27 December, 2013

A Swartland garden in December

by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity in Porterville, near Cape Town in South Africa

Hypoxis hemerocallidea with its spikes of Christmas cheer yellow star flowers came with us from Camps Bay. 

Hypoxis hemerocallidea

December garden roses
Pearl of Bedfordview above, Alec's Red below

On Christmas Eve, I harvested roses before they are toasted by the sun. Today those cut flowers begin to fade in turn. In the garden as I deadhead the bushes, the next wave of buds is opening. Dark red Papa Meilland, clear red Alec’s Red, warm coral Duftwolke, softest pink Pearl of Bedfordview, and gentle pink Perfume Passion.

December garden flowers
Streptocarpus, blue sage
pelargonium, bronze fennel

In the December heat, the garden flowers are quieter. Mostly in a blue and purple mood. Agapanthus, Plumbago, Streptocarpus and blue sage. With mustardy yellow flowers on the bronze fennel, and pink stars on the pelargoniums.

Ungardening Pond, Hibiscus tiliaceus
Agapanthus, Hoya

I've repotted my mother’s Hoya and it is gratefully sending out tiny deep red leaves. Perhaps I'll even get flowers? Last week I chose my final plant in Dozen for Diana and the one day garden in False Bay – buttery yellow Hibiscus tiliaceus

My virtual blog Christmas present is this PencilAndLeaf dragon drawn with love! Today I join Gail at Clay and Limestone for Wildflower Wednesday, fervently hoping that next year I can start fresh, gathering new treasures discovered in False Bay. (Roses, fennel, Hoya and Fuchsia are foreign, all others are Proudly South African)

Pictures by Diana Studer

(If you mouse over brown text,
it turns shriek pink. Those are my links.
To read or leave comments, 
either click the word Comments below, 
or click this post's title)


  1. Merry merry Christmas my far away friend, what a beautiful post, such wonderful memories, such beautiful flowers, it always takes my breath away the beauty of your garden, its a joy to visit,

  2. Merry Christmas, Diana. I enjoyed the peaks at your Christmas baubles and decorations. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  3. I hope you had a merry Christmas Diana! How interesting is to see holiday ornaments and plants from the other part of the world! The photograph from 1956 is precious! I like the straw stars and the bird. The Cat's embroidery is lovely. Everything carries memories.
    Thank you for the post, and I wish you all the best in 2014!

  4. Oh, Diana, what a beautiful post! You seem to be so in tune with your world!
    Your Ungardener's wooden bird is delightful.
    I'd like to just wish you and yours the very best for the New Year. It's such an honour to get to know a lovely person like you.

  5. Dearest Diana, it was such a pleasure to hear about your family and the connections to your past. Thank you for your trojan work and support of nature and landscape and also for the way you have reached out to so many of us over the years and supported our work. Here's to a wonderful 2014, I hope all your dreams come true:~)

  6. Oh Diana, your roses are stunning. I feel such empathy with you as the daughter--with your sisters--at the end of your line. It is the same for me. I am an elephant without a herd. A Matriarch nonetheless, with all that implies. May you have a good and healthy new year. I always appreciate your thoughts and knowing you across our big world. susie at www.life-change-compost

  7. from Canada to Australia, Ireland to America - thank you for comments which reassure me my words are heard.
    Happy New Year to all my readers (the silent ones included)!

  8. A belated merry Christmas to you, too! I love the idea of Christmas roses. Mine are dormant sticks right now. I have some old family ornaments on my tree, too. It's comforting to know they're there. :o)

  9. Thanks for introducing me to Pencil and Leaf -- magical! Happy New Year! P. x

    1. Pencil and Leaf is one of my favourites, that I've treasured since I began blogging!

  10. Oh, that will be fun to experiment with shade-loving plants! How fun to see your holiday decorations. You were a cute little one--the photo with your dad is precious.

  11. Roses at Christmas seem so impossibly exotic ! All is brown and drear here in the uk ... but if you look carefully there are some green bulb tips just pushing through the soil. Promise of Spring.
    A happy and peaceful New Year to you Diana.

  12. Hi Diana.... Happy 2014 to you and your family!
    So nice to read about your 'history'...
    You 'arrived' three years earlier than me, so you are my 'elder sister'... :-)
    We are also childless, more so by fate...

  13. I love your Christmas display/tree! I would leave it year round. I cannot have a real Christmas tree anymore due to my allergies and must figure out something new as I have many ornaments from my Great Aunt and Grandmother (now passed) that I love. I also love your sole surviving pine cone dusted with "snow!" Happy New Year to you Diana fellow vegetarian!

  14. Happy New Year, Diana. The top photo reminded me of the photograph albums that my mother gave each of her 5 children for Christmas the year that my parents sold their house (to my younger sister) and downsized to a mobile home. That album of photographs chronicling my life from infancy to adulthood was a precious one that I still treasure. -Jean

  15. A bit sad - but we're needing to do some Christmas decoration pruning. So much has been added over the years there isn't space for them on the tree or round the house. Spect we'll keep memories without reminders.


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.

Midnight in Darkest Africa

Midnight in Darkest Africa
For real time, click on the map.