23 August, 2011

For Wildflower Wednesday

We have the long promised rain. Most of these pictures were taken on Sunday, ahead of the – promising snow on the mountains – cold front. All are in our garden, this August. Were you with me, for  August daisy chain walk last year?

Blue Felicia, yellow
and purple Dimorphotheca jucunda,
cream and brown eyed Gazania

My pelargoniums are all the simple species, not this year’s horticultural novelty. With lush fragrant, gracefully formed leaves. No flowers to pick? A handful of lavender, or daisies, or pelargoniums, with a collar of pelargonium leaves – makes a clear statement in a vase.


Most bulbs came from Kirstenbosch. Some as plants, the Chasmanthe was meant to be yellow, but some orange snuck in. Some as seeds – Freesia alba. But the Melasphaerula snuck in. That is a thug – delicate fairy bells, but the fairies need to call in Gnome Garden Services to thin them out.

Left yellow and orange Chasmanthe
Above  Freesia alba, below Melasphaerula

Melianthus major

My pots of vlei lilies in Plum Creek are blooming. The Buddleja has just opened its first flowers. Knoffel buchu, garlic buchu is hazed with tiny flowers.

Vlei lily, Buddleja, Dimorhpotheca jucunda, knoffel/garlic buchu

Hypoestes and Freylinia both have rather small flowers. The Salvia (sorry it is too wet to check the label) and Plectranthus neochilus sing in their corners.

Hypoestes, Salvia
Freylinia, Plectranthus neochilus

Bom plantchaser asked about the swag from the Riebeek wotsit nursery. This sweetpea bush Podalyria calyptrata, which gives me the joy of flowers, without having to fuss with planting annual seeds. Besides, there is no open space left. Unplanted yes, but that is claimed by Oxalis pes-caprae, even climbing up to nest in the forks of the trees! Dombeya, Grewia and Brachylaena discolor, planted for the flashing silver beneath the leaves, with a bonus of weird little thistle flowers.

Podalyria calyptrata, Dombeya
Grewia, Brchylaena discolor

The reddest aloes have faded, but the next wave of species is blooming in gentler orangey pinks. Crassula ovata Pink Joy is fading. But this tiny pink jewel vygie with its leaves like rice grains, has popped open.

Aloe, vygie
Crassula ovata, Cotyledon orbiculata

Salvia africana-lutea with burnt orange flowers makes three large loud statements around the waterfall. Tecomaria capensis, I am cutting down/back steadily as the flowers fade.  I let it draw a veil over the pond repairs, but now we need to see the water again.

Salvia africana-lutea
Tecomaria capensis

One of our spekboom Portulacaria afra has glowing golden leaves. Bietou bush tick berry – is the shrub planted by well fed birds. A taller yellow vygie, Lampranthus species. And Bulbinella in the usual tangerine, but also in yellow.

Spekboom, Bietou with berries
Lampranthus, Bulbinella

Finally the Third Act of Waiting for Lunch. The whole drama played out with full cast. Flat yellow Euryops daisy. Crab/flower spider. Unfortunate honeybee called Lunch. With a supporting cast of tiny flies.

Waiting for Lunch on Euryops daisy

Gail at Clay and Limestone hosts Wildflower-Wednesday at the end of each month. 

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. beautiful photos as usual,, poor honey bee though!!I just painted bees a couples of post back, we have a scarcity of bees this year in Ontario, (Canada),, thankyou for sharing this,

  2. What amazing things you have have in your garden and so beautifully photographed! I love the Melianthus major, I think I should grow some, I've grown them from seed in the past for a friend but yours look happier than they do in her garden.

  3. Your winter garden is so full of colorful and interesting flowers! I was enjoying this post till I got to the photo of the spider and the unfortunate honey bee, but I am reminded that real gardeners are not squeamish!

  4. Such colorful flowers! I really like the malianthus major. The crab spider is just the perfect shade of camouflage.

  5. Gnome Garden Services, I could stand to hire a few gnomes myself! I love your Salvia africana-lutea. I've never seen a Salvia with such a beautiful orange hue. Very reminiscent of autumn in its color, and just beautiful! Most of our Salvia's are a shade of lavender blue.

    Poor bee :( We've had quite an overabundance of those crab spiders ourselves this year. They seem quite content to dine on our bees in the apiary...but I suppose a spider has to eat.

  6. I nearly jumped off my chair in excitement on seeing the pic of the spider catching the bee. Wow! What luck getting that. I am so jealous of your garden. Love the Melianthus major. Haven't seen that before.

  7. Lovely stuff..Some of my Mel's are in full flower and others in bud! The specimens in flower were grown from SA wild collected seed and have quite different flower colour to the usual forms! Do you grow m.villosa/minor/comosus?

  8. You have so many wonderful blooms this time of year! A cold front sounds wonderful right now as we are basking in our summer heat.

  9. Wonderful photos as always, i see some semblance of our flowers only in Aloe. But the most i admire are the Melianthus major, they don't look like wildflowers at all.

  10. Firefly - if you take time to look at daisy flowers, you will often see a crab/flower spider. Waiting, eating, or just Lunch waiting to be eaten.

    William - in our garden just this major. But in the West Coast National Park I see the smaller species with bright red flowers.

  11. Diana, This is a beautifully illustrated and written post~a good read! It reminded me of Elizabeth Lawrence, she is my favorite gardenwriter. May I borrow this phrase sometime: "the fairies need to call in Gnome Garden Services to thin them out". I love it! gail

  12. I think we have the same crab spider, but always on yellow flowers, are yours always on yellow flowers. I wrote a post about it, Yellow Peril on June 25th, I think it is the same. Love all the flower photos, fantastic selection.

  13. Gail - you're welcome. Without you I wouldn't HAVE a Wildflower Wednesday.

    Pauline - crab spiders come in yellow, pink or white. Takes a day or two, but they can change colour to match the next fresh flower.

  14. Pauline's post http://www.leadupthegardenpath.com/news/yellow-peril/

  15. Good heavens, Melianthus major in flower! I long to see this in the flesh one day. Intrigued by the Grewia, and what a capture with the poor honeybee.

    This is a fantastic post!


  16. I realize that I have been reading your blog now for a full year--I remember that vlei lilies post. It's good to see them blooming again even from here; you must be extra happy to see those old friends.

  17. i note you label a plant 'Chasmanthe'.
    I believe it is now Crocosmia paniculata and the yellow form attracts the name 'duckittii' ..this info may well be old hat though as this species has been moved around a lot by botanists!

  18. OH MY GOODNESS! I almost didn't catch the spider at the end. What a thing of beauty. That poor bee didn't see it coming.

  19. William - I use PlantZAfrica to ID South African plants. There I find both my Chasmanthe (yes duckittii, named for a family in Darling, who also grow orchids commercially) and Crocosmia. Chasmanthe fans its flowers out on two sides, like a double-sided comb.

  20. Diana, that last photograph is really amazing - worthy of entering into a photography competition. Have you thought of sending in to Getaway and Country Life? There is also one by RHS - I'll send you a link to it. Please enter it - it's a wonbderful photograph.

    And you introduced me to another "new to me" beauty - the Melianthus major, last one in the four-some: what a stunner that is for foliage! (guess what just got added to my "list" :))

  21. Such gorgeous blooms! The Euryops daisy looks like our native Encelias in California. And that bee is one happy camper!

  22. So much that is big bold and beautiful here Diana so was surprised that the diminuitive Melasphaerula can be so persistent. Fascinating to follow the link and read about your Buddleja (I note the j correct spelling!). The flower spider is an awesome master of disguise - had a white one on a horseradish flower this year

  23. Diana, All your native flowers are beautiful, but I especially love the first collage. I'm very partial to ray flowers, and that color combination makes my heart sing. -Jean

  24. Lovely flowers, Diana! It's the Crassula that has got my eye this time around. Also, I'd like to commend your excellent macro capture, not good for the bee but that is Darwin's way isn't it?

    Thank you for the link, so elegantly done, too. ;-)

  25. Lovely! In my part of the world it is very much the butt-end of winter, and I'd have battled to find anything native flowering, if I HAD remembered WFW... oh wait, no: there is Buddleja salvifolia!!

  26. Brava! Brava! Fantastic post in every way. That is some winter garden you have Diana! I love your sense of humor. Thanks for the cheer!


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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