22 June, 2012

In the pond grows, with June's winter flowers

If I was a minimalist, if I had to accept the tiniest courtyard garden, these six plants would satisfy me. A tree for structure. A shrub for shelter. A pioneer to nurse its companions along. A groundcover to carpet the bare earth. A pelargonium to flute in PINK, accompanied by mellow blues on shrub and groundcover.

Kingfisher and reeds

In this tiniest of gardens, as I sit under the tree, there will be water.
For wildlife a pond. Perhaps just a wide saucer on the ground for the birds to splash, for lizards and striped mice to snatch a drink, for passing frogs and dragonflies, for thirsty summer bees. And the cats, there will always be a cat in my garden.

Reeds Juncus sp.

In the pond. Or in a pot standing in a saucer of water. Not the bulrush – beautiful but too much of an I Need My Space! thug. Not my father’s Cyperus, nor even the dwarf variety – both will grow in a garden bed happily. Perhaps the yellow water Iris – tho it seldom flowers for me.

First six in Dozen for Diana

No, my choice is the Ungardener’s free spirited plant, gifted by nature. A rush Juncus, which fascinates me, as its flowers emerge, suddenly, just here, before the stem ends. Crook neck flowers.  

What do you choose as your Dozen for Diana plant for June?
The Sage Butterfly has a delicious Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea in her Zone 7A US garden. 
In London experiments-with-plants with a dark horse, snapdragons. 'Pirate's hats'.
Christine in Cape Town chooses camellias as 'investment dressing' for her shady garden.
Return to London, where Laura of patiopatch has chosen 2. Sulphur clover 'is now a nationally scarce plant in its natural setting and so I would encourage others to grow Sulphur clover, especially in the gardens of our eastern counties. Acanthus mollis is an architectural giant'.
Donabella of gardenseyeview  near Oneida Lake NY turns to Baptisia, spires of pea flowers whose 'leaves are clover-like and turn a beautiful silvery-gray in the fall'.
Beth at PlantPostings in Wisconsin has gathered Iris, including some South African species.


Winter solstice in our southern hemisphere gardens with Catmint and Bernie in Australia and Christine and Barbie in South Africa. A wide view of the four beds at Paradise and Roses shows mostly the tuxedos, quiet formal wear. Ballgowns follow.

Spring Promise, Autumn Fire
Winter Chill and Summer Gold
at Paradise and Roses

Since I ripped out the humongous Dusty Miller hedge, my Great North rose suddenly lived up to its promise with lots of flowers.

Great North

Autumn Fire is lit up with a flaming patch of Japanese maple, with the red roses.

Japanese maple with
Anna's Red, Burning Sky
Alec's Red, Duftwolke and Papa Meilland

Winter Chill has the first Narcissus opening. The roses are less ballgown, more buttonhole corsage.

Pearl of Bedfordview, Narcissus, Dainty Bess
Perfume Passion
Elizabeth of Glamis, Lavender Jade, bud and bloom of Sheila's Perfume

For this South African, winter means the deepest orange and flaring red torches of aloes in the Karoo. Our Hedge Fund Crassula ovata has gentle pink flowers, no fireworks but a sustained return. Cotyledon orbiculata Pig’s Ears plakkies, orange just touched with pink.

Aloe sp., Crassulla ovata
Cotyledon orbiculata

With the rain, the bulbs begin to bloom. The ‘yellow’ Kniphofia. Lachenalia viridiflora in sea-green and rubida. The first few lemon yellow Oxalis pes-capreae.

Oxalis pes-capreae
Kniphofia, Lachenalia rubida
and viridiflora

My blue and yellow border, inspired by Jean's header. The wide view is uninspiring as the Plumbago is gearing up again, the purple daisies here are not yet blooming. The collage lets me show What I See.

Felicia, Tulbaghia
Euryops, Dimorphotheca jucunda

June flowers in a fanfare of yellow  and red.

Hemizygia, Pelargonium, Dimorphotheca jucunda
Lavender, daisy, Pelargonium
Jasmine, Chrysanthemoides incana, Pelargonium, Tecomaria

Wildflowers from the Groot Winterhoek next week.

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. Those urban landscaping pond features are wonderful in a warm climate. Gives one the illussion of coolness on a hot day. But here in Sweden I can't think of anything to give me the illussion of wramth in this cold rainy climate. I'll never know what drove humans to occupy such landscape especially when there were no modern conveniences other than animal fir skin clothing.

    Do they use those Bulrushes down there for water filtering treatmens of gray water ? I like them as well, but yes they can take over. Do you have native sedges there ? They would be smaller, though the spread by underground rhysomes.

    Finally wrote something about your Afrcian Acacia tortilis. I miss desert grassland country and just deserts themselves. Looks like my former USA resident's tree called Mesquite is wreaking havoc on parts of Africa. Sorry for that.

    Acacia tortilis: Poster Image of African Savannas



  2. Diana, I am glad that you do not have a tiny garden, so that I can admire the variety of flowers in your garden.
    If I had to choose just one perennial, it would be one of the everblooming Geraniums, like Rozanne.
    And Crocus for spring, of course.
    Have a nice weekend!

    1. I get the 'Crocus' feeling from Oxalis. Low growing and in almost any colour, except that hazy mauve of Crocus!

  3. What a wonderful selection of flowers you have in your winter garden Diana, you have plants in flower now the same time that they are flowering here in our so called summer, no sun just endless rain! The yellow water iris here spreads just the same as the bullrushes, don't give it pond room!

  4. I love your thoughtful choices. Most would be mine as well. My perennial would be lavender because the bees here love it. I'd have canna lilies in pots and probably some other sub-tropicals as well.

    Your winter garden is so lovely. I'm so glad you share all the color. It's such a treat to see it all.

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  5. I love the Juncus reeds - I think I might try one or two in my pond in Spring.
    Everything is looking so beautiful in your garden, I'm quite envious. Not much going on in mine yet. Your Great North rose is stunning and the Lachenalia viridiflora - I've been waiting to see that one! Beautiful!!

  6. Very fun post. I think the one plant that I'd have in my garden that would be a must....Shrub for wildlife....Tecoma Stans or Orange Bell. A tree for shade...and pink....the Desert Willow. It's amazing what a little water dish will do for the wildlife in our areas.

    You truly have a wonderful space full of plants. It's a good thing you don't have a tiny garden:) More area for kitties to roam:)

    1. We chose to go into active retirement by making this garden. Bit daunted in winter as our gravel paths pretend to be meadow. I remember the desert willow from AZ plantlady as well.

  7. So many flowers in winter--very nice! I'm working on my "plant of the month" now, and will link in this week. Thanks for helping us to hone in on our favorites!

    1. I'm a little tardy, but here's my plant of the month: http://bit.ly/LBROjt. Thanks!

  8. Whether or not we ever have the daring to make a minimalist garden, Diana, planning our deal one, as you have here, helps us to understand what our key elements are, what we really NEED in a garden, what we look for. I think I'm going to sit down and see what I can come up with myself.

    1. It has been fun choosing. I have a month to swirl in my mind, what plant to add next. A virtual choice entails no blood, sweat or tears!

  9. I like your idea of a minimalist garden... it got me thinking quite a bit about what we can do, or should be doing, to our garden... as usual, a marvelous selection of flowers so beautiful...

  10. I love reading about your choices of plants for this imaginary garden. It is so hot here now, I am just a bit envious of your winter! Christina

  11. I cannot imagine a garden without a cat either. I suppose I have had cats in the garden as long as I have been gardening, and it would feel strange for them not to be there. The rusts and siennas are beautiful in your winter, similar to our autumn. And I like the collage for your six in Dozen for Diana.

  12. Hi there, in my case, if I had a larger garden, I would definitely have a citrus tree in the middle, preferabbly orange. I would like to have some narcissus or carnations beds on the side, for their fragrance. A creeper would be nice on the opposite wall, maybe a bouganvilla with its lovely pink flowers. If I had it my way I would also add in some turf, with small stones leading up to the tree. Grass is so hard to maintain here though. I like the pond idea, a great way to help the sparrows in the summer heat, or perhaps a bird table would suffice, since we are talking about a small garden. I would also add a lantana plant, a small bush in a corner, just enough to attract the butterflies. I would also try my luck with the portulacas again, they have such lovely flowers, and make great hanging baskets. I think that just about sums it all up. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. However tiny my garden, if there are birds around, I would have water for them. Even the Northern wildlife gardeners work at keeping water available when everything is frozen in winter. Will there be a larger garden in your life one day, Gra?

  13. Your winter garden has so many lovely blooms! I wish I had a pond! The best I can do is a couple of birdbaths, but I hope to upgrade one day to a fountain. I do have some juncos, a corkscrew type that is growing in a pot shaped like a snail. I am sure it would love a pond. We don't have a cat either, except for neighbors that visit to snack on our chipmunks.

  14. You really got me thinking about what I would plant in my minimalist garden.

  15. Diana how wonderful your winter garden with all the blooms...such a lovely season so far. My Dozen for Diana post will be Monday. I cannot get over how many roses and other bright flowering blooms are growing in a winter garden. Those deep pinks and oranges are blooming in my garden now too.

  16. Dear Diana, I had to think a little when you've connected with June winter, especially when today we have had forty degrees and high humidity near the Mediterranean Sea. You have a great selection of flowers, your garden is like a small paradise on earth. Kisses, Eugeni.

  17. I too cannot imagine my garden without a cat. They are my constant companions whether wandering and taking photographs or digging out weeds.

  18. I love the way you write Diana, and you are so lucky of having so many flowers still at the beginning of winter! The Japanese maple is a favourite of mine! lots of South African flowers now in full bloom here in Lisbon, the agapanthus is everywhere, but you can also find Felicia ameoloides and Tulbaghia as very popular plants. Unfortunatly I can´t grow Felicia at my garden because of the frost, but here in Lisbon it´s very comun in public gardens.

  19. I am always amazed that although we both live in the Western Cape and our gardens share many of the same plants, yours always bloom much earlier. Your winter garden is beautiful.

  20. Ah, I cant imagine a garden small or large without the Hardy Geraniums. It would be a toss up between Nodosum and Jolly Bee. The second one, no longer legal to sell, but I have found a grower with a way around it.

  21. Water in the garden is nice. It attracts so many animals. And I can imagine that the Juncus is a good place for insect to hide and lay their eggs close near the water. Oooh, and I like the metal kingfisher!

  22. I can't wait to get out of town and into the countryside to get some nice flowering aloe pictures. Now just to get an excuse to go.

  23. what a colourful winter garden - love the way you describe the plants and the far from fuzzy logic of your courtyard choices. Just added mine with a catch up too for last month

  24. sometimes I wish I had a tiny garden like you have imagined, a pocket handkerchief garden. Winter solstice over, now the days are getting longer again. Your garden is brilliant with colour and life, so different to northern winter gardens. Sounds like you had a successful re-arranging and the great North roses are very appreciative.

  25. I had no idea I had inspired a blue and yellow border in your garden! Of course, I love it :-). -Jean

  26. A gardener that loves cats is always a gardener friend of mine.

    What color you have in your gardens, and a reminder for me to figure out some way to have water in my closest patio garden. I need the sound of water in my life again. Like you said, even if it is only a saucer for the birds.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  27. It's amazing how little water it takes to make a difference in a garden. I have a shallow dish sunk into the ground, filled with pebbles and water, and it is the meeting place for (all) the neighborhood cats, wasps, beetles, bees, and who knows what else. Even more than the birdbath, it's probably the single most important thing in my garden for wildlife. But it wouldn't support your beautiful Juncus.

    The tuxedos in Paradise and Roses are looking very dashing indeed.

  28. A lot of pretty flowers in one post. My cats stay inside, out, they get in too much trouble with the wild felines.

  29. Dear Diana - thanks for your comment on my blog... Reminds me I must post more! The day after I got back from holiday my business partner announced that he was backing out of the company. Since then I've been working away as sole director. All good news fortunately. Perhaps I'll blog about it one day?

    Beautiful photos! Here in Wimbledon the tennis has started, and summer is finally here after a chilly spring.



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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