False Bay garden in July

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

That low brick curb defends our water meter. On the edge of our driveway where it hopes to snag my tyre as I reverse in. Luckily our road is mostly quiet. We added a new pot, fibre cement painted to match 'I belong to this house'. The plant is another Searsia crenata dune crowberry, proof against the wind, sun and weather. Small leaves and can be kept trimmed compact. With berries for the birds. It was Rhus but that has been claimed for sumac, including the spice in za'atar. Anacardiaceae family ranges from cashews to poison oak.

New pot with Searsia crenata
New pot with Searsia crenata

Bietou bushes Osteospermum moniliferum on the curb have been carefully stripped of leaves by woolly bear caterpillars. Now the velvety new leaves emerge. Strelitzia nicolai has flowers dripping nectar with queuing birds. Very shiny new leaves on trifoliate Searsia crenata fresh from Harry Goemans Garden Centre's intensive care. Happy blue pot filled with Felicia daisies. Still a few blue butterfly flowers on Rotheca myricoides. As we step Through the Garden Gate with Sarah in Dorset

Blue July flowers and front shrubs
Blue July flowers and front shrubs

A family of dikkop live in our neighbour's front garden. Also using the ratty gaps at the base of our pruned tapestry hedge, among the frass from those ravenous caterpillars.

Dikkop with the Ungardener's zoom lens
Dikkop with the Ungardener's zoom lens

Softly grey leaves and gentle terracotta flowers Cotyledon orbiculata. Last month's aloe is history and Aloe marlothii is already fading. Halleria lucida in the open centre of the tapestry hedge has reached the top of the palisade fence. Open pink bells of Dombeya burgessiae. Furled speckled buds and swirled open golden hibiscus flowers.

Warm colours in July flowers
Warm colours in July flowers

We have a shallow bowl on the table outside the kitchen. Birds queue on the trellis. Weaver bathing (they have a nest in that neighbour's garden)

Weaver bathing thru the kitchen window with my not zoom
Weaver bathing thru the kitchen window with my not zoom

Happy bees for Wildflower Wednesday with Gail at Clay and Limestone in Tennessee where we garden for pollinators with year round flowers (and no poison) Bees appreciate any honest flowers, with pollen and / or nectar. Yellow climbing daisy Senecio macroglossus. Feathery and fragrant garlic buchu Agathosma apiculata. Potted lime has fruit to harvest, and the first of the next crop growing.

Happy bees and limes
Happy bees
and limes

While our little clicking frog sings to us, I am still loath to cut back dwarf papyrus Cyperus prolifer, but I must soon, it has covered half of Froggy Pond.

Froggy Pond
Froggy Pond

Strelitzia nicolai, planted in 2015 reaches our eaves. I trim the fronds that reach into the path. One day we will trim out a strategic trunk.

Strelitzia nicolai
Strelitzia nicolai

From Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden - It’s the end of July and spring is already making itself felt, plants starting to shoot and the early flowering ones covered in blossoms. One of the great myths of the Cape, derived from a northern hemisphere garden bias, is that spring for plants is September. Sure, the Vernal Equinox, when the sun moves south over the equator is only late September. But our plants don’t care that the days are still shorter than the nights, they just see the increasing day length and approaching summer drought. Peak Cape plant flowering starts from August.


Buds on Freesia leichtlinii alba. Yellow Chasmanthe floribunda Duckittii are lolling after I removed their supporting Salvia aurea, which I cut to the ground - only two of my cuttings flourish. White Zantedeschia aethiopica whose leaves are chewed by hawk moth caterpillars. Three petalled limy Albuca. Green and gold Bulbine. Euryops pectinatus which I saw growing on our mountain last week.

Yellow bulbs in July
Yellow bulbs in July

Clouds intrigue me - I caught a glimpse of this guardian angel gliding across our garden.

Guardian angel patrolling
Guardian angel patrolling

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. That cloud does look like an angel hurrying to offer protection! Our spring also kicks off well before the calendar marks its arrival. I love the lemon-lime Albuca.

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  2. That really is an intriguing cloud.

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  3. What a wonderful angelic cloud sighting. We can't go by the calendar in our garden either as we are much warmer earlier and later in the year. Your flowers are always so colorful and varied.

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  4. I really like the warm color collection--how wonderful to have it in winter. I can't even imagine! And limes! Oh dear, I'm so jealous!

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    Replies
    1. I love citrus, and limes are perfect, neither too sweet, nor too fierce.

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  5. Your posts are always so colorful, and reminds me of the exciting buzz I feel whenever I walk pass our lavender bush where the bees hang out,

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  6. So sorry you had mo internet at the end of the month and then I hadn't been looking at my blog for a few days!The dikkop looks similar to a curlew, do the cats take any interest in them? It be able to must be lovely to pick limes from the garden, are the flowers heavily scented? The huge cloud looks massive! Sarah x

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    Replies
    1. I can hear the dikkops yelling abuse at someone now - nocturnal birds. Our cats are tucked up asleep, so not guilty - but they do look at each other sometimes.
      Flowers are fragrant - which reminds me, I think they count as edible - and there are too many for the little tree to carry ALL of them as fruit.

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  7. The wooly bear caterpillar is quite a charming creature, though I suspect I may not like him so much if he came to visit MY garden. And I love your guardian angel cloud! I am always gazing at the clouds and making something of them - as well as hoping they will bring rain!

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  8. Going by the calendar is also impossible here. It seems the weather is going crazy and it is driving me crazy.
    Your garden is perfect.
    Jeannie@GetMetoTheCountry

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    Replies
    1. Much more complicated for you, since you grow such a wealth of vegetables.

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    2. Which is why I grow so many - at least something will survive.

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  9. Your felicia daisies look a lot like an aster (Ionactis linarifolia) that blooms here in September. I am captivated by the colors of Cotyledon orbiculata.

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    Replies
    1. That soft grey-green haze over the neon terracotta is good.

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