30 November, 2016

November in our False Bay garden

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

It is two years since we moved to False Bay and the last three weeks have been, interesting. The Ungardener is recovering from pneumonia while the garden and my blog have slipped off my radar. Today we had our first gentle walk along the prom.

2016 Advent Wreath
with pelargoniums

This year for my Advent wreath I gathered the bounty of pelargonium flowers, from white to red via soft and warm pinks. Colour to lift the heart.

Pelargoniums in November
The leaves are nutmeg with its tiny white flowers to the left

Potted lime has five good fruit and the lemon tree about two dozen. This year's compost volunteer tomato is medium sized fruit, good flavour, with a tough skin, and more fruit ripening every day. Fiddlewood heralds summer with a blaze of orange leaves against a sapphire sky. At Cornish Stripe the Japanese maple and Prunus nigra are leafed out to the two dark dramas I cherish (in the garden!)

Fiddlewood, lime, lemon
Japanese maple
Tomato and Prunus nigra

Strelitzia nicolai rescued from my sister's broken wine barrel and making its first flowers, blue and white perfect for Cornish Stripe. Enough nectar to 'tap maple syrup' and fuel starlings.

Strelitzia nicolai

The garden is a green and peaceful place for those first few circuits of walking after almost three weeks in bed.

Froggy Pond and Cornish Stripe

The Maid of the Forest catches the sun and is a vibrant focal point as you approach from either side (but the camera is dazzled)

November sun on the Maid of the Forest

The verge and the Karoo Koppie out front make the most of the sun and I enjoy the contrast of quiet blue against boisterous oranges and reds. For Through the Garden Gate with Sarah in Dorset.

Dombeya, Summer Gold and Pink Promise
on the verge, looking back

Now I add fresh cobalt blue flowers of Cape forget me not Anchusa capensis, to the usual blue suspects.

Scabiosa, Californian Gilia, Anchusa capensis
heartsease, Plectranthus, lavender

Iceberg roses are getting a bit chewed but there are more buds coming so long as I remember to water. Yellow Hypoxis, pink Oxalis and Alstroemeria blends pink and yellow.

This summer will be interesting. Our dams are about half full and Cape Town's water may, hopefully, last till March and autumn rain.

November bulbs and Iceberg rose

I garden for biodiversity. Caterpillars and butterflies on daisies and pelargoniums. Bees hum on poppies and Plectranthus. A crab spider lurks at the edge of a daisy. For Gail at Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday in Tennessee.

November bugs

When I walk to the Leonotis I startle the sunbirds who appreciate the trumpet flowers as I do those whorled layers of velvety bronze.


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Pictures by Diana Studer
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  1. Sorry to hear the Ungardener hasn't been well.

    TWO years?? Never!! I thought a year at most. Time is flying even faster than I thought!

    Your garden looks happy and settled - as settled as you sound 😀

    Wish the Ungardener a speedy recovery to full health.

  2. Hi Diana, I was so sorry to hear about the Undergardener. It must have been a tough month for you both. Wishing him a speedy recovery, I'm sure your wonderful garden will lift his spirits. Your advent wreath looks beautiful and is such a delightful change to our winter wreaths. It feels as if you take us somewhere exotic every month, the songbirds must be an amazing sight on the Leonotis. Sarah x

  3. What wonderful colours, Diana, so different from our British gardens in November

  4. I'm sorry to hear that your husband has been ill, Diana, but glad that he's been able to get up and around in your beautiful garden, which I'm sure helps to restore his spirits and put him on the road to recovery. Everything in the garden looks to be doing splendidly despite your drought conditions but I know what a worry water shortages can be. Bests wishes to both you and the Ungardener.

  5. Sorry to hear about Jurg's pneumonia; I hope he is on the mend. It's wonderful to see all your glorious color at this most dreary time of year in my part of the world. I have never seen a sterlitzia in those colors before; it's beautiful. -Jean

    1. this Strelitzia grows TALL. In an ordinary small garden every so often we will cut the tallest trunk down.

  6. Best wishes for the Ungardener to make a speedy recovery. I love the colours from your garden, and the Pelargoniums give you plenty of colour for summer. Best wishes for the summer.

  7. Lovely flowers, Diana. Hope you have a wonderful start to December.

  8. Thank you for the good wishes. Today we walked the length of the beach and back - definitely recovering!

  9. November looks great in False Bay. Doesn't two years just fly and yet, I have been complaining of a measly two week delay in my house build. Hope the ungardener continues with a speedy recovery.

  10. Best wishes to the Under-gardener for a very speedy recovery. I hope you can both sit back and enjoy the garden at this time of year. I love the Advent crown with colourful flowers so different from those in the northern hemisphere. My Leonotis look just like yours even after our frost and the fact that we are in opposite seasons.

  11. Your garden is a good place to recuperate! Best wishes to the Ungardener for a complete and speedy recovery. I am amazed by the colors in your garden, until I remember you are upside-down from us, and it is summer where you are. Your beautiful, lush garden has come a long way in two years. It shows your love and hard work!

  12. One of the many wonderful things about reading blogs from around the globe is the thrill of seeing plants I associate with our summer decorating an advent wreath. I have never seen Pellies in an advent wreath before! Something else I learnt today is that Strelitzia are not just yellow and orange. I am quite besotted with Strelitzia nicolai. What a beauty! Wishing the ungardener the speediest of recoveries.

    1. mm the usual brash sixties orange, blue and white - is an acquired taste.

      In my garden I have Mandela's Gold and the new blue and white.

  13. Can't believe it's two years, Diana. Your November blooms are stunning and your gardens look settled and well established! I just did a posting of my Dozen picks. I hope your husband is continuing to make an excellent recovery. P. x

  14. Just doing some catching up--I'm so glad the Ungardener is getting back on his feet! Scary stuff.