26 April, 2011

Wildflower Week in April

Yesterday I harvested this month’s native / indigenous /  wild flowers for Gail's meme. Our weather forecast for Malmesbury includes a white slab with irregular edge. Frost pockets. They also promise snow on our mountains. We almost had a Western Cape Easter with snow. Carolyn - our snowdrops should feel more comfortable – if they didn’t get cooked to death in the summer.


Having spent the summer with red wrinkled autumnal leaves – the Bulbinella is returning to flowers. Tiding my ‘Hanging Gardens of Babylon’ bulb collection thru the We’re greening and the flowers are coming stage.

Oxalis, Tulbaghia
Dimorphotheca jucunda, Hypoxis

The lime yellow Oxalis pes-caprae is unusual for being knee high and vigorous. Most Oxalis are a naturalise-in-the-lawn height. Tiny bulbs easily lost in the garden. My pink ones from Kirstenbosch stay in pots. This year, seeing how you nurture our bulbs, I have been kindly watering them once a week since autumn. (The overhang blocks the rain). Tulbaghia is in my blue and purple border. Hypoxis with its unique three ranks of leaves. Purple Dimorphotheca jucunda manages a few flowers all year round, while the pink, white and yellow are still feeling thoughtful. Cuttings to the purple border, again. 

Crassula, Aloe sp.
Cotyledon orbiculata, Aloe ciliaris

The tree aloe (as in climbing) is the first to actually flower. The red leaved Crassulapig's ears and aloes have buds, which lengthen and turn colour as you watch. 


To my eyes Pelargonium and Plumbago petals look equally fragile. But while the Pelargoniums dance in the rain, the Plumbago looks dishevelled, sodden, and I found just a single flower open.

Blue sage, Plumbago
Phyllis van Heerden, olives

We have white, and sky and Royal Cape blue Plumbago. But they were not inclined to be photographed. The blue sage is looking battered and in need of cutting back (WHEN?) Phyllis van Heerden survived the summer and the Ungardener’s grumbling watering (another summer rainfall plant?) Judging by the nibbles in the olives, they would be ripe and ready to harvest.

Jasmine, Plectranthus madagascariensis
jasmine berry, knoffel buchu

The jasmine is growing with abandon, who knew it made large black berries. The clematis is sulking. White spires on Plectranthus madagascariensis look imposing, but only if you get down to their level. Tiny puffball on the knoffel buchu. Planted with the white roses, if you brush against it, you move away in an aromatic cloud of garlic.


Read that the hummingbirds have a Latin name = haven’t got a leg to stand on. Our sunbirds will hover – do we HAVE to?! But the nectar they feed on, is from plants with strong enough stems to perch nearby. Aloes in winter, Tecomaria now.

Mandela's Gold, Strelitzia regina

Mandela’s Gold is bringing us a succession of flowers. The original species Strelitzia, with orange and blue flowers is making its first flowers (thanks to my sister B).

Bietou, Chrysanthemoides monilifera
with 'common hairtail' butterfly 

There is something implausible, unlikely – a daisy that makes large berries. Still green, but they will turn black. This bietou Chrysanthemoides monilifera was planted by the birds.

Pictures by Diana and 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. Diana, What a fantastic showing of beautiful plants. Mr Bird is splendid in his bright plumage! Are the ripe olives tasty straight from the tree? I've only had them processed! So glad you joined in the wildflower celebration. gail

  2. Ahhh, so that's where Pelargoniums come from. I have a small pot here that I put out in spring, when it's still not too hot, to attract the hummingbirds back to the garden when barely anything is in bloom. They like to drink this foreign nectar. Maybe it's a delicacy for them? I think the name for hummers maybe comes from the fact that you cannot see their feet when they're flying. Looks like they have none right until the second when they perch.

    Happy wildflower week, Diana, and happy belated Earth Day!

  3. Diana I have a soft spot in my heart for 'wild' flowers and your title drew me in. Our wild flowers in our mountains won't be in bloom until the snow melts which won't be until August in the high meadows, if at all this year. Tons of snow and more falling today. So yours are beautiful to view. If I close my eyes I can smell their sweet fragrance.

  4. Pretty plants - and what a colorful bird! Love the bulbinella, the daisy with berries!, and of course, that sweet little butterfly. Great pics.

  5. Gail - they tell me the olives need to be cured. Someone blogged about water curing (as opposed to salt). Will try that, pronto. But the birds are obviously enjoying their share ;~)

  6. Our countryside is carpeted with wildflowers at this time of year and I really wish I had time to blog about them and join with Gail but alas I don't think time will allow yet again this month. You certainly have some great natives in your garden and I'm surprised that you can grow snowdrops in your region.

    I didn't realise that sunbirds and hummingbirds were the same type of bird. I love that little hooked beak.

    BTW you asked to be informed when my Primula Greensleeves post was published and it's now on my blog.

  7. Rosie - The snowdrops behave as if they will be surprised to grow here too. Ours are Leucojum, rather than Galanthus. The nurseries sell them, we buy them, and are disappointed.

  8. Diana once again you have transported me to a wonderful garden that holds new delights I can only see in your wonderful pictures...you have some of the best wildflowers...

  9. I love the bulbinella. Your wild flowers all look wonderful. Lovely to see your oxalis - mine has started growing, I have tiny plants now from the bulbs. Will show them soon.

    What type of jasmine is that? It looks lovely. My star jasmine are on a sudden growth spurt, lots of new green, but no flowers now.

  10. Many of your wildings are among my fav garden plants. I have to get more Bulbinella as it died out one winter and did not come back, Tulbaghia too. The chill is the same but the rainfall varies.

  11. What beautiful wildflowers Diana! How wonderful seeing wildflowers and native birds from your corner of the world.

  12. Christine - Jasminum angulare, one if our wild South African jasmines. Multipartum is good too! Had that at Camps Bay.

  13. Diana, Tthanks for linking to my snowdrop post. You will have to let me know if there is any progress. We have a native Hypoxis that I just acquired, supposed to have a yellow amaryllis like flower. I gave one to Jean and Jan when they were here. Carolyn

  14. Never before have I seen an olive tree. Amazing to see something we consider exotic growing naturally in someone else's garden.

  15. Beautiful plants/flowers today. We have planted our first olive tree this year....what a great looking bird!

  16. Those are wildflowers? Im so amazed how beautiful they are in your part of the world! Such lovely mosaics of them!

  17. IT is so nice to see what's blooming in your garden. There is a lot I don't recognize but certainly now covet. Maybe a greenhouse is in order.

  18. And in your Med climate life returns to the garden with a vengeance! Enjoy!

  19. Nice collection of photos.

  20. Those are great looking wildflowers and olives.

    Your sunbird has such a vibrant green that draws one's eyes and complemented by the tufts of red and blue and the colors of your bird feeder.

  21. What a bird - the Sunbird!

    About Blotanical - it depends whether or not you see it as a kind of club.

    I don't. I see it as a directory, a way of connecting and interconnecting; with some rather odd add-ons.

    It is very slow to move around and to use. If awards were allowed only to bloggers particularly active there, it wouldn't be a proper award to the 'best'. I want to be directed to blogs and bloggers who interest me - not to those alone who have fast computers and time to whizz around giving people points. Quality is much more important. Sometimes these things co-incide. Sometimes they don't. What's more, some bloggers are brilliant writers, gardeners, photographers . . . if you are looking for the best - sometimes the best is collected in one place because some people really are better than the rest of us at doing things.

    Not sure that I like awards anyway - but, if Blotanical has them, they should be real ones, not share-outs.


  22. Esther we'll never agree on this ;~)

    Blotanical is a directory - where the 9 who are not active, use the One who picks to promote their posts. 2,600 garden blogs - how do you choose which to read? And who encourages the new ones??

    Some of the 2009 awards went to blogs that hadn't POSTED for months.

    The active ones in The Club gain nothing.

  23. Again : I get overwhelmed with this rich sub-tropical abundance in your garden . All these beautiful plants and all native, you live in paradise!
    But alas...There are plants which have settled in my nothern german Home: Tulbaghia violacea. I didn't know it is native in South Africa. It is such a reliable patio plant, and even overwintering on my kitchen window sill is no problem.
    And what on earth is 'Knoffel buffu' ? In Germany 'Knoffi' is a nick-name for garlic, I wonder if it has something to do with your plant!
    Viele Grüße
    PS. You were right with your first guess: Is is Euphorbia cyparissias, a native plant in Brandenburg, melianthus is not on my photos.

  24. Sisah - not quite sub-tropical, just mediterranean. Knoffel is Afrikaans for garlic, as you guessed. And buchu is used to produce aromatic oils for use in food and cosmetics.

  25. You have a beautiful assortment of native plants. I love the blooms on the Aloe and Bulbinella. That orange is a striking color in the garden. :)

  26. You are right about the attention to detail that has developed on our blogs. It has actually made us work a bit harder than we did when we first started. So that's why it takes me longer! I didn't realize just why it seemed to be harder now than it was earlier. Perhaps I am just becoming too perfectionistic? I might need to relax a bit! Anyway,, I enjoyed seeing your natives...so different--yet in many ways similar, to those here! Yes, some do look very much the same. I see what you mean about your Bulbinella resembling my Epimedium!!!


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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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