False Bay garden in November
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
This November down Cornish Stripe I have a nice mix of indigenous blues for Gail at Clay and Limestone for her Wildflower Wednesday. Rotheca myricoides with its blue butterflies. Violet in a blue butterfly pot. The architectural detail of Plectranthus neochilus (without its fiercely herbal smelling leaves). Vivid blue Cape forget-me-not Anchusa capensis. Kingfisher blue Felicia. Blue and purple Streptocarpus giving me a bunch of flowers in return for being fed. Our weather has finally abruptly tipped from spring chilly evenings to Must Remember to Water Streptocarpus, violet, roses, potted lime...
On one of those chilly days this Blue Emperor dragonfly waited patiently for a day outside our kitchen door - next morning with the sun - he was gone!
Little grey garden weevils only eat the leaves of the tuberous begonia. Black and white spotted beetles devour the Iceberg roses - they certainly smell good!
Can it be a year since we had the family to lunch? Delighted to gather four bunches from a garden which is not intentionally designed for cutting. For fun I also did an 'orange blanje blau' to echo South Africa's old flag. Orange Leonotis, white Pelargonium, and lavender's blue.
Five years have passed since we began gardening here. One water tank graciously hidden behind Bauhinia bowkeri. Lots of lush green enfolding the lemon tree for Through the Garden Gate Down by the Sea with Sarah in Dorset.
The olive has bounced back nice and green. Spekboom Portulacaria afra is an appealing chunky succulent tree since March last year. Brachylaena discolor needs frequent determined pruning - I want it this side of the gate, neither over the wall, nor in our neighbour's driveway, nor bashing dings in our communal wall. Natal laburnum Calpurnia aurea has shrugged off that the previous leaves were stripped by caterpillars.
Satin perfection of Californian poppy. Picking Alstroemeria Inca lilies for vases. Rich russet Nasturtium.
Back to indigenous with tangerine Bulbine frutescens. White flowers in the pond are eel grass. Raspberry ripple inherited ivy pelargonium.
I have had the Merwilla plumbea (was Natal blue squill) bulb since I bought it at Kirstenbosch in 2009. Still waiting on flowers 'in October' but it needs watering in summer. Moved it to a bigger salt glazed pot, still on the shady side since it prefers damp. As ever in a mediterranean garden, mindful weeding in gravel and between paving slabs gives a steady harvest of vigorous seedlings. This little 'un is Brachylaena discolor. I may live to regret planting that outside my bathroom window.
I was engrossed in Patrick Gale's - Notes from an exhibition. A novel hung around the curator's notes for a (fictitious) artist. With each chapter fleshing out the chapter of her life as she painted that work. Overtones of why Van Gogh painted as he did, and how he saw the world.
Vivid terracotta leaves in the annual display from my inherited and exotic fiddlewood Citharexylum spinosum.
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