26 April, 2010

April showers bring us flowers 2010

8C last night, 48F in your money, freezing here - I can hear you giggling Alaskan Christine. Watching Spirulina (our Italian sparrow, likes mozzarella) at his morning bath while I eat my muesli. Dip a toe in. EW W W that’s COLD and he takes off in horror!! Try again later. Still Cold! Oh well, get on with it. And he has a jolly good bath, using his battered wings to shower water all over the veranda.

Left new yellow variety, right same old orange

The aloes have buds, for us, a sign that winter is coming. Autumn and winter nectar for the sunbirds. See the Fibonacci spirals, like the scales on a pinecone, a pineapple’s cells, a raspberry, the tightly packed centre of a daisy. Once you have seen it, you see it everywhere in nature.

Top left nameless inherited, right Courvoisier
Bottom left Elizabeth of Glamis, right Burning Sky

We still have autumn roses, but they are now a bit more enthusiastic, so I cut the flowers with a few leaves. In between, tidying-up-pruning, before the big cut in August, when we turn to spring.

Our herbs, basil, sages, lavender are a singing mass of bees. Whenever I step out of the kitchen a sunbird takes off from the pineapple sage. Red Pennisetum is flourishing its burnished red leaves, but I’ve learnt my lesson, it is CONFINED to a pot.

Top left red sage from my mother’s garden, right pineapple sage
Bottom left red Pennisetum, right Ruttyspolia Phyllis van Heerden

Then we have the Addoful beauties. A mass of colour. A shimmer of yellow across the pond. Red flames from Big Red (original name huh?). Plumbago in the original white and palest blue (TOO pale for the camera unless you ‘adjust’ the colours)

Top Tecomaria in yellow and Big Red
Bottom Blue and white Plumbago

Apart from the herbs and the roses, the Abelia and Ficus below, these plants are all indigenous, native to South Africa. Altho mostly preferring a little afternoon shade and some water in the summer, as they are not winter rainfall plants. Just those two buckets of Watsonia bulbs.

Top left Hypoestes ribbon-bush, right blue sage
Bottom left Abelia, right Hemizygia

Perfect autumn gardening weather. Bits of Tickey Creeper, Ficus pumila to go in around the waterfall. (Someone said, don’t let the dog get too close, you’ll never see him again, but our plant hasn’t read that) And heaps of Watsonia bulbs dug up, sprouting, and in URGENT need of planting, today, somewhere, where?!

Each month I wander round the garden to document in photos what is eyecatching. (What’s gone, or come. What I could have expected to enjoy). And in a nice sensible, down to earth manner - what shall I spread around?

Amongst all my favourite favourites here, I want more Hemizygia. Imagine low lavender bush size, peppery fragrant leaves, small mauve trumpets, which are followed by long lasting purple sepals. Another aristocratic member of the Sage Family.

Photos by Jurg and Diana, words by Diana of Elephant's Eye


  1. It's so much fun to see your gardens preparing for autumn as ours here are opening up for spring!

  2. I can't wait to see what your garden looks like in the winter! There are only so many regions in the world with a sub-sub-tropical but not yet temperate climate out there. I love the aloes by the way

  3. Rainforest - been to visit yours. I can see you love aloes.

  4. I loved seeing all your blooms. We warmed up to 18 Celsius this afternoon. Lovely blue, sunny skies.

  5. Your April flowers look happily refreshed by the showers, Diana. Gardens like yours and Christine's are so interesting to visit this time of year.

  6. The bounty of late summer in April! I can't quite get my mind around it. Sorry for your cold - but your pics are great. Kelly

  7. Laurrie beat me to it! I was going to say, it's interesting to think you are headed to winter when we just ended ours.

  8. Beautiful flowers and beautiful colors. While you are cooling off down there, the heat is kicking in up here.

  9. Fall in your garden; spring in mine. Two special seasons in their own right. The hermizygia sounds lovely.

  10. Beautiful post Diana, your roses are so very beautiful. I agree that you can see the spirals everywhere, once you start looking. :)

  11. You have such a wonderful selection of blooms. But, you know, I can't wrap my poor brain around the way we are having opposite seasons. One thing that I'm finding so fascinating since I joined Blotanical.

  12. I loved reading about your autumn garden. You have some wonderful blooms. I am a fan of the sages. Hemizygia sounds fantastic! I will enjoy reading about your winter, when I am in the depth of my summer!

  13. aloha,

    wow, is there anything you can't grow in your area? haa, its funny you mentioned cold, i start to feel really cold when the temps get below 60 here in hawaii..sweat shirt time!

  14. Noel - for tropicals it is too dry, and for winter bulbs not cold enough. I'd like snakehead fritillaries.

  15. It is something I have yet to experience - the first rains bringing relief in a Mediterranian climate. We have a hemizygia here (in our area - too cold on Sequoia) which is so strongly scented that you have to wash your hands 3 times to get rid of the smell. A sort of kakiebos aroma, not unpleasant in small doses. But as you say - another great member of the sage family!

  16. I agree--8C seems pretty frigid to me! It's all relative. If you're a tropical lowland orchid, it's pretty deadly. If you're a snowdrop or daffodil--balmy resort weather!


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.