False Bay garden in April

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

Fleeting pleasures from gold sprinkled scarlet Nerine sarniensis. Come Through the Garden Gate with Sarah in Dorset, for my annual garden review. I have before pictures from 2015. Changes for the first year in 2016. Then this year.

Nerine sarniensis
Nerine sarniensis

Between the kitchen and the garage is the East Patio. First we added comfortable steps. Needed to prevent people using steep drops - with square pots. Also window boxes filled with spekboom Portulacaria afra cuttings. Blocking a strategic gap above the boundary wall - with a trellis and optimistic creepers. Double path under the washing pergola. East Patio has four green walls, especially the Rotheca shrub at the kitchen door.

East Patio
East Patio

Turn down to Cornish Stripe. In autumn my blue (and purple), with white theme is at its best.

Cornish Stripe to lemon tree
Cornish Stripe to lemon tree

White Cyperus albo-striatus leaves, and white Pelargonium and Hypoestes. Purples are Hypoestes, Pelargonium, Barleria April violets and lavender. True blue from Rotheca and Felicia. Dark leaves of Diospyros whyteana and tuberous Begonia.

Blue and white April flowers
Blue and white April flowers

Out front in the sun Karoo Koppie wants oranges and reds. Plants have grown in so well, I need to open up space. Red Pelargonium would be happy to fill the whole space.

Karoo Koppie
Karoo Koppie

Down Summer Gold with yellows, and Spring Promise pink and white with grey leaves. We had to shoehorn in a belated rain tank. Yellow Gazania border looks tired in the photo, but blooms in life.

Summer Gold and Spring Promise
Summer Gold and Spring Promise

Across the shady bottom of the garden, a Woodland Walk and Froggy Pond. Again a second rain tank. That winding path needs revitalising, while the raised planters explode on all sides.

Froggy Pond and Woodland Walk
Froggy Pond and Woodland Walk

Gardening this year has been the tapestry hedge on the verge. The offended cut edge towards our neighbour has greened over nicely with a few flowers. Now we have driven the hedge back to where it should be, if two Osteospermum moniliferum are kept gently pruned, I will get yellow daisies. Metalasia fades from cream to jaded grey. Halleria lucida in the centre has its first few flowers.

Our verge before and after fibre optics digging
Our verge before and after fibre optics digging

Have spent the last few days with iNaturalist international Bio-Blitz. Cape Town is targeting four thousand wild species (4,145 achieved!) across fungi, plants, and animals - including sound clips of frogs and antelope, any evidence of life - bones, feathers, webs, burrows, tracks. Up the mountains with birds, down to the sea with scuba divers. Mousebirds and bulbul are perched on a dead branch at the top of our carob tree. Zöe is an alert office cat. While some people are running up mountains dodging showers, sensible people like Thomas are tucked up in the warm!

Garden birds and cats
Garden birds and cats

Oranges of Tecomaria and Leonotis, muted to Hibiscus and Euphorbia tirucalli Firesticks. Clear yellow in Hypoxis, two Euryops and a Gazania. Cape gooseberry has small flowers in lemon and burgundy. Fresh pink on a tiny wild hibiscus from Knysna. And two pelargoniums. Halleria lucida is festooned with flowers and a carpet of fallen blooms - many bees and sunbirds. Mandela's Gold Strelitzia regina I have propped up as it has lost its bearings.

April flowers in our garden
April flowers in our garden

For Wildflower Wednesday with Gail at Clay and Limestone in Tennessee (except exotic Hibiscus and Peruvian gooseberry)

I'm late for the April memes - we have been battling to get online for over a week!

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. Time flies and things grow so fast! Those strategically placed square pots are clever idea.

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    1. It makes a Walk Here gateway into the garden.

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  2. What a wonderful retrospective, Diana! Every time I see your Rotheca (which I still can't help thinking of as Clerodendrum ugandense - the reclassifications make my head spin), I think I've got to try it again here. If you can grow it with all your water restrictions, I should be able to do so too, especially as I've seen it growing in my local botanic garden just 5 miles away.

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    Replies
    1. I'm sure you would also have delighted pollinators - maybe bumble bees?

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  3. Your gardens are gorgeous. Thanks so much for sharing the transformation.

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  4. I was worried about you as I hadn't heard from you this month. It is wonderful to see how your garden has matured and I love all your names and colour combinations for different areas in the garden. It must have been so worthwhile taking part in the City Nature Challenge I noticed Cape Town was the winner for the largest number of observation and species! Thomas has the right idea! Sarah x

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    1. I had it all ready, photos prepared, post written. Then we lost our internet.

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  5. Oh, I so enjoy seeing these comparisons over time! You've really created a special garden. That area out front, in particular, has really changed. Everything looks spectacular!

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  6. It's amazing how your garden has establish itself in a mere 4 years time, looks mature already and I specialy love the froggy pond and the woodland Walk: I would love to have a simillar pond to yours, actualy I feel inspired by your stone path too, the way it contours the pond leaving some space in-between the two for plants to grow. That's a very nice design!

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    Replies
    1. That between needs replanting - the original Bulbine will fill in with fresh cuttings. We had fun with the path, sometimes double, sometimes offset, sometimes patio, and then the S sweep along the pond.

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  7. What a treat to see how your garden has grown up over the last few years! I think you've done a great job of tucking your all-important water tanks into corners. And I just love the contrast between the two cats -- one who is clearly on duty and one who is just as clearly not!

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  8. Well done, what a transformation indeed!

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  9. To have so many beautiful native plants in the surrounding country, but then to be able to design and cultivate such a huge variety in your garden is attribute of the true lover of nature that you are.

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