28 May, 2014

A Swartland Garden in May

by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity

We've had a little tortoise puttering around. Kept rescuing him, from the driveway and the paths. Parking him at the succulent spekboom where he could reach. Tiny little legs can move. In minutes I've lost him and we forgot the photo! The geometric tortoise is protected. The eggs hatch with our winter rain (April or May). Grass herbs and shrubs are what they eat. Restricted to our corner of the Western Cape. 90% of their renosterveld habitat is gone to agriculture and urban sprawl. Unplanned wildfires and invasive alien plants are extra burdens on the few survivors.

Plum Creek in autumn's gold

It is 7 years since we moved into a newly built for us Elephant's Eye. Then I battled to find advice for a Swartland garden using the indigenous renosterveld plants.

Dusty Miller hedge to Paradise and Roses

Autumn leaves. Gold on the trees at Plum Creek. There is a lemon tree waiting for us. Perhaps I can find a corner for a Tahiti lime. Nasturtiums sending out green scouts. Lavender branches for the vase, retrieved from invading the paths.

Jetty at Ungardening Pond

Flaming scarlet on the Pride of India. From which I will again try to take cuttings. Perhaps in August. Wish that by September we will be busy packing to move! (Yes!!) The lambs are out in the farmer's fields - the lucky ones eating the green velvet of fresh winter grass.

Tropical Sunset
unknown apricot rose, Burning Sky

Autumn flush roses. Black Prince I've taken cuttings - to take that Old Cape heritage rose with us. Deep red, velvety, fragrant - exactly what a rose should be. Grows tall, giving long-stemmed flowers. Yellow and orange stripes on Tropical Sunset. Gentler peach and orange on an inherited rose. Flamboyant pink and purple on Burning Sky. Duftwolke with cabbagy fragrant scarlet flowers. Great North in clear white. Pearl of Bedfordview blushed with pink.

Duftwolke, Great North
Pearl of Bedfordview

Turning to South African Pig's Ears blooms on Black Stork Island where the camera can't reach. Aloes turning but not yet fully open. Barleria April violets. Pink with Port St John's creeper. 

Hypoxis, Corycium wild orchid
aloe, bush tick berry with bee

Pelargoniums - white, pink, red and salmon. Plumbago fading. Phyllis van Heerden coming in deep fuchsia pink spires. Bush tick berry, bush the size of an elephant, and the bees are happy. Hypoxis potted to go is flourishing with spikes of golden yellow stars.

Port St John's creeper
Phyllis van Heerden, Barleria

Bulbs are all sorts of leaf, but no flowers since the Jersey lilies. Except pink Oxalis. I've missed watering the pots and they complain!

Mountain view from Paradise and Roses

From the pair of chairs, and my tea at Inspire in Paradise and Roses, I look across the carefully trimmed trees (covering washing and windows) revealing the ridge of mountain.

Aragon and Chocolat

Aragon looks across to Plum Creek from the main verandah, Chocolat is focused on Elephant's Eye Light Railway from the back verandah. Tecoma brings a fresh wave of flowers, since I groomed and deadheaded the last lot.

For Wildflower Wednesday with Gail at Clay and Limestone

Pictures by Diana Studer of Elephant's Eye
(in Porterville, near Cape Town in South Africa)

(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,
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  1. Have you found a buyer? Oh, I do hope so :)

    Your garden cerainly has more flowering in it than ours does... ;)

  2. Dear Diana,
    I always tend do forget that its' autumn at your place.
    Beautiful photos with interesting plants!

  3. Good luck with taking plants with you on your move. Some of your flowers are quite familiar, but others wouldn't grow here. But when I lived in San Diego many of the plants there could also grow in South Africa.

  4. Why will you delete this blog after the house is sold? It seems such a pity.

    1. Denise - only the For Sale Page!
      The rest will remain, and I link back and forth between this original blog, and the new False Bay one.

  5. Whenever I visit your site, I feel like I'm taking a gorgeous vacation. I was only in Africa once and for three weeks only, but it touched me deeply. We only got as far south as Linyanti camp--a photography excursion in Botswana. The photos of your gardens, the mountains in the distance, the magnificent veranda where you have lunch--it is all so special. It must be hard to let go. But I know you will find something equally beautiful and continue to share your photography.

  6. I love that packing includes your precious plants, I have never ever saw Dusty Miller that big!!! Such a beautiful home you have,

    1. there is a much more refined little Dusty Miller. This one if never pruned grows into a huge shrub!

  7. Your descriptions and photos are always so calming and yet exciting at the same time. Your native plants and the ones that grow in your unique climate are so fascinating. Good for you--rescuing the tortoise! Those last two views look like paradise!

  8. I don't even want to look at your garden anymore...... Wish I had the time and knowledge.

    As per your question about the Addo sight. Its run by a guy called Alan Straton. His main sight is MyPE. He's one who gets up in a faf very quickly when people use his things so very surprised that he did that. Have you had anu joy getting hold of him?

    1. He has taken down the pages with my photos.

  9. So sorry you haven't found a buyer yet, very frustrating. Your garden is looking wonderful, that would sell it to me.

    1. that's what we hope for, another gardener!

  10. It does feel so odd to see and read Autumn when we are so slow to move into spring. Your garden is so lush, and fully developed that it completely erases any preconceived idea of what the landscape looks like there.


  11. Hi Diane! Your garden is just so beautiful. All these blooming flowers. With my imagination I can almost smell their fragrance.
    By the way, I couldn't help but smile when realising that one of your cats was named Chocolat like my guinea pig.

  12. Such a pleasant look at your later wildflowers.

  13. I sometimes wonder how I would handle moving from here. Would I try to take some elements of the garden with me or walk away? I truly don't know. My plants hold so many memories for me now.

  14. I too would find it tragic leaving behind a garden of this magnitude. Still, a garden planted, tended to and loved never really dies - it lives on in memory. I'm sure the person inheriting this gem will love it as you do. I'm struggling with two garden beds that are almost pemanently in shade - Aussie Natives really prefer full sun and I'm loathed to give up and plant something that is not indigenous. Still - if this dank corner is to be anything other than that I think I'll just have to admit defeat. ♥♥♥

    1. about your Aussie natives in the shade ... there will be some suitable plants. You might have to seek out an inspiring nursery. The equivalent of Clivia or ferns or Plectranthus. Try these 2 blogs if you don't know them already? Ask away, they are friendly!




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
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