by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
This is our third Christmas in False Bay. Between life happens and water restrictions the garden is 'marking time'. In March I will add the two more trees for which the gaps are patiently waiting. And work thru my wish lists.
On the Karoo Koppie the Flanders poppies are polite annuals which have faded and gone. The Californian poppies have a second wave of smaller summer flowers - perhaps they aren't exactly annuals? I have a drift of seed pods - there will be MANY more plants. Red and coral pelargoniums bloom against the roadside wall. In the pots Haworthia is sending up tall spikes of orange.
The Leonotis grows at the bottom of the garden - but the colour fits here.
Cornish Stripe remains colourful - white pelargoniums, kingfisher blue from Felicia, azure from Anchusa, true blue from Rotheca, purples from Polygala and Scabiosa. If you look closely at the Scabiosa flower ... you will see a tiny white crab / flower spider.
While the Ungardener was battling a raging temperature and pneumonia we had gale force wind. The trellis on the East Patio outside the kitchen was swaying like a flail. The base of its supporting leg had snapped - so I sawed the trellis free of its broken leg. Now I was menaced by a flail like a windmill sail - and had to quickly saw it free of its second and sound leg. Poor granadilla vine was coming on nicely and now lies in waiting on the ground.
The Woodland Walk at the bottom of the garden is overwhelmed by Plectranthus neochilus. I am steadily pruning back buckets to keep the path open, and rediscover the OTHER plants. Some green hair algae returning to Froggy Pond - we need a little barley straw.
We have gone straight to New Year's resolution to try and walk an hour a day. Gasp. I need a day off, also to get into the garden. One of my silver grey fountains of Dusty Miller, as Thomas kindly points out, is dead. Again, in March, I will take cuttings from the other 3 and rejuvenate that sad corner.
Summer Gold I need to work on. There are some buttery yellow gazanias and a few golden Hibiscus flowers.
Spring Promise keeps the pink and white prettiness coming. Lots of pink pelargoniums. Inherited Oxalis and a dark Fuchsia. My tiny pink wild hibiscus. Slender white petals on Bowkeria - blink and you miss them.
We usually walk on the beach three times a week. Our route includes the stairs across the railway line. Delighted to see that the lifeguards are drawing new members from Masiphumelele, giving good role models to a marginalised township, and teaching swimming to a community otherwise at great risk from drowning (when they do enjoy a visit to the beach, especially now around Christmas) Life guards are paid, so a little extra employment.
We were especially glad when we heard them politely but firmly telling swimmers to please be careful of that young seal resting on the rocks.
As we walk the length of the beach we meet pairs of lifeguards patrolling the dangerous stretch - beyond - please swim between these flags!
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