False Bay garden and water in May

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

An autumn storm snapped the hand of lady finger bananas. Time to ripen - turning yellow In A Vase on Monday.

Bananas In A Vase On Monday
Bananas In A Vase On Monday

Cape Town Gardening 101. Plant in autumn rain. Your plants settle in during winter. We survive next summer.

Toos van den Berg is closing her nursery. My first choice for indigenous trees and shrubs! New branches will open. Metal owl perches in the Karoo Koppie olive tree. Pappea capensis red berries for birds (between Halleria and Diospyros) in Rose Courtyard. Euryops tall shrub in Summer Gold. In Cornish Stripe Felicia in two blue pots for Wildflower Wednesday, and Buddleja glomerata lime grey leaves to replace Prunus nigra. Psychotria capensis to hide newest rain tank. Waiting for trellis at first rain tank is Dipogon.

Plants from Toos van den Berg
Plants from Toos van den Berg

Leaf detail for Toos van den Berg plants
Leaf detail for Toos van den Berg plants

Metal art owl
Metal art owl

I waited patiently till the weather cooperated to visit Fynbos LIFE (Lowland Indigenous Flora Education) nursery. I will return. In Spring Promise Eriocephalus racemosus wild rosemary, white flowers July-Aug, sun (perhaps better for the grey corner anchors than Dusty Miller which needs hacking back and fresh cuttings). Eragrostis curvula x 3 weeping love grass, curly leaves, under our bedroom window in Summer Gold. Psoralea repens x 3 groundcover between paving slabs. Salvia africana-caerula slow growing between Strelitzia nicolai and the lemon tree. Helichrysum cymosum x4 grey leaves 'groundcover' under lemon tree, yellow flowers. Ficinia lateralis (lots of water) waiting to go next to the frog.

Lowland fynbos LIFE plants
Lowland fynbos LIFE plants

Leaf detail for lowland fynbos LIFE plants
Leaf detail for lowland fynbos LIFE plants

He has finished the pebbles between the paving slabs of Rose Courtyard. Pebbles wait to be redistributed along the edges of Froggy Pond. Square pot was replanted in March for the giraffe. Lemon verbena transplanted. S-bend to pond needs the left side replanted. For Through the Garden Gate

Replanted garden
Replanted garden

Simon's Town 1909 naval dockyard gate with freemasons, the ship Diana from Russia, and a garden wall cleverly constructed from slender gabions.

Simon's Town history
Simon's Town history

Hibiscus tiliaceus leaves endlessly fascinating. Tiny bronze and lime gold angels unfold their wings and expand to great green hearts. That had its first flowers here - but sadly on days when I missed photos.

Hibiscus tiliaceus leaves
Hibiscus tiliaceus leaves

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

2015 garden 288 litres. Planted the Karoo Koppie and the verge. Our cats were Chocolat and Aragon.
2016 garden 250 litres. More attractive bones, less jungle! With Thomas.
2017 garden 91 litres. Adding the first of three and a half rain tanks.

2018 on our latest account 32 litres. So far in May we used 85 litres, without our rain tanks 20 litres of municipal water. 21 days off-grid using our rain water. We added Neoperl Mikado aerators to our bathroom taps - very low flow, but a powerful spray, with a pretty twirl.

Tom Brown reviews our dam levels each Tuesday (28th May) Our dams are up 3% year on year. Our voluntary target remains 50 litres pp pd.

May flowers. First Lachenalia bulbifera this year. Two sorts of striped Sansevieria behind Froggy Pond. Delicate pink Nerine. Pink pelargoniums. Deep orange Tecomaria. Orange and gold Hibiscus. White flowers and red leaves on Crassula. Yellow Euryops. First stately Aloe ferox  marlothii flower for this garden. Soft mauve Plectranthus and white Iceberg rose. Spotted leaves of Haemanthus ? Basil for bees. White pelargonium. April violets Barleria. Yellow Senecio creeper. Furry Mexican sage. Flat leaves of Haemanthus ? Frilly fan of Boophone. Spotted Hypoestes and blue butterfly Rotheca.

May flowers
May flowers

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Pictures by Diana Studer

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Comments

  1. its amazing the beauty where you live, such a treat to the eyes, so much work and beautifully landscaped!

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  2. You should write a book on your experiences in reducing your water consumption, Diana. As things are going, it could become a best seller here in Southern California! I love the leaves on that Hibiscus, another species I've never heard of before this.

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  3. It's so impressive how much you've reduced your water use! Bravo! I'm so jealous of your year-round blooms. And they're all so colorful, too!

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  4. So much still flowering in your garden despite the lack of rain! .. I didn't realise you could grow lady finger bananas in the Cape. .. My Dad grew bananas in Zambia but my memory is it was almost always hot there unlike the Cape!
    You are doing a really impressive job reducing your water usage & still having a florishing garden. It makes me think we are not as vigilant as we used to be in drought time. You are giving a good example to us!

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    Replies
    1. I also find the bananas hard to believe - they look such fun in our bay window as you drive past ;~)

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  5. It is always a delight visiting your garden once a month Our rain barrows have run out of water since we returned from holiday. It always amazes me how good and colourful looks despite the lack of rain. I'm sure if we had a drought the garden would look all brown and dreadful! A rosemary with white flowers that seems so unusual! Sarah x

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  6. I love the way your garden is still flourishing despite your huge water shortages. I guess it is all about correct plant choices. A fascinating post as always. B x

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  7. A well-meaning friend has shared some of his online research on the lack of growth in the landscape industry in the US, though I no longer make a living as a landscape architect. It is for some, and I was one. Nurseries - I've known of their demise and challenge of owning for 25 years, but it's always sad to lose one like Toos van den Berg's nursery. Hopefully a replacement and those new branches...

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  8. Love your native Rotheca -- such a pretty blue. Square pot planted for the giraffe? P. x

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    1. The giraffe wanted a better view out the window
      http://eefalsebay.blogspot.com/2018/03/false-bay-garden-and-water-in-march.html
      A little alarming how that cutting of Gazania has exploded!

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    2. Yes, I saw his new view and love it! Mine is guarding my Froggy Pond right now against bears!

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  9. That you manage to create a beautiful garden with just rain is amazing. The ornamental nursery business is a difficult one the world over, it seems.

    This past year I put pebbles in between the stepping stones--it has worked out surprisingly well. Hope yours produce pleasing results.

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    Replies
    1. Mellow colours of the river / beach pebbles pull our paving and paint colours together. So much better than the dazzling white quartz chips when we moved in.

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    2. White quartz chips were a thing here quite a long time ago--it wasn't good here, either.

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  10. Beautiful May flowers as if it were spring here....and wonderful vase of bananas :) I also prefer to plant in autumn for a better spring bloom.

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  11. What is wrong with the left sideS-bend to the pond? Don't you like the plants?

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    Replies
    1. You know - how you have an empty space in the garden, and you quickly plant what you have available? For me it was Plectranthus neochilus, a succulent which has exploded to take over. The. Entire. Garden.
      Now we have a wide and welcoming S curving again!

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  12. Your thread on water conservation is so appropriate to these times of global climate change. Thank you for including the comparative figures--they're inspiring, especially when combined with your beautiful photos. And then the vase of bananas ripening--what a different world from mine!

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  13. It continues to amaze me what you achieve with so little water. The garden looks beautiful.
    Amalia
    xo

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  14. Cape Town Gardening 101 is like Melbourne Gardening 101, important lessons to be learned (usually the hard way). So many gorgeous May flowers, shows good management and commitment waterwise.

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  15. Hope your bananas ripened. Very nice piece of artwork is the metal owl.

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    Replies
    1. Every last tiny one. Delicious! All et and we must wait longingly for next year's crop.

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  16. Diana, It's really interesting to know how few watter you use to keep your garden looking so good. It strikes me the way you are reducing your water consumption, I feel I must do much more to reduce mine. Rain tanks, I think I underestimated those. Thank You.

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    Replies
    1. In fact, I only use that rain water in the garden for new plants and to get cuttings established.

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