False Bay garden and water in April

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Barleria obtusa earns its name of April violets. Smothered in flowers and it volunteers around the garden. Blue trumpets folded open.

April violets Barleria obtusa
April violets Barleria obtusa

For Cornish Stripe I wanted blue and white - but the moody blues are mostly purple. My two dark blue pots need replanting and I have gaps for fresh herbs. Perennial basil is top heavy and leant to one side in the first storms. Third Polygala is turning brown and crispy; perhaps the square pots will simply be yellow Bulbine.

Cornish Stripe and lemon tree
Cornish Stripe and lemon tree

In April my garden turns to purple and moody blues Sky blue Plumbago, Oxford and Cambridge Rotheca, Plectranthus, ribbon bush curls of Hypoestes, Barleria and Mexican sage.

April purple flowers
April purple flowers

I weeded the Karoo Koppie of Californian poppies. Last year's plants have an efficient fleshy orange tap root like a carrot. I cleared the top of the retaining wall for emerging Lachenalia.

Karoo Koppie
Karoo Koppie

With the pots of Nerine sarniensis this is looking good, as the large aloes begin to fill in.

Karoo Koppie
Karoo Koppie

Nerine sarniensis dusted with gold sparkles in the sun. Halleria lucida carries its masses of red flowers on the woody branches. Autumn rain and the garden explodes into fresh green - heart leaf on Hibiscus tiliaceus. Zoë claims Thomas' nest. Buds on Tecomaria. Pelargoniums in salmon and scarlet. Furry orange Leonotis.

April red flowers with Zoë
April red flowers with Zoë

From our April municipal accounts in litres per person per day.

2015 garden 566 litres (we were renovating) The lemon tree bears less fruit.

2016 garden 274 litres The first year in the garden is the one that changes from nothing to something. Slipper orchids don't even have buds this year.

2017 garden  120 litres We were aiming at 100 litres per person per day.

2018 on our latest account 32 litres. For the whole month of April, we have used 74 litres. Without our rain tank, we average 21litres of municipal water (compared to the voluntary target of 50 litres) 19 days off-grid using our rain water which includes 7 deluverly bubble baths!


For Summer Gold and Spring Promise this year's change is the second rain tank hidden from the patio side by Bauhinia bowkeri. I moved the yellow iris to the sunny wall, hoping for flowers, and repeated the Gazania across the path.

Summer Gold and Spring Promise
Summer Gold and Spring Promise

Yellow dandelion. Well chewed Euryops daisy - we garden for biodiversity and it earns its space. Hypoxis. Flash of deepest pink from exotic Salvia greggii. Oxalis in strong pink and barely pink. Pink pelargoniums. Iceberg rose. Creamy Metalasia. White pelargonium and curls of Hypoestes.

April yellow pink and white flowers
April yellow pink and white flowers

Around Froggy Pond I replanted the tired border of yellow Bulbine. That pretty sinuous path is overwhelmed by Plectranthus neochilus. Need a tidy fresh look there. We have a third rain tank - two kilolitres together to last three emergency weeks.

Froggy Pond and Woodland Walk
Froggy Pond and Woodland Walk

One afternoon as I read those pink and blue striped clouds hovered for hours. Another evening the filigree of clouds melted as I caught the photo.

Cloud stripes in April
Cloud stripes in April

For Through the Garden Gate with Sarah at Down by the Sea in Dorset
and Wildflower Wednesday with Gail at Clay and Limestone in Tennessee.

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Pictures by Diana Studer

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Comments

  1. Diana, it's very nice to see the evolution of your lovely garden. You have many beautiful flowers, I was never able to have such variety in my own garden, I should work on that. It's been raining non stop for 10 days here and some towns are literally underwater I wish I could send you some rain to you town. Have a wonderful week!

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    1. We hope for rain, but floods bring a fresh set of problems as we saw in California too. Some flowers I found in this garden, but many of them travelled with me thru three gardens.

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  2. I'm SO impressed with your water conservation efforts, Diana! And the fact that your garden looks good even under severe drought gives me hope, especially as we share many of the same plants. I stared at your Rotheca (which I knew as Clerodendrum and assume has since been reclassified), wondering if I should try growing it again here. It was one of my favorite plants decades ago when we lived in milder Santa Monica but it didn't care much for my current garden when I tried it here (twice before).

    We have a 40-50% chance of light rain tomorrow, which is truly extraordinary for May here. My rain barrels could use the replenishment so my fingers are crossed.

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    1. My Rotheca battled to survive in Porterville. Here I planted it on the shady side of the house, just outside the kitchen door. Five litres of grey water a week when I remember. And I am constantly pruning it back!

      Juggling two weather forecasts ... maybe we get a few millimetres on Wednesday.

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  3. I was going to say the same as Kris, your garden looks incredible given the severity of the drought. You have chosen your plants well. It’s also obvious how much work you’ve put in over the years and the garden has repaid you handsomely.
    Tom Brown’s report makes interesting, if scary, reading. I do hope that winter rain comes to fruition this year.

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    1. April rain seems to have been average, so May looks more hopeful.

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  4. It has been a while since I have seen the evolution of your garden...what a treat especially the Cornish Stripe...well really all of it and an amazing goal of water usage. In my area even with all the rain and snow we should limit ourselves....we are spoiled here. Lovely clouds that I hope hold rain soon for you.

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    Replies
    1. I've made April my garden history month. This year's crop is plastic, tanks, buckets, bowls and cans!

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  5. I am amazed how much work you have put into your garden and it has paid off! It is beautiful especially since you have done it with so little water. It was enjoyable seeing the pictures. All I can say is "WOW'!!
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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    1. Small enough to enjoy, and large enough to be rewarding exercise.

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  6. It seems like only yesterday that you moved to your new home Diana. It has developed so quickly and so well. I love your changing colour themes. Your use of water is an inspiration to us all.

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    1. Three years has reached the established stage that needs tweaking, pruning, replanting.

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  7. It’s lovely to see how your garden has evolved over the last four years. Love the violets and all your blues and mauve. Amazing how your water usage has diminished so. An amazing achievement. B x

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    1. It is eye opening to focus on how little / much water we need for our comfort zone. 50 is tight, 60 is comfortable, and 70 litres a day is plenty.

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  8. so much to see and learn with your garden posts - enjoy especially the garden views over time and the water saving efforts - quite a challenge. Nerines always look odd in English gardens and now I can see why - they need your kind of light

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    1. The scarlet definitely needs sun to bring it to life.
      My pink ones are STILL sulking.

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  9. Wow, those cloud images are amazing! Would hope they brought some rain! I am so impressed with how you have adapted and still managed to create such a beautiful garden, despite severe water shortages.I enjoyed seeing the progression of your garden. Your blue pots are a bright asset to the garden, even when they don't contain any plants.

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    1. April rain was encouraging.
      Felicia kingfisher blue daisies are next for those 2 blue pots.

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  10. The flowers on the Barleria obtusa are so lovely. I wish we had such a diversity of colourful plants in our garden all year around. It was lovely looking at the comparisons over the years of locations in your garden.The plants seem to stand up to the drought, I hope the wished for heavy rains reach you this month, and ease the strain on South Africa's water shortage. All that hard work in getting your extra water tanks in most be so worth it now, allowing for those bubble baths! That cloud formation was fantastic too! Sarah x

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    1. Nothing like soaking in a hot bath after a morning hike!

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  11. Terrific way to display the progress of your garden. Froggy Pond and Woodland Walk, fabulous.

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    1. Tricksy to get a sort of similar viewpoint.

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  12. Your garden is so full of flowers. I especially love the moody blues and the blue pot. And I love the sky pics. Inspiring what can be achieved with such water restrictions.

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  13. It is amazing how green and gorgeous your garden is in spite of the water shortage.

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  14. No one looking at your lovely garden would believe it is done with so little water. You are working miracles, Diane.
    Amalia
    xo

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    Replies
    1. Kris in California who shares our mutual mediterranean climate, call this the second spring. In my garden this is the Spring which explodes into green!

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