10 June, 2011

Red, yellow and bare

The Western Cape on a good winter day. Not one of the cold wet grey days. But one of the lovely blue sky sunny days, walking thru our garden in June. Jeans and T-shirt midday.

Red aloes … on our Karoo koppie. That says winter to any homesick South African.

Pig's ears, red aloe

We inherited Pride of India, Lagerstroemia. The leaves blaze as the low morning sun catches them.

Lagerstroemia, Pride of India

I am revelling in the Nandina which is flourishing bunches of flamboyant red berries. Barely managed any in the Camps Bay garden.  As far as I know, they are not invasive here. It also appears that no one is inclined to actually EAT those berries, which helps against invasive ideas.

Nandina, heavenly 'bamboo'

Yellow … swirls from turning fig leaf, our Tahiti lime tree, new cultivar yellow aloe, the first blooms on the Oxalis – for the chartreuse side.

Fig leaf, Tahiti lime
yellow Aloe, Oxalis

To the blazing gold fig leaves about to fall, the reeds and grasses turning umber, and the buttery yellow Tecomaria backed by tangerine plum leaves – for the gold side.

Fig leaves
Grasses, Tecomaria with plum leaves

And bare … we inherited two HUGE thirty year old mountain ash trees. Allowing us to enjoy the drama of bare branches traced against the blue sky.

Mountain ash trees, with restio seeds
and Ungardening Pond

Bare yes, but also, green winter snow. Everything, each tiniest gap, filled with Oxalis leaves and the sprouting winter grass. (What the wheat farmers destroy with herbicide, before planting cereal crops …) More indigenous/native flowers on Wildflower Wednesday

To the front door, Chasmanthe in ash planters
looking across the Karoo Koppie to the Woodland Walk
across the pond with yellow Euryops

The Leucojum bulbs having explained to me the snow in their name, are living below the shelf, at the back, against a south facing wall – with light but no direct sun. And they are sprouting! We have pink Oxalis, mermaid turquoise Lachenalia. Buds on the Eucharis or Narcissus? And bulb leaves in every shape and form, promising more flowers. The March lilies are now pushing out their After Leaves.

Pink Oxalis, bulb leaves, March lily leaves
Narcissus? buds, Lachenalia, Leucojum

Paradise And Roses has been tidied. Perennials pruned, and those cuttings tucked in gaps. Great North is at long last waking up, and making flowers. Up there. So I’m cutting flowers with LONG stalks to bring them back down to where we wear our eyes and noses and cameras and hands, thank you!

Great North rose bud

Filling in the gaps in the centre, Mr Venter.

Octagonal centre of
Paradise And Roses garden

Imagine that you stand at the sundial, turning slowly, to look down each of the four paths in turn.

The sundial in the
Paradise And Roses garden

We have roses to pick, and to enjoy in vases. Some for my mother in Cape Town yesterday.

Papa Meilland, Karoo Rose, Alec(/Alistair)'s Red
pink Pearl of Bedfordview
yellow Casanova

Bona nit, dear readers. I’m off to make our dinner. 

Pictures and 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. A gorgeous autumnal garden...and cats by the fire, you can't get any cosier!
    Jane x

  2. You live such in a strange world with bare trees, blooming roses, sprouting bulbs, all together and simultaneously! :)

  3. You didn't mention your snowdrops. Here in mid-Atlantic US, Leucojum does sometimes start to poke out in the fall, stalls for the winter, and then continues to come up in the spring and bloom. I believe the bulbs need a cold period. how cold does it get there?

  4. Dona - the roses will bloom year round, pausing in the depths of winter, after pruning, and resting in high summer. Our indigenous bulbs bloom once the winter rain starts. And the deciduous trees are foreign!

    Carolyn - our winter temperatures drop towards zero Centigrade. We have no frost in town. Except for one freak night which took out our solar panel.

  5. I, too, wondered about the roses blooming in winter. But since they go dormant in the heat, makes perfect sense. Thanks for clearing up that mystery! Aragon looks warm and toasty!

  6. Good night, Diana. Is it true you are now entering the winter season, of course, and had not thought about it, here in the Mediterranean, we are entering the summer, very important heat and rain during the spring, june did a very flowery and very insects. ;-P

  7. What a wonderful picture of where your garden is in the parade of your seasons there! It's interesting to see/hear how plants far from their native habitat respond to cycles so different from what they evolved in. Your garden chronicles always enlighten me, and bring a smile of delight.

  8. such beauty,, you are truly blessed,

  9. Ah Diana, I'm loving my Nandina, heavenly 'bamboo' at the moment too! Everywhere I look the beautiful red berries agauinst the pretty green! I was excited too that my Leucojum are sprouting. Oxalis is up, narcissus are up and already starting to flower.

    Your garden really is gorgeous! The pond is my favourite. Oh no, maybe the octagonal gardens. I can't decide, all to beautiful!

  10. Wonderful pictures... you have some pretty good looking roses there...

  11. Hello Diana,
    those are wonderful pictures of a wonderful garden. Even being in summer weather here I liked your winter pictures, they are very impressive.

  12. Only when I read the comments, do I see our garden thru northern eyes. Winter bare trees. Some still carrying autumn leaves. 'Summer' roses. And 'spring' bulbs. Such is our mediterranean climate here ;~)

  13. I love this time of the year in the Cape, seeing the first winter bulbs beginning to shoot and then waiting with bated breath for the first blooms. I know just how you feel about Nandina - I inherited quite a few with our house, they are so beautiful they will definitely be one of the last (if ever) exotics that I remove.

  14. You have a lovely garden. Very interesting to see how different gardens look around the world.
    I have just planted two Nandina domestica in the front of my house. Looking forward to the red berries.
    Have a lovely weekend.

  15. I do enjoy seeing your garden on the other side of the world...so hot and dry here and your beautiful fall/winter garden is so inviting. The 'lovely blue sky sunny day' - I know exactly what you mean...it's that type of day that just makes me feel like all is right with the world.

  16. Your winter garden is amazing. I particularly like the view across the Karoo Koppie to the Woodland Walk. (By the way, what is a Karoo Koppie?) Everything looks so fresh! Your plants must appreciate the cooler temperatures. Many of my plants quit flowering in the summer heat, then pick up again when the cooler autumn air arrives.

  17. Stunning vibrant red and greens and oh my roses are wonderful at any time of the year - big smiles :))

  18. Deb -

    our Karoo Koppie

    and here is the real thing

    'koppie' is a small hill, the Great Karoo is a huge semi-desert part of South Africa, the Little Karoo nearer us has winter rainfall.

  19. Your garden looks absolutely lush this time of year, and I'm really drawn to your pale aloe. My own garden is heading into its midsummer hibernation (for the Mediterranean plants) or four to six months of irrigation and artificial life support (all the other plants). I can hardly wait until it's December again and I can stop watering and begin to enjoy "springtime" in the garden...

  20. I have seen the Nandina in the garden centres here and apparently it survives in a sheltered spot, not so likely to produce berries though. Your paradise and roses garden looks beautiful, I would enjoy it even more if your pictures opened individually. Take care Diana and not get too red in the Winter sun.

  21. Alistair - If my pictures opened individually? Does that mean you don't like collages. It is my cheating way of getting more pictures in, while keeping the blog quick to load.

  22. Although I don't actively guide anymore, I dod my first aid refresher along with some fellow tour guides today and we were just chatting about how many colours there are around this time of year.

  23. Like others, I love seeing a garden in such a different place and time of year. The colours in your photographs are beautiful - they make me almost wistful for autumn and winter, when we are just embarking on summer in Europe. And does your comment above about the mountain ash mean that you do not have native deciduous trees?

  24. Lovely pictures. One of the few advantages of slipping into Autumn/Winter are the colours of foliage and late flowers.
    I like the berries on the Nandina which was new to me. I see it can be used with cotton to make towels and bathrobes :-)

  25. Hi Diana, your garden is looking so lovely. My very fave photo is the one with the bare branches in the top with the bird bath in the centre. cheers, cm

  26. Yes collages, I am not too keen on Diana. I know lots of bloggers use them, but I always find them disappointing. I don't think my site is slow to open.

  27. Landscapelover - the deciduous trees we see in the Western Cape were all brought here by homesick northerners. Oaks, London plane trees, poplars, my Prunus nigra ...

    Easygardener - I have bamboo socks, but Nandina is bamboo in name only. Not related.

  28. Diana, I'm late to the game here, but I'm astonished at the transformation from summer to winter. I knew you had winter rains, but in my head I still expected summer to be your primary growing season. Everything looks so lush!

  29. Wonderful pictures, Diana. I really enjoyed looking at the views of the Woodland walk and yellow Euryops. Bare, I associate with winter but you have so much red and yellows as well which I would associate more with summer. So, is my understanding correct that even if you have a Mediterranean climate you do not have the same seasons?

  30. Bom - mediterranean climate, but in the southern hemisphere. Today is deepest darkest pissing with rain cold WINTER!

  31. Roses in Winter, now that would be lovely. Diana, a question for you... my quick research on a post tells me Lobelia is native to South Africa, does this ring true to you? It is a favorite flower of mine, but sadly only an annual in my gardens.

  32. Yes Carolyn, South Africa hosts your Lobelia. We take it a little for granted, as a wild annual. But that haze of sky blue, is breathtaking!

  33. So interesting to see yet another part of the world. I love your red aloes and Woodland Walk.
    The nandina berries here are eaten by currawongs (birds).


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.