False Bay garden in November
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Late afternoon Thomas climbs his stairs to the top of the wall. Neighbourhood watch on duty. He took a few, zigzag up the steps lessons. Zoë observes him carefully ... and follows him up. Camera clicks and both heads snap round. Now she knows how to find her own way to the front garden.
We are in a 'looked at clouds from both sides now' limbo.
We sold our yellow Land Rover. After nearly 20 years! Making good use of our choice of a house in the valley and walking to shops, library and the station. Grocery shopping two backpacks at a time.
Now we struggle to capture a similar sunshiny yellow for the new electric car. The middle of these Californian poppy petals would be good. Or the pollen bags on the bee for Wildflower Wednesday with Gail at Clay and Limestone in Tennessee. More truly wild flowers from our hikes.
As I stand here, the olive, which was a tiny volunteer in a pot, fills the bay window and reaches above the eaves. Come Through the Garden Gate with Sarah in Dorset
Two of my plants have drifted to alive or dead? The granadilla and the Prunus nigra. Brachylaena discolor planted outside the living-room so I can enjoy the silver and bottle green leaves flashing in the Southeaster. I hoped to break the expanse of garage wall, but those LONG limbs are difficult to shape to a tree, rather than a block of trimmed green.
Strelitzia nicolai has huge blue and white flowers dripping nectar which ants and birds enjoy. On the potted lime was a citrus swallowtail. My second photo was blank as she flew at me, stroking my hand with her fluttering wings.
I fall for beautiful leaves every time. Toothed and citrus-scented Pelargonium. Beads on Curio radicans. Fan aloe Kumara disticha. Almost square leaves of Halleria lucida. Fierce blue-green teeth on Melianthus. Bronze heart of Hibiscus tiliaceus. White and green stripes of Cyperus albo-striatus. Ruffled hearts of nutmeg pelargonium. Creamy greens on Coprosma. Cotyledon orbiculata with grey reindeer horns. Softly blue grey Echeveria. Succulent 'ivy' hearts on climbing Senecio. Cream and white Plectranthus madagascariensis. Maidenhair fern. A silver leaved groundcover volunteering among the brick paving. Crassula ranked in fours.
A rainbow of November garden flowers (indigenous except Alstroemeria, Hibiscus, tomato and lemon). Deep vivid blues on Rotheca and Anchusa capensis. Along our verge a blue carpet of Plectranthus neochilus. Polygala in purple with white tassel. Crimson and shocking pink, and the patterned flowers of citrus pelargonium. Bells of Dombeya. White pelargonium along the shady ivy clad walls. Alstroemeria in a not my choice blend of peach, burgundy and yellow. Yellow daisy flowers that go with the 'ivy' leaves of climbing Senecio. Rich yellow Hibiscus. Volunteer tomatoes are a good size this year. Euphorbia mauritanica with the central flowers ripening from lime gold to bronze. Butter yellow Bulbinella. Truly lemon yellow (and a hint too green for the car - sigh).
Walking round the garden, Strelitzia nicolai would wave over the boundary wall (if we could see it thru the ivy and hedge) Winding path at the bottom of the garden between Froggy Pond and the lemon tree is next on my pruning list. The garden is clearly appreciating that we had 41 mm rain this November. 19 days off-grid using rainwater!
Still hoping our dams will get us thru summer. With help from our rain tanks, and we have ordered a third.
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