23 March, 2012

March wildflowers for birds

Altho I do garden for wildlife, it is not as a trained ecologist, this plant for that butterfly. We have a pond full of frogs for the visiting kingfisher. We have a smorgasbord of assorted bugs for the fiscal flycatcher. But the regular residents who delight me are the sunbirds. (Our equivalent to North America’s humming-birds). I think of red or yellow flowers, whose trumpets are filled with nectar. This Wildflower Wednesday post will be my place to record which garden flowers I see sunbirds on each month. And a nudge to find plants to fill the gaps in the diary!

Yellow Bietou, pond bulbs, fiscal flycatcher, salmon pelargonium
Yellow Bietou, pond bulbs
fiscal flycatcher, salmon pelargonium

Chrysanthemoides monilifera or bietou, bush tick berry named for the shiny black seeds – is a daisy ‘tree’ planted by birds. Salmon pelargoniums are enjoying autumn days. As I continue to clear Apple Creek of overgrown reeds, I find pots from when we had to empty the pond. Tip out the soil, and I found these bulbs. No idea at all what they might be. So they are now replanted and labelled ‘Pond bulbs’. This morning the fiscal flycatcher was perched on the bench and circling out to collect his lunch.

Flowers for our sunbirds in March. Yellow Tecomaria, tree aloe, blue sage, Kniphofia
Flowers for our sunbirds in March
Yellow Tecomaria, tree aloe
blue sage, Kniphofia 

The March flowers that attract our sunbirds are the blue sage, Kniphofia red hot poker, tree aloe, and the yellow Tecomaria has begun to flower.

Malachite kingfisher
Malachite kingfisher

Our little malachite kingfisher has returned. He likes to perch in the pair of  witkaree hidden in the leaves, and waiting for a hapless frog to volunteer.

White Plumbago, Sansevieria, pelargonium, wild jasmine
White Plumbago, Sansevieria
pelargonium, wild jasmine

White pelargonium and Plumbago. Wonderful fragrance from our wild jasmine. Weird, and fragrant flowers on the Sansevieria (Mother-in-law’s tongue).

March lily, blue Plumbago, pink pelargoniums
March lily, blue Plumbago
pink pelargoniums

Just one March lily is already flowering, but the burgundy stalks are arching up with buds fat and ready. There are blue Plumbago and pink pelargoniums.

Olives, Dimorphotheca jucunda and Streptocarpus
Dimorphotheca jucunda and Streptocarpus

Purple Dimorphotheca jucunda is blooming ahead of the pink and white and yellow. Streptocarpus enjoys her privilege of shade on the verandah. We have olives ready to harvest on the two trees planted in November 2007. These are Lecchino, not our wild olives!

At Apple Creek
At Apple Creek

Finally this is what I am doing. Grateful that I wasn’t looking at this bigger picture when I started at the beginning of the month. Most days, a couple of hours, a few buckets of reeds and wild grass cut back, and spread around the fig trees as mulch. M’sieur Chocolat the Undergardener enjoys stretching out on his hand-clipped rough lawn. The Juncus, bull rush, tall Cyperus and dwarf Papyrus we planted. Nature’s gifts are both the fine running grass (the ‘lawn’) and the long tall Sally which has seedheads now.

Please do excuse me, the garden calls!

Pictures by Jurg and Diana,
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 kingfisher, is it a regular visitor to your garden?
    Don't do too much in your Apple Creek, little and often was what we decided wasn't it?!

  2. Chocolat seems uninterested in the hard work of gardening!
    Jane x

  3. Pauline - the kingfisher bobs up most years. Tiny bird and quick to take silent offence if we surprise him. Little and often it is - will still take me WEEKS!!

    Jane - Chocolat prefers to match sharp ends to sharp ends. The hands and eyes with the shears - have to check for hidden cats first.

  4. Your Malachite Kingfisher is an absolute beauty. He reminds me of the species in England, but yours looks more intense in color. Your olives look great too, very nice for such young trees!

  5. Wonderful post, as always. "Apple Creek" certainly is not for the faint of heart! Whew!! That is a lot of work... (no more whining from me about a little weeding!)

  6. Loved the flowers for your sunbirds :)

  7. Diana, your Malachite kingfisher is superb. It's wonderful to feed birds like this and have them come into your world! What an amazing place you live in - it looks like it's alot of work, but I bet you wouldn't want to be anywhere else, even if it was easier.There's nothing like naturalness!

  8. Diana I do love visiting to learn more about your native flowers which are so lovely and exotic...then to see your magnificent birds...the kingfisher is superb with the colors...

  9. That kingfisher has the most beautiful colours. You can't miss hummingbirds when you have such lovely birds as that. I liked your first picture of the extra growth to be trimmed back, I think if any of us looked at our gardens realistically we wouldn't ever step foot in them. But the dream is more important than the reality sometimes.

  10. Love it! It's interesting....all of it. And I think you put it all wonderfully into perspective.....plants for your wildlife, food for your wildlife, healthy plants, projects, and maintenance......seriously, it's a lot of work. I find myself with a tight budget. I have food around the property for birds and plants that are good for our wildlife like butterflies and hummers,etc. Half my budget still goes towards plants, tools, soil. A quarter of it goes to birdseed and the rest goes to a helper that helps out by pulling weeds and raking up leaves. You have me really curious about your sunbirds....they are quite different than what I had in mind. There are sunbirds in Brazil but they look different than what you have. I might just take you up on your challenge when I get my butt back over to southern African.

  11. Always a pleasure to see the blooms in your garden, and I enjoyed the shots of you working at Apple Creek! It's always a balance, trying to fit blogging into real life.

  12. Hello,
    I really enjoyed this tour of your gardens - beautiful blooms!
    Lovely birds, too!
    Happy Gardening!
    Lea's Menagerie

  13. Nice to see you working in the garden, sometimes, reading blogs, one could imagine that we just write about gardens and don't actually garden! time is short at this time of year with so much going on. I garden for wildlife in a similar way, leaving seed-heads, and material for nesting etc. and plants that I know are needed by caterpillars to complete their life circles back to beautiful butterflies. Christina

  14. oh my goodness, oh my goodness!!! Diana my angel I have been ill and just about getting something written for my blog these days but readinng my favourites has fallen by the wayside. Words (by dearest friends) haven't been making sense :( But your garden, the fingfisher oh I am transformed - what happiness lives here. I must play catch up.
    Thank you for your constant support and comments - hugs xxxx

  15. Perhaps because the flowers are so gorgeous, the birds have to compete with the colours? That Malachite Kingfisher is outstanding. It must be such a terrific moment when you discover him back in the garden. Barbara

  16. Just shows how much life a garden can attract. Wish I had more bidrds than the freekin pigions that nest in my palm trees. They are messing like crazy.


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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