False Bay garden in February

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

Outside the bay window where I can watch it unfold through the day is Boophone disticha. We bought that Karoo Desert Garden bulb at Kirstenbosch Plant Sale in 2007 and it has moved with us from Porterville to False Bay. I have so enjoyed its fan of twirly leaves but this is the very first flower!

Boophone disticha first flower
Boophone disticha first flower

For Wildflower Wednesday with Gail at Clay and Limestone in Tennessee from oh look A Bud! To emerging white stamens. Then the petals open into pink and white stars. Each day more flowers open. Today's cottage loaf will unfurl to a full globe.

As the flowers open Boophone disticha
As the flowers open Boophone disticha

Maltese Cross or Jacobean lily, Sprekelia formosissima comes from Mexico via Betty in Porterville. Bloomed here in October 2015 and 2016. And this February?! (Sigh, water in spring and summer, winter dormant)

Maltese cross Sprekelia formosissima
Maltese cross Sprekelia formosissima

Veltheimia capensis. Sand lily has lush leaves with ruffled edges. For partial shade - why did I plant it in a hot sunny corner? Dug up and moved 21 bulbs to afternoon shade alongside Crinum lilies and sleeping cats.  

Veltheimia capensis
Veltheimia capensis

With cryptic colouring it was hard to convince my camera to see Zöe, till she opened a beady eye against the clicking. Thomas in his hay bed of mulch. Frequent arguments around you are in My Chair! We have to fight for our turn.

Zöe and Thomas our cats
Zöe and Thomas our cats

Still working on the tapestry hedge on our verge. It needs yet another slice off. We anticipate Council coming to dig up our verge (it is their land) to lay fibre optic cables. Hoping they will tunnel under the brick paving, with a manhole in between. And that they don't wreak havoc with our coming together hedge. Sob.

Tapestry hedge on our verge
Tapestry hedge on our verge

Privacy pots of Searsia crenata are competing, coming up, and filling in.

Searsia crenata in pots for privacy
Searsia crenata in pots for privacy

Our garden is green, with brown gaps, and some flowers. Looking from Summer gold to Spring Promise. With a hopeful red baby bath to catch the promised rain. That day was almost a millimetre, but we got 3 bonus mm last night.

Summer Gold to Spring Promise
Summer Gold to Spring Promise

For Through the Garden Gate with Sarah at Down by the Sea in Dorset. Sub-tropical Kenyan plant is flourishing in afternoon shade. Rotheca myricoides has blue butterfly flowers. Protected from summer's Southeaster by our neighbour's glooming hedge, and from winter's driving rain and Nor'wester by our own house.

Rotheca myricoides
Rotheca myricoides

With our temperate mediterranean climate, the garden is subdued in summer, but never dormant. They say - prune lavender and pelargoniums in February. But there's flowers! I did feather the 2 older lavender bushes - and harvest a bunch of flowers. Sorry, bees. Pelargoniums I still need to bite the bullet.

February flowers in our garden
February flowers in our garden

February's garden flowers begin with a small blue butterfly among the matching Plumbago flowers. Lavender and lemons (now with a spike of Rotheca). Potted Iceberg roses. Delicate details on pink Pelargonium and a last Alstroemeria.

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. I wouldn't have had that much patience to wait 12 years for a plant to flower. The bloom was well worth waiting for! I do hope your hedge is not damaged, the workmen here would dig everything up. I love the blue butterfly flowers, they are so pretty. Thanks again for the lovely tour around your garden.
    Sarah x

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    1. It was only digging back thru my lists that I realised quite how many years it has been!

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  2. Wow! The Boophone disticha is stunning! Congratulations on its first flower! P. x

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  3. Beautiful blooms! I really enjoyed seeing the first plant in all its stages from bud to full bloom.
    Always enjoy seeing your cats, too.

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  4. Greetings - that Boophone is stunning! I love discovering new plants too. All of your blooms are lovely. I hope your hedge and pavers are spared. Thanks for the tour. Best, Kim

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  5. I hope the workmen don't hurt your verge much. It is hard when you have worked so hard to get things to grow just right and then they are damaged. We just had three horrible, thorny Bodock/Osage Orange trees felled in our yard and we (I) said for them to drop them on my flowerbeds rather than our power line. I have known it would happen for years, yet I continued to plant flowers around the trees anyway. (I can't stop myself.)
    Keep us informed as to what happens.
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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  6. I didn't even know that Boophone blooms. I'm sure mine, still a small plant, is years and years away from that. Every time I see your Rotheca, I have the urge to try it once again - it liked my old garden but has upped and died at least 2x in this one.

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    Replies
    1. It needs a kind sub-tropical corner, maybe in the shelter of one of your trees?

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  7. I'm glad you mentioned pruning lavender in February, I'm never sure with lavender, and we need the bees to keep buzzing around them. I love your Kenyan plant flowering so beautifully!

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  8. Your Boophone is wonderful in all its stages, no wonder you are so excited about it flowering! I really hope you hedge is safe and that workmen can avoid damaging its roots.

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  9. Congrats on the Boophone! Worth the wait! Mine is still a baby but the twirly leaves are yes, very enjoyable. The flower if it ever happens will be a big bonus.

    Just when your hedge is developing they decide to lay the cable. Sigh. Here the county finally repaved the main road--made it beautifully velvety smooth--then the water company immediately dug a trench in it and patched it very badly.

    The pups here are always switching chairs; the occasional tiff, but mostly they trade constantly. I walk by, Boris is in one. I walk back Natasha is there.

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  10. Love all the pinks and blues in the garden at the moment, so summery and lush. The Boophone disticha is wonderful. B x

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  11. I have exactly the same issue with lavender, except in August! It always feels too early to prune. But I bought a lavender sachet in Tasmania and it has helped me sleep. Perhaps this year I shall feel justified in pruning. If I can get the lavender to return in the first place of course. They hate my wet climate.

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  12. Lovely and I so wish I had a cistern like yours! Happy WW.

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  13. Love the Boophone disticha - so pretty, and I’m learning a lot about flowers from your blog 😊🌼

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  14. Good you pruned your lavender. I was remise doing this and some of my lavender got unruly. Enjoyed your photos of the Boophone disticha in stages of bloom. What a gorgeous flower!

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  15. What an extravagant inflorescence Boophone disticha has! It looks a bit like a giant allium, but a little research tells me that it is actually in the amaryllis family. Here we prune lavender in the spring as soon as danger of frost is past -- so no need to prune off those lovely flowers.

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  16. What an extraordinary flower this Boophone disticha ist. Very impressive. And the cats enjoy some comfy places.

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  17. what a boon from Boophone - the first flowering never fails to excite - the flowers remind me somewhat of nerines in a globe
    - and the Maltese Cross has leaves like a lemon geranium/pelargonium (mine having its first flowering indoors now but missing the sunny spot it enjoyed in London)
    Hope the council respect your brickwork

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    Replies
    1. Oh no - pretty pelargonium picked for the vase. The bulb has the usual strap shaped leaves, following after the flower has faded..

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  18. Dear Diana,
    what a big difference between your garden an mine. I really love the (for me) exotic plants and flowers you grow. The Boophone distincha is such a beautiful lady. WOW. Thank you so much for the advice to take sugar instead of salt and all my best for you and yours
    Elisabeth

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  19. We gardeners are a patient lot, well worth the wait for a plant such as Boophone. Thomas in his hay bed, made me think of the first cat we had, back in 69 when the girls were babies, he was also named Thomas and was black and white.

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  20. Beautiful blooms and photos, as always, dear Diana.
    Amalia
    xo

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  21. I enjoyed your photos showing the progress of Boophone disticha blooms. It is a beautiful, interesting plant. Nice that you can watch it from your bay window. Hoping for the best for your tapestry hedge on the verge. It is looking so good!

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