As we drove along the route, the scenery varied dramatically yet many areas reminded me of the UK (but warmer). At one stage, it looked like the Lake District and the next, Cornwall. We saw some wonderful flowers too – white arum lilies were in full bloom everywhere and the proteas were stunning.
One of my personal highlights was visiting the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in Cape Town. Nestled at the foot of Table Mountain, it was one of the most dramatic garden settings I’ve ever seen. Every year I’ve admired the Kirstenbosch display at the Chelsea Flower Show and seeing the plants in their natural setting was an amazing experience.
It was a bit of a shock to return to the cold and damp weather. We’d had some damage after the storm – one of my favourite planted pots had blown over and broken but, on the whole, we escaped lightly. Now it’s time for the autumn clear up which I always enjoy.
I’m planning to clear the greenhouse of the tomato plants, lightly trim back the roses (to prevent wind rock damage in winter), and clear the trial beds. While I do it, my mind will be drifting back to the colour, beauty and warmth of South Africa!