26 September, 2013

Honey for tea

A Swartland garden in September

Mindfully weeding, I harvest treasure from our gravel paths. Salvia with sky blue, or burnt orange flowers, inch high lavender, are carefully tucked in pots to migrate to our False Bay garden. I follow my delighted nose to – Is there honey still for tea? Buddleja salviifolia has burst into bloom with honey you can both taste, and smell.

Buddleja salviifolia Sagewood

The bed which was going to be fynbos before Mother Nature roared at me – it’s Too HOT down here, fynbos grows on those mountain slopes. I filled in with Mother Nature’s what about this? Dietes and Watsonia, March lilies. The solitary survivor of my fynbos dream is a shocking pink Erica baccans. Its flowers meticulously arranged in chiselled fours.

Nutmeg pelargonium, Strelitzia
Erica baccans,
Mandela's Gold, Tecomas capensis

On the Karoo Koppie Euphorbia mauretanica is bronzed lime green flowers. Purple and yellow repeated in vygies. Shrubby succulents.

Bulbine, vygie
vygie, Euphorbia mauretanica

Yellow shrubby daisies, and purple trailing ones. The Purple Shall Govern, as the purple daisies do now in our garden.

with purple and yellow Dimorphotheca jucunda
looking to Elephant's Eye as the camera sees it

Heritage Day turns my mind back. I remember Elizabeth. My very first friend, before I started  school, four years old, over five decades ago. We lived in Chilworth Mansions. Blocks of flats since gentrified into OTT McMansions. Next to the Glen which was then a forest of invasive pine trees,  now returning to fynbos and renosterveld. Up the slopes of Lion’s Head you will find the silver tree, a protea which is named for its leaves.

Just below the flats was the only stately home in Camps Bay. Earls Dyke. Stretching all the way down to a porticoed gate across the road from Glen Beach. The family must once have walked down the garden to the beach. Today it is a hotel.

I remember Elizabeth living in a little wooden house, outside the gates. Her so-called Coloured parents must have worked at the big house. Time fantasises the details and now I see Little Red Riding Hood and Granma’s cottage in the woods. Elizabeth gave me a thumbnail sized red glass rabbit. I have it still. Once I started school that friendship across apartheid was no longer acceptable. Wherever you are now, I remember you, my first friend.

Paradise and Roses

At Paradise and Roses I have white and yellow iris which my mother got from her gifted gardening friend Celeste. Today the yellow exploded into its first flower.

September Bulbs
Freesia alba, Albuca, Celeste's yellow iris
Red?, Tulbaghia, Melaspaerula
Chasmanthe, Lachenalia,
Hypoxis, Zantedeschia seeds, Veltheimia

Hypoxis has 3 ranks of leaves which get lost among garden plants. Perhaps that one is destined to shine in a beautiful pot. The yellow star flowers are a bonus.

Melianthus, slipper orchid, strandsalie calyx
Melianthus at Paradise and Roses, Anna's Red rose bud

The roses have masses of lush russet leaves – and the first red bud. Prunus nigra began September with blossom and is now the russet leaves for which I chose it. We have little figs swelling.


Prunus nigra
plum and fig

For Gail @ Clay and Limestone and her Wildflower Wednesday.
All South African except the slipper orchid, lavender, nasturtiums and the red rose, plums and fig. Thirtysomething aged ash trees, which an English reader told me is called Maid of the Forest.

Under the ash trees

Pictures and text by Diana Studer 
AKA 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. Where were you in the school photograph Diana? It reminds me of my early school days. Nuns also, but no uniforms for us.

    1. back row, in the middle, with my hair scraped back?

  2. Another lovely peak into your very different garden world. I love it, maybe someday I will be able to see your part of our gorgeous gardening world, for now, I marvel at the lush growth in your garden and enjoy the exotic blooms. Happy Wildflower Wednesday. PS I do envy you being able to have garden cats, we live on too busy a street...great names, too.

    1. We lost Sparkles to a car in Camps Bay. Chocolat only explores the immediate neighbours and keeps away from the road, thank goodness.Aragon is a granma, and keeps us in sight.

  3. It is lovely to see your garden awaking from its winter sleep, a reminder of SPRING, what a wonderful thought.

  4. Heritage day, it is good to celebrate. Nice you share your sweet memories of Elisabeth with us, wondering where she is now. As always I love the pictures of the native flowers of South Africa and as a bonus the lazy Aragon and Chocolat.

  5. What a lovely garden you have! It's such a treat to get a glimpse, as Gail says, of such a different gardening world. Many of these plants are unfamiliar to me, but I do recognize the nasturtiums!

  6. I don't know where to start with my comments on all your beautiful plants! So many of them are new to me, and the ones that are familiar--Nasturtiums, Figs, Orchids, Roses, etc. ... are among my favorites. I enjoyed your poignant story about your first friend.

    1. I walk the garden with my camera, imagining my blog readers are chatting to me. Then comes the sorting ... what might you, have paused at?

  7. My what a lovely walk in spring under the trees and through the daisies and bulbs blooming. It was a joy to see them again. My Nasturtiums are still blooming in my fall garden. I can't bear to pull them yet. I will let nature take them eventually.

    Your story about your first friend was lovely Diana. I still remember mine when I was 4.

  8. It says alot that your parents didn't stop your friendship with Elizabeth and let you keep the glass rabbit.

    1. I wish I could remember that I gave Elizabeth something in return.

  9. Too much color? Too many flowers? Never! I enjoyed all of your collages, some familiar flowers, but many are exotics I would see only in a public conservatory. Your memory of your first friend is touching. I am glad you still have the little glass rabbit to provoke the memory and to affirm that change can happen. The fact that South Africa did away with apartheid without a civil war is a real testament to the courageous work of Nelson Mandela and others.

    1. the new South Africa cradled in the hands of Madiba and Arch Toots was a fragile baby that thrived. Now we need to grow up a little.

  10. Wow! Absolutely blooming this September, aren't you? Doesn't like you need those pine needles at all.

  11. I wonder if Elizabeth is still alive and around the Cape. Would probably be next to impossible to try and track her down.


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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