03 November, 2012

Life is what happens

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans - John Lennon, and others before him. One day, we will move to a town house on False Bay. This garden has been about the roses. Ungardening Pond. The view to Elephant’s Eye. The two huge ash trees. The weaver birds in the giant/Spanish reeds.

Now I see the roses in Paradise AND Roses
Anna's Apricot, Duftwolke and Pearl of Bedfordview


We will not have a sea view. This picture was taken thru the rain-splattered windscreen of the moving car. Milky sea glass green. Pearl and anthracite beach sand. The darkness of washed up kelp. Blues across sea, sky and distant mountain. Flashes of colour – burgundy red seaweed, yellow daisy bushes, electric pink vygies on the sand dunes. 

False Bay, new colours to explore 

We will plant trees to shield us from the neighbours, but still catch a glimpse of the hills. Choosing the smaller indigenous trees or Brachylaena, whose leaves flash the silver below when whipped by the southeaster.

Camphorbush and our mountain

The livingroom will open to a patio, flowing to a back garden of trees and small pond with a secluded Rest and Be Thankful beneath a bergkaree bower.

Rest and Be Thankful

The dwarf papyrus will live in pots, and put on town manners.

Dwarf papyrus

Ludwig’s says the answer is to use large pots for roses, then sink them into the ground so just the lip shows. I’d like to take cuttings of my Old Cape rose Black Prince. First I saw Belle Époque with terracotta buds opening to a burnished bronze. Then I turned to the fading calyx on the strandsalie echoing the same bronze, with added metallic shimmer!

Belle Époque
strandsalie calyx  


My Winter Chill, Summer Gold, Autumn Fire and Spring Promise will play out with mostly indigenous plants.  We have such a wide choice of right plant right place. But there will be a few invited foreigners – my Swiss husband, Japanese maple, Mexican Echevieria, Moroccan Aeonium

Instead of overshadowing the quieter charm of our indigenous plants with the commonorgarden colour of rose blooms, I will enjoy the textures and subtleties on the road less travelled. The feathers on Artemisia, the teeth on Melianthus, the blue haze as the Plectranthus has claimed the garden, and yes, loud brash colour from daisies and pelargoniums.

Paradise and the NOT roses
Artemisia afra (wildeals), Plectranthus neochilus
Euryops, Melianthus

The garden ideas get honed and refined. I hope to enclose the front garden – with a face brick wall (not a fan of white paint), with arrow slits. I like to play with formal garden ideas and our not expected NOT exotic plants. Outside I’ll plant spekboom Portulacaria afra. Reducing our carbon footprint. Any prunings will grow. In front the contrasting texture of spiny aloes. At their feet a row of Bulbinella. That gives me texture, leaf colour, continual tangerine flowers for the bees, seasonal winter interest with nectar for the sunbirds from the aloes. An English hedgerow reinterpreted. I can’t hardly wait!

One day hedge of succulents

There will be a paved enclosed courtyard where I will grow a Japanese maple, orchids from my mother, Streptocarpus. My stash of inspiration includes Franschhoek with Monty Don and Mont Pellier, Elgin's Open Gardens and Victoria’s new garden Awkward Hill in Bibury.
PS Stacy's comment reminds me that her Microcosm in New Mexico is a space in which each plant is cherished, and when the neighbours get too noisy we will escape to Cape Point Nature Reserve or Silvermine.


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.)

46 comments:

  1. Beautiful pictures! You have lovely cats. I hope you'll enjoy your staying in your town house. Do you move because of the season? Have a good weekend!

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    1. These are one day plans, sometime in the future. The weather will be less hot in summer, because Porterville just gets the fringes of Cape Town's howling Southeasters. Here we have fertile clay soil for the roses, there it will be sandy and fynbos.

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  2. Diana - A whole new growing experience awaits with the sandy soil (and the salt laden wind) :)

    Take it from me, a move (at our stage in life) is all the more exciting because, with RMan and I, it is our final (unconventional) move... Most people move to Shady Pines, we decided to plant our own LOL

    Will you be building your dream, or buying ready made? Whichever, happy dreaming and planning.

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    1. We built twice, not again. Wind I'm used to, from Camps Bay. Going to take my plant inspiration from what I see growing in the Nature Reserve along the seashore. Some of those plants grow in this garden now. We too will be planting shade, but no pines ;~)

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    2. LOL - we didn't plant pines - too great a fire risk! Apart from the acid effect they have on the soil...

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  3. O, you really want to move? Take than that beautiful rose Belle Epoque to your new place in a big tub, when the soil is too sandy. I adore your cats, they look like cats, lazy by daytime, active at night. I'm fond of animals, love them even more than plants.

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    1. The roses belong to this garden, this is their home. But the Black Prince is a heritage rose, I don't think I COULD buy it anywhere.

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  4. super photos, you have some wonderful plants and flowers in your garden.

    Gill in Canada

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  5. Interesting that you know where you will be going--and that you're thinking ahead. That's great! I'm doing the same thing. Now it's a matter of making sure the spouse agrees. Your kitties obviously have wonderful, strong personalities. ;-)

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    1. (for us it was a matter of making THIS spouse agree)

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  6. I often wonder what my future holds. How long can I sustain this place? And who will buy it? Sometimes (mostly) I think an escape route is my option, and then make it my heirs problem... Or perhaps I'll just do a Dornröschen and allow everything around me to get out of hand. Which will also make it my heirs problem... ;)

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    1. (Jack, this option is better, the link goes straight to your website)

      How much harder it will be for you to leave a garden with generations of family history and memories embedded in it!

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  7. It looks like and sounds like a beautiful place, Diana. You certainly have your work cut out for you...bringing your favorites with you. I will miss seeing your reports from this region, but I look forward to reading about your experiences in this new place.

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  8. It's lovely that you are planning a new garden while still loving your current one, and not seeming to regret the (still-to-come) change: this is now, in this time and this place; and then it will be a new garden and a new time and place. Letting go, in advance, while still reveling in Paradise and Roses. Your description of the sea is wonderful.

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  9. So you'll give up this garden for another. I'm practicing for that, though it could be ten or twenty years in the future. Who knows?

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    1. Who knows, indeed? I can't imagine your garden in someone else's care, it is quite unique to you!

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  10. Sounds really great Diana, love the image of False Bay, it looks beautiful. Best Wishes Karen.

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  11. To start with a more-or-less clean slate sounds perfect. It is not a new build but there is room to express yourself without feeling completely overwhelmed.

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  12. Hi Diana! The whole new life is ahead! You are planning, dreaming... good for you! Sometimes, I think how it will be for me to leave my garden.
    My Melianthus is doing so well here in the humid Pacific Northwest. I hope it'll survive the winter. It did last year!

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    1. PlantZAfrica says - The plants can survive in cold areas with frost, sending new shoots from the base in spring.
      Which has encouraged me to cut back old woody growth to the base, much like pruning roses. Altho my plant grows with the winter rain.

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  13. Hi ! I wanted to comment on your blog about the tree's but comments could not be given on that blog, did you know that ?

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    1. I am in the process of methodically closing comments on older blog posts. Mostly they attract spam. I've done 2009 and 2010, working thru 2011. Forgive me? Once there are 2 new posts up, the older ones very rarely draw comments. (But you are very welcome to leave that comment on this post)

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  14. Oh I had plans for retirement until I found that my retirement would be taxed so I am staying and traveling when I do retire. Maybe I will make money somehow so we can have a nice little place to go when winter strikes here...we shall see. It is good to plan and then let life take over...it always work out as it should...it sounds lovely Diana!

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  15. So sweet that Aragon waits politely for her breakfast. I'm greeted by three cats in the morning, one inside and two sitting on the outside windowsill, who complain LOUDLY about every second they must wait.

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  16. Maybe I've mis-read but I'm unclear about the time scale. Are you dreaming ahead or are these plans going to be enacted soon? But you've hardly been where you are for long! (Despite what you've achieved.)

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    1. that is because there IS no time scale yet! Still at the planning and exploring possibilities stage. And yes, it hasn't been long.

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  17. Today I saw False Bay on tv here (I hardly ever watch anythign here so it was strage to see the place you'd written about. The bay looks so beautiful. A garden is so hard to leave but I know that I too will have to leave mine when I can no longer take care of it. In the meantime I enjoy your posts about your present life and agarden. Christina

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  18. Diana, Now I understand that your "dozen for Diana" selection of plants for a small courtyard garden is not just an intellectual exercise but an imagining of the future. I've been watching one of my friends downsize to a retirement home recently, and the decisions about which plants to take and which to leave behind have sometimes been difficult. I like your strategy of musing and dreaming your way through these decisions well in advance. -Jean

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  19. A new garden is always exciting to think about, but leaving behind a garden you have created and loved would be hard. I often wonder what will happen to me and my garden in the future when it's too much for me to handle. I love the color of Belle Époque. I have never seen such an elegant color in a rose.

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    1. http://www.ludwigsroses.co.za/flower/belle-epoque/
      came from Ludwig's Roses. It is FRYyaboo, perhaps you can get a locally named plant?

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  20. Moving and creating a new garden is an exciting thought. Do you worry if the new owners will care for your existing garden?

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    1. The plants must take their chance, but I fervently hope that the future owners will continue to care for the birds and the wildlife around the pond, the striped mice and the tabakrolletjie snakes.

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  21. Holy smoke, I don't even know what I want to do at my house and you have your whole future garden laid out already.

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  22. Wow, you are moving! A new beginning, a new garden, it all sounds so very exciting. Change keeps one young! I have occasionally fantasized of moving to a smaller place with a courtyard garden. Good luck with all your plans. I am looking forward to seeing how it all unfolds.

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  23. Diana, sounds like you will do the change well and by the look of your gardening talent and soul, your new place will be as gorgeous as your former ... you will "take the weather with you'', as another popular saying ( and song by Crowded House) goes. Good luck.
    Love your blog.
    Julie

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  24. False Bay, in spite of its unfortunate name, looks divine, and similar to my favourite place that is called Apollo Bay. I do think about moving, but can't imagine it in detail like you have. I think maybe in the next place I won't have a garden at all, or it will be so wild it won't seem like a garden. Thanks Diana, for challenging stimulating post.

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    1. False Bay, named such because early navigators mistook Hangklip for Cape Point, is the largest true bay in South Africa and one of the great bays of the world - from http://www.sa-venues.com/attractionswc/false-bay-attractions.htm

      (Unfortunate only if you are shipwrecked by your mistake)

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  25. Diana,
    the advantage of a move is being able to decide what you really want, especially if the size is less.
    Any regrets, scaling down? It doesn't sound like it! It all sounds thrilling.
    Will Aragon and Chocolat cope? Or will they be purring?

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    1. Regrets? Yes, we built this house to suit us. But the Ungardener is back to drawing house plans ...

      Aragon will remain content to be with us, and Chocolat will be royally pissed off, until he settles again. As he did when we moved him here.

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  26. A very melancholy but forward thinking post, Diana. I do hope that while you may not have a sea view... you will at least be close enough to enjoy strolling along that beautiful beach with your Honey. I love the ocean and in my perfect world, I will retire to a sweet little cottage on the Oregon coast with two white rocking chairs on the porch where my Honey and I will rock to the beat of the incoming waves. (sigh...If only my world were perfect.)

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    1. We have enjoyed our first stroll along the boardwalk. It was one of those flawless Cape days. No wind no rain, blue skies and sunshine!

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  27. Oh how exciting your writing is! I'm loving the idea of papyrus being tamed and having town manners! As Carolyn say's very forward thinking. I wish the undergardener luck with the plans! x

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  28. New garden and new beginnings:) Love the lighting in your shot. Kitties like to get into everything....such is the way of mittens:) What a wonderful life they live! I am excited for you and all the changes that will come...which includes new plants. I hope the new people, whoever they may be, respect your garden. I look forward to your next challenges. But I will miss your garden as I have become fond of it:) That has got to be difficult. I imagine leaving my gardens here and it would be hard to do. Many many hours(and blood!), as you know, have been spent making it what it is. But those blue blue waves....dreamy:)

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  29. Oh Diana, you don't sound entirely happy about this idea yet. Let it simmer for awhile ... you might start to love the idea of a new home and garden. And lets face it, False Bay is a wonderful area to live in :)

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    1. not entirely, but, I'm coming around to the idea. And yes, False Bay is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Sigh ...

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Photographs and Copyright

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

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