Autumn in moody blues
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town gardens in autumn are washed in 'When I am an old lady I shall wear purple' (Read by Jenny Joseph herself) and (Jenny Joseph on the popularity of her poem "Warning"). Thru our bay window across the road is a mound of Barleria, April violets, covered in flowers. My new little plant has a brave handful. Two doors down are taller plants, reaching for the eaves (if they are not given the Kirstenbosch chop after flowering) Hypoestes, ribbon bush - the petals delicately marked if you come a little closer. We have inherited two Discovered Treasures. Plectranthus, spurflower. A low spreading gently greyed out blue like lavender and a tall shrub with vibrant spikes of flowers singing like true violets. Both are succulent and easy to grow from cuttings.
Moody blues. Tall Plectranthus. Scabiosa. Limonium perezii. Chain of hearts. Echevieria. Stoep jacaranda. Mexican sage Salvia leucantha. Septemberbossie. Oxford and Cambridge. Nutmeg pelargonium. Northern true violets. Blue grass. Spotted leaves on Drimiopsis. Kingfisher daisy. April violets. Ribbon bush.
To these moody blues I could add leaves in darker angrier plums and burgundies - Aeonium Schwarzkopf, bronze fennel and Prunus nigra, and large asymmetric leaves on tuberous begonia. Mellowed out blues from lavender softened by its grey leaves, with sky blue Plumbago. Some pinker lavender stars on Grewia and spires of true purple on Plectranthus neochilus. Polygala and Indigofera. Tulbaghia. Then the wish list ... deepest purple and blue Dimorphotheca jucunda, a trailing daisy groundcover. Wild rosemary. Wild blue sages. Waiting in pots are bulbs, Babiana, Merwillea, some Lachenalia and bluebells.
Stoep jacaranda, Plectranthus saccatus has diamond shaped small leaves, with soft teeth. 'Jacaranda' blue flowers, yet somehow not the shard of ice in the heart colour I LOATHE on the trees.
Tall shrubby Plectranthus ecklonii has long pointed leaves with tiny teeth. The camera is not quite willing to capture the shout of colour. My Discovered Treasure in Dozen for Diana this April. Which flower lights up your garden this month? Fresh treasure in June is our lemon tree.
Pam in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania has a magnificent weeping cherry, a fountain of white flowers filled with happy memories and attracting butterflies and hummingbirds!
Donna in upstate New York is blue with me. Hers is an unusual softly silver bluestar Amsonia.
Denise in the Netherlands chooses Paris quadrifolia unusual in every way!
Beth in Wisconsin has been gifted by her garden with Smooth Solomon's Seal.
Felicia amelloides My first choice among blue flowers is the kingfisher daisy. Felicia the colour of happiness!
Polygala myrtifolia Septemberbossie flaunts bizarre unlikely flowers as weird as a passionflower.
Turn my back from too much blue for a mustard orange specious tiger moth. This one I think is newly emerged and hasn't yet opened his wings. They eat fig leaves and Acokanthera (used for poisoned arrows). Clever little animals bite thru the midrib to drain the latex, so they can dine in peace!
I'm still battling with camera skills. Sometimes we are on the same page in the same book. And then the camera flips to - I'm sorry, did you say something? Sigh.
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