30 January, 2014

Tabakrolletjie snake

- gardening for biodiversity in Porterville, near Cape Town in South Africa

This is a guardian angel post. Written to Cape gardeners for biodiversity. Even if you can't abide snakes - get to know the tabakrolletjie. Duberria lutrix (common slug eater). GOOD guy. Please be kind to him! Don’t kill off these snakes by feeding them snail bait in dead and dying snails. If your garden is well mulched, some of these little snakes are living in your garden. Beneath logs and stones, or near the pond – wherever the snails are living.

Remember that old nursery rhyme – what are little boys made of? Frogs and snails and puppy dog’s tails. You are what you eat. Meet that “little boy – made of snails!” The slugeater, is one of the good guys because he, eats snails.

I know that is true, because only once in twenty years of gardening in Camps Bay, did I see the life and death struggle slowly play out. The snake had caught a snail. The snail doesn’t want to be eaten, so he resists. The snake hangs on like grim death. Grim. Death. Until the snail tires … and the rest, is Lunch.

Tabakrolletjie snake


23 January, 2014

A Swartland garden in January

- gardening for biodiversity in Porterville, near Cape Town in South Africa

A Swartland garden in January

As I look back thru January posts and pictures how our garden has grown and changed and developed. Ideas that didn't sit well and had to be redesigned. The garden has taught us about micro-climate, which bits grow with abandon, and which corners are problem children. 2012 reminds me of the disaster zones around and beyond the ash trees, where I have now filled the planters with a satisfying succulent geometry.

2011 driveway olives and Pride of India


16 January, 2014

Paterson’s Curse our invasive alien

- gardening for biodiversity in Porterville, near Cape Town in South Africa

Pretty flower, no? NOT!!!

It starts as a baby, a flat rosette of leaves. Then as a toddler it sends up a brave spike with a spire of flowers, opening one by one. My favourite flower colour, that shimmering between blue and pink. Think Morning Glory or our Lobostemon. Recognise the borage colour scheme?

With macro photography it is a glorious flower. Then... It becomes a teenage thug, growing into a shrubby hip or even shoulder height MONSTER. It will smother everything in its path. At the right time of year, when your eye is attuned to THAT colour, you can see fallow fields that are an unbroken blue/pink SEA. It produces a truly terrifying amount of seed, and makes triffids into common or garden pussycats.

Paterson's Curse in August 2009

09 January, 2014

Travelling from Porterville

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


He took our header photo in June as we walked thru vineyards, wheat fields or orchards, with horses, cattle and sheep.

Railway line in Porterville June 2011

The Story of Elephant’s Eye

Chapter 8 
Why Porterville?

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
For real time, click on the map.