25 October, 2011

Fill the Frame for Gardening Gone Wild

Saxon Holt is judging the GGW October contest. Gracious in explaining how to photograph, his enthusiasm bubbles thru, and his photos cause the flying fingers to linger, while the eyes enjoy. If not for this contest, I would have kept the post for some-corner-of-a-foreign-field 11-11-11-11.

He asks for the photo to tell a story. We inherited these swan-necked watsonias. The post and rail fence, the gravel tracks tell the Garden story. The green middelmannetjie and the grassy swathe next to the tracks tell of the Crazy English with their Weeds. That distant brown clump tells the Guilty, it has taken us four years to plant the last of the Dug Up for the Driveway Access clumps. But that picture doesn’t sing.

Inherited watsonias along the driveway

In our Paradise and Roses garden are four beds. Four rivers of Paradise, milk and honey, water and wine. Four seasons as colour themes. This is my high maintenance, water thru the pushing 40C summer temperatures garden. Deliberately sited here to be seen from the livingroom. I have taken this, thru the window.

Autumn Fire in the
Paradise and Roses garden

The distant corner bed is Autumn Fire. Red and purple roses. Deep dark foliage. My father’s sundial gazing away from – I only count your sunny hours. This was the vegetable patch behind our neighbour’s house. So, how gracious of Mother Nature to donate the flames of an exotic red poppy.

Foreign poppies

Sitting with my morning tea, gazing at the life story of this flower. The buds soft and furry, emerging meekly with their heavy heads bowed down. Growing taller and stronger, then raising proud heads on tall stems.  Suddenly the flower opens. Within that promising bud, just four gossamer petals, which fall as the day passes. Most of that fat bud was the elaborate architecture of a seed capsule.

Scarlet poppy

In the capsule are many many seeds. Turning my thoughts to the  Global Invasive Species Programme and my own Paterson's Curse. Sadly we only fight invasive aliens when it hits our pocket. We clear water hyacinth because it blocks the flow of rivers. We clear Port Jackson wattle because it takes water we need for people, and is a fire hazard. We forget the broken links in the web of life.

Back in Paradise and Roses, the poppy has a few bees, but the scabious is a Disneyland cloud of butterflies. The Melianthus has a pair of sunbirds. Busy European starlings are serving lunch. Our apex predators are the owls we sometimes hear hooting at night. We have a visiting hawk or falcon, swooping silently past Spirulino’s bird feeder. Leaving me to find the discarded wings of the doves he has eaten. 

Poppy heart on fire

Fill the frame. Tell the story. The stamens, with pollen, some already history, tell of the lifecycle. The sun and shadow on the petals swing my mind between the swirling skirts in sultry colours of a flamenco dancer. And the flickering leaping flames of a blazing log fire. Autumn Fire. Planned by the gardener, and gifted by nature.  

with-the-Cape-Leopard-Trust-at-Driehoek shows you For Wildlife in South Africa. 

Pictures and words
by Diana of Elephant's Eye
- wildlife gardening in Porterville,
near Cape Town in South Africa
(If you mouse over brown text,
it turns shriek pink. Those are my links.)


  1. Diana, Your Rose garden is looking absolutely STUNNING!!!

  2. Just Beautiful!!! from the Heart of Dixie!

  3. Those poppy shots are clear winners.. Beautiful, clean shots.

    Hard to believe it's not winter all over the world.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  4. Diana I love your entry and your beautiful description...I am still wanting a sundial in my garden. Maybe someday.

  5. I love your poppies. They look so like summer and summer has gone up here. Fabulous photos.

  6. Your description of the poppy unfurling and the story told by the final photo are just gorgeous, Diana. That photo radiates life like nobody's business.

  7. Gorgeous poppies Diana. I think the last photo fits the 'fill the frame' requirement perfectly!

  8. Diana, i can't imagine how those plants still make wonders at 40C! I envy your management strategies.

  9. Your poppy photo is amazing! And I also love the shot of the back garden. Good luck!

  10. Great final photo and great title. Good luck with GGW contest!

  11. Your garden was truly put together with lots of thought and love to be enjoyed and not just be another garden

  12. Lovely post, lovely photo. Good luck with the competition! :) It is a great theme, but I am just too busy right at the moment to give it thought.

  13. Lovely photo, Diana, and how beautifully you write about it. Good luck with GGW.

  14. The last poppy shot is dramatic and really does tell the story, as well as fill the frame! Poppies are so beautiful, but I have not yet found a species of poppy that will grow well for me. Grow well? What am I saying? They won't even survive!

  15. Amazing! I just love the colors, and you really do fill the frame. Good luck!

  16. stories and poetry are the most direct way to experience / really feel the beauty and wonder of the garden. wonderful post. wonderful poppies.

  17. Diana, I loved all the photos in this post, but that last poppy macro is amazing -- filling the frame, indeed!! -Jean


Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
His Panasonic Lumix FZ100
My Canon PowerShot A490

If I use your images or information, it will be clearly acknowledged with either a link to the website, or details of the book. If you use my images or words, I expect you to acknowledge them in turn.

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