26 July, 2010

Deepest darkest Winter - flowers in July

It is the 25th. My day to walk around the garden and remind myself what is catching the eye this month. First the same old same old. Japanese flowering quince, a bush we inherited, halfway down the driveway, always blooms for my birthday. And for Anna's, who planted it. Usually blooms on spectacular bare branches, but this year, there are still leaves ...?

We still have - lavender and basil, traditional orange and yellow Strelitzia, pelargoniums in red white pink salmon and pink-and-white, Dianthus, daisies in white pink purple yellow, Oxford and Cambridge Clerodendron, purple Tulbaghia, yellow red and orange Tecomaria,  orange Cotyledon orbiculata. Little pot of turquoise, sea-green, mermaid coloured Lachenalia has faded to straw, while the spectacular coral red Lachenalia rubida is blazing the very best it has ever been. The first wave of orangey-red aloes is fading, while the carpet of lime-yellow Oxalis grows thicker day by day, altho, someone, is eating most of the leaves. But we don't DO stalks, thank you.

End of July, August is time for me to prune my roses. which is hard to do now. They are flourishing. Full of flowers and buds, starting to send out fat new shoots from the base. Some have black spot, but they seem to bounce back, and flower on. Top left is Great North - a pillar rose, which sulked for the first two years. After I cut back the Dusty Miller hedge, the rose suddenly roared into flower! Top right pink and white Chaim Soutine with pink pelargonium. Bottom left Pearl of Bedfordview, clusters of pale pink delicately formed flowers. Bottom right Courvoisier, more clusters, but these are deliciously fragrant and a vibrant yellow.

That was the old. Everywhere I turn there are buds coming. The annual rain daisies are poking thru, but in our garden there are no flowers yet. Top left that spotted aloe had just made its bud last month, now I need two pictures, one for the the rosette of leaves, and another for flower stalk. Top right Veltheimia capensis. Below, spears of orange and yellow Chasmanthe, and tightly furled buds of white arums Zantedeschia.

The nasturtiums also came with the old/new garden. These are the first of the flowers. Quite a few, will end up in our salad bowls, they look gorgeous, and why should sheep and cows monopolise the fun of eating flowers? Below left the first orange Chasmanthe to open. They grow tall, and this gardener should have planted them deeper, then they wouldn't have keeled over under the weight of all those flowers. Bottom right, one of our indigenous sages, with burnt orange flowers, fragrant grey small riffled leaves, Salvia africana-lutea (my book says the leaves smell of lemon pepper and can be used for cooking, must try them)

Three gazanias at Rest and Be Thankful, are already furling up at 4 on a winter afternoon. Clear blue sky, and sunshine, we walked, but it is still, grateful for a sweat-shirt weather. A new aloe with delicate open parasols, rather than the tightly packed spikes we are more used to on the fading Aloe ferox. Purple Hypoestes, ribbon-bush, because the petals curl up. Red berries on Nandina are worth a photo. Altho the plants mostly came from the last garden, in Camps Bay we seldom saw berries. Here, it gets colder ... And at the bottom palest pink flowers on the hedge fund, Crassula ovata, jade-plant. Fluffy white flowers on garlic buchu - if you brush up against it you come away smelling fiercely of fragrant garlic. I love that smell and remember childhood holidays driving to visit my sister and her family in Riversdale.

A last glimpse at the Summers's Gold bed in Paradise, a yellow Sunshine Dimorphotheca jucunda with ivory striped Liriope, which LOVES living in Porterville, after sulking between the Clivia in the old garden. Now the Clivia sulks, it's too hot, or something. We don't like it here, can we go home now? Will try more water, more food, and hope for flowers this September. 

Pictures and words by Diana of Elephant's Eye


  1. Dear Diana of EE, What an absolutely charming posting filled with interesting plants, masses of colour and the whole beautifully presented. Your collages are a delight.

    That it is the middle of winter does, as you will be only too aware, take some believing from one who, in the Northern hemisphere, is seeing summer rapidly slipping away.

  2. Sounds like you have the sort of winter I envy. All those flowers still going strong - amazing.

  3. Oh so much beauty in the one place - what a joy to go on another little walk with you around your piece of heaven.

  4. It doesn't seem possible that this is the middle of winter -- everything is so beautiful! Lovely collages. Thanks for including us on your walk.

  5. Gorgeous garden tour, Diana. It's incredible to me that this is a *winter* view. The rose collage is especially lovely.

    Enjoy your nasturtium-garnished salads! We are looking forward to more blooms from ours, as soon as this heat wave passes. Our plants are languishing pretty badly right now, but experience says they will perk up in September. :)

  6. Hello Diana,

    I think plants prove their worth in the garden when they look great either in the middle of winter or summer. I too, have a hard time pruning back roses in winter when they are in full bloom :-)

  7. The idea of having this many flowers in mid-winter boggles my mind. I'm particularly fond of that pale yellow Dimorphotheca. -Jean

  8. You have so many beautiful blooms in your garden! I especially love your roses! My rose bushes are sad looking right now in Florida's hot humid weather right now. If they don't bounch back this fall, I think I need to find some other varieties of roses to grow.

    My nasturtium is not growing very well either. Only leaves, no flowers, I guess I started seeds too late. Yours look very delicous and beautiful!

  9. Hi elephants eye, just been checking out your blog and pleased to say it still excellent and well worth my blotanical fav. Would you be interested in swapping links? My site is www.gardenofeaden.blogspot.com

    I look forward to hearing from you. Regards, Simon

  10. on the pigs back means having it really easy. quite different to hog wash!
    thanks for link to blog comment.

  11. Hi Diana, re the reflection of the photos used on my blog posts. It's no secret, and really easy. I am using Window's Live Writer to post my blog. It's so much easier then Blogger. One of the picture options is the reflection.

    I try not to overuse it, it doesn't work on everything, but it is a lovely option.

    Windows live writer is a wonderful free program, and has stopped so much of the hassle that Blogger seems to give me.


  12. Thank you, Diana, for the delightful winter walk in your beautiful garden.

  13. What an amazing tour of your garden - the pictures are stunning I think ive fallen back in love with nasturtiums after reading this! I love the names you use for your spaces - so evocative - Thankyou for sharing this :)

  14. So beautiful Diana!! You have the most amazing array of colour in your garden.

  15. FROM Jack SQ
    Can't comment on post - my internet? ;( There's no doubt: a Cape winter is more colourful than ours! A lovely walk! Yesterday I was (sans camera unfortunately) on a granite koppie near Polokwane. Oh my, the aloes and other winter succulants in bloom! But here I am preparing a blog on the LACK of colour in my garden... actually quite photogenic!


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.

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