by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
We've had a little tortoise puttering around. Kept rescuing him, from the driveway and the paths. Parking him at the succulent spekboom where he could reach. Tiny little legs can move. In minutes I've lost him and we forgot the photo! The geometric tortoise is protected. The eggs hatch with our winter rain (April or May). Grass herbs and shrubs are what they eat. Restricted to our corner of the Western Cape. 90% of their renosterveld habitat is gone to agriculture and urban sprawl. Unplanned wildfires and invasive alien plants are extra burdens on the few survivors.
|Plum Creek in autumn's gold|
It is 7 years since we moved into a newly built for us Elephant's Eye. Then I battled to find advice for a Swartland garden using the indigenous renosterveld plants.
|Dusty Miller hedge to Paradise and Roses|
Autumn leaves. Gold on the trees at Plum Creek. There is a lemon tree waiting for us. Perhaps I can find a corner for a Tahiti lime. Nasturtiums sending out green scouts. Lavender branches for the vase, retrieved from invading the paths.
|Jetty at Ungardening Pond|
Flaming scarlet on the Pride of India. From which I will again try to take cuttings. Perhaps in August. Wish that by September we will be busy packing to move! (Yes!!) The lambs are out in the farmer's fields - the lucky ones eating the green velvet of fresh winter grass.
unknown apricot rose, Burning Sky
Autumn flush roses. Black Prince I've taken cuttings - to take that Old Cape heritage rose with us. Deep red, velvety, fragrant - exactly what a rose should be. Grows tall, giving long-stemmed flowers. Yellow and orange stripes on Tropical Sunset. Gentler peach and orange on an inherited rose. Flamboyant pink and purple on Burning Sky. Duftwolke with cabbagy fragrant scarlet flowers. Great North in clear white. Pearl of Bedfordview blushed with pink.
|Duftwolke, Great North|
Pearl of Bedfordview
Turning to South African Pig's Ears blooms on Black Stork Island where the camera can't reach. Aloes turning but not yet fully open. Barleria April violets. Pink with Port St John's creeper.
|Hypoxis, Corycium wild orchid|
aloe, bush tick berry with bee
Pelargoniums - white, pink, red and salmon. Plumbago fading. Phyllis van Heerden coming in deep fuchsia pink spires. Bush tick berry, bush the size of an elephant, and the bees are happy. Hypoxis potted to go is flourishing with spikes of golden yellow stars.
|Port St John's creeper|
Phyllis van Heerden, Barleria
Bulbs are all sorts of leaf, but no flowers since the Jersey lilies. Except pink Oxalis. I've missed watering the pots and they complain!
|Mountain view from Paradise and Roses|
From the pair of chairs, and my tea at Inspire in Paradise and Roses, I look across the carefully trimmed trees (covering washing and windows) revealing the ridge of mountain.
Aragon and Chocolat
Aragon looks across to Plum Creek from the main verandah, Chocolat is focused on Elephant's Eye Light Railway from the back verandah. Tecoma brings a fresh wave of flowers, since I groomed and deadheaded the last lot.
For Wildflower Wednesday with Gail at Clay and Limestone
Pictures by Diana 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.
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