15 February, 2013

Well earned names


Wistfully looking back at how our garden grew. We garden for wildlife. The most spectacular wildlife in our walled small town garden flies in. The jewelled Malachite Kingfisher has returned to take lunch with us. No, I’ll pass on the frog’s legs thanks.

Malachite Kingfisher, visiting our garden
Thanks to my niece Claire - this young bird has a black bill,
which will turn red when he grows up

The Story of Elephant’s Eye
Chapter 2

Black Stork Island


In June 2009 – ‘Yesterday, out walking, we saw a large black bird, with a red beak, across the field. Next morning out of the sky comes a great, dark, shape; scoops a frog out of our pond and climbs onto the island. A Black Stork! Curiously, although he stands about a metre high, both cats went to investigate. Even a stork passing overhead can see that we have frogs.’ We were enchanted to be in the garden when he landed. I wonder, what we’ve missed, when we were not in the right place at the right moment, aware and looking …

Black Stork on his island IN our garden! 

As the years roll past, my island planting has gone to wilderness. One day soon, I’ll have to borrow his plastic garden clogs and wade into the water and do some spring-cleaning. The silver lining is that the cat is foiled!

Bird's eye view of Ungardening Pond in 2011

He was Ungardening on the roof – clearing gutters, checking the solar panels, enjoying the bird’s eye view. And – please, take some photos for the blog while you’re up there?

Looking at Black Stork Island today

We’ve agreed. In the new garden I will be able to reach the plants growing in the pond, without getting my feet wet. Today Black Stork Island looks as if it just ‘grew’ there.

Rest and Be Thankful

In 2007 we planted a pair of trees across the pond on our wedding anniversary.

Planting trees in 2007

Only a year later, the ratty little sapling is a Tree worthy of the name – living up to the definition – a tree is something you can sit under.

The same tree in 2008, just a year later!

In the early nineties we travelled through Scotland.  There is a place called Rest and Be Thankful. Truly, near Loch Lomond. A mountain pass they constructed, and finally reached the top on a Sunday. (“We” dug out the pond, and the soil was dumped as a berm behind the waterfall, giving us a “High Road”)

November sunset 2009

Rest and Be Thankful is the focus of the garden. Lightly upstaged when Pani’s Falls is flowing. The changing light and weather catches the camera as we glance out.

December dawn 2009

November 2009 - ‘we have cleared the pond of invasive Kariba weed. That is the royal we, the Ungardener got his feet wet. It IS his pond’.

Looking out from Rest and Be Thankful
across Ungardening Pond to Black Stork Island

With my morning bowl of muesli – I look out from Rest and Be Thankful across Ungardening Pond. We have pink waterlilies blooming. We are, thankful.

Chapter 1. Naming of Parts. Pani’s Falls and Ungardening Pond. Does your garden have a naming story to tell?
Chapter 3. Flower Year in our Porterville Garden. From March lilies, to Christmas Agapanthus, there are always flowers in our garden.

Green around your ankles and my February plant in Dozen for Diana. If you were to join me with a Plant Portrait, please leave a link on the new False Bay blog.

(February 2014 blocking back links against spam)

Pictures by Jurg and Diana 
text by Diana Studer
(also on Google Plus)
AKA 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.)

27 comments:

  1. So many things to look at!
    We could see the original 'Rest and be Thankful' from where we lived in Scotland. The black stork is a handsome beast,but the kingfisher stole my heart.
    Jane x

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    1. Rest and Be Thankful made a deep impression on me. It was blowing a howling gale and I couldn't hold the camera steady!

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  2. "I wonder, what we’ve missed, when we were not in the right place at the right moment, aware and looking …" your thoughts mirror my own,Diana. Wildlife brings such pleasure, surely the very best part of gardening. I've come to learn... if I build and nurture my landscape, wildlife will happily grace my gardens with their presence. And that makes me happy beyond words.

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    1. tantalising. No wonder people set up cameras to record Who Goes There?

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  3. Dear Diana, the beautiful kingfisher looks just like our European counterpart. Your garden really is wonderful, for wildlife and for us Northeners who still dwell in winter!
    Have a nice weekend!
    Elke

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    1. once when I walked home from work in Aarau, I joined a few people looking in wonder at an ... Eisvogel.

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  4. Your Kingfisher is spectacular. Ours are much more subdued in color.

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    1. the same Jason who commented on my new blog? Now with a WP blog link. Going to explore ...

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  5. It's good to look back at the happy memories that you have. We too garden for wildlife, but so far we think the only large bird we have seen by the pond is a heron, it didn't stay as we don't have fish as they eat the tadpoles, wish we had a kingfisher like yours.

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    1. I had a departing glimpse of a heron. No fish here, just lots of frogs, and tadpoles, and dragonflies.

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  6. The photo with the mountains in the background and pink sunset reflected in the pond is awsome. We are all going to miss your gardens with their special names.

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    1. that's the one I keep coming back to, it's got a happy feeling.

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  7. Your very own rest and be thankful, how marvellous is that, but hey, a black stork, I ask you, mind blowing. Looking back at how your garden grew must be tinged with a bit of sadness. Talking about cat people,. well I guess we are. However Purdee who is rather a wimpy little burmese has become terrified of this big grey and white cat that has turned up. Last week it was waiting by the door hoping to have Purdee for supper, I opened the door to shoo it away, it didn't move so I took my foot, not to kick it but to shove it away. Well it clawed into my ankle and bit my leg. Saw it again this morning on the garden path once again shooed it away. It ran for a couple of yards turned around eye-balled me and stood its ground. Started chucking some pebbles at it, still didn't move, got closer it was ready to pounce on me got a bigger stone and off it went. Oh god what would I be like with some of your big cats.

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    1. we once battled with next door's argumentative ginger cat. Our Chocolat is feisty but small, since he was born feral. We fight with water. After a couple of cans, ginger would grumble off when I picked up the can ... Hope your leg is being cared for against infection?

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  8. Diana what a great story of your island....it does look natural as does the entire pond area....and that kingfisher...you have such beautiful birds!

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  9. I love the story of Black Stork Island. And the Malachite kingfisher — you have some gorgeous birds in your part of the world! I also now more fully appreciate why you chose the name Rest and Be Thankful. The 2009 sunset photo of that area is my favorite!

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  10. wow, I love it so much! those birds are so beautiful. Just love how your pond area has matured xxxxxxxxxxxx

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  11. Loved to read your happy memories of your wildlife garden and especial your island. Beautiful to have the Kingfisher there, this bird is rarely seen here, the winters are too cold. Also no black storks but we have the white ones. I think the last 20 years there are coming more and more. Herons are the nuisance of our ponds, but also these birds are beautiful.

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  12. Diana, I loved learning here how these parts of your garden got their names (especially since I don't have your talent for poetic naming). The malachite kingfisher looks as though it is made of burnished copper. Beautiful. -Jean

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  13. The Kingfisher photo is fantastic! I love seeing all the pictures of your pond throughout the years as it has matured. I know it sound pretty silly when I have a huge natural pond/lake, but I have always yearned for a small one! One where I can plant pond plants and really get close and watch the wildlife. Maybe in my next (smaller and more controllable) garden, one day. :-)

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    1. I too yearn for the tiny patio pool we had in our last garden. There I would sit on the paving skimming the dead leaves out with my fingers. Going to compromise on the next one.

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  14. Wow these pictures are beautiful! Each garden has a name and a story is heart-warming :)

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  15. Its always interesting how people come up with names. Some think it through way too much and it gets complicated while others just pop out at you.

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  16. I'm amazed that the tree grew so fast! It is beautiful, especially in the photo where it is lit up from the sun. Just gorgeous. Your pond is beautiful, although ponds are always work. I really enjoyed seeing the birds. So different from what we see here.

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  17. I think I see a pink hardy water lily cluster in the last photo. Maybe 5 or so blossoms open?

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    1. Yes, I really wanted the indigenous blue one, but that requires deeper water.

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  18. Hi Diana - very lucky with that Black Stork - as you know it is a species that is declining across South Africa.

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Photographs and Copyright

Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
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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