From rare plants to a labyrinth
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
At the Rare Plants Sale at Tokara in Stellenbosch (wine, olives and a restaurant) I bought 2 trees and 2 herbs. Calpurnia aurea, yellow flowers, planted, after I cut back the fiddlewood. Pavetta is waiting for the third raised bed at the 'final' heap of excess garden soil. Where does it come from?? Creeping thyme and marjoram planted at the blue pot, after I moved the mint, which doesn't creep. It explodes!
Our previous Rare Plant Fair was at Rustenberg. Tokara is attractive, but the garden is not quite as appealing. At an extensive dam a 'boat' house contains a braai / barbecue and a huge table for al fresco lunches.
Stellenbosch is inland from the city of Cape Town. Away from the moderating influence of the sea, and it gets HOT. Very grateful that most of Tokara's garden is in dappled shade from tall trees. The flowering agave was reaching up thru an oak tree!
Japanese anemone, 'my' violent purple Mexican sage and orange cannas. In the pond a blue water lily, capensis. We have one, with three leaves. Hoping for blue flowers in a year or two.
How the 1% live. In a garden big enough to include a cork oak forest along one bank of the dam.
That same day we went to Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden. An interesting teaching garden with unusual exotic plants. A spectacular bonsai collection. Including a Californian redwood from 1980. And a cork oak from 1965!! That Saturday mummies and daddies were catching up with sons and daughters at the university.
When my sister was here we went up Cable Hill behind Simon's Town to Just Nuisance's grave. This Able Seaman was a Great Dane who would round up the sailors and escort them home on the train. A memorial to WWI and a reminder of my grandfather. Victorian sanatorium at Klawer Camp, sadly often shrouded in cloud (not ideal for their TB patients), as Table Mountain has its Tablecloth, and I look out at constantly changing cloud across our mountain. Hopefully the future holds kinder plans for this story-filled building.
We looked down to the Naval Base at Simon's Town (with submarines and Naval ships in the harbour), along the coast to Cape Point, and back towards home. The aerial cableway whose story we heard at the Simon's Town Museum recently. Closed to people on Fridays when they transported cargo and laundry - in those British days someone in London decided, since it was always 'breaking down', to close it altogether. Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, which inspired this one, is still running (and well maintained!)
Little wild Gladiolus monticola that I glimpse as a flash of colour from our car - here I could admire in detail, and name it.
Easter Saturday we walked with a group from St Francis church in Simon's Town. Glencairn labyrinth is open by appointment. Built on the mountain slope it has interesting topography. Stepping logs, causeways and bridges ford winter streams. That day we had heavy grey skies, turning to buckets of rain as we scurried to an abrupt finish. I hope to return in another season and follow the progress clearing invasive and thirsty Eucalyptus, and the steady planting of indigenous fynbos.
In September with spring flowers!
In September with spring flowers!
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