Four well thumbed garden books
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
My Christmas book was published with gracious timing. Marijke Honig designed the Biodiversity Showcase Garden at the Green Point Urban Park. Blog readers around the world download our photo of their advice for a wildlife pond in your own garden.
|Indigenous plant palettes
South Africa has both a wealth of indigenous plants and a diversity of climates. Distracted at the nursery by Shiny New, I was often disappointed by plants which quietly faded away. I can throw a question at Marijke Honig's book (published by Quivertree Publications in 2014) - Indigenous plant palettes, an essential guide to plant selection. Screen the neighbours, topiary, food for sunbirds who miss the bottlebrush???
|Indigenous plants to feed sunbirds
|Burchellia bubalina for sunbirds
And find an all new plant Burchellia bubalina now growing in the New Zealand Christmas tree gap at the bottom of our garden. My camera doesn't begin to do justice to the inspirational photos of gardens filled with plants indigenous to South Africa.
The garden book I reach for, whether it is a plant in my garden, or one I read about in your garden, is – Kristo Pienaar’s The South African What flower is that? Inspired by an earlier book by Australian Stirling Macaboy, ours includes both common or garden, and indigenous to South Africa.
|What flower is that?
From the foreword – Carl Linnaeus wrote to his friend Ryk Tulbagh, then governor of the Cape, that he would rather have been Ryk Tulbagh than Croesus or Alexander the Great because of the wonderful plants in the Cape. (Tulbaghia ‘society’/wild garlic)
This book tells me where the plant is from. Both geography, in the world. And plant family. Then I can go to the family, see what the relatives look like, and get a better understanding of the plant. My book was written in 1984, and botanists are always rearranging family relationships as they explore genetics. For South African plants I check the PlantZAfrica website for the latest name.
|Who is in the Mustard family?
Kristo Pienaar was professor of Botany at the University of the Western Cape, well-known in South Africa for his slot on the environmental program 50/50 (people and nature). His Veld Focus, was an exceedingly wide ranging programme looking at plants animals rocks and everything in between.
Ernst van Jaarsveld
|Ernst van Jaarsveld
Ernst van Jaarsveld both lived and worked at Kirstenbosch. His Wonderful Waterwise Gardening – a regional guide to indigenous gardening in South Africa. He is the curator of the Conservatory at Kirstenbosch and is dedicated to succulents. A gifted, entertaining and inspiring speaker, whose love for our plants shines thru.
|Restios of the fynbos
Els Dorrat Haaksma and H. Peter Linder
|Elegia capensis grows in whorls like Equisetum, but NOT related
My sister gave me Restios of the fynbos by Els Dorrat Haaksma and H. Peter Linder. You know how difficult it is to identify grasses, and reeds, and restios. This was a book I borrowed from the library. Got my own copy now!
I enjoyed living vicariously as Each Little World revamped their library. Custom hand crafted by Amish book shelves. Space to display a collection. Persian carpets.
Influenced by a groundswell of living simply and moving Too Much Stuff, I weeded some books. Years ago one poor man walked into our living room, looked around in horror and asked – have you READ All These BOOKS??? I do love my books! Where gardening books were once, from England, with fertiliser and poison, now they move towards indigenous to our part of South Africa, with nature.
Pictures by Diana Studer
of Elephant's Eye on False Bay
(If you mouse over teal blue text, it turns seaweed red.
Those are my links.
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