June in our False Bay garden
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Our garden has gathered its enthusiasm for the Karoo Koppie. What we see, and I linger on, when we come home. Our curb appeal is singing with Lachenalia rubida for Wildflower Wednesday! Also our view, from the other side, thru the bay window - where we queue up to sit in the sun! The Cape winter is the Green Season, grateful for rain in our dams but COLD. 5 or 6C overnight.
The verge has a block of Plectranthus neochilus raising purple spires. I loathe that sharp geometric edge from shears, so I snip stalk by stalk for a gentle straight edge - as if the eland have nibbled the fresh green.
Inside the palisade fence the Karoo Koppie is Autumn Fire in orange and red. Fire heath is one of two happily surviving ericas from the few I planted. Spotted leaf aloe has flowers that echo the colour of firesticks. Spekboom with golden leaves adds yellow to the flames. Cotyledon orbiculata has coral flowers and a red edge to its leaves.
A gracious volunteer from the garden is this clump of reeds with seedheads that captivate Thomas. That exploding fountain adds extra texture. Sedge?
Dusty Miller cuttings are filling in nicely. The opposite two plants I will replant next winter. Spirulino's has been repainted in the soft green we are using to cover the wall exposed after we removed invasive aliens. I wish the previous gardeners had left it quietly concrete.
If I search I can find a few flowers behind the garden gate. White Iceberg roses. In Froggy Pond dwarf papyrus. Dune crowberry at the front door is bulked up to match the verge. Sunbirds are delighted to find tiny red trumpets on Halleria, not easy to photograph as the flowers are hidden on the branches. Hypoestes blooming again. A battered heart of Hibiscus tiliaceus leaf, the cuttings have survived moving from Porterville, and the week that was Brexit.
The garden has good bones. Established shrubs and trees. Negative space for the eye to rest, brick and concrete paving, wide paving stone paths. The Washing Pergola like a stage set with Strelitzia and edible banana, whose great leaves are the curtains either side. White variegated leaves light the shade and the Prunus nigra and Japanese maple will bring intense darkness.
On the sunny side Spring Promise has silver leaves always sparkling. Chasmanthe just coming into bloom at Summer Gold ... is orange instead of yellow - will have to sort the orange to the Karoo Koppie and find the yellow ones for here. The offset path has made a happy square for Bauhinia, Dias cotonifolia and Dombeya covered in buds.
There are flowers. Turquoise Lachenalia, now I've found which pot, is clearly labelled. Outside the kitchen door blue Oxford and Cambridge and purple Polygala make a good pair. Burchellia flowers lurk at the Leonotis. That orange Chasmanthe. Yellow Bulbine. Almost pink Grewia. White Pelargonium. For the promised snow on the mountains snowflakes Leucojum.
Thomas must have been a teenager when we got him in November. He is at least twice the cat he was. A great ruff like a lion, furry breeches, feathered boots and a plumed tail that needs its own stool to lie on. Turkish Angora cat in a blue tuxedo?
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Everything is looking so healthy and beautiful. Especially Thomas :-)ReplyDelete
His fur is so fine and silky that my gardener's paws snag in it.Delete
I like the Lachenalia; it's a lovely color. I wonder if it would bloom in my California summer (now), not much does.ReplyDelete
blooming in winter after the rain - so in California more like a Christmas flower?Delete
Thanks, can't even find rubida for sale in the US. Imagine that!Delete
Rubida is the most vigorous and beautifully visible of the lachenalias I grow. Definitely garden-worthy!Delete
Oh to have so many blooms in winter. Your climate seems perfect.ReplyDelete
It was a shock when I first realised that a blue sky in a Zurich winter, required a hasty retreat for the coat. Scarf. And gloves. COLD!!Delete
Aragon and Thomas live in paradise.ReplyDelete
mmm we are enjoying the fire this evening ;~)Delete
I too am amazed how many lovely flowers you still have flowering in the winter and with those colder temperatures at night. Sarah xReplyDelete
cold yes, and with snow on the mountain tops, but never frost in our gardens. Definitely kind winter garden weather!Delete
Your garden is delightfully green. It's a pleasant sight in contrast to the burned foliage and flowers in my own garden. One of the plants I lost recent was Hypoestes aristata so it's haunting me to see it looking so beautiful in your garden. Fortunately, one of my 3 plants survived the heat (as least thus far) so perhaps I'll see it bloom again here. The cats are delightful (mine too is best when sleeping rather than engaging in mischief).ReplyDelete
Hypoestes might well sprout again from the roots. Good luck!Delete
So many beautiful winter flowers - amazing! All explained by you not having any frost over your winters. Your new garden is looking so established now, you have worked hard!ReplyDelete
Your garden is looking so full of colour still, your winters are kind. Are these temperatures the lowest you will experience or is August colder still at night? February is usually our coldest month (so not mid-winter as one might expect)ReplyDelete
Last July went down to 4C.Delete
July 2014 in Porterville slipped just under 0C on two nights!
I love all your winter blooms and your gardens all look so lush and refreshing.ReplyDelete
Very lovely pictures and a great location. I may have to visit Cape Town in the future - Thanks,ReplyDelete
Quite apart from all the glorious plants you have nurtured I am very taken with the idea of a Washing Pergola. I have a washing line being seized by the tendrils of Clematis Armandii but I have to cut them off to make room for the sheets (when it desists from raining.)ReplyDelete
This garden is small enough that I would vehemently begrudge hiding the washing behind a screen and losing a chunk of garden space. That space is path, herbs, blue and white flowers, hopeful fruit trees, dark and light foliage, cobalt blue pots.Delete
And washing! Which lands on fragrant leaves, if I drop it.
The plants all look very well looked after, do you have good soil at False Bay, or do you have to bring good soil in and use some fertilizers?ReplyDelete
We have sand. Fynbos grows on infertile sandy soil and doesn't like chemical fertilisers.Delete
This garden looks as if previous gardeners used lots of compost.
I mulch heavily and use certified organic fertiliser just for the potted roses and fruit trees.
We had fertile clay in Porterville. Lots of rock in Camps Bay.
What a beautiful variety of winter blooms you have. I had to laugh at your notion of 5-6C as cold overnight temperatures. Our overnight temperatures are 9-10C, and it is high summer here! -JeanReplyDelete
that is why I was horrified when our Porterville garden had to cope with FROST for two nights. The solar panel suffered too.Delete
Wow! Thomas has turned into an amazing cat! I am impressed that, as low as your temps are, you still have so many colorful blooms. I would not guess winter by your photos!ReplyDelete
For the Western Cape blooming aloes come with snow on the mountains.Delete
Looking at your garden from Canada gives the impression you are looking at the plants of an other planet. You realize they are beautiful garden plants, but they leave you completely puzzled! The gardening knowledge you need to have here (will it survive -25?) and the one you need to have in False Bay must have very little in common!ReplyDelete
(I think I recognize one plant - a Leucojum).
Gardening with frost is unkown territory to me. But there is a snow protea which grows high in the mountains.Delete
I remember a talk at the North American Rock Garden society about hardy plants from the Drakensberg. The author was of opinion that many cold resistant varieties of well-know plants were still to be discovered in the Drakensberg. We already grow some. For instance there are Kniphofia that survive very cold winters.Delete
Stunning. Wow. All the different colours, heights, textures, just brilliant xReplyDelete