27 October, 2009

Weaver bird building his home

We chose this plot because of the wall of giant/Spanish reed in the distant bottom corner. There are weavers living here, and the Ungardener dreamt of sharing our garden with them one fine day.

25 October, 2009


We have the same farmer to thank, who gave us Melianthus (honey flowers) and Zantedeschia (arum lilies) along his stream. Who has built open sided sheds to give his dairy cows shade from the brutal summer heat, and they really appreciate it. We see them tidily arranged in the rectangle of shade, with one or two having a nibble, or a drink of water, or stretching their legs. This plant will kill cattle, so now I understand why those cows are firmly fenced away from this flower display.

22 October, 2009

Tiny tigers, burning bright

(with apologies to William Blake's poem ...)

I saw a batch of minute eggs on my little L’Aimant rose. So I asked the Ungardener to take some of his superB Super macro photos. Imagine our wonder when we saw, not just the bugs newly hatched. But the unborn bugs waiting in their transparent eggshells. Now it is a few days later and they have all dispersed. Just a little bunch of empty shells hanging on the rose stem.

The tattooed carrot, is the tip of the Ungardener's finger, for scale

19 October, 2009

Karoo Koppie - Succulent garden

Our last garden was on a 45 degree slope, with lots of rocks, in Camps Bay. So the Ungardener found this square, flat, featureless, rockless, ex vegetable garden
a bit flat,
and featureless.
We built a pond (see 6th and 7th Oct) with Pani’s Falls to the North East of the house. But on the South side, apart from a row of inherited fruit trees near the wall, the garden railway, and Apple Creek, we still had a large open expanse. We also had a problem. This was a newly built house, why is there so much builder’s rubble? Because first they built it. Wrong. Then they built it right, leaving a mountain of used and broken bricks, and a million bits of concrete. We chipped off the dry mortar and used those bricks to edge the paths.

Clockwise - Cotyledon orbiculata (large green leaves), spekboom Portulacaria afra, lost this name??,
Lampranthus multiradiatus (shrubby vygie), Aloe plicatilis (fan aloe)

13 October, 2009

Paper wasps

Have you ever made paper? Went to a few lessons while we lived in Z├╝rich. Soak the raw/recycled plant fibre overnight. Whiz it thru a dedicated blender. Don’t want traces of printer’s ink or plant toxins in your next pot of soup? Then the fun bit. Sieving out sheets of paper.

06 October, 2009

On Ungardening Pond 2

Making our pond a home

Waiting for ...
Because we were renting for a year, we got 2 large baby baths for the papyrus, bull rushes, water lilies – and as many snails as I could rescue from the last pond. Water lilies were very happy in the baby baths and made flowers. Now they have whole pond, they are still sulking. May have to make a dedicated pond with STILL water for them. Would still like the “common or garden” true blue we (used to?) see on farm dams.

On Ungardening Pond 1

by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity

May 2016
RIP Rasta Pani

Rasta Pani in 2006 before we built the Porterville house
Rasta Pani in 2007 building Pani's Falls
(Pani is Sanskrit for hand)

Construction and Pani's Falls

We began in November 2006 ...

Apart from, you can never have too many trees, the Ungardener’s other maxim is, your pond can never be too big. This is about half the size he was planning on. We once saw a garden in Switzerland, where they had basically turned the ENTIRE garden into a huge pond. And that is what he wanted.

05 October, 2009

The Light and the Dark

Freesia alba
Deeply rooted in me, twice over. The plant roots because I grew it from seed about 30 years ago. Seed from Kirstenbosch Botanic Garden – distributed free to members. The little bulbs live in pots, so I don’t lose them, and return, and multiply, and spread themselves further each year. When you walk past – the scent induces euphoria. Gone to glory now! You know how, when you take a deep sniff of one of those old, dark red roses – just for a moment the fragrance is so overwhelming, that you almost black out.

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.