April in our False Bay Garden and a fresh blog

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Two years ago the builders left us with a renovated house, and a garden which was bare sand at the front and along the three garden sides of the house.

Two years in which the winter rains failed and our dams are emptying fast. We have 110 day of water left. We may no longer use tap water outside (garden, pool, hosing paving, car washing) Yesterday we had thundershowers and a grateful five millimetres, with more promised for Sunday. Our water use has gone from 16 kilolitres in January like there's no tomorrow. To 12 Kl in February we began to think about our water usage. To 9 Kl in March we tried harder. To 7 Kl in April we fight down to 100 litres per person per day. And below that for May!

Summer Gold and Pink Promise April 2017
Summer Gold and Pink Promise April 2017

Winding down the west, afternoon sun side of the house, the inherited green boundary has the echo which I planted.

Summer Gold and Pink Promise 2015 to 2017
Summer Gold and Pink Promise 2015 to 2017

The nearer half is Summer Gold, with yellow flowers. Senecio creeper lives on the kitchen trellis. Mandela's Gold Strelitzia does the primary red, blue and yellow. Yellow daisies are Euryops. Natal laburnum dangles trusses of golden yellow flowers. Clear yellow flowers on Bulbine.

Summer Gold April
Summer Gold April

The distant half is Spring Promise. White flowers (Iceberg rose and wild jasmine) for pink and white prettiness with pelargoniums and a wild forest hibiscus.

Spring Promise April
Spring Promise April

The front garden was brick paving, a terraced retaining wall, and sand. The tiny once potted olive is slowly reaching a gnarled and good tree shape. On the Karoo Koppie I want Autumn Fire, tongues of orange and red. Californian poppies. I inherited brash orange Tecomaria. Tree fuchsia Halleria blooms are weirdly hidden far from the leaves and close to the trunk - a magnet for sunbirds. Scarlet pelargoniums. Gold dusted scarlet Nerine sarniensis.

Karoo Koppie 2015 to 2017
Karoo Koppie 2015 to 2017

Karoo Koppie April
Karoo Koppie April

At the bottom of the garden, the chilly south-facing side, Froggy Pond is appreciating that rain. The raised beds along Woodland Walk are satisfyingly green.

Froggy Pond 2015 to 2017
Froggy Pond 2015 to 2017

The gentler east, morning sun side, and the Washing Pergola needs painting, cherry red has faded to a nasty maroon. Blue and pink purples paint Plectranthus, Mexican sage, Hypoestes ribbon-bush, Rotheca (Oxford and Cambridge) and Barleria (April violets) with a happy white Hypoestes.

Cornish Stripe 2015 to 2017
Cornish Stripe 2015 to 2017

Cornish Stripe April
Cornish Stripe April

For Wildflower Wednesday all indigenous to South Africa (except Iceberg rose, Californian poppy, Coprosma, Dusty Miller, Santolina, Mexican and culinary sage)
For Through the Garden Gate a green two year old.

Fresh Soho blog

I check my blog stats monthly. I clear crawl errors. Analytics and Blogger tell me my mobile readers are almost non-existent. David Kutcher pointed out - that doesn't mean we can forget them, it means our site is unfriendly. Blogger has new mobile responsive themes - Peggy K has a short video clip and is always helpful when I flounder. 'Your problem' may already be resolved at the Blogger Help Forum. I have moved from the old Simple (still used on my previous blog) to the new Soho.

Do start on a test blog. First panic is no navbar - so you need to login via blogger.com Mobile readers never saw the sidebar, now all readers can click the hamburger icon top left (for my blogroll)

I have a few more details to sort - but the fresh blog is decluttered. Since the header image is also responsive (stretched or squashed to fit your device) I have changed to a sun, sea and shore texture from Rocher Pan.

I invite you to join us at Elephant's Eye on False Bay. Please subscribe as you prefer
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Pictures by Diana Studer

Teal blue text is my links.
To read comments if you are in email or a Reader, first click thru to the blog)



Thanks for comments that add value. Maybe start a new thread of discussion? BTW your comment won't appear until I've read it. No Google account? Just use Anonymous, but do leave a link to your own blog. I would return the visit, if I could ...

I welcome comments on posts from the last 2 months

Danke für sinnvolle Kommentare. Die werden erst veröffentlicht nachdem ich sie gelesen habe. Es können auch Bemerkungen sein die in eine ganz andere Richtung gehen.

Comments

  1. Beautiful flowers!
    You have certainly done a lot of work, but all that beauty makes it worthwhile

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm amazed at the colour in your garden - ours is a bleak "droughty " shade of nasty yellowy brown ☹️
    New blog - or have I got it wrong and you're just using a new template?
    How do you clear the "crawl errors" in your stats - via Blogger, Sitemeter or Statcounter?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The same blog - but with a new fast and mobile-responsive theme.

      Crawl errors are at your Google Search Console (was webmaster tools)

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    2. Diana, you have worked very hard and it shows in your beautiful garden. Oh, if I could send you just one of our rain storms we have had this week. Last year was a horrible drought for us also and now it seems the clouds are trying to catch up all in one month. Gardening is not for the weak of heart.

      Jeannie
      GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

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    3. Bit wary of cloudbursts and the thunderstorms, as our burnt mountains will turn to mudslides. Hoping for gentle soaking rain. Again. And again.

      Delete
  3. Your garden is looking very green and colourful two years later, and it must be a challenge in the drought. Our garden looked like a desert (almost) when we had drought conditions. I'm looking at your lovely orange flowers and the purple ones and thinking I might try some in our garden. Good luck with your new blog!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I didn't have a little clean grey water from the kitchen sink, my pots would suffer. Otherwise I am pleased with the way my garden is adapted to living at peace with our mediterranean climate and sandy soil.

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  4. It's amazing to see all the progress you've made, and I'm glad you're getting a little more rain now. I've been using the paving bricks lately too, in some plantings. Your garden looks great!

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  5. I like your new decluttered blog look. And it is a tribute to your gardening skill that your garden is thriving in a time of such severe drought.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It a wrench to let the sidebar clutter slide out of sight, but it is mostly my blogroll that was clicked - so readers will have to work a little harder to get there. Seems fair, since many blogs don't have a blogroll.

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  6. Your plants have grown so much in two years Diana; here in my very dry garden trees and shrubs need 2 years to just put down some roots and then, if I'm lucky they begin to grow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Porterville was a tougher climate. Despite local complaints, I find this the kindest climate of our three gardens.

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  7. I met some people from Cape Town over the Easter break and they were telling me about your dreadful water shortage. You have worked wonders on your plot in a short amount of time and in such challenging conditions. Long may these rains continue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am watching that constantly moving target on the forecast - will it be 1 mm or 6 or ??

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  8. Good luck with the water restrictions. Luckily the garden seems pretty established and will cope with dryness. Also, I think you've planted drought resistant plants. I must say I have been resting on my laurels and not developed my technical knowledge about blogging. Need to get out of my comfort zone, like at the beginning ...(sigh)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Click that link to Peggy. That gave me the courage to try - and it is certainly drawing me lots of readers on mobile!

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  9. it's heartening to see the development of your 2 year old garden Diana- as always am impressed with the amount of thought and effort that goes into your planting - the colour patches, the ingenious names, and all with an eye to the natives and your drought. I like the way the path follows the contours of the pond - inviting paths to wander down.
    p.s. struggled a bit to figure how to comment but should be at home with Soho!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 'struggled to comment'
      Can I make it easier or clearer somehow?
      Would love some feedback.
      There are only a few blogs using the new themes so far.

      Delete
  10. Your garden looks beautiful and colorful despite your miserable drought conditions, Diana, but I know the toll that water shortage takes on both garden and gardener over time. Is winter your rainy season, as it is ours? In any case, I have my fingers crossed that circumstance change for you - and soon!

    I like the new uncluttered blog format that you and other bloggers have rolled out. I haven't ventured into that brave new world as yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Today we have the hot berg wind conditions (your Santa Ana) which should bring the promised rain tomorrow. Stepping outside is like walking into an oven!!

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  11. I like the new look of the blog, Diana, and was interested to read your process. I've never thought to check my blog stats. And, of course, the garden looks beautiful.
    Amalia
    xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blog stats can answer questions. Is it worth having a blog page on Facebook and engaging there? Yes, because that draws me traffic.

      I do try to make my blog easy to read - in the practical techie sense - so it is good to see a clear spike of traffic from mobile users ;~)

      And, (idle) curiosity. Which site / blog sends me visitors? What do readers click to read or download??

      Delete
  12. The water rationing that's upcoming is quite startling, in my land of "water as much as you want, just do it on your days of the week." Actual amounts would help so much. For once, I'm agreeing with water budgets.

    The growth from 2015 to 2017 in some of the pics is something I need to do more. When I buy my own place, that is!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here a house has a water meter. But a granny / student flat is simpy included. And blocks of flats have a mixture of people saving or wasting and charged equally for water in their rent.

      I am getting a bit OCD about our water meter - but have been amazed how relatively easily we have gone from consuming 200 litres a day per person to 100 l/d/p. Now we have picked the low hanging fruit, it is harder to keep bringing our consumption down!

      It is surprisingly difficult to get the annual pictures to match up. Can't stand, just there, any more.

      Delete
  13. The transformation in your garden is amazing, particularly with having to deal with water shortages too! It makes our lack of water for 5 weeks seem like nothing! Do you think if you return to having more water that you will still retain many of the habits you have introduced over the last few months? Your garden still looks so green with such a variety of lovely flowers. Thank you for joining me again this month. Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps if we have a wet week in winter (today's rain was a quarter of a millimetre. Sigh) Living in a summer dry climate changes the way my heart feels about using water.

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  14. I am amazed at how lush everything looks, despite your dry conditions. Which demonstrates how well you have adapted your garden to your climate. However, I do hope you get more rain!

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  15. Dear Diana,
    I like the new blog layout and I like your new garden. Amazing, how the place has changed. A great improvement for wildlife!
    Elke

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  16. I like the new look of your website. But the sea is on its side.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That bothers my husband too 'It looks like a waterfall'

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  17. Love seeing the progress and growth shots from year to year, Diana - it's so fun to see the garden develop. It's so fun to see your autumn light and flowers while we're experiencing the full rush of spring...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. and for me, it is encouraging to see the sleep, creep, leap in action. Year by year.

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  18. I love your before-and-after pictures. Well done, Diana, especially considering your water shortage. I wish I had your tech. knowledge to change my blog from the boring 'Simple' format. P. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try Peggy's video clip. That worked for me.

      Delete

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