21 April, 2014

Flowers from my mother

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

Flowers in my garden came from my mother’s Camps Bay garden. White Pelargonium, electric pink Salvia greggei, Santolina in the little hedge, tuberous begonia with its interesting leaves, a tough Aspidistra, a pot of Nerine bulbs, some cymbidiums and King Arthur's slipper, tangerine Bulbine, bluebells and snowdrops. 

Salmon pelargonium
January 2011

White pelargonium
January 2014

If her orchids were in bloom, any visitor left the house with a Cymbidium flower and a little sprig of asparagus fern. If no orchids, then a posy, a nosegay – full of colour, texture and fragrance. Sprigs of herbs and whatever flowers the garden offered as she walked thru it. Her visitors left with eyes and nose lost in a handful of flowers, and a happy smile. 

Tangerine Bulbine
February 2014

In her last few days, I sat in frail care with her, holding her hand as I read. She slept a lot. Once she woke up and said “I suppose we could settle down and read?” I gave her the little lavender book and she showed me the pictures of tussie mussies. 

My mother here in 2007
as I remember her with a book or knitting
and Aragon keeping her company

Kathleen in 2010
lavender lady with Spiced Coffee rose

Kathleen Jennie Yeates was born in London on the 21st April 1913. On 2nd September 1918 when she was four her father died in a surveillance balloon accident in Northern France. Her life changed from being groomed for university to a dame school. Our grandmother took Kathleen and Eileen to live in Cornwall. By reading widely, history and biography, in fluent French, with some Spanish, Latin and Russian, our mother educated herself. In London she met New Zealander Monty Watkins. They married on 15th October 1936 and came to live in South Africa. Kathleen died on the 23rd January 2013 after her one hundredth Christmas. My three sisters and I, with our families, remember a loving lady, gracious to her last thank you.

King Arthur slipper orchid
September 2011

Psalm 121 - I lift my eyes to the quiet hills - is my mother’s choice, but in the King James Version! In Camps Bay our house was below Lion’s Head, Table Mountain and the Twelve Apostles and above the chilly Atlantic Ocean. An Irish traditional melody from the 8th Century Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart. A Welsh hymn to the tune St Denio Immortal, invisible, God only wise. The last one we sang at my father’s funeral (drawing together his New Zealand family and the next generations now in England and the USA) The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended

Pink waterlily that I bought at a Hout Bay nursery many years ago with my mother
 December 2012

We thank Thee that Thy church, unsleeping, 
While earth rolls onward into light, 
Through all the world her watch is keeping, 
And rests not now by day or night. 

As o’er each continent and island 
The dawn leads on another day, 
The voice of prayer is never silent, 
Nor dies the strain of praise away. 

 - from the hymn by J. Ellerton 
 to the tune St. Clement 

When asked my mother always chose yellow flowers
Casanova in November 2011

My mother and her books Holds upon Happiness.

Euryops  at Ramskop Wildflower Garden in Clanwilliam
September 2012 

Remembering childhood visits to Ramskop Wildflower Garden in Clanwilliam with my parents. 

Pictures by Jurg and Diana Studer  
of  Elephant's Eye on False Bay 

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  1. Diana
    I remember this post very well. It made me think of my old mum then as it does now. Now that I am not so very near where she lives I realise how much I miss just popping in to see how she was. Looking forward to seeing her next weekend.

    1. we used to visit every 2 weeks or so - and we made the most of the time together, each time.

  2. What a special dedication to your mother. She lived such a long time. Those flowers are so lovely, such a lovely color.

  3. I remember this beautiful tribute to your lovely mum. You were both so lucky to have each other. It's always fun to hear the stories about families and all they go through. That Orchid is stunning, by the way!

    1. slipper orchids and our indigenous ones, like the red Disa, are my favourites.

  4. It is always good to remember happiness, there isn't always enough in the world. Worth rereading, thank you.

    1. thanks for rereading.
      I have your wide views of the garden for my Wildflower Wednesday today.

  5. I loved reading this again...what a wonderful testament to your mother having her cherished flowers.