False Bay garden in December
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
From Porterville we brought an edible banana in a pot. Barely a few leaves. Should produce lady finger bananas. Just one or two bites each. Planted in our sandy garden, the summer Southeaster rips the soft leaves to shreds.
Before Christmas a stubby red bud emerged. As it grew it drooped. Then a lush tropical fragrance drifted from the burgundy bracts. And TA DA as each bract opens a tiny bunch of bananas emerges!
The flowers drip nectar which I hope our sunbirds are discovering. For Through the Garden Gate with Sarah in Dorset.
This year's compost volunteer tomato has plum-sized fruit.
We are in the difficult early stages of minimalism. Either stuff finds a good home and serves a purpose. Or. We move it on, mostly to TEARS gift / book shops. Malachite cherub came from my middle sister when she moved to Devon. Metal kingfisher used to live on Ungardening Pond but we have all downsized at False Bay. Wooden hornbill is from the Ungardener's final tour guide group.
My Cornish Stripe garden with blue and white flowers is the perfect home for our enamelled Welsh butterfly. Memories of whitewashed slate roofed cottages garnished with creatures. The first Agapanthus will be followed by the buds around the garden. Blue 'butterflies' of Rotheca.
My dreams of a new bench to sit under the lemon tree must wait.
We have a hole (waiting for the concrete foundation for the third tank) and a heap on the paving at the lemon tree. Uncle George has been beached as we dutifully follow Cape Town's drought guidelines - no tap water for pools! He does get the cleanish water from the kitchen sink. Next week we will get more white pebbles to cover the exposed plastic (and protect it from the sun). In front of the palisade fence the sleep creep leap Halleria is coming up at last.
Keeping the birdbath topped up with rainwater, and first to drink is Zoë. She has a rock and a tree for evening chases. Muffled squawks from Thomas when one of the teddy bears ATTACKS him.
Small succulent Haworthia? in the sunny front garden, with silver and orange bells of Cotyledon orbiculata. Succulent pelargonium is usually fleshy bare stems but has delicate white flowers on tall stems. Tangerine Bulbine. Volunteer to cut for the Advent wreath is Alstroemeria. Deep purple Streptocarpus tucked in a carefully shaded corner. Sky blue Plumbago. Raspberry and Barbie pink pelargoniums have scarlet, salmon, white and some pink companions. Mauve Scabiosa dances in the path. Out front Buddleja saligna (false olive) has panicles of tiny white flowers for bees and moths. All but Alstroemeria for Wildflower Wednesday with Gail at Clay and Limestone in Tennessee. More wildflowers from our hikes.
2017 has been a year of learning the new normal in our use of municipal water. And work out when and how much to use our tanks of rain water. We have learnt the recommended 87 litres per person per day is comfortable. The target of 50 litres to avoid Day Zero (dry taps), that, is hard. But I fervently hope we do NOT come to collecting 25 litres each to survive. From January to December our daily municipal use fell from 457 to 74 litres. Un- greenwashed and including rainwater in December we are using 143 litres. 4 days off-grid using rainwater.
Our weather forecast shows a few millimetres of drizzle for New Year. I wish you a Happy New Year with rain or sun as you desire.
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