THE IRENE GARDEN CLUB
The third Saturday of the month is the Irene Garden Club. Irene is an old established suburb in Pretoria and the garden club has been going for many years. Some silver-haired members remember the days when they took their babies in prams to club meetings.
I discovered the club on Facebook in October 2015. It was with some trepidation that I phoned to enquire whether the club would consider members 'outside the area'.
"Oh course", said Lucia, the vivacious, dynamic Chairlady. "I live in Faerie Glen."
Since then I have been an enthusiastic member of the club and recruited four other keen gardeners: Chris, Isobel, Ermilinda and Janis. Last year we viewed several gorgeous gardens, listened to talks on bulbs, vegetables and container plants, among others. A hot topic of conversation was how to garden in the drought. Pretoria had water restrictions for more than a year and the spring rains were late, sending us all into a panic.
"Should I replace my roses with succulents?" asked one anxious member.
"Just wait," I cautioned. "The rains will come."
In January 2015, I had two rainwater tanks installed to harvest the rain that falls on the corrugated iron garage roof and the kitchen roof, two of the three sections of the house without thatch. By October 2015 my tanks were completely dry. Happily although the summer rains were late, they came in abundance and the largest dam in Gauteng, the Vaal, rose from 63 % to 103% in just over a week in February. My tanks constantly overflowed and my water bill has been greatly reduced since their installation. When I have an overflow, I use rain water for domestic use inside the house - just not for drinking. A pale blue pottery jug in my bathroom contains the day's ration for hand washing.
On Saturday we had a talk on different kinds of gardeners right on the lawn of Lucia's Faerie Glen garden, a pretty, relaxed garden setting.