Where did it all begin?
In the late 70s I was in Prof Eugene Moll's first plant ecology course at the University of Cape Town. That was when, despite growing up in Cape Town, I first met fynbos. Because of Prof Moll our first garden high up on the Camps Bay slopes of the Twelve Apostles, was predominantly indigenous/native, trying to be fynbos, and preserving as much vegetation as we could. We had to remove Australian invasive aliens, Port Jackson wattle and Hakea, which has really vicious spines on the tips of its needles.
|L sitting on the doorstep, R looking towards the front door|
Path urgently needs a machete. Ungardener nearly lost an eye!
There were lots of golden yellow pincushion protea bushes. Leucospermum conocarpodendron ssp.conocarpodendron - the subspecies from the sunny side of the mountain with sun protection built into its grey leaves. The same species on the Kirstenbosch side of the mountain has grey-green leaves to deal with heavier winter rain and afternoon shade. Also many rampant (think caravan sized!) Rhus laevigata bushes. They've renamed that family Searsia. We have an abiding love and appreciation for that whole family of shrubs and trees. I remember a very delicate little wild blue gladiolus, G. gracilis, which disappeared, sadly.
|The pond with mountain ash trees and white marguerite|
What plants will grow in a mediterranean climate?
There is a map on y sidebar from GIMCW. Apart from the Western Cape in South Africa where I am, and the Mediterranean basin, remember SW and S Australia and central Chile.
|Top L Rest and Be Thankful, R bruinsalie sage|
Bottom L Karoo koppie,
R We plan to go walking in the last of the spring flowers on Friday?!
Seek out plants which are adapted to a difficult long, hot summer, cool wet winter climate.
|Prunus nigra blooming for spring|
A wonderful resource for our South African plants is PlantZAfrica from SANBI, the South African National Biodiversity Institute based at Kirstenbosch, one of nine national botanical gardens around South Africa.
|Paradise our rose garden with Autumn Fire, |
the Dark Side, looking as the gardener would like it to
|And Dimorhpotheca jucunda with brown striped reverses to the petals|
My niece Claire once asked, carefully, If it is A Rose Garden
Why are there no roses! But there are a few flowers
and many more coming to follow luscious leaves
I learnt the hard way that indigenous = South African – doesn’t necessarily mean the plants will like our climate. Not if they come from the summer rainfall areas – then they whine “It’s too hot, we are THIRSTY!!!” Not if they come from the arid areas – then they disappear because the roots rot!
|Himself asked -|
What is that strange smell?
They look good in a vase
but they do smell ... interesting.
Now we are in Porterville with Renosterveld. Still in the Mediterranean climate, but very hard to find information about what would have grown here, before the town and the wheat fields. Haven’t drawn much information, or help with Renosterveld. BUT I have drawn a circle of like minded people – who garden for wildlife as we do. And who are learning to love South African plants all over again, as they realise how many of their common-or-garden plants are OURS!
Pictures and words by Diana of Elephant's Eye