False Bay garden in October

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

On the verge our garden is hemmed in blue. Two Osteospermum moniliferum (bietou) are acting as pioneer / nurse shrubs to Searsia crenata (dune crow-berry) and Buddleja saligna (false olive), while Halleria lucida (tree fuchsia) sends up strong new shoots for Through The Garden Gate.

Blue verge Plectranthus neochilus
Blue verge
Plectranthus neochilus

Between the palisade fence and the house our Karoo Koppie is mostly California dreaming in orange and gold poppies.

California dreaming in poppies
California dreaming in poppies

My blue and white with yellow sparks is coming on nicely at Cornish Stripe. Strong vibrant blues from Anchusa capensis (Cape forget me not) and Rotheca myricoides (Oxford and Cambridge). Deep purples from Mexican sage, self-seeded heartsease and Polygala myrtifolia (Septemberbossie). A wave of white from Pelargonium, and basil for the bees. Blue and white flowers on Strelitzia nicolai. Softest mauve from Scabiosa. Yellow echoes from lemons to Senecio macroglossus flowers.

Blue white and yellow for Cornish Stripe
Blue white and yellow for Cornish Stripe

Potted Japanese maple has decided to flourish this year (till the summer Southeaster clips its wings) Granadilla vine and Prunus nigra are sadly not sure if they want to go on growing.

Japanese maple
Japanese maple

Almost three years till we could achieve what I wanted in this corner, to sit under the lemon tree and enjoy the view up Cornish Stripe. I would like another small bench, big enough for two friendly people.

Sitting under the lemon tree
Sitting under the lemon tree

In Froggy Pond I cut back the dwarf papyrus hard, one way to remove excess nutrients and discourage green hair algae. Not hard enough! Pillow stone comes from my sister's days in Riversdale (where the mountain is called Sleeping Beauty). We have one; count it; one, tadpole.

Froggy Pond Cyperus
Froggy Pond Cyperus

Himself worked hard to sift out the concrete rubble and move the remaining heap of garden soil. Kills my shoulders to work that sieve. We have our table at the stone circle near the pond back in use. Photo bombing at the right is Hibiscus tiliaceus - which will eventually give me the yellow flowers I wait for.

Stone Circle
Stone Circle

Yellow I need to work on. But delighted to see Psychotria capensis (lemoenbos), tucked in the shady corner behind the Maid of the Forest, has burst into bloom. Large shiny deep green leaves and handfuls of lemon yellow tiny flowers. Little Echeveria flowers. Dietes (wild iris) blooms ahead of rain and we have thunder rolling. Monkey beetle enjoying a Gazania.

Yellow for Summer Gold
Yellow for Summer Gold

For Spring Promise I have satisfying waves of pink flowers with five velvety grey corners of Dusty Miller. White Iceberg roses are revelling in regular grey water. Fine white flowers on nutmeg pelargonium. Trusses of shell pink Dombeya burgessiae. Four pink pelargoniums. Inherited pink Oxalis forms a lush and lovely border.

Pink and white for Spring Promise
Pink and white for Spring Promise

Down Cornish Stripe. Along the Woodland Walk. Back up Summer Gold and Spring Promise. The wide views are mostly green, while the collages pick out bunches of flowers.

October in our garden
October in our garden

Back to our drought (updated today) as we wait for desalination to kick in and our dams may last till June and winter rain! In September we used 133 litres a day (for two) - with the extra rainwater for the washing machine 146 litres. For October we have brought it down to 124 litres - with extra rain 137 litres. We reduced our consumption by ten litres a day month on month. Hoping that in November we will be able to plumb our alternative / emergency supply of rain water into the house.

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Pictures by Diana Studer

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Comments

  1. Diana, your garden looks stunning! I love the color of your Japanese maple, I planted one years ago but didn't work, I hope yours grows well! Have a wonderful week!

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    Replies
    1. It was the wine dark sea coloured leaves I wanted, that's why I am sad if the Prunus nigra has shuffled off.

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  2. The mass of Californian poppies and the maple particularly stand out for me this month. I love all the different areas you have created, Sarah x

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  3. Your California poppy display is more impressive than any my garden in California has ever produced! The Rotheca, which I knew by the old classification as Clerodendrum ugandense, drew another sigh - I so love that plant but 2 attempts to grow it here have ended in abject failure. Maybe I'll try it again in a large pot when I have my lath (shade) house - do you find it needs a lot of water? My soil is mostly sand so it doesn't hold moisture as well as I'd wish, especially with the limited rain we've had and the water restrictions still in place.

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    Replies
    1. Rotheca? Sand here too between the dunes and the beach. I water it perhaps once a week 5 litres when I think of it. Going on the ugandense part of the name, I have planted it in afternoon shade, just outside the glazed kitchen door where I can enjoy it.

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  4. It is all looking beautifully contented and seems to have a strong sense of belonging in its place. I am thinking I had better get some more California poppy seeds in the soil, as I don't think my two seasons' worth has produced enough self-seeding yet for ongoing bloom. My Dietes was most unhappy in two different spots, so I gave up on it, sadly... Perhaps I shall try again sometime as it's such a pretty plant. Our Leucophyllums have a similar trait of blooming ahead of rain. One of mine is in bloom now, the other not. What does that mean?... ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Our Dietes is pretty tough, like your walking onions - sends out long shoots that root when they touch the ground. Trust the plant that says Rain!

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  5. So beautiful! You've achieved a wonderful garden in such a short time and with a drought included it's amazing.

    Our city has just brought desalination on line which should be helpful in future droughts. The plant converts brackish underground water since we are quite far inland. One of our major achievements is reclaimed water for irrigation use.

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    Replies
    1. Boreholes here have often got brackish water, which needs reverse osmosis to be useful. Unsustainable use could bring sea water contamination to our aquifer.

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    2. Congratulations on your water saving & goals for the future. I love your space to sit under the lemon tree.

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    3. The flowers of the blue verge remind me of our lyreleaf sage. They're lovely.

      It must be nice to have a lemon tree, especially one that size.

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  6. Gerrie - it is a very happy place to sit (no other houses in sight)
    Sweetbay - we inherited a sad tree, with one branch fighting its way up to reach the sun.

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  7. PS I forgot to mention that willowleaf aster is a perennial.

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    Replies
    1. then it is so interesting that the colour can vary year by year!

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  8. I love your California dreaming - and the monkey beetle, what a funny looking creature!

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  9. I love that photo of the Japanese maple.
    Amalia
    xo

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  10. One tadpole! That's strange. Considering you don't have fish. Who ate the other tadpoles? Or are the others still eggs?

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    Replies
    1. Sadder still - we found a tiny dead frog floating in the pond.
      Still hope that perhaps there will be more survivors from a future batch.
      There are certainly dragonfly larvae in the pond - and they are voracious feeders.

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  11. Hi Diana, your poppies are stunning! I look at all the color in your garden and remind myself that in your world it must be spring! But your garden has so much color year-round. With the drought and water restrictions, it is a true testament to your gardening ability and diligence.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. The poppies automagically come back each year :~)) I can't claim any credit (except for not 'weeding volunteers')

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  12. We have to be water savvy - I guess drought may become a way of life? Among your flowers is one of my favourites - Johnny Jump Ups. I didn't have any for a couple of years, now a patch has appeared. Poor tadpole - hopefully he (or she) will be able to find a mate! Or hopefully there is already another one in Froggy Pond, very secretive and hiding from the count. Benches are very important to have in gardens. How about a hammock, too?

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    Replies
    1. One of my favourite flower combos, deep purple, luminous white, sparked with sunny yellow.
      Bit windy for a hammock - we'd be tipped out ;~)

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  13. I am always inspired by the amount of biodiversity you fit into your small spaces, and how lovely all of those species look, living side by side. Thank you!

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  14. The person sitting next to me today in my Senior College art class was making a design in shades of violet and blue, and I see that same lovely color combination in these photos from your garden. I am especially taken with your wild iris. -Jean

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    1. Haven't been to art classes since I learnt to make straw stars when we lived in Switzerland. Tried yesterday but, over 20 years later, the fingers and eyes have to work twice as hard.

      Blue white and yellow reminds me of your garden.

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  15. I always appreciate the hard data on water conserved on your property / home. May your spring not dry out so fast this time!

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