23 April, 2014

A Swartland garden in April

- gardening for biodiversity

When we left Cape Town, passed thru the Wheat Curtain, and began gardening in the Swartland with its Renosterveld - I battled to find advice, or appropriately indigenous plants. I tried and failed with the fynbos plants I knew and loved. Only the Erica baccans survived that lesson. Now growing with determination across the path, NOT in the bed. If I would start again now ... I'd turn to the gardens and nurseries at Biodiversity and Wine Initiative wine estates for ideas and plants.

Yellow Tecoma capensis

Yesterday brilliant sunshine. This morning under a grey blanket, the mountains cancelled. In the afternoon just a few wisps of cloud and a hazy autumnal quality to the light.

Paradise and Roses with Olifantskop

Plumbago Walk with Spirulino's times two

When I plant for colour it isn't trays of annual seedlings, it's shrubs. Swathes of colour where my eyes and hands can enjoy them. White, sky blue, and periwinkle of Plumbago, yellow and apricot from Tecoma capensis, electric pink from Phyllis van Heerden. Purple Dimorphotheca below a pink Pelargonium.

April flowers
Pineapple sage, lemon verbena, Hypoxis
Dimorphotheca jucunda,
Pearl of Bedfordview, Tecoma capensis
Burning Sky, Pelargonium, Oxalis

Our foreign flowers in April - South American lemon verbena (my mother and I love the citrusy leaves), vibrant pink pineapple sage the sunbirds fight over. The roses begin to bloom again as autumn restores them from pruning. Joining Gail at Clay and Limestone for her Wildflower Wednesday - as my record of what lights my garden each month.

Nerine sarniensis

Pots of bulbs are green. Nerine sarniensis Jersey lily that bloomed at the beginning of the month has already gone to seed. Yellow Hypoxis with its three ranks of leaves. Palest pink Oxalis with delicate burgundy lines.

On Google Plus I joined Five Days. Pictures from your daily life. Day 1 Cornish striped mug of tea. Day 2 fortnightly grocery shopping. Day 3 packing a garden as our home is for sale.

Potting up bulbs to move with us

Day 4 my day desk. Day 5 line drying our washing. No tumble drier needed here. In winter a clotheshorse by the fire.

Line drying washing in the sun and breeze

Monday was my mother's birthday and I have flowers from her garden.

Rest and Be Thankful

Spirulino (our rescued house sparrow, a cock sparrow) has been promoted to a new, as in bought then customised, home. The Ungardener gets engrossed in his DIY projects, tweak and adjust. The blue bars echoing the clear sunny skies blue of the Plumbago Walk, beside the ash trees where the bird cage lives. Since half of our granadilla plants are fading on us, it's good to know we can offer him Plumbago leaves instead. Most days our bird has a sand bath first, then rinses the sand off in his little bath tub. The feeding tray reaches into the cage so he can dine with his friends. We try him on various fruit and veg but a nibble of apple with a granadilla leaf is his accepted quota of meh rabbit food! He retreats into his 'forest' of dangling strips of shade cloth - when the world is too much with him. He has a new proper wooden birdhouse inside - but not sure if he's learnt to use INSIDE yet.

Spirulino enjoying his new home

Spirulino dining with friends


Pictures by Diana and Jurg Studer of Elephant's Eye 
(in Porterville, near Cape Town in South Africa)

(If you mouse over brown text, it turns shriek pink. Those are my links.

To read or leave comments, either click the word Comments below, 
or click this post's title)

20 comments:

  1. Diana, Glad you mentioned your mother... I loved your posting when she passed. Bitter sweet for me as I just lost mine. 'Rest and be Thankful' -- so beautiful. P. x

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  2. Hi, Diana, I love your Plumbago walk! Spirulino has quite an upgrade there with two homes to choose from! I also think of adding color via shrubs rather than annuals. Lou says our garden look like it has exploded this month, and it's almost all trees and shrubs.I have been working hard to make mine a low-maintenance garden; the next owner after me will get to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. but we get the fun and satisfaction in the challenge of adjusting the mix! Vita Sackville West said she used walk around the garden, and pick a sprig of ... then see how it looked next to ...

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    2. Beautiful photos and such gorgeous colourful plants you grow. I love the Nerine. The vibrant colours are wonderful in your sunny climate

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  3. I tried to post a comment via my phone last night - no luck clicking on 'post a comment' nor through clicking on the title ... :(

    Re: your granadilla's - mine are still in flower and producing madly. I remember that happened last year too.

    Love the communal bird feeder - I'm sure it must make Spirulino feel more at home, bless him :)

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  4. The walks and shrubs give such a low maintenance feel to the garden, it is delightful with all the flowers, and not so many weeds to fight. The Nerine is such a gorgeous color.

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  5. I don't remember seeing Plumbago walk before, its beautiful. Your autumn isn't so different to our spring and autumn, our climates give us two springs, we're lucky.

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    1. I'm trying for blue on one side and pink on the other (March lilies and watsonias). First time the blue has showed up on the photo. That gentle sky blue tends to fade away.

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  6. I think there's no limit to the number and variety of flowers in your garden.

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  7. Diana, Have you any idea why my latest posting isn't appearing on blogrolls? I went on Google forum and tried everything suggested there -- I hadn't 'cut and pasted' any of the content and I tried reposting, but no luck. What do you think? P. x

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    Replies
    1. I've checked in Feedly and that shows your latest post, 4 days ago.

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  8. Thanks, Diana. I have it in my own blogroll but only just noticed it wasn't updated. I posted 4 days ago as shown in Feedly. Clearing the cache seems to be the best option, but I have no idea how to do that. I wish I had your tec. know-how. Thanks again. P. x

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    Replies
    1. try writing - clear cache - in your search box, then follow the instructions.

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    2. I successfully cleared the cache (thanks) but no luck. Then removed from blogroll, shut down, etc. Still no luck. I give up. It will be interesting to see what happens with my next posting. Thanks a lot, dear friend. P. x

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    3. We didded it indeed! Thanks to you! P. x

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  9. Diana
    So often I look and your garden and think "we should swap for a year" and then I think that without your local knowledge I would just leave the whole place a mess in no time at all. So it's good to know your garden is in such good hands, and I am happy to admire it from afar.

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    Replies
    1. but we're both in the (right) Southern hemisphere ;~)

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  10. I adore the color of Nerine sarniensis...what an amazing red-orange...your fall garden and weather look splendid.

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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.


Midnight in Darkest Africa

Midnight in Darkest Africa
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