29 November, 2013

A Swartland garden in November

by Diana Studer
- wildlife gardening in Porterville, near Cape Town in South Africa

The Ungardener has removed his excess DIY supplies from around Folie de MMIX, and I rearranged my MANY pots of bulbs. Then he did his Ungardening Pond. Oxygenating waterweeds massively thinned out. Dwarf Papyrus and reeds and invasive yellow iris hacked back.

View from Elephant's Eye to our mountains

I pruned trees; he gets to shred the evidence to mulch later. Started with the two Kei apples at garage, sadly realised too late there is fruit coming.

Three Rhus/Searsia were creeping steadily up into our mountain view. That took most of a day to trim a few branches, return to the verandah and check the view, repeat, till the exhausted gardener says OK, that’ll do it. He stood IN Ungardening Pond to get just the right new photo of the house, across the pond with water lily. I stood on the shady verandah echoing him.

He stands in Ungardening Pond

She stands on the verandah

Pelargonium tomentosum was claiming the shady half of the path along the cool south facing wall of our house. Next task will be the road less travelled behind Pani’s Falls, and the fading sheaves of Chasmanthe leaves. Our garden feels a little stiff, formal … with the paths open to walk, as they should be.

Blue November flowers
Plumbago, Agapanthus
Dietes, Scabiosa
Plumbago, Dietes
Plectranthus neochilus, Aeonium

Our garden flowers have turned to quieter blues and purples for Advent. Agapanthus, Plumbago and Plectranthus are all in bluey mauves. That mauve is echoed by the taller central petals of Dietes our wild iris. Leaning towards the pinker burgundy tones are Scabiosa, Dianthus and my default summer roses – rosettes of Aeonium leaves.

Pink November flowers
Pelargonium, Chaim Soutine
Salvia greggei, Karoo Rose and Duftwolke

There are flashes of pink from Pelargonium, Salvia greggei and Chaim Soutine ruling Paradise and Roses in splendour.

Paths at Paradise and Roses
After pruning
and before!

Behind the wall I cut Trimeria back to a parasol for Paradise and Roses. Santolina was lolling over the path around Winter Chill.

Yellow flowers in November
Sepals of strandsalie, Hypoxis, Tropical Sunset
Carpobrotus, Tecoma capensis

The roses are rolling over to the next flush. Duftwolke hands the baton to Tropical Sunset. Bronze sepals linger graciously on the strandsalie. Clear singing yellow comes from Tecoma capensis, the transplanted Hypoxis and the sour fig Carpobrotus.

As I do every month, I join Gail at Clay and Limestone for Wildflower Wednesday. Today’s plants are all South African, except the olives, Dianthus, Aeonium, Salvia greggei (and the roses of course).

Pictures by Diana and Jurg Studer
of Elephant's Eye
(To read or leave comments, 
either click the word Comments below, 
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  1. It warms my heart to see your lovely summer flowers. I remember last's year Advent wreath was lovely with silver foliage that I'd never thought of using (didn't seem very Christmassy but then when I saw it, it was PERFECT. I like this year's too; I will have to be more adventurous. enjoy your lovely summer.

    1. I grew up with my mother's English ideas of Christmas, added my husband's Swiss traditions, then found my own way to a South African summer version.

  2. Diana it seems so different to see all the warm sun and gorgeous flowers when I am looking at snow. Your advent wreath is pure bliss to see every year with its beautiful flowers...lovely!! Oh and I love the views of the pond...mine is frozen now!

  3. That's a lovely Advent wreath. It's a great idea to use the flowers and foliage from the garden. Your pond always looks amazing, but it's quite spectacular at the moment. Loving your soft pinks and blues at the moment, but the splashes of yellow are eye-catching too.

  4. Diana, I am finally getting caught up on blogs after too long away. I love the colors in your advent wreaths. -Jean

  5. In looking to my future I am suddenly considering retirement villages - first local, now also in the Western Cape. Onrus leads the race, but I ended up looking at Zonnestraal in Porterville... and for a few brief minutes got side-tracked into wondering if my gardening friend Diana's garden was not a suitable intermediate downsizing... small world that would be... After two days of exploring options I am ever more aware that nothing is impossible; and that I am more than ready to start thinking of life as a (semi) retiree... :)

    1. now there's an interesting possibility! Our patch is certainly smaller than your current home. When we came to Porterville it was for active retirement and to make a new garden.

  6. Many would be overwhelmed trying to make a garden where you do, Diana. The English part of you is what must love the flowers! Hard work, I would say, but you rise to the challenge. I wish you a very happy Christmas season!

    1. The English bit loves the roses, despite the work. The South African bit enjoys discovering our own wildflowers.

  7. Did a little bit of gardening myself this weekend to get things neat before the holiday season sets in.

  8. Beautiful advent wreaths! Gave me an idea. P. x


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Photographs are from Diana Studer or Jurg Studer.
My Canon PowerShot A490

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