A Meadowridge man has adopted a large public open space in his neighbourhood and is turning it into a green haven.
With Day Zero looming during the Cape Town drought in 2018, Trevor Taylor started small and replaced the grass on his verge with water-wise plants. Then, in lockdown and being homebound, he started planting water-wise plants on a piece of open ground, on the corner of Homestead and Timber roads, across from where he lives.
Mr Taylor works for a cleaning and hygiene company but grew up in a family of gardeners. Once a week, Willem Southgate, the family gardener of 30 years, gets stuck in and helps with weeding and planting. He is helped a resident from a nearby retirement complex, whom he calls Buddy.
The centrepiece is a tall paperbark tree, one of 10 that Mr Taylor has bought and planted in a circle. He says these trees grow like a skew umbrella.
He has tried to keep the garden indigenous – and has planted aloes he found among garden waste at a drop-off – but he accepts any slips that people leave on a wooden bench for this purpose.
He is hoping to find some proteas that he can plant along a pre-cast concrete wall at one end of the garden.
Someone dropped off an old wheelbarrow, and Mr Taylor has used it in an artistic way, planting a succulent that will grow through the hole. Children also place painted rocks in the garden.
“It’s a feature in the area and people enjoy coming to see. I’ve also noticed that other people in the area have been inspired and also created these gardens,” he says.
“We all live behind high walls, but now I know so many people living in this area.”
Mr Taylor had a special mention at the recent Bergvliet Meadowridge Ratepayers’ Association annual general meeting where chairman Mark Schäfer commended him for maintaining the verges.