11 March, 2011

March garden walk

Mid-month I aim to cover exotic, alien, commonorgarden plants blooming in our garden. Especially the roses. Yes, well. It has been a long hot summer, about 10 weeks with no rain. And each time I look, another plant has waved goodbye. Apparently the roses have thrips, tiny creatures who come from the hot dry Out There to lovely luscious, fed and watered, yummy roses. Today I fed the roses and watered them to encourage the autumn flush, which should be their best time of year. There are buds, both flowers, and leaves coming up from the base. We’ll see. If this autumn weather holds kind, and does not hammer us with an unseasonal heat wave, as it did last year. Then, we lost many of our optimistic newly planted olive trees.

March lilies are Proudly South African.

When the Ungardener is Ungardening on the roof – you know, leaves out of the gutters, resealing the chimney. So you walk down the driveway past the olives, and our greener neighbours, around the curved wall of the rose garden, which I call Paradise. Perhaps I should call it the And Roses garden.

Paradise, the rose garden

The rose garden, Plum Creek, Ungardening Pond
and greener neighbours on this side

From the And Roses garden you cross the bridge at Plum Creek and walk around Ungardening Pond which has been half filled again. Behind the waterfall, along the Woodland Walk. Pause at Rest and Be Thankful.

Ungardening Pond, with Black Stork Island and Rest and Be Thankful

Pond, ash tree, and unhappy borders

Between the ash trees, looking at planters with some sad Clivia. Cymbidium pots in the shade. Glance at the Folie de MIIX, where my spring bulbs wait, with Eucomis and Merwillea, some bright pink Oxalis, and spotted leaf Drimiopsis.  Agapanthus in large terracotta pots. Ignore the pink border and the blue and purple border. We do have Plumbago and Tulbaghia there. The path beaten while repairing the pond, is also a project for new ideas.

Ash tree, another view of the unsuccessful bits

In the shade of the ash tree is our Karoo Koppie. Then Apple Creek, some green relief on this side. Elephant’s Eye Light Railway. Also hidden in the shade is the Mediterranean Sun Circle – which catches the sun in winter, when it is more welcome.

In the shade, the Karoo Koppie
Apple Creek
This neighbour has an invasive NZ manitoka
and a row of really nasty invasive beefwood trees

Around to the washing lines, compost bins, the fig trees, the Swiss stacked wood for winter.

We have fig trees
they have Agent Orange.
If it is green they nuke it, again and again
Just leaving a lemon tree and some grape vines.

Ending back where we started at the (invasive) giant or Spanish reeds. Those for which the French town of Cannes was once named. From this bird’s eye view, we see not how high they grow, but what a wide area they cover.

Invasive giant or Spanish reeds
where our weavers build their nests

Come the April walk, I hope and wish for roses, worth picking. When I look at the New Zealand bush, it is hard to believe I once picked a dozen of its blooms for my mother’s birthday!?

Watching the earthquake and the tsunami in Japan, looking at the Pacific Ring of Fire, the here and now of my garden seems irrelevant. Thinking of islands, where, if you can see the tsunami coming, it is too late to run. The wall of water approaches with the speed of a Boeing.  

Pictures by Jurg,
words by Diana of Elephant's Eye
- wildlife gardening in Porterville, 
near Cape Town in South Africa   
(If you mouse over brown text, it turns shriek pink. 
Those are my links)


  1. for me i think that this is a very important time to share the beauty of our gardens and stories of normal life. i am not naive, i have been watching with horror in my beloved Japan but life must go on, if we think about all the horrors everyday we wouldn't be able to live life. i am thankful for a break from the heartache on the screen and seeing your gorgeous piece of eden. mother nature is powerful and sometimes brutal but she is also a bringer of hope, love and peace xxxxxxxxxx

  2. I loved the walk around your garden, courtesy the Ungardener. It helps balance the horror of what I am hearing on the news, and the pictures that my brain simultaneously shies away from and cannot forget. Those reeds are impressively aggressive. I love your curved wall. I am grateful to live so far away from the horror of walls of muddy water and damaged nuclear reactors.

  3. Hope you are happy with me mentioning you on today's post for Esther's Boring Garden Blog.


    Let me know if not.


  4. I cannot even imagine 10 weeks without rain...try a week here...you have significant drought and I have flooding...but strangely our roses grow...I too wait in anticipation for my roses to grow soon...I hope to gaze from the perimeter of the fence today and see if anything is budding at all...it is too wet and under water to walk in most areas...the tragedy in Japan has brought a complete sadness that envelopes me...the pain and suffering for millions of people that I cannot help...perhaps we can send healing thoughts and maybe those thoughts can be helped along by wandering in the garden, meditating for healing peace in the world..I can dream and try...

  5. Tx Esther, enjoyed your drawings today.

  6. Dear Diana, Fascinating tour. You have chosen beautiful names for each part of your garden. The tragedy in Japan makes the flooding (from yesterday's rainstorm) in my gardens irrelevant. P x

  7. It's always so hard to bridge the gap between the small beauties and trials of everyday life and the vast tragedies that sweep away lives in moments. What can we do, but count our blessings and give from them what we can?

    It's nice to see the way all the parts fit into the whole in your gardens! I have napalming neighbors, too - at the first sight of a bug, whether it's harmful or not, the Raid comes out. :/

  8. Haiti, Chili, New Zealand, Japan; tragedy upon tragedy. I too am glad for a garden, a little place of respite, but I am aware of how tenuous our hold upon the land and upon life itself is.

    I appreciate the new views of your garden. I look forward to seeing your roses!

  9. Hi Emma, have been enjoying your Spice Trail!

  10. Like you we really need the rain around PE as well. We had a little bit the other day and suddenly everything looks green again. If only it would keep on coming.

  11. I couldn't help thinking of your neighbors reaction if you painted his yard green one dark moonless night.

    Almost time to turn the tables, I'm looking forward to spring while you're getting ready for fall.

  12. Thank you for the garden tour. I love how each part of your garden has names. We had our own tsunami alert and I realized I would not be able to save my plants at all. They seem so insignificant though in comparison with the loss of our Japanese friends.

  13. Wiseacre - would take them a while to notice. They live on the farm. That back garden is used twice yearly, for weedkilling ;~(((

  14. I agree Diana, it's hard to attach too much importance to our own little patches in the face of so much violent upheaval all over the world. Still, I do love the roof shots - gives me a better idea of your neighborhood and esp your pond.

  15. Wish my ungardener was as good as yours, Diana. Love the pond in the restful shade of Plum creek and woodland. The names of your areas convey a garden instead of the current lingo of calling them 'rooms' as if they were just another extension of the house.
    Agree it seems almost irreverent to blog about our garden woes and triumphs in the context of Japan's devastation.
    p.s. 1-3 times weekly gives me time to catch up and read posts properly

  16. Hallo Diana!
    I had to laugh at "When the Ungardener is Ungardening on the roof" - beautifully written!
    Your garden really stands out from the others in your neighbourhood!

  17. I enjoyed marching round your garden Diana. I am trying to imagine ten weeks without rain and finding it difficult to get my head round - ten days without is unusual here :) I think that Carrie has taken the words out of my mouth with regard to to the devastating events in Japan.


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
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