16 September, 2011

Bloom day – not from around here

For Gesine in Berlin – I collect the foreign, exotic, commonorgarden. 

The starring role in the garden now, is a rowing-boat sized white daisy bush. I know where it comes from; the gardener at my mother’s retirement village was ripping out wheelbarrows of the stuff. New gardener’s eyes light up, and I brought a bit home. It sulks in summer – does an Estherism – not sure if it wants to go on growing. So I put it on life support, water steadily thru the summer, feed a little in desperation. Once the rain came, I turned away for a moment – and the blooming thing is as wide and high as I am tall. Green fernish feathered leaves. Large white daisies on long stems, ideal for picking. But only once, the flowers smell evil. Anyone know what it is? A Shasta daisy? I know, despite the huge variety of South African daisies, it isn’t one of ours.

Nameless white daisy

From leopards to dent de lion lion’s teeth. Dandelion. Putting shrieks of WEED KILL IT aside, clear true yellow pompom, stars of parachute silk in the puffball of seeds, and toothed green leaves fanned out on the ground. Deep roots bring minerals to the surface. Leaves can be eaten in salad. What’s not to like?

Dent-de-lion Dandelion

Around the edge of the gravel forecourt we have nasturtiums. I never planted them. The faded flowers shed their seeds. And each year they return. Once had a packet of exotic mix, came with a gardening magazine. Those I planted under the fig tree. I see a really deep russet, and a yellow with brown markings. New variations come up each year. And again, leaves and flowers go in our salad. (He will persist in calling them Cistercians, well but they have a hood …)


The commonorgarden includes herbs and edible plants. Lavender. Plum, edible and Prunus nigra, orange blossom smells to die for doll.

Three sorts of lavender

Edible plum
Prunus nigra, orange blossom

There are still a few flowers on the Japanese flowering quince, but the glory is gone. The yellow Chinese winter jasmine is fountaining up thru a self planted guava tree. My most hated weed – Paterson's Curse – still sneaks past me. Salvia greggei and pineapple sage compete to see who can give the camera a migraine first.

Japanese flowering quince, Chinese winter jasmine
Paterson's Curse, pineapple sage

The roses after a ratty last year, are now burgeoning out exuberantly with an armload of flamboyant deepest red leaves. Fat buds. The first of next summer’s flowers. Chaim Soutine with pink and white Rosa mundi stripes. Anna’s Red, deeply fragrant, low growing. Courvoisier, in bunches of true yellow. Pearl of Bedfordview, bunches of open flowers, just touched with pink.

Pearl of Bedfordview, Courvoisier
Anna's Red, Chaim Soutine

My snowdrop has been kindly kept in the shade and has begun to flower.

Snowdrop Leucojum

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. Lovely, so is it more spring in your place in the world, then late summer?

    I think that Daisy is exactly like ours that grow here.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  2. Could your daisy like plant be Mayweed/Stinking chamomile "Anthemis cotula" ?
    Jane x

  3. such beautiful photos, the snow drops are so unusual with thetips of green,, thankyou for sharing,

  4. Jane - stinking chamomile sounds appropriate. But that is a smallish annual. Mine is a vigorous large herbaceous perennial. Looking at some of the other 100 species of Anthemis ...

  5. Jen/Muddy - spring has sprung here!

  6. Liebe Diana,
    leider verstehe ich dein exzellentes Englisch nicht immer so ganz, freue mich aber total, daß du dich noch gemeldet hast!
    Ich habe dich schon vermisst!
    Gerade bin ich zu faul, um Englisch zu schreiben, aber du verstehst doch auch Deutsch, oder? Sonst hilft dir Jurg bestimmt ;-)
    Ich bin ganz verrückt nach schönen Düften, deshalb mag ich deine Orangen-Blüten besonders gerne!
    Übrigens habe ich mich sehr über die Bilder von dir mit dem Laptop am Ofen gefreut, genauso habe ich mir dich immer vorgestellt! Entschuldige, daß ich das jetzt erst sage, aber ich musste in letzter Zeit sehr viel arbeiten und bin nicht dazu gekommen!
    Alles Liebe!

  7. Gesine - I like to play with language and words, making it harder for you!

  8. Looks very similar to my mystery plant doesn't it? No one came up with anything for my plant ID, so I'll watch your comments as you get more than I do. Somebody has to know what it is.

  9. Your smelly daisy looks like something we bought a bunch of at the markets many years ago to put in a vase. I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to find where someone had dropped a pair of sports socks before realising where the stink was coming from. It was a long time before I put something in a vase again.
    I didn't know you have Paterson's Curse there too.

  10. For the white daisies try looking up Pyrethrum :)

  11. NH garden - hmmm pyrethrum would explain the smell. Will explore that!

  12. The nasturtiums look delectable! I've never had much luck with them. Maybe I should try harder so I have some to throw in salads.

  13. Diana, your roses are looking superb!! Mine are still just leaves. I love the pink lavender, and the Daisy bush is lovely. Your snowdrops, the orchid, the blossoms on the prunus ... all beautiful. isn't Spring a wonderful thing??

  14. I'm glad to hear you sing the praises of dandelions! I've always liked them, and ironically, can never get them to grow. Your snowdrop is lovely and looks very modest amid the roses and pineapple sage...

  15. Let your nameless daisies sulk all they want in the summer if they bounce back looking that great with the rains. I also like your montage of plum, P. nigra and orange blossom. Hmm. I seem to be favoring the whites right now.

  16. Happy Spring to you Diana. You have a beautiful selection of flowers this month. I have a Lady Slipper very much like yours and it bloomed twice this year. They are great plants. I love daisies. I would not mind one so large. It would be the talk of the neighborhood with all my little ones.

  17. That Pineapple Sage (hopefully it's the Fuschia flower?) blew me away! What a "scene stealer"! (Will miss your posts - come back soon, Diana.)

  18. On the topic of flowers but not a specific comment about your post. The western part of the Eastern Cape from PE through the Addo area and into the Karoo is looking absolutely stunning after our very good winter rain. Flowers everywhere.

  19. It looks just like a shasta daisy but that certainly wouldn't explain the smell. Planted nasturtiums for the first time this year and really enjoying the leaves in salads, glad to hear they may reseed themselves.

  20. I would have said Shasta Daisy but then I am often wrong on plants names! Lovely pictures of flowers. So colourful. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Diana, I am clueless about your stinking daisy, but I just had to stop by and admire your nasturtiums. I'm very fond of nasturtium and would love it if they would self-sow in my garden.
    I hope your time away is for something fun. -Jean

  22. Beautiful blooms! that daisy looks amazing, too bad the smell is weird.

  23. Hi,
    How lovely that spring is coming your way. We up here in the north have to go through autumn and winter before it is time for our spring. So we have a bit to go before we see the lovely spring flowers you are showing.
    All the best,
    Ingrid x

  24. Nasturtiums, lavender and big white daisies (though perhaps not these ones!) are among my top favourites too.

  25. Glad you like dandelions too. I was sheering the grass at the edge of a border earlier today - and going round the dandelions so I could keep their very pretty leaves, even though the plants are not in flower. I've lost some in the bed itself because I'm digging it over. I apologised to them as they went. I wouldn't like them to think they are unloved.


    P.S. I would like a snowdrop to be named after me when I grow up.

    P.P.S. I hope 'being off the internet for a while' means you are travelling or doing something equally interesting rather than not being ok. Hope all is well.


  26. Snowdrops in September - oh my! Love all your blooms, and I enjoy so much your word playfulness - they'll be cistercians now to me also :)

  27. Shyrlene, Esther, Jean - blog posts are coming ...

    Firefly - you're very close ;~)

  28. Cynthia Dirtynailz has a funky white Montauk daisy But her leaves are different?


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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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