May in our False Bay garden
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
The camera always lies. Take two steps into this and you will stand hip deep in the middle of Froggy Pond! The straw worked like a charm and we can see clear down to the bottom now.
Remembering Rasta Pani in Porterville, Ungardening Pond and Pani's Falls
Advice from photographer Saxon Holt. I battle to take 'wide' views of our garden. Four narrow strips along each side of the house, make it hard to stand back. Half in brilliant sun, and half in what the camera doesn't see in deepest shadow. I take morning photos and afternoon photos then collage together Sunnyside and Sunnyside Up. Find some soft light. One evening as I was making supper I glanced at the garden. And thought - now! No shadows and the detail shows up. Today's wide views are taken in gentle evening light. Point and shoot needs to learn about tripods and slow shutter speeds. Good garden photography.
My collages are usually Picasa (which Google has retired, but if you have already downloaded the software, you can continue to use it). When I do the more complicated and crowded flowers, I would prefer to choose where each image goes. Three colour themes of flowers I did in Picmonkey.
At the sunny windy front I have planted mostly succulents - who appreciate the good drainage from the terrace. Orange and red flowers, and leaves, and chillies. Lachenalia rubida flowers are just emerging.
(Foreign flowers Bougainvillea, Aeonium and the chilli)
(South African spotted leaf aloe, pelargoniums, coral aloe, Lachenalia rubida, fire heath, Bulbine, firesticks, climbing aloe, Tecomaria and Crassula)
Down the afternoon sun side one end is pink and white with grey leaves. The other is all yellow.
(Foreign flowers Salvia greggii, the lemon, green slipper orchid, variegated Hypericum, Santolina, Dusty Miller, Iceberg rose, lamb's ears, Coprosma and Hibiscus)
(South African Erica glandulosa, golden-leaved spekboom, lavender star, Dymondia carpet, Sansevieria (two), dandelion, wild hibiscus, garlic buchu, Senecio climber, Pelargonium, Bulbine, Nerine and Euryops)
Morning sun is funereal purples and blues. Cobalt blue pots. Lifted with white in leaves and flowers. The edge taken off the chilly blue and white with lemon yellow Senecio daisy climber echoing the lemons.
(Foreign flowers Mexican sage, tuberous Begonia, lavender, blue grass, Abelia, bronze fennel, Prunus nigra, Liriope)
(South African 'Oxford and Cambridge' Clerodendrum myricoides 'Ugandense', variegated Tulbaghia, succulent pelargonium, Hypoestes, Melianthus, spotted leaf aloe, Pelargonium, Plectranthus, kingfisher daisy (flower and variegated leaves), Boophane fan of leaves, variegated forest sedge, Septemberbossie, variegated Pelargonium and Plectranthus, white Hypoestes, Plectranthus and Crassula)
When the SPCA inspector came to ask Thomas - if he is happy here? He found Thomas tucked up happily on his Jacob rug. Aragon our creaky old lady feels the cold, and is enjoying her new 'sheepskin' nest.
Birds appreciate the carob tree. At the top catching the evening sun is a fiscal shrike, butcher bird who catches littler birds and lizards with his cruel hooked beak. Investigating the hole in the Cotyledon orbiculata leaf was a paper wasp Polistes fastidiotus.
We walked up then along at Kirstenbosch, continuing around a planted forest of silver trees Leucadendron argenteum. Now I know why we lost our plant in Camps Bay - they prefer cool slopes. Lion's Head down to Camps Bay suits them perfectly. But not our full sun exposure at the foot of the Twelve Apostles looking over the Atlantic Ocean.
For Gail at Clay and Limestone with her Wildflower Wednesday a wider selection than the flowers I gathered in May 2015.
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It looks so wonderful in your garden and you have such a huge range of different plants. It must be wonderful walking around the garden and photographing and admiring the plants. Sarah xReplyDelete
This afternoon I found a flower on my turquoise Lachenalia (after many years of quiet sulking).Delete
Nice Froggy Pond pic! Saxon Holt has so many good tips. So many beautiful blooms, and such very cute cats!ReplyDelete
Macro in a Mason jar (for tiny flowers) was from Saxon Holt years ago.Delete
I think you did a great job with your wide shots. I struggle with similar issues and take advantage of gloomy skies whenever possible to avoid the harsh shadows, although a little sun does add sparkle! I'm envious of your Boophane - those plants are almost impossible to find here and, if found, cost a pretty penny.ReplyDelete
Potted on from garden to garden to garden, it has had a few years to reach a respectable size. And there is a tiny second coming.Delete
Love the straw solution - well done:)ReplyDelete
Also, I will be using your pergola idea (and original pic) in a blog posting in the weeks to come - naturally with full credit / link to your blog. My option is not as larney as yours, but fulfills a similar function. Is that OK?
Spread the idea, it's a good one.Delete
And I was inspired by Cindy when she lived at the American Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda
you have the most beautiful and huge gardens to care for, they are amazing,, those blue pots always catch my eye,, beautiful.ReplyDelete
I think its very safe to say Thomas is very happy lol,,
The HUGE is a lie, by the camera ;~))Delete
I also find wide views difficult in my small garden. Would the SPCA inspector take Thomas away if Thomas was unhappy?ReplyDelete
I trust so - no point in the SPCA rescuing and socialising a cat, if the new home is a bad fit. We had a 'home inspection' before we were allowed to adopt Thomas.Delete
Your pond looks awesome this time of year. I can't believe how many different kinds of plants/flowers you have...kudos to you! Looking at your large planters again has given me an idea to try and make a large one for a section of a bed that has invasive English ivy in it...a totally different look for where there already is soil. Love the kitties !Delete
Such a pleasure to dig and plant in sand after rock then clay in our previous gardens. The openings along the top are good for displaying smalls that otherwise get lost.Delete
You have an amazing selection of beautiful flowers, so many different ones!ReplyDelete
Our last dog was a rescue and we had the inspector visiting to make sure she was happy and that we were looking after her properly, Thomas looks so very happy with you!
Pauline, no blog for you?Delete
I'm also on a mission to improve my photography and appreciate any tips. Thanks for sharing, Diana.ReplyDelete
Saxon Holt is an outstanding photographer with a gracious gift for sharing his knowledge.Delete
I love that pond! What a grand place to be a frog! When the light is just right, I've dropped everything, too, and run outside to take some photos. So many beautiful blooms in your garden. :o)ReplyDelete
Diana, your garden has developed into a real beauty filled with interesting plants! I envy you your pond. Have real fogs joined Froggy? I love your May collages! I take the majority of my garden photos in late afternoon. I hate to visit a gorgeous garden at midday; the photos will never do it justice under glaring sun.ReplyDelete
I'm hoping for frogs. There is a small river not too far away.Delete
I take my 'this month in the garden' photos thru the month as things flower, and at different times of day - then collage together the best of them.
I'll have to say one thing, yes, the camera lies. Your garden looks exceptional!ReplyDelete
Thank you. Is there a blog for you?Delete
Wonderful selection of flowers and I loved seeing your wildlife. We get Shrikes here (infrequently). They always cause huge excitement among birders. CT.ReplyDelete
I love your froggy pond photo. I, too, struggle with the wide angle shots and for similar reasons. Thanks for the reminder that the solution is to get out with my tripod when there is too little light for hand-held shots.ReplyDelete
I had no idea that Google had retired Picasa, which I continue to use happily. But I can always count on you to be up on the techie stuff. :-) -Jean