24 September, 2014

A Swartland garden in September

by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity

The ash trees are in full ruffled petticoat ball gowns. Morning after the ball, I pick up fallen flounces. Trim as Prince Charles at Highgrove said - send the cows into the park, the trees need trimming. I stretch my arms wide ... and trim to shoulder height. Our maids of the forest have changed from gold flashes on lime to a clear crisp apple green. The plums are veiled in blossom like brides. Tree following.

Ash and plum trees with lavender

Going into October when the roses are at their best, the bushes are covered in lush foliage and enjoying the wood ash. Papa Meilland, Anna's Red, Great North and Pearl of Bedfordview are blooming already. Frilly bearded yellow iris is from my mother's gardening friend Celeste. When we asked the nursery for water plants for our new pond, they sold us a yellow iris. I've since sadly discovered it is an invasive alien - seek and destroy.

Anna's Red, yellow pond iris, Great North
Celeste's yellow iris, Pearl of Bedfordview

Flowers leave some of their perfume on the hands that give them. Cattleya Platinum came to me as a gift. The garden posy is ringed with minty Pelargonium tometosum leaves, and a new friend went home like a bride, bouquet in hand!

Cattleya Platinum and garden posy

We visited our False Bay garden which has the green glooms, but if I collage together the foreign flowers ... Cream and white Coprosma Marble Queen from New Zealand reminds me of my father, compensates for the felled pohutakawa, lightens the gloom. Pink flowers are Indian hawthorn which could be topiaried, and would still be covered in flowers. On the verge our tenant has planted poppies for colour. Flanders red (with bee, a token of gardening for biodiversity) and Californian orange!

Indian hawthorn, Coprosma
False Bay planted poppies 

This cool September morning a large cabbage white butterfly was quietly waiting among garlic buchu flowers for the sun to return and thaw him out before he nibbles nasturtiums. Turning to our own indigenous wildflowers (mostly with bits potted to go with us) as they grow in my garden for Wildflower Wednesday.

Large cabbage white butterfly

On the Karoo Koppie a huge Euphorbia mauritanica has flowers in lime, green, gold, turning to bronze. Purple vygie. A golden spekboom. Cotyledon orbiculata has large round green leaves and tall spikes of burnt orange flowers for the sunbirds.

Euphorbia mauritanica, purple vygie
golden spekboom. Cotyledon orbiculata
on our Karoo Koppie

Sand lilies  with frilled leaves and dusky pink flowers. Albuca delicately marked in apple green and cream like a snowdrop. Lavender Tulbaghia. Delicate blue stars of Romulea tabularis (seen at Darling). Lachenalia in a gentle range of pastels, violet, yellow, white and green. Large white trumpets on the arum, and smaller ones on the Freesia.

Albuca, Tulbaghia, Veltheimia
Romulea, Lachenalia
Zantedeschia, Lachenalia, Albuca 

White velvet of flowers on the garlic buchu. Understated mauve Hibiscus pedunculatus from Knysna. Melianthus major blooms in burgundy against the silver leaves of Mediterranean Dusty Miller. Pelargonium tomentosum dances its tiny white flowers high above the leaves on the south-facing shady side of the house. Rusty orange flowers on strandsalie. Fragile pink and loud red pelargoniums. Mauve wild sage.

Garlic buchu, Hibiscus, Melianthus, peppermint pelargonium
pelargoniums and wild sage

Little butterfly wings on the Natal Bauhinia. Mauve Scabiosa

Bauhinia, Scabiosa

Pink and white Dimorphotheca jucunda against a Santolina border. Cream Gazania. Purple geometric spires of Plectranthus neochilus. Sunshine yellow Euryops. Strelitzia reginae in both the traditional orange and Mandela's Gold.

Dimorphotheca, Gazania, Plectranthus
Mandela's Gold

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.
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  1. such beautiful blooms, I wish I could smell them! Truly amazing, beautiful!

    1. today I picked Papa Meilland, and told my husband he is the only one, who can smell that rose!

  2. Your lovely collages remind me that as we roll into autumn, your season is turning to spring. The Cattleyas are gorgeous!

    1. we both happened on toning purples for our gifts.

  3. For some reason it appears that none of my comments today have 'stuck' on the blogs I've visited so I've returned to say hello rather than say things possibly twice.

  4. Stunning Diana! I especially love the Large Cabbage White.....underestimated as a beautiful creature....I adore seeing them flutter around the veg!!

    1. since we don't grow veg, the Large Cabbage White is welcome to share the bounty of our biodiversity garden! The birds in turn will find caterpillars.

  5. Sorry, I am a bit confused. Will this blog end in december when you continue the False Bay blog?

    1. it's not you, Denise ... I'm winding this blog down. A few more posts to edit and update. Then I'll leave the last 2 posts as Goodbye, and We've Moved. I need to guide EE readers to the new and active EEFB blog.

  6. Always something to oogle over...I think I like the Cattleya best this time and quite a beautiful bouquet...I look forward to seeing more of your new garden and your move.

    1. It's going to be a challenge to pick a garden posy in False Bay, but my potted cuttings and bulbs are coming on, and I hope to find some treasure amongst the new to me plants.

  7. Diana, I just saw the announcement on your False Bay blog that you will be moved there by December. Does this mean that your Porterville house has sold? If so, congratulations! I know the move will be bittersweet, but it will be lovely to move out of limbo and be finally settled in one place. -Jean

    1. thank you, yes we are sold. Been a long drawn out process. We are delighted and relieved to bounce from limbo to go go go! November will be two sites of frantic chaos, and December will be At Home in False Bay!!

  8. Don't you just love this time of the year

    1. someone in Italy who shares our mediterranean climate said we are lucky to have TWO springs. March AND September when the garden explodes into growth and flowers!


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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