False Bay garden in March

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

I was sad when our last Polygala myrtifolia died. Wondered what the carpenter bees would do? Delighted to see they share my love of blue butterfly Rotheca myricoides flowers. They buzz pollinate, you can see the blurred wings and the pollen on her back. (Despite the stripes, she is not a Northern hemisphere bumble bee)

Female carpenter bee on Rotheca
Female carpenter bee on Rotheca

Boophone disticha filled out its first globe of pink flowers, faded, and is fanning out rippled leaves. Last will be the tumbleweed seedhead. For Wildflower Wednesday with Gail at Clay and Limestone in Tennessee.

Boophone disticha
Boophone disticha

11th of March we got 46 mm of rain. I walked down to Froggy Pond between downpours, and the water almost, came lapping to meet me! (We have an overflow pipe to the 'bottom' of our garden) Even the kingfisher on his pillow stone was paddling. Last night I heard a frog calling.

March downpour at Froggy Pond
March downpour at Froggy Pond

Despite Cape Town's more traditional gardeners whining about dead from not watering - I prune and he chips for me to mulch - about this much most weeks. From our Adirondacks the little stoep jacaranda Plectranthus saccatus is a haze of purple trumpets. For Through the Garden Gate with Sarah at Down by the Sea in Dorset. Past potted Icebergs in Rose Courtyard. We have managed the precision Swiss short back and sides for the hedge on our verge. Still needed to do the Mohican on the bietou bush Osteospermum moniliferum next to our driveway.

I hear digging ... the fibre optic team are hard at work! And with a machine to tunnel under most of our brick paving thankfully.

Pruning our tapestry hedge on the verge
Pruning our tapestry hedge on the verge

Looking down Cornish Stripe through our washing pergola to the lemon tree, then looking back up to the garage.

Cornish Stripe and washing pergola
Cornish Stripe and washing pergola

Along the Woodland Walk across the bottom of the garden, again from and then back to the lemon tree. Past Froggy Pond.

Woodland Walk and Froggy Pond
Woodland Walk and Froggy Pond

Spring Promise from the Adirondacks down to the pond. Summer Gold from the pond back to the patio.

Spring Promise Summer Gold
Spring Promise
Summer Gold

Through the gate to our sunny front garden the Karoo Koppie. Looking to and from the olive tree planted outside the bay window, to shield me from the view of the diggers.

Karoo Koppie
Karoo Koppie

Yellow flowers for Summer Gold. Yellow stars of Hypoxis hemerocallidea . Slightly chewed, but the tallish Euryops I moved from too much shade to enough sun has burst into flower. Simple yellow Gazania rigens enthusiastically covers ground, and paths. Token flower on my tiny Calpurnia aurea, which will later have yellow trusses similar to Wisteria.

Golden leaf spekboom Portulacaria afra.

Orange and red for the Karoo Koppie. Furry orange Leonotis leonurus. Tangerine shuttlecocks of Bulbine. Orange Californian poppy.

Euphorbia tirucalli Firesticks is bulking up at last. Tecomaria capensis is having a wonderful year with masses of flowers. Crimson Pelargonium. A last Inca lily Alstroemeria.

Yellow, orange and red flowers in March
Yellow, orange and red flowers in March

White blue and purple for Cornish Stripe. Iceberg rose. Pure white Pelargonium. First flower on potted chincherinchee Ornithogalum thyrsoides. Fluffy tassel flowers of camphor bush Tarchonanthus camphoratus (I wanted the cotton boll fluff for bird's nests, but we have a male tree)

Pink and white for Spring Promise. Two pink pelargoniums. Shell pink with cerise Indigofera trusses. Strange and fragrant flowers of Sansevieria.

Strong pink Brazilian Oxalis. Softest sky blue Plumbago auriculata. Colour of happiness, kingfisher daisy, Felicia amelloides. Purple Plectranthus saccatus.

White, pink, blue and purple flowers in March
White, pink, blue and purple flowers in March

Four years ago we were in the noise and dust of renovation. Three years ago I was planting around Froggy Pond. A year ago we harvested our own bananas, not this year.

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Pictures by Diana Studer

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Comments

  1. Beautiful Diana. I'd be outside all day even with the noise from the digging. Bananas? Wow, that surprised me a little. For some reason I didn't think they'd bear fruit down there and I'm so happy to hear that you got a good downpour

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    1. Bananas need some protection from our wind - but I also see them as more sub-tropical. Still find it hard to believe myself!

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  2. Oh my gosh what a joy to see, your hard work has created a masterpiece, we are still buried under many feet of snow but it is slowly sinking. I have missed your posts but I started a brand new blog with a new program, I hope you will find me there, my profile photo will lead you there, take care my far away friend,

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  3. Carpenter bees are impressive araound the world!

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  4. Amazing to see the pollen on the bee and the rain you have received this month! Have the Council planted their fibre optic cables yet? Beautiful selection of flowers as always. Sarah x

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    Replies
    1. The first company is in. But they say more will come to dig and cable and cover, each in turn. Sigh.

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  5. My Polygala myrtifolia has self-seeded - I wish I could send you some of the seedlings but there's no way they'd survive the handling by our respective mail services. Congratulations on the rain! I hope it's the first of many rainstorms, all well spaced in time so as to prevent flooding.

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    1. The two I found in pots were very old. I did have one vigorous seedling - which up and died from one day to the next.

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  6. Love looking at your garden. So many familiar plants that transferred to Southern Australia.

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  7. Excellent photo of that gorgeous bee!

    Felicia amelloides flourished in our tiny garden in California decades ago, and I miss it so much. It would have to do in a pot here in southwest France because of the short but cold winters. Someday . . .

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  8. What a great comprehensive view and update of your garden in March. You have some wonderful areas...sorry all the areas are wonderful, and your love of plants and garden are there for all to see. Great rain....we could do with some here!

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  9. So beautiful!! Thanks for sharing your gardens!!!

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  10. Diana, It's good to know that is raining well and good watter to you guys. I know it's much needed, as it is here in southern europe. We are facing drier seasons and mulching helps a lot keeping the soil fresh and healty. It makes all the difference.

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  11. All that rain, Diana -- I am so happy for you! Most of our boring bees disappeared last year. Don't know why. Your blooms are beautiful! P. x

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  12. Your garden is looking fantastic, the rain must be very welcome. ps - hope you dont mind me mentioning, but are you aware that the link back to your site takes us to a 2015 blog post. Alistair

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    Replies
    1. Sadly Wordpress refuses to link to my current blog, and remains locked to the first and now dormant one.

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  13. It's good to hear that you have had rain. Your garden is looking wonderful and I love the Carpenter bee. B x

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  14. Love your Froggy Pond! Your garden is amazing, especially after the lack of rain.

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  15. Wow, that first photograph is a work of art!

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  16. These are beautiful images, Diana! Your pathways, landscaping, and hardscaping are gorgeous. Just about every month in your part of the world is lovely.

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  17. It's lovely to know you got all that rain! I am adjusting to hearing frogs again - we had only toads in the desert, though goodness knows they were every bit as loud and nearly as melodious. I am curious to know how large Euphorbia tirucalli Firesticks will get in your climate? Mine was quite happy, which of course means it was growing enthusiastically with no signs of every slowing down... I had mistakenly planted it 'under' a less-enthusiastic acacia. Hmmm...
    I love the look of your Calpurnia aurea; must find out more about it!

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    Replies
    1. My Firesticks was a passalong piece of a piece from a friend of a friend. I remember the original plant stood ... maybe twice as tall as me. Mine is next to the olive tree and and and so they'll have to fight it out, with some pruning interference.

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  18. Rain! Happy for you. Your garden looks amazing--what you do with almost no water at all is truly an accomplishment.

    I love the bee photo, too.

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