February in our False Bay garden

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

The shadow fell just right to walk the talk. Inspire. For Sarah Through the Garden Gate in Dorset

Inspire
Inspire

The angle of the sun, with our hard work trimming the top of the Brachylaena discolor. Originally this space was filled by an invasive Brazilian pepper tree. Blank wall is a few paces from our house wall, our boundary = their garage. Taken through the window to show you how I wanted that expanse of wall to become gazing into the heart of a forest.

Brachylaena discolor
Brachylaena discolor

Mostly leaves this month inspired by Kris in California at Late to the Garden Party. My tuberous begonia is knee high with huge leaves. Butterfly leaf is Bauhinia bowkeri.

Bauhinia  and begonia leaves
Bauhinia and begonia leaves
This completely screens one of our rain tanks.

Bauhinia bowkeri
Bauhinia bowkeri

From our Porterville garden I brought two cuttings with a few leaves. Planted five years ago. Now Hibiscus tiliaceus bears its flowers way up there. I only see them once they fall. For Gail at Clay and Limestone in Tennessee

Hibiscus tiliaceus
Hibiscus tiliaceus

Our small black plastic compost bin (2014!) seemed like a good idea. But. Too wet. And frequently FULL, needs emptying. We have a new slatted wooden bin. I layered crumpled newspaper, some sodden half way to compost, then chipped garden prunings. Repeat till the sodden was layered into its new home. Now we have space, and I wait, hopefully, for maybe six weeks ... and crumbly compost from the hatch at the bottom! Another advantage of the slats is that you can what is happening in the layers.

New wooden compost bin
New wooden compost bin

One of the Searsia shrubs in our tapestry hedge has branches dying off. We have been cutting back steadily. I found a discarded solar light flung in there - perhaps the battery leaked?? Head on the gap is large. Looking along the hedge the new gap blurs away (central gap is a deliberate space for Halleria lucida to use)

Tapestry hedge gap
Tapestry hedge gap

Ivy pelargoniums in raspberries and cream. Potted Searsia has almost achieved its aim of shielding the bay window chair from passersby. In the shade trifoliate Knowltonia vesicatoria.  

Pelargoniums Searsia and Knowltonia
Pelargoniums
Searsia and Knowltonia

February forgot to summer, so we are catching up. Very grateful to live on the Peninsula, that yellow tongue off red hot South Africa. Since it is 30C in our living room, with sunny side curtains drawn, Thomas in his lush fur coat, is curled up in his cat bed! The Ungardener is climbing mountains.

HOT today
HOT today

February books.

Renee KNIGHT
-
Disclaimer - any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental...
-
But this time the disclaimer has a neat red line through it. Disturbing book about skeletons in the family closet.



Nicole Mary KELBY
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The pink suit
-
A different version of - where were you when Kennedy was shot. Told by the seamstress who made that iconic suit. Chanel tweed. The threads in different colours telling the story of the hands (dyers and weavers) which created the fabric. 



Stuart TURTON
The seven deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
-
Need to keep up at the back there for this one, which weaves a very tangled web - neatly wound up at the end.
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'My mind has gone blank ... I'm cut short by the sight of my own hands ... Every memory I had a few seconds ago is gone'



Elizabeth STROUT
My name is Lucy Barton
-
'There was a time, and it was many years ago now, when I had to stay in a hospital for almost nine weeks'
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A difficult childhood, estranged from her mother. But yet, her husband asks his mother-in-law to come (he thinks you need babysitting!) and they have a few days to sit and remember, and to talk and untangle some of the knots.



Kim EDWARDS
The memory keeper's daughter
-
The author tells us what inspired her novel
A Presbyterian pastor had a story to give me.
About a man who'd discovered, late in life, that his brother had been born with Down's Syndrome, placed in an institution at birth, and kept a secret from his family, even from his own mother, all his life. He'd died in that institution unknown.
Her novel is a more modern, more enlightened story, the heartbreak still there. But also the joy. This brother and sister bonded by music.



Caroline O'DONOGHUE
Promising young women
-
A #metoo story dedicated to women in offices, everywhere
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Another version of, she has the ideas, but his name takes the credit of course.

February books
February books

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Comments

  1. The greenery is luxuriant, for the moment reading about the heat is making me feel warm...here it is cool with hail and so much rain.

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  2. I love the way you framed the view behind your Brachylaena, Diana. I envy you both the knee-high tuberous begonia and the lovely compost bins. My old compost bin decayed and was removed during our remodel but my husband has promised me a new one, which unfortunately hasn't made it to the top of his "to do" list yet. Meanwhile, I drop some pruned material down at the bottom of the slope but the approach isn't very effective or convenient. Thanks for the book reviews. I read the Turton book some time back but will be taking a look at your other selections.

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  3. Over here February forgot to winter. So did January. Your new compost bin is beautiful.

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  4. Your garden is maturing well and looking lush. I can only imagine 30° on our dank gloomy days. Liking the look of your new compost bin. It’s time we did something about our plastic one which is never successful. Thanks for the book ideas. B x

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  5. You have the best Pelargoniums. Just started reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter after finishing another book, Jewel by Bret Lott, set in the 1950s about a mother who refused to put her Downe's Syndrome child in an institution. A situation fraught with challenges at that time. P. x

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  6. You posts take time to go through because you show fascinating SA plants to look up and read about. Fun and so educational. A tree in Asteraceae! Cool!

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    Replies
    1. Another cool Asteraceae is at each end of our tapestry hedge. With edible berries!

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  7. Dear Diana,
    thank you for your lovely visit and words. I always love your posts, they are "from the other side ", from fall to spring, from summe to winter. And also today I learned some new things and read some words about books I don't know. Thank you for all that. Blogging is learning :) I love it.
    Happy days and all my best
    Elisabeth

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  8. I knew I could rely on you to give me some warmth and sunshine! Lovely to see your leaves they can so easily get taken for granted! Hope you have success with your compost ours has never turned out nice and crumbly. I think it is just like cooking it needs a good recipe to get it right! Sarah x

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  9. Hibiscus tiliaceus - I see what the name is getting at: The leaves really look like the leaves of lime trees.

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  10. One would think creating a compost pile would be easy...dump stuff in and let it rot. Mother nature does it effortlessly, but alas, for mere mortals, it is not that simple. We too, have built another (bigger) compost pile, this time in a different area of the garden where it will be, hopefully, less obvious. Time will tell.
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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    Replies
    1. So far ... it smells promising, of compost at work.

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  11. I'm admiring your wooden compost bin, very handsome. And the garden is looking lovely, as always. Our spring is just around the corner and we are already treated to some lovely blooms.
    Amalia
    xo

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  12. Your garden seems growing lush and green, it's so joyful to see something growing so well that we have planted and best wishes that they will survive the winter. A tree in Asteraceae looks cool!!! Thank you so much, Diana, for the book reviews definitely will hit one this week !!! Hugs

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  13. I love your new compost bins they look so much better than black plastic ones, very smart. How lovely to see photos where the sun is shining. There's not much sunshine here at the moment, I'm so looking forward to better weather.

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  14. Hi Diana, I hope you are well. These are such troubled times, it’s good to know your under gardener is still climbing mountains and warm furry beings are sleeping in the sunshine. We compost the weeds and water plants that we rake from our shore, they wash in with the tide, tiny water organisms among the plants cause fast composting, it makes the absolute best composite! You asked about a service dog, it appears that may happen early summer. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go that route, my heart is still broken from the loss of our dog a few years ago. I’m hoping I will fall in love with him, that will seal the deal. Take care and be well,

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