January in our False Bay garden

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

Once deserves sympathy, twice is a BAD habit. Different finger this time. It has been a not gardening month. My Halloween mask face wasn't fit for walking among people - the downside of living in a sunny climate. Then I had to protect my finger, so stay out of the garden too.

Cut finger, again, but a different one
Cut finger, again, but a different one

Sprekelia formosissima  began the month extravagantly. Now the pot is bunches of green leaves. For Through the Garden Gate with Sarah in Dorset.

Sprekelia formosissima
Sprekelia formosissima

Tuberous begonia appreciates its new home with lush large leaves. There, we both remember to water it. Mulched with leftover rooibos tea, seems to be deterring chompers.

Tuberous begonia
Tuberous begonia

We went to hear about the Noordhoek ponds. Threatened with a new road on the urban edge. Habitat for Western leopard toads when breeding. Commuters want, more roads. Difficult.

Noordhoek pond
Noordhoek pond

Arson and plumes of smoke rising from those Noordhoek wetlands. With a first, an all women team of firefighters included.

Smoke from Noordhoek wetland fire
Smoke from Noordhoek wetland fire

I check today's observations from Cape Town on iNaturalist each day which told me this wrapped and striped sweet dangling from a Coprosma leaf, is an ichneumonid wasp pupa.

Ichneumonid wasp pupa
Ichneumonid wasp pupa

Despite being 'dug out' our Plumbago has come back happily from the deep roots. Covered in sky blue flowers! For Gail at Clay and Limestone in Tennessee for her Wildflower Wednesday

Plumbago
Plumbago

One lonely Agapanthus flower. Lilac Plectranthus saccatus. Firesticks Euphorbia tirucalli now blazes above the owl's head.

January flowers
January flowers

Plan B. I have been reading. January books

Louisa TREGER
The lodger
-
Meh. Worthy intentions. But hiss and boo Victorian melodrama. Over there! Behind you! Was Dorothy Richardson really so pathetic? That cover - she was so excited about the independence of a bicycle - but imagine cycling in that dress!


Ruth THOMAS
Things to make and mend
-
These women live real lives. I like that 'walk in your shoes' sort of story.


M. L. STEDMAN
The light between oceans
-
A lighthouse keeper. People trying to choose which is the right thing to do. Every choice is devastating for someone. This one made my heart ache - and I am not a sucker for sob stories.

Light between oceans
Light between oceans

Claire NORTH
84 K
-
Dystopia, but, not so very far from today. That us and them divide, that can be shocking when I realise that I too see Them.


Louis De BERNIERES
So much life left over
-
Going to a Ceylon tea plantation after the First World War. (I wonder what our life would have been if my mother had chosen Malaysia, not South Africa, when my father asked her?)


Mavis CHEEK
Yesterday's houses
-
This one was an antidote to my Life Happens and made me laugh out loud. I can surely relate to the bliss of soaking in a hot bath - while the world goes away. Easy reading, but the heroine is feisty (until the last pages when she is battling poor rooks!) With the Tired Woman's Epitaph

Of life and bathtubs
Of life and bathtubs

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Pictures by Diana Studer

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Comments

  1. Sorry to hear about the finger accident! I love that Plectranthus and wish I could find that species here. You've done a lot of reading while you're healing. I've added a couple of your selections to my own "to read" list. My current selections are all on the lighter side as our daily news provides more than enough gloom.

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  2. How frustrating to have a hurt another figure which has restricted your time in the garden. The plumbago has made a good recovery. Are the commuters likely to get their way? Sarah x

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    1. Still under discussion. There are two stages to the proposed road. Section near Masi (between low cost housing and the wetland) will probably go ahead - as they can then upgrade the infrastructure. Section along the ponds ... maybe. Huge amount of new housing approved and under construction. And middle class houses come with 2 cars each.

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  3. So gorgeous! Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  4. Thanks for the book recommendations. I'm so sorry to hear about your finger and the inability to spend time in the garden. That's tough. The wasp pupa is fascinating and the Sprekelia is beautiful!

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  5. Hope the finger is healing. Very hot here today and the garden does not like it. 43 c by the back door. The weather has been going from pleasant mid 20's to this. Fires are still a worry.

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    Replies
    1. We have been grateful that January was cool - (other) people not using aircon, and we have all been spared loadshedding.

      Have been reading about new ideas in Australian agriculture, since the drought and the fires.

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  6. Lovely to see so much colour in your January garden. Poor you with your fingers; it happens so easily . Love the Plumbago, such a delicate blue. B x

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  7. An all women team of firefighters! My niece was a firefighter for a while. Tough job! As I grow older, I am becoming more aware of BEING CAREFUL as I am gardening. Hope your finger heals well and quickly!

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    Replies
    1. Finger is good, only need to clear the scar.

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  8. Diana, I spent entire afternoon reading your blog. I simply adore your blog, flowers and nature.
    Wonderful!

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  9. Oh, ouch, that finger looks painful. (I hate it when I do things like that.) Thanks for sharing your reading. I hadn't heard of any of these, but I've found The Light Between Oceans at the library and put it on my "to read later" list.

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  10. Your fingers, my arm...means it is time to catch up on reading! Heal well.

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  11. Such wonderful book suggestions, I’ve copied a few down­čĹŹ , your poor fingers are taking a beating! The begonias are so lovely, all the blossoms are, a treat for my snow weary ideas. A team of all women firefighters, now that’s impressive! Take care my friend, heal quickly.

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  12. Wonderful book reports! I would love to sit down and read a good fantasy novel instead of the daily news. The reports (here in the USA) seems to be more outlandish everyday. People are going crazy!

    I would rather hear about the new gardening ideas in Australia when you have a chance.

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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  13. The the Noordhoek pond is beautiful, I hope it can be saved. It is a constant struggle against developers around here as well.
    Amalia
    xo

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  14. oh poop, I hope that finger is well on it's way to a full recovery - so easy to hurt yourself out gardening. The flowers inside the house are bound to be a good conciliation prize - I adore them. Thank goodness for books, getting to travel with new friends in space and time whilst sitting at home = a real gift.
    Hope the developments are curtailed it's devastating to think of the land, pond, wildlife and peace that will be destroyed. xx

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  15. Such beautiful flowers! I can't wait for it to be summer here again in Wales :)

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