30 November, 2014

Our new old garden on False Bay

 - gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

We moved ten days ago. Our days in the Swartland wheat farming town of Porterville are a memory now.

Our wooden giraffe gazes thru a glazed once was front door

First thing we saw as we drove to our new home, was the beginning of a fire on the mountain slope. Later we went to the wetland to watch the helicopters filling their fire buckets to water bomb the fire.

False Bay mountain fire in November 2014

Takes us back to Camps Bay days, when the sight of the sea means - we are going home! (Altho our views from home are four slices of mountain, not the sea)

False Bay from Baden Powell Drive coming from Khayelitsha
Ou Kaapse Weg coming down to Muizenberg

Country cat Chocolat was fascinated by Look People as he perched on the windowsill, those first few days when we kept the cats in. Later the Ungardener fitted a cat flap. All they still have to settle to, is spending the day out, in the garden.

Chocolat, Mackaya bella
Aragon, Streptocarpus

For the water plants we have a baby bath, to tide us over till a smaller Ungardening Pond is reincarnated. The pots are grouped around the garden, dormant bulbs, tough succulents, need some shade, and tender careful ones.

Potted plants and succulent cuttings
waiting for landscaping and renovating
so they can be planted

We have inherited some horrors which we move on each Thursday which is recycling day. A twirldry with a death wish, weirdly set at headCRACKing height - to be replaced by a pergola style washing line inspired by Cindy's Enclosure in Kigali Rwanda. A Wendy house, a squat brown blot, where the pond will be. Our tenant kindly left two large potted plants in the living room, and a corroded metal bench - that secluded green corner will be our shady al fresco dinner table. The sunny one is just outside the kitchen.

Twirldry, Wendy house, orphaned pot plants and bench

The garden is lush and green, despite the southeaster (from which we are somewhat sheltered). But, neglected overgrown in desperate need of pruning. There are four embattled bottlebrush trees on my Got To Go list, and a wall of overhanging branches from one neighbour. We have three garden thugs. Ivy which the Ungardener likes, but I have to battle it out of the garden beds. Pretty blue flowers on periwinkle - which is happy to devour garden beds, and to my horror climb and strangle trees! But the stuff of nightmares is spider plant, hen and chickens. Each plant I pull comes  with dozens of bulbs, many lurking for the NEXT round. I, who always compost or mulch garden waste - have filled six garbage bags.

Overgrown garden needs pruning, and love

As I close Pandora's box, and open the Christmas treasures - I find lots of arum lilies with the elegant spears of leaf. Glossy green Coprosma from New Zealand, and a variegated Marble Chips. A substantial shrub with terracotta leaves - anyone name it for me? Large fern flourishing in the shady corner.

Thanks to Dani at Eco Footprint - South Africa - terracotta leaves are fiddlewood. 15m high tree (ours has been brutally stunted) from the West Indies. Citharexylum spinosum in the verbena family. Interesting that in (May or our southern) November the leaves turn orange and drop ahead of the summer heat, pushing thru fresh green leaves.

Arum lily, Coprosma Marble Chips
orange leaved mystery??, fern

Exploring the mostly commonorgarden flowers. South American Fuchsia and Bougainvillea , Australian bottlebrush, Chinese Buddleja, with an indigenous red Pelargonium.

Fuchsia, bottlebrush
Pelargonium
Bougainvillea
Buddleja

Alstroemeria Peruvian lily, indigenous Lobelia erinus, Asian lemon and star jasmine, European Viola tricolor heartsease, Californian poppy.

Alstroemeria, lemon
Lobelia
heartsease, star jasmine, Californian poppy

If I crop the pictures just so - the garden has magical corners!

Our new old False Bay garden in November 2014. The beginning.

PS I'll be joining Helen The Patient Gardener's End of Month View meme - that fits how I've always looked back at my garden this month. New garden, new meme.

Christmas flowers for December

Pictures by Diana Studer  

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32 comments:

  1. How exciting to finally get on with the move. The garden looks quite lovely despite the nasties lurking within. I have heard about spider plants in warmer areas. I have only ever kept them as houseplants and they're impossible to kill. I can only imagine what they would do outdoors given the chance. Isn't it funny how people leave bits when they sell a house? You never know what you'll find when you get there. The bench looks pretty nice though.

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    1. I had only ever seen captive spider plants - now I'm on a seek and destroy mission.
      Put the bench and 2 potted trees on the verge with a Free to a Good Home sign - and one of our neighbours has taken all 3!

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  2. Diana, Congratulations on being moved! I'm impressed that, in 10 days, you are already sufficiently settled in to turn your attention to the garden. It's an exciting time. -Jean

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    1. I'm in 'spent all day in the garden' mode.
      Also talking about plans for our alterations.

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  3. Oh yes, the garden does have lovely corners ... and some great plants. It sounds like you have plenty of "fun" projects, though. It will be fun to see your progress as you settle in. :)

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    1. I can already see changes from a couple of days ago, when I took these photos.

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  4. I wish you both all happiness in your new home.

    Can't wait to see this posting on the laptop - but, regarding the "orange" bush - is it not a Fiddlewood?

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  5. And much Hope out of your Pandora's box - wishing you a good life at False bay, Diana, with all the challenges of your new garden to summon your talents. After all Pandora is also Anesidora, "she who sends up gifts - Laura

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    1. what a relief to know that Pandora's dreadful horrors, come paired with gifts.

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  6. Hi Diana! Long time no 'see'. I'm sure you will make some beautiful new memories in your new home. Your new garden is full promises.
    Take care!

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    1. I will be back, slowly catching up with around 200 blog posts on Feedly.

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  7. With weeding and pruning your new garden will be gorgeous!! Oh, and the commonorgarden plants look exotic to me. I adore giraffes (I think its their eyelashes) and have a wooden one in my garden, too. Smaller than yours. Visitors don't expect to find it in an English style garden. P. x

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    1. our giraffe has been knocked about, and glued together again, twice.
      Finally he's found a peaceful spot to enjoy.

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  8. Love that first year in a new place, watching while the garden reveals its hidden treasures. Are you forging ahead with a plan, or taking the wait and see approach?

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    1. we do have a plan, but it's not carved in stone. Our ideas change and develop as we get a feeling for weather and plant keepers and going. As I find and move bulbs I guess and wonder what they are. Clivia, Agapanthus and Watsonia with some Wait and See.

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  9. Diana, I am so happy that you have finally moved! The views of false bay are wondrous; I can see why you chose this area. It must be so exciting to work with a new garden, especially one with so much potential. Already you have some beautiful plants. I share ivy and periwinkle with you. Both are in the woodland area and not in any flower bed, but I tell you who my greatest thug is: the ivy! It has overwhelmed the periwinkle and continues to take over the uncultivated part of the woods. There is no way I will ever be able to get rid of it; I can only hope to keep it out of my woodland garden, but it is a struggle. Ungardener had better be warned!

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    1. Sabres drawn and the battle quietly continues!

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  10. The Ungardener has his job cut out for him

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  11. Many, many good wishes for your move into your new home. Starting a new garden is always exciting even if some nightmares are included! Be happy!

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    1. Today for the first time in YEARS we bought plants.
      Four trees to fill some of the gaps where the trees were felled.
      Lovely vigourous young plants to echo our previous two gardens.

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  12. Congratulations on your new home. I hope you will be very happy there. It must be challenging and exciting to make this garden as beautiful as the one you left behind. But I am sure you will succeed.

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    1. The wind and the sandy soil could be disheartening if I had a different garden style. Since I choose to garden for biodiversity with indigenous (mostly) plants, today we began the challenging and rewarding step by step to Our Garden!

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  13. At last, Diana! Wish you both joy as you return to the Fairest Cape, and start making the garden 'yours'. I meanwhile suspect my buyers have found me... a young couple whose first-born turns one this month. I suspect you will approve of their credentials :) - more later.

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    1. Oh Jack, how exciting!
      Good things coming to good people (as my nephew's tattoo says in Portuguese)

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  14. what a challenging and enthralling project, Diana. I wish you all the best in your new home, and look forward to seeing and hearing about your progress. The 3 nasties are nasties here too, and also Coprosma is on the official worst weeds list.

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    1. I will persevere. It is a small space so hopefully the nasties will fade away to nightmare land. Today the succulent cuttings went in to a newly cleared holding bed.

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  15. Finally catching up weeks later tos ee the new garden....I love the 2 bottom pictures of the garden scenes of the gate and looking across the brick patio in the foreground. Lots to do to make it your own, but it will be spectacular.

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    1. It's so encouraging that 3 weeks work has made an obvious difference. I can see the changes from these photos.

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  16. All the best in your new home, Diana. I have changed the links on my blog accordingly. It looks as though you will have plenty to keep you busy there. It wouldn't be fun for a gardener if everything was perfect from the start, would it?

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    1. two gardeners, three opinions, then add in the inherited layers ... day by day we make it more ours.

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