False Bay garden and water in August


- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Cape winter. Snow on the mountains. Zoë likes to lie on the hearth, when the fire is just lit, when I go to bed, and again in the morning as the wood stove still radiates warmth.

Zoë on the hearth
Zoë on the hearth

White eagle decal spreads its wings across the glazed doors. To prevent the Ungardener walking thru when it is closed!

Eagles have landed on our glazed doors
Eagles have landed on our glazed doors 

Freesia alba wafts its fragrance thru the garden from many pots. Reminds me of the story my mother told me - that my grandmother used to put a vase of freesias on a shelf near the gas lamp, for the warmth to draw out the scent. How that evokes the past is another country!

Freesia alba
Freesia alba

Light from a spike of white flowers on pregnant onions Ornithogalum. Dark from the first bud on Melianthus major.

Melianthus and Ornithogallum
Melianthus and Ornithogallum

On our Karoo Koppie I have a low Pelargonium hedge dotted with the red I found in the garden. Firesticks and Crassula bring red stems and leaves. Deepest russet Nasturtium from seeds my oldest sister gave me. Cluster of lentil sized berries on Searsia crenata.

Red flowers for the Karoo Koppie
Red flowers for the Karoo Koppie

In Spring Promise shocking pink Oxalis buds are just opening. Lipstick pink Pelargonium. Blush pink Dombeya. Soft lilac Hibiscus my middle sister brought as cuttings form Knysna. With white from more freesias and feathery garlic buchu. Anchored with clumps of grey feathered Dusty Miller.

Pink flowers for Spring Promise
Pink flowers for Spring Promise

In Summer Gold inherited Hibiscus is having a vibrant winter with golden yellow flowers burnished to deepest terracotta. I planted yellow Euryops, but it is totally upstaged by the yellow perfection of dandelions! Yellow Bulbinella is both where I planted it, and where it chooses. Delicate lime green gold and cream Albuca. For Through the Garden Gate with Sarah in Dorset.

Yellow flowers for Summer Gold
Yellow flowers for Summer Gold

Cornish Stripe has underwhelming blue stripes (the four cobalt pots) with spikes of lavender under the lemon tree and a few blue daisy flowers on Felicia . But the indigenous white is glowing - Pelargonium, a border of potted Freesia alba, a white Babiana. For Wildflower Wednesday with Gail in Tennessee delicate purple veined white flowers on Melasphaerula ramosa (lonely only in its genus) which is in EVERY pot. Green and white stars of Cyperus albostriatus carry the white theme when the flowers don't.

Blue and white flowers for Cornish Stripe
Blue and white flowers for Cornish Stripe

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

2015 garden 235 litres. Planting Summer Gold. Sadly the Porterville olive, last Polygala and Grewia are all looking sad.
2016 garden 149 litres. Winter green has smothered some plants I had forgotten! Standard Iceberg and potted Adenandra are gone.
2017 garden   83 litres. Between rain and tanks, especially at the patio corner with two overflowing basins. Waiting for poppies, Ifafa and vlei lilies, and Sparaxis to bloom again.
2018 on our latest account 32 litres.

In August we used 75 litres, without our rain tanks it is 24 litres of municipal water. 20 days were off-grid using our rain water.

Tom Brown reviews our water situation each Tuesday (28th August). While the city will get by with our target of 50 litres per person per day as the dams are over 60%, Klein Karoo towns and farms are in desperate need of water and fodder for their animals.

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Pictures by Diana Studer

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Comments

  1. I love your new Decal there won't be any chance to walk through that! I was interested about putting the freesias closer to the lamp to bring out the scent. It is good to hear that the water situation has improved in the city but still a concern for the towns and farms. I am always amazed how much less water you use and the garden still looks good. Sarah x

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  2. Your narrative always draws me in - delightful way you show us readers round your garden, catching sight of the ungardener sometimes or a cat or two. Your planting schemes have such interesting names - is there a link to a post on how they originated? Saw some Dusty Miller plants in a garden centre - always makes me think of eefalse bay

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    1. I was going to work the names into this post - but life caught up with me.
      Meantime the names started in our Porterville garden, and I moved many plants with us.
      http://elephantseyegarden.blogspot.com/2013/11/sun-kissed-at-paradise-and-roses.html

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  3. Your eagle decal is great. I've got a hawk decal to help deflect birds from flying into our big living room windows but it isn't as attractive (nor entirely effective). Your late winter flowers are all gorgeous. Once again, the photo of the Dombeya had me looking up the plant to see if I can grow it here. As I'm currently looking for small trees, I've added it to my list of plant prospects this time.

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    Replies
    1. We battled with stunned birds crashing into the windows in Camps Bay and Porterville - not so much here.

      In Switzerland they use those black silhouettes of raptors, but not especially effective. Apparently it just needs 'something' which the birds can see - so our yacht in the bay window. Or a mobile?

      Ours is Dombeya burgessiae http://pza.sanbi.org/dombeya-burgessiae

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  4. Your cat is so smart! You solved a problem with a beautiful eagle. Stunning August blooms. P. x

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  5. Lovely to see your flowers, so similar to ours. My mother always had Dusty Miller in her Cape Town garden and also in Zambia. Nasturtiums too were in our gardens .. But I have no luck with them in Canberra, they wilt the minute there is a frost. Good to see your dams are 60 per cent ... We have had a bit of rain today ... First day of Spring so we are hoping it will continue..I enjoyed your garden view. ( and your warm fire for Zoe!)

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  6. I clicked on your post and my first thought was "why would anyone light their fireplace in this heat." Then I realized you are on the other side of the world; however, cats are smart no matter where they live.

    The comment your mother made, "The past is another (foreign) country" rings true and has paused me to stop and ponder.

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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  7. I love the idea of a room smelling of freesias. I hope your rains come soon. I've had birds fly into windows, too. Decals are excellent at preventing brain-damaged birds.

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  8. Just back from a summer blog and happy to visit your beautiful garden once again, dear Diana. Lovely blooms.
    Amalia
    xo

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  9. Its a cats life! I admire the management you have regarding the water situation, hope next year brings an improvement. Classy looking decal.

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  10. Zoe is so bloomin' gorgeous laying there and I don't even get on with cats (they sense I am allergic and rub themselves all over me, then I can't push them away because I think maybe they like me, but then I think they are mocking me instead - I'M SO CONFUSED, haha. Plus I have never seen nice decals for windows before. I love all your plants and they all look so healthy but the freesia - that has a special place in my heart; I had purple freesias in my wedding flowers :) Hugs to you Diana xx

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    1. I like the idea of fragrant freesias in a wedding bouquet. Mine was simply yellow and white roses.

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  11. omg you have so many beautiful plants and flowers in your winter! True Freesia alba is a favourite of mine and is quite hard to find, you don't find it in your average garden center.

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    1. I much prefer this true species to the alarming horticultural COLOURS.

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  12. The seats beyond the glass doors (with view of the birdbath?) look very inviting.

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  13. The ungarderner - I'll always chuckle at the nickname! Your progress on less water use while maintaining appeal is remarkable. The mostly unfamilar-to-me flowers in your winter (unwinter?) are such a treat!

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    Replies
    1. But you too are an Ungardener, establishing the bones, the hard landscaping, before the planting ;~)

      https://dryheatblog.wordpress.com/2018/08/15/now-to-my-landscape/

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