False Bay garden and water in November

by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Thanks to winefarmers in the Constantia valley and their indiscriminate use of poison against ants 40% of our honey bees have been killed overnight. Grateful for each creature that manages to survive in our garden.

Centaurea flower and bee
Centaurea flower and bee

Way back in October 2010 an enthusiastic landscaper at Org de Rac talked about planting trees, for caterpillars, for birds. My Kiggelaria africana has been found by Acraea butterflies, and we have caterpillars!!

Acraea butterfly
Acraea butterfly

Little forest of tomato seedlings - tiny yellow plums if they come true to seed?

Little yellow plum tomato seedlings
Little yellow plum tomato seedlings

Butter yellow flowers and leaves sparkling in the shade Psychotria capensis. Encouraging the Japanese maple and rewarded with delicate leaves. Potted lime has been fed, thank you. Blue butterfly flowers on Rotheca myricoides.

November garden and flowers
November garden and flowers

For Wildflower Wednesday with Gail in Tennessee. When I catch that smell of wax crayons that takes me straight back to the first day at school, there are tiny white flowers on the Asparagus. Soft mauve pompoms of Scabiosa. Limonium perezii is from the Canary Islands sharing our mediterranean climate. Pelargoniums seem to bloom year round, the colours taking turns.

November garden flowers
November garden flowers

Step Through the Garden Gate with Sarah in Dorset. Flying the flag to celebrate, and welcome guests. Gifted pot of Mexican roses Echeveria enjoying the afternoon shade with other tender succulents.

November in our garden
November in our garden

From the garden I gathered posies, which went home with our guests. A sprig of ivy - the Ungardener likes it, I battle it - into each life a little rain must fall. Lighten our darkness with Cyperus albo-striatus and Marble Chips Coprosma (New Zealand). A few Prince of Wales feathers from the Centaurea (Mediterranean). Lavender for the fragrance. Colour from Alstroemeria (Chile), three pelargoniums, and a spark of Californian poppy.

Garden posies on a linen cloth woven by his mother
Garden posies on a linen cloth woven by his mother

Forty years, our Ruby Anniversary. Google says the flowers are nasturtiums! Red nasturtiums (Central America). The Ungardener is a septuagenarian. Oy, how did that happen already?!

Family lunch
Family lunch

There have been seven cats in our life, one for each decade. In Camps Bay Pickwick, Sparkles, Henry and Aragon. Henry and Aragon came to Porterville, where we added Chocolat. Aragon and Chocolat came to Fish Hoek. Now we have Thomas and Zöe.

Seven cats
Seven cats

Sunday will be the First of Advent. I have the Cyperus and Coprosma for light, and red pelargoniums for our rubies.

Advent wreath 2018
Advent wreath 2018

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

281 litres 2015 garden after the first year.
241 litres 2016 garden Advent wreath is ALL pelargoniums. He was recovering from pneumonia.
  50 litres 2017 garden Yellow limbo between the sold Land Rover and the new electric car (an early gift for the 40 and 70 celebrations)
2018 on our latest account 65 litres.

So far in November we have used 77 litres; without our rain tanks it is 63 litres (nicely under the 70 litre target) of municipal water. Only 5 days were off-grid using our rain water.


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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. Happy anniversary, Diana! The "mistake" with the bees is appalling but at least the travesty received public coverage and the parties are working to prevent any recurrence. I love the elephants paired with the advent wreath.

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  2. Beautiful photos!
    Congratulations on your anniversary!

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  3. Diana, congratulations on your 40th wedding anniversary! Your flowers are absolutely beautiful, I love japanese maples but unfortunately they dislike my climate.

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    Replies
    1. It is a love plant. Not happy with salt sea breezes, or summer heat. My tree KNOWS this isn't Japan, or anything like that climate.

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  4. Happy 40th Anniversary. What a beautiful couple you are. Joy to you both!

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  5. Congratulations on your anniversity... We had ours this year ... 40th is an achievement! I love your Advent wreath and also your interesting and beautiful looking cats.
    Terrible news to lose 40 per cent of your bees ...what an appalling mistake to use such sprays.

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  6. Your kind wishes are much appreciated - thank you all.

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  7. Happy anniversary and also congratulations on the caterpillars!

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  8. Congratulations on your 40th Wedding Anniversary that is wonderful to have been together for so long. So sad that this has been marred by loosing 40% of the bees. We learnt the other day that some of the vegetables that are grown here are treated 14 times by pesticides, one wonders too about the effect of insect and human life! It's a shame that other parts of South Africa can't follow the Western Cape's example of water management. It has been tough on you all and your efforts have been inspiring. Sarah x

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  9. Congratulations on your anniversary! What a cute photo of the two of you! Your arrangements for the guests are perfect, and I really like the potted succulents. It's always great to have caterpillars and butterflies in the garden!

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  10. Happy Anniversary to both of you.......we really do have to be careful regarding wild life, plant, animal and insect. You both do your bit in so many ways.

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  11. Your garden is looking very summery and the perfect place to celebrate. Congratulations on a major milestone. How sad about the honey bees and how thoughtless. Our world is a sad place these days. Good about the butterfly. Look s like a type of skipper.. B x

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  12. 40 years for you and the Ungardener married, very good, just like that cake looks! I would say your personal water management is a model for those others you mention and whom I know in the desert southwest US.

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    Replies
    1. My niece made the cake for us, baked and decorated!

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  13. Congratulations on your milestone anniversary, you two are so cute. 40% of bees is a lot. Fortunately the bees have found a shelter in your garden. Good on your reduced water use. We are headed into our reduced water use season even though we have had much rain. Cutting winter water use can significantly reduce our year-round bill so we have two reasons to conserve for the future.

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    Replies
    1. That use less, pay less, is a motivation here too, as we have a stepped tariff.

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  14. How sad about the bees. Congratulations on your anniversary. I love that verse, it is from The Servant Song, 'Brother sister let me serve you'....we sing it in our church. it is one of my favourites. I love the little posies too.

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    Replies
    1. Our church is St Francis and we sang it the week before. Serendipity accepted with both hands.

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  15. Congratulations, Diana, and Happy Anniversary. Your guests must have been so happy for you and also happy to go home with such gorgeous bouquets.
    Sad sad news about the bees.
    Amalia
    xo

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  16. I hope the water restrictions will be eased, but I imagine you will have been changed by this experience and never be profligate with water again. Congrats to Ungardener for his birthday. Loving cake to suit obviously loving couple. Limonium perezii - I have just rediscovered this wonderful plant. Divided one but not sure if the bits will survive.

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  17. I was shocked to read about the bees! So sad, thoughtless, careless - I hope that won't be repeated. But happy anniversary to a very good-looking couple! I loved the Richard Gillard poem; a lot said in few words.

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  18. Blooming wonderful post and Happy Anniversary - you are far to young to be married that long ;). Love your plants and flowers but oh my! the news about the bees is shocking!
    Hugs and hear's to many more years together x

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