the tea table where members chatted and laughed together and then being tested on Jenny Wilkinson’s fun annual quizzes… Always being pushed to rattle our memories for tit-bits gleaned through the year from our speakers and outings. Jenny, I loved the ‘golden oldie’ photos… tough, tough, tough to identify but a lot of fun 🙂
Such a huge thanks, as always, to the dedicated and enthusiastic committee who always work tirelessly to bring us fascinating speakers, interesting outings – going that extra bit to keep our club the special, friendly gathering of people that it is. There is, for me, a warmth and concern among the members which I feel each time I attend the functions.
Thank you everyone and wishing you all, a wonderful, safe and happy festive season.


Christmas 2017

Dear Garden Club Members,

This is your second (and last) reminder about the Christmas Party.

Little-Stream logo etc

We are having a morning tea, at Little Stream in Constantia: a beautiful site with extensive mature gardens. To get there, follow the Klein Constantia Road upward until shortly before the security station. Little Stream will be on your right. There is parking under shade trees near the entrance.


Our tea will be set out under a simply enormous white oak (Quercus alba, an American species) on a terrace overlooking the gardens, unless it rains. In such a case, they will make a space for us under cover in the restaurant or the conference centre.

little-stream-restaurant white oak best

Please check that your brain is in tip-top condition as there will be the usual challenging quiz, to make sure that at least a few of you were actually listening during some of the wonderful talks that we have had this year. Actually, it won’t be all that challenging and there will be some creative questions, too!

LS owl sign

I look forward to seeing you,


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Garden club Meeting on Wednesday!

Dear Garden Club Members,

Erica v1

We will be having a garden club meeting on Wednesday,
1 November, at the SMRC, as usual. We will start at 9:30ish with tea/coffee and nibbles.

Our speaker is Dalton Gibbs, and he will be telling us about the rediscovery of an extinct Erica. (Possibly  the one shown on this picture, Erica verticillata, once common on the Cape Flats, but driven to extinction in the wild by development.)

This will also be the last opportunity to add yourself to the list for the Christmas tea on December 6, at Little Stream. You will also need to pay your R40 for this, if you have not paid already.

Erica_verticillata 2

Our Christmas tea is only open to members.We are sorry that we can’t allow you to bring your favourite (and only) spouse and best friend, but the numbers become impossible if we include visitors, even lovely ones.

little stream


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Elgin Open Gardens

Dear Garden Club Members,

This just in from Barbara Knox-Shaw:

Hi everyone,

Here are the details of the Elgin Open Gardens which are definitely happening this year, despite the drought!

Dates and times: 28-29 October and 4-5 November, 10-5 on all four days

Entry: Varies from nothing to R30; see the website for details

Gardens: 18, including 2 new ones!

Leaflet: a free leaflet is now available in the nurseries or you can download it from this link I can also send this to you as an attachment.

Website: For full details please do look at our website which is full of photos of the gardens and has many suggestions for where to eat or stay over the weekends.

Enquiries: 0218440154 / 0780212101/ 0834593790 or

Please do forward this to all your fellow gardeners.

Best wishes

Barbara Knox-Shaw

Elgin Open Gardens




I went with Sari to look at some of these gardens last year. There are some lovely ones and they are well worth a visit!