28 May, 2015

Our False Bay garden in May

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

On Sunday we drove up to look down on the bay, then walked on the beach. Those 'daily' beach walks were the reason why he moved to False Bay. Sundays we hear the steam train whistle thru, and this week we saw it. Time for a crisp fresh header on my blog.

False Bay beach


The weather is turning to winter and we've had a few fires. My vases are getting tired of either white roses or fierce Bougainvillea.

Wood stove
flowers on the kitchen windowsill

Among our inherited plants the lemon tree is flourishing, both useful and appealing. But Impatiens in a huge pot, a monster purple Buddleja  Mexican sage, and two (one is going) Bougainvillea I'm not so happy about. My potted lime has one fruit and more coming. I've moved the slipper orchid to the protected patio since it has lots of buds!

Lemon tree

slipper orchid. potted lime
Bougainvillea, Impatiens

Aragon and Chocolat enjoy the sun. We have a shadow board of a black cat, and totally confused ourselves when we stood it on the windowsill. Chocolat is not deceived at all. Giraffe now gazes out framed by ta da curtains, and the standard rose is outside the glazed door so we can enjoy it from both sides.

Chocolat and Aragon, Chocolat and shadow
Giraffe from in and out

For End of the Month View . We've added two aluminium and glass screens against the wind for the west patio. Chocolat approves and has claimed the Ungardener's chair. He's there in the day ... and at night when I call out Chocolat chirples back - I'm here, very happy, thanks! 

Chocolat endorsing the new patio screens

We tipped out our compost bin and a hadeda ibis proceeded to work his way around, picking the heap apart and devouring everything he found. As the compost dries and crumbles I'll be able to sieve and use it for the new plants.

Hadeda ibis at compost heap

For Wildflower Wednesday I gather our indigenous to South Africa plants. Plectranthus madagascariensis  and P. oertendahlii have both got delicate spires of white flowers, dancing too briskly for my camera to capture this morning. Both chosen for their leaves. P. madagascariensis in cream and apple green, P. oertendahlii shimmers silver and deep green in the shade.

Plectranthus oertendahlii
Plectranthus madagascariensis 

The Karoo Koppie and pavement planting is beginning to bud and bloom. Plectranthus neochilus has its first flowers. One day it will be an enthusiastic blanket of blue spires. The Crassula planted for its orange leaves has long spires of minute white flowers. Climbing aloe is flowering again after I transplanted it. Pots of Lachenalia rubra are beginning to bloom, nicely opening the Autumn Fire theme the tall aloes will carry in winter.

Plectranthus neochilus, Crassula
climbing aloe, Lachenalia rubra

I need to encourage and plant colour for my vases. Red, salmon and white pelargoniums I could pick, but not enough to harvest yet. Porterville cuttings of Chrysanthemoides monilifera have their first yellow daisies. Chironia baccifera is called tortoise berry, and this is the berry.

Pelargoniums
Chrysanthemoides monilifera, Chironia baccifera

I'm waiting for the washing line pergola before I can continue with planting. Still have hundreds of pots lined up. Something about May. I've written before about the Darling Buds of May and I see the flowers getting ready!

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

(If you mouse over teal blue text, it turns seaweed red.
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41 comments:

  1. You live n such a beautiful and exotic place. Perfect for walking. xo Laura

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    1. We have mountains and beaches - yes, perfect for walking.

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  2. A thoroughly delightful post!
    Have a great week-end!
    Lea

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  3. Your blooms this time of year are delightful! I can see why the cats like the patio and the enclosed porch--it looks very comfortable. Lucky you to have limes and lemons!

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    1. Luckily we have a generous harvest of lemons, as I spread them around the lemon-less family.

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  4. Lovely post - I am glad to see you settling into your new garden
    Budlia, meh - I only tollerate the very dark purple ones or the red lilac ones and I cut them both waste hight each spring so they dont over power any thing else.
    I inhereted both of mine and will do a post someday...
    Thin them out so you have no more that 5 strong stems that are last years growth. next spring cut these at whatever hight you want when the leaves begin to show. (mine is waist hight)
    Srtip out all the shoots from the sides and the bottom as they grow to keep it from bushing too much.

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    1. Thank you - with your advice I could learn to live happily with that invasive exotic Buddleja.

      Our indigenous salviifolia is already hip high.
      http://elephantseyegarden.blogspot.com/2010/10/buddleja-salviifolia-sagewood.html

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  5. So Diana, I am curious how cool your winter will be? Will you have frost, or dipping temps at night?

    I had one of those cat cutouts...lol, I used to purposefully put it in the window of my condo to drive the old biddies who hated cats nuts. When they came knocking, and demanding that I get rid of my cat, I would flourish it under their noses...lol.

    Jen

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    1. I was horrified by 2 days of frost when we lived in Porterville. Cape Town doesn't do FROST unless you live high in the mountains. In Elgin where they grow apples for example. That is why I blogged about snow on our mountains.

      I'm expecting maybe 7C overnight 44F. Not even cool for your Canadian winter ;~)

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  6. Our weather is just beginning to warm up as your is cooling down. The world truly is an amazing place. Pretty kitty...and stay warm!

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    1. Snow on the mountains promised for Sunday, and a fire this evening. Chocolat is IN.

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  7. My daughter gave me a tip about lemons: keep some in the freezer and you can grate the whole thing, not just the zest.

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    1. a lemon zester is on my list, now I know they are free of poison, from me at least. The neighbours are a bit trigger happy.

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  8. So the Buddleja grows in Africa as well - is it the same species we have in our gardens?
    My black cat is happy to have the cushion on the windowsill back, thanks to the tomatos finally living outdoors.

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    1. The purple butterfly bush is the same one I saw growing along the railway lines in England. Comes from China originally, I think.

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  9. Diana I love your May as it cools and the blooms keep coming with citrus....amazing to me as I look at your beautiful wildflowers....love the new screens and the series of photos with the rose, giraffe and Chocolat.

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    1. I was counting the lemons on the tree yesterday ... lost count somewhere around 60.

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  10. Lovely new header. Mmm, daily beachwalks, lemons ... I envy you :-) Here a blackbird picks all the creatures and critters out of the compost heap.

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    1. Not quite daily. We are aiming at twice a week.

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  11. I have an incredible craving for lemons and fresh lemonade now ! : ) Love the kitties...I have a white one : )

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    1. As the lemons ripen, I will be looking for good ways to use them.
      North African style preserved in salt?

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  12. When I get on your site , I'm always very surprised at all the exotic plants that you show us ... but realize that quite similar things happen: Here it is a heron that comes flying into our garden, to sit at the 'Fließ' probably in search of mice and fishes ...at your end of the world it's an ibis.
    And it seems as if we have the same lemons potted, even though mine is much smaller. Is it also C. meyeri? And I also used some of my lemons for Marocco preserved lemons...

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    1. In Porterville we sometimes had a heron at the pond for the frogs.

      Our inherited lemon tree is interesting. It appears to be grafted. I see a 'grapefruit' and a navel 'orange' and 2 sorts of lemons. I'm having to prune carefully as I try to coax the neglected tree into a better shape. In the pot is the Tahiti lime which we bought for our previous garden.

      I'll come back to your blog for the Moroccan lemon recipe?

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  13. What a wonderful home you have - I can almost smell the sea.
    Such colourful native plants and wildlife - and that's a very rich-looking compost heap!
    All the best :)

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    1. Yesterday evening as the rainy weather rolled in, I could smell the sea in our garden. A new experience for me.

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  14. How lovely to be able to grow citrus but then we always want what we can't have. Thank you for joining in again this month

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    1. blue Himalayan and yellow Welsh poppies ... fritillaries ... alliums ...

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  15. Diana, I enjoyed this post very much. There was a sweet intimacy about it; of your home, the love of your plants, your beautiful cats posing as cats are known to do, even the tidiness of your compost bin and the Ibis enjoying it's bits! I love the openness of the windows and the vases you use for your arrangements. Thank you for sharing a bit of home, a warm and inviting HOME.

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    1. if my husband hadn't caught the evidence, I wouldn't have believed that Chocolat would pose, just so.
      OFF the table!

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  16. How wonderful to be able to take daily beach walks! For us it is a four hour drive. Your cats look like they rule the roost, though the ibis seems to be enjoying his particular station, too. I always have trouble getting compost out of the little door at the bottom of the compost bin. Just turn the thing upside down: what a practical idea!

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    1. Our previous bin was huge. Took forever to fill, by then the bottom was already fine compost. Took me two days to sieve. Now it's a sensible size. Once full, tip out and start again.

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  17. I enjoyed this post, lots of plants looking exotic to me and some very familiar. I have just become a lemon grower myself, I got my tiny bush in March and not really sure what to expect. Growing lemons outdoors in Britain is a challenge but certainly possibly so I will give it a good go :-) And having just moved into a new house with a slightly bigger garden I will now have room for a composting bin too – I am new to that too so some research will be necessary to get started but I am looking forward to having a result hopefully similar to yours in due time.

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    1. Somewhere sheltered against a sunny wall for the lemon?

      Follow the links for our compost bin. Not my idea, but it works like a charm!

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  18. I wish I had a lemon tree in the garden

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    1. Go for it. Your lemon will be happy in a large pot for a few years, if a future move is holding you back.

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  19. You say you miss sitting by a pond, Diana, but daily beach walks sounds a wonderful option to me! Love your new header. P. x

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    1. It's more the volume of bird song that I miss. It was our white noise in Porterville.

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  20. What a wonderful place you live in! And I love your lemon tree. It is unfortunately impossible to grow in Germany without a winter garden or some shelter - which I do not have. Anyways, I will just enjoy looking at yours. ;)

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    1. in a pot, in the garage for winter?

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  21. I love your new header image. Your wood fire looks very inviting. I would light one of my own if I had any wood left. Even though it's supposed to be the beginning of summer here, we've been having a spell of cool weather, with much-needed rain and daytime highs about 7-8C. -Jean

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  22. Beautiful post! The Ibis picking through the mulch reminds me of the Scrub Jays and Mockingbirds that would sit on the edge of a bucket to forage the grubs I dug up while turning soil for the yearly garden. Birds make life fun.

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