27 August, 2014

A Swartland garden in August

- gardening for biodiversity

As August unfolds, the aloes open on our Karoo Koppie. The weaver birds bicker over whose turn it is for the nectar. Aloe marlothii  buds are little yellow bananas on maroon stems with prickly leaves. Aloe speciosa has red buds, which fade to white as it opens, with blue leaves. For False Bay I will be looking at Worcester's Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden for smaller aloes. Succulents like Euphorbia, Crassula and Cotyledon - which I'm harvesting for cuttings.

Yellow and red Aloe marlothii
Red and white Aloe speciosa


18 August, 2014

Harvester ants and harvester termites with Malmesbury gousblom

- gardening for biodiversity

Harvester ants

Indigenous ants are a vital part of the web of life, especially these harvester ants which live on seeds. At the entrance to the nest is a heap of husks. Some of the seeds which they take underground into their nests are able to grow, and they work at seed dispersal. They live in “dry areas” - Field guide to insects of South Africa, by Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths, and Alan Weaving.

Harvester ants bearing gousblom seeds

05 August, 2014

Sunshine and firelight in the Groot Winterhoek

- gardening for biodiversity

Jack at Sequoia Gardens and I were talking about South African indigenous plants with interesting leaf colour. I said grey is easy, but gold and wine-dark are exotic. Jack reminded me that proteas do leaf colour. That was the nudge we needed to go walk on our mountain. Timed it for the Leucadendron to perform.

Sunshine
Leucadendron salignum female

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.