23 March, 2016

Our False Bay garden in March

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

The frog is spouting water! Froggy Pond is established. Two clumps of dwarf Papyrus and hopefully eel grass Vallisneria aetheopica - which came with us from Ungardening Pond in Porterville. At last we can say goodbye to the green plastic baby bath Pond in Waiting.

His Froggy Pond

The S curve of the path and horseshoe curve of the pond wind together. The bottom of the garden is lit up by Leonotis orange furry flames. Between the raised planters the path is lined by Plectranthus neochilus.

Path around Froggy Pond

Because the pond has a formal shape I have kept the planting understated. Against the south-facing shady wall of the house I have planted two Sansevieria (mother in law's tongue) - in the Karoo Koppie they declined unhappily. Some species come from tropical Africa. Once I realised they needed a kinder home, they bounced back in weeks. Apart from those Thomas kicks over because he lies just there! The 'two sides' the path follows are planted with yellow Bulbine (rescued from the tapestry hedge). The curve behind the frog continues with Plectranthus neochilus (quiet blue flowers will echo water). An embattled Elegia capensis which has been struggling in a pot since last year's Kirstenbosch plant sale. Cyperus that my father once liberated from the mountainside near the Camps Bay beach where we collected stones to line the path of my mother's rose garden. Today we BUY pebbles at the nursery.

My planting around Froggy Pond

The olive tree at the Karoo Koppie is coaxed up and out. Where the Sansevieria was, I have planted bits of the red Pelargonium we found in the garden. I pruned back the Plectranthus neochilus border which spills onto the pavement. The lemon tree I prune as I harvest fruit. The Ungardener removed the last Australian brush cherry - it grows SO fast I abandoned naive topiary plans. Emptied two pots of Pelargonium (cuttings to the raised beds) and now four pots of Agapanthus anchor the washing pergola.

Lemon tree, Cornish Stripe
Karoo Koppie, the verge

I trimmed a lot off the Dusty Millers and rediscovered the plants they were smothering. Dymondia is making a good carpet among the white Iris. Phylica needs rescuing from the Euryops. I have planted far too much, far too close together. But I prune, and chip, and mulch.

Summer Gold
and Spring Promise

I have enough flowers to pick bunches for vases. Mostly purple for my visiting sister. Spekboom hedge (we see from the kitchen door) rises behind the tall blue pot. My map of Africa, D and J live on the pond border. The last inherited pot - this tall one is in an alcove outside the front door, planted with a Searsia which will screen the bay window.

Purple flowers
entrance pot

Iceberg rose. Lime blossom and next season's fruit. Garlic chives, going to seed, used to garnish our dinner. Abelia. Pelargonium with a red eye echoes raspberry ripple.

White March flowers

Tulbaghia still establishing. Stoep jacaranda low growing herald of autumn. Polygala virgata. Plumbago hedge resprouting. Ceropegia. Tall shrubby Plectranthus with deeper purple flowers. Scabiosa. Fuzzy Mexican sage. Septemberbossie recovers slowly from years of neglect.

Purple March flowers

Salvia greggei, (my mother's) autumn sage. Pelargoniums inherited, travelled with us or bought new. Oxalis was battling in the sun on the patio, in the shade under Coprosma is fat and flourishing.

Pink March flowers

Purple chilli peppers ripening to orange. Orange Bulbine. Nut grass. Leonotis for the sunbirds. Scarlet and gold sparkles as Nerine sarniensis 'Jersey' lily opens today. Orange leaved Crassula. Pelargonium. Fire heath. Teensiest volunteer tomatoes.

Red March 'flowers'

Gazania rigens an exuberant border. Almost yellow vygie. Oil glands in lemon peel. Hibiscus. Hypoxis unfurling. Hawkweed with moths for Wildflower Wednesday.

Yellow March flowers

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Pictures by Diana Studer
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  1. The pond looks great, what an achievement! And so many March blooms. I like the red palette very much.

  2. It's really looking good! Funny to think of you moving into autumn.

  3. I love your collage of colours, especially the white...but the red and orange also make me think of Africa. I love the little purple/pink flower in the white pot, is that a Pelargonium? I should be able to grow that here

    1. that is Oxalis. A tiny bulb which I'm sure you could grow.

  4. Wow, so many beautiful flowers in so many different colours, you have certainly been working hard in your garden. The new pond is amazing and Froggy looks very happy spouting his water!

  5. love the history and family continuity woven into your plantings Diana - so much thought and poignancy. The Ungardeners more formal pond surprised me - heres hoping the the horse shoe shapre brings lots of luck and wildlife especially when the 'sides' have matured p.s. some wonderful exotics here Diana but the simplicity of Oxalis in the round pot is utterly charming

    1. As he says, the shape just happened. What would fit in the limited space.

      (Round pot was the last of the inherited pots. Today I bought an octagonal terracotta bowl and the Oxalis are sulking after being transplanted)

  6. All I can say is "wow!" xxxx

  7. You have a beautiful place, and lots of blooms!

  8. Your garden is certainly showing its abundance, Diana! Your Leonotis looks far more robust than mine. I cut mine back again this past fall in the hope of encouraging it to regenerate. Your Jersey lilies are beautiful too - Nerine bulbs are hard to find here but I need to try harder as I know they like our climate too.

    1. The Leonotis is a young plant in its first best season.
      Last year it was still settling in, now I can pick it to brighten purple vases.

  9. Such an interesting visit to your garden. And the Froggy Pond is a great addition.

  10. You've made great progress in your garden, Diana. Love the flower arrangement in the cube vase. Lucky sister. P. x

  11. I love it all! Congratulations on completion of froggy Pond. In a short time you have created a very lovely garden!

  12. Wow, so much blooming! I love the Froggy Pond! It looks so nice with the path meandering next to it.

  13. Look at your garden grow...and your sister is visiting...how nice Diana! I love the look of the Froggy pond along the path. Nicely done! My Dozen post is up now.

    1. thanks for joining - will read your post and add the link now

  14. So nice to see your garden-yard. The pond and plants are pretty cool. Husband has tomato seeds from all over the world that we already grew. Never heard of Teensiest...

  15. So much has happened in the last one and a half year! Have real frogs discovered Froggy Pond yet?

    1. We were at Kirstenbosch today and heard the reed frogs clicking - which reminds us what to listen for ...
      Will be truly exciting if we see or hear frogs here!!

  16. I love the look of your pond. Congratulations on getting it finished (very satisfying, I'm sure). -Jean

  17. How lovely to see it all coming together. The pond looks as if it has always been there, the sound must be lovely, and the flowers! So much wonderful color.