30 April, 2015

Our False Bay garden after the house renovations

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

The two pots of embattled Septemberbossie (Polygala myrtifolia) which used to stand outside the gate, have earned the right to be planted in the earth. They bring the purple and white I want to set against the lemons along the east side.

Septemberbossie


Already waiting there are ribbon bushes Hypoestes aristata now blooming in purple and a more unusual white. Filling the bottom corner is Mexican sage.

Hypoestes, Plectranthus
Mexican sage and lemons

Last Saturday at the Kirstenbosch plant sale I timed it just right to catch Marijke Honig as she was signing her Indigenous Plant Palettes book. My copy was at home but she kindly signed for me and I've pasted it in.

Indigenous plant palettes by Marijke Honig

From the kitchen door to the east patio I'm still hoping to get the garstigly green wall painted to blend in with mocha inside and Karoo Lands outside. Bonsai pots are waiting to be filled, with succulents? Once we've planted the uprooted Agapanthus and the 2 large Septemberbossies, plus the pots in waiting, I hope to add lemon verbena.

East patio from the kitchen and garage

On the west patio the Brachylaena discolor we planted in December is already as tall as I am. Planted this time where we will be able to enjoy the green and silver surfaces flickering in the breeze. Standard rose and blue bench are trying a new space where the giraffe can see them. Variegated Coprosma (New Zealand) is enjoying filling the space we opened up when the bottlebrush left.

West patio from the living room
Brachylaena
standard rose and variegated Coprosma

Down the west side the succulents wait in pots and holding bed. Hoping to begin planting them this weekend. Dais and many pink flowering bulbs to take their place. That bottom corner between the carob tree and the green Coprosma is a green bower tucked under a wall of leafy green.

West garden outside bedrooms

When we came home today, TA DA, the green loo for the builders is gone at last and we can begin planting the front garden. Inside a hedge of spekboom with focal aloes. Outside the aloes we found here as focal points in front of the pillars with Bulbinella and Plectranthus neochilus filling in. What Americans call the hell strip. Ours belongs to the City Council but we are obliged to maintain it. Most people have a mown and watered lawn, or they garden right to the edge so there's nowhere to walk. I wanted a pavement for pedestrians and space to plant. Both wishes granted and the planting bed is nice and wide. Planted!

Be careful what you wish for ... empty front garden

Among the inherited foreign flowers are Bougainvillea, the lemon tree, Iceberg rose and purple Mexican sage.

Foreign flowers in April
Bougainvillea, lemon
Iceberg rose, vase with Coprosma and Mexican sage

When we bought the house visitors had to come down a sloping lawn to the garden gate. The white roses sing out against the Karoo Lands walls and the garnet red gate. Now we have an actual front door! With the Maltese brass dolphin doorknocker, steps and a handrail. So civilised!

Garden gate with Iceberg roses
Maltese brass dolphin door knocker

Laminate floors throughout with a cotton rug tucked under my great-grandmother's cabin trunk. Just enough sun for Chocolat to sleep on.

Chocolat enjoying the April autumn sun

Mostly South African for April's Wildflower Wednesday and wide views for End of Month View.

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

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39 comments:

  1. It's all looking lovely and homey and welcoming, Diana. You have a beautiful mountain view beyond your patio. The hardscaping at your new place is wonderful, too. The hell strip looks like a fun project! Glad you're all settled in and having fun with your projects. It looks wonderful!

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    1. When we were hunting for our house, I needed a mountain view, a glimpse into the far distance. Today I planted the hell strip!

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  2. Wow, Diana - you have accomplished so much in such a small space of time. So exciting. I'l return agan to view from my laptop...

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    1. I was a bit shocked when I looked at my blog on my new silly phone. I hadn't realised that my chosen collages are just a postage stamp smudge on a small screen. Now I deliberately have a few single pictures.

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  3. oh its looking homely Diane - so inviting at the gate. Lemon and purple a favourite palette of mine but yours is especially realistic!

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    1. I have inherited the cotton pullover I once knitted for my mother, buttery yellow, her soft mauve and lavender colours, and a little white. Lemons are obliging landscaping, both the shape and the ripe colour.

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  4. Diana, it's beautiful. You have taken a house, and magically, lol...with a lot of work turned it into a home. Your garden looks like it's been there for ages perfectly blending already.

    Jen

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    1. We appreciate the inherited shrubs and trees, the green edge. And the spotted leaf aloes I planted out on the hell strip, instead of battlng under a hedge of Plumbago and Tecoma where we found them!

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  5. The intense colors in the top few flower photos are wonderful--the kind of thing that can stand up to strong sunshine. (Tho' I realize as I write that your sunshine will be getting gentler now.) I love the gate/wall with the white roses, too.

    It's amazing how much nicer a place looks without a green, portable loo in the middle of it. ;)

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    1. I love green, green leaves, but how alien and artificial both the green plastic loo and the garstigly green painted wall are. Those roses really sing now, I picked 2 to enjoy inside as well.

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  6. The green foliage looks beautiful against the color of the house. I look forward to next developments in your garden.

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    1. That earthy colour blurs away and we can see green plants on three sides of the livingroom.

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  7. It's looking quite lovely there...love the snoozing kitty too :)

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    1. Both of them are snoozing on the chair next to me now.

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  8. This is exciting! I think you've done a wonderful job so far. I can't wait to see pictures of the planted 'hell strip', the brick walkway looks very nice.

    I like your garden entry gates, very nice. Actually, it's all very nice.

    Happy gardening ~ FlowerLady

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    1. The hell strip plants were raring to go. Autumn with coolth and gentle rain is the perfect time to plant here. In weeks the vigorous plants I've chosen will cover the bare sand.

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  9. I love those purple and white colors in your garden.
    It's very exciting to see you reclaiming your space and getting plants in place. Congratulations on having all signs of the builders' presence gone. (I'm not quite there yet.) Like you, I celebrated the day when the porta-potty (our word for the builders' temporary loo) disappeared. -Jean

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    1. almost all signs. Today as I planted out came buckets of builder's rubble. Lots of it from when the house was first built!

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  10. You must be thrilled, Diana, to have your home back. It's a very appealing home and I love the many lovely touches you have in place. Ah, to have a home where bougainvillea can grow! I had that in California, but not in Oregon. I've never heard of the term "Hell strip." Why is it called that do you think? Just curious. You have made a beautiful home, I'm so pleased for you. May you be very happy there.

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    1. Not actually a fan of bougainvillea, it has TEETH. But my sister likes it and it gives wonderful colour when picked for the vase.
      Hell strip I picked up from American garden bloggers. There it seems to be a planting strip between pavement and traffic. Our plants have pavement between them and traffic 'hell'.

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  11. I'm sure you are thrilled the renovations are done to the house (for now) and that you can work outside in your garden. Everything is looking lovely Diana. Today I'm visiting from the Over 40 group.

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    1. and I'm feeling every one of those over 40 years after 2 days of digging and planting

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  12. it looks wonderful! I love that the out side is like an whole other living space, year round as well!!! You know that would make me happy, lol, I love the photo of Chocolat on the beautiful floor and mat,,

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    1. being able to live outside in the garden space year round, is something South Africans take for granted, till they try living in the Northern hemisphere. We are thinking of adding 2 glazed sides to the West patio as the Ungardener and cats find it too breezy.

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  13. Just enough sun and just enough rug peeking out for Chocolat to enjoy! Love the door knocker, and your view! You have accomplished so much already...

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    1. We are adjusting to Fish Hoek being cooler than Porterville. Chocolat is definitely seeking out sun, Aragon prefers a lap!

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  14. Diana things are progressing nicely. I can see the vision being fulfilled slowly and deliberately...and I love the door knocker.

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    1. In Malta it was the only one we could find, in an old-fashioned hardware store. It's heavy and can be heard at the bottom of the garden.

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  15. Everything is looking good at your new house Diana. Bougainvillea, I would have liked that in our new garden, always reminds me of our past holidays in Spain, no chance of it surviving here though. However the Agapanthus which in Aberdeen had to be overwintered in the greenhouse is planted directly in the border here in Cheshire, shoots are well through and I am quietly confident that by mid Summer they will think they are in the land where they belong.

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    1. for me Agapanthus is a Christmas flower. Slowly beginning to plant my bulbs in the ground and out of their pots going back years!

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  16. oh glory! what a joy to see. very excited now to watch you teak those gardens into your impeccible style xx

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    1. When we drove home today, the front looks quite different! Happy ;~)

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  17. I love all your sitting areas so close to the gardens! So nice to get things done and fixed up how you want them, isn't it? Your cat looks very happy. Have fun planting!

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    1. Your hell strip is inspiringly way ahead of mine.

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  18. Hooray for new beginnings! Your new garden will be spectacular. :o) Are you actually going to have giraffes peeking into your garden?

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    1. (It is a wooden one, the sort that goes home with tourists on aeroplanes. Not the easiest thing to pack ;~)

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  19. I'm in love with your 'Septemberbossie'. My first time to lay eyes on such a bloom. "She" does look a little bossy, but in a very enchanting way. Glimpses of your new home are warm and inviting.

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    1. (that's Afrikaans - bos is bush, so little bush that blooms in September and ... a few flowers year round)

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  20. An amazing transformation, Diana. Your entrances are so welcoming. Love the seating areas -- makes me want to linger. P. x

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