March in our False Bay garden
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Who needs a focal point when you have a Regal Thomas with a red carpet of Crassula?
Lion's ear Leonotis leonurus is a substantial shrub smothering its neighbours. The flowers are velvety and arranged in whorls. Even the buds then seedheads are gracefully arranged.
Need a new home for the sunbed, which we haven't used since Camps Bay. I would like a second blue bench, as under the lemon tree gives us a fresh view of the garden, from where we catch the last of the sun and the myriad birds settling in the carob tree.
March flowers (indigenous except the Mexican sage and culinary herbs, Alstroemeria and rose) Sky blue Plumbago, furry purple sage with hippo, candy pink Oxalis. Tall blue pot outside the kitchen door had a variegated Felicia I loved - replaced with Salvia officinalis purpurescens, blue pot and purple stems singing together. Three Plectranthus flowers for Gail's Wildflower Wednesday as I watched a sunbird - the size of my thumb singing out like an orchestra. He perches on the twigs of Grewia and leans down to slurp from the mauve trumpets. Blue pots in the sun get too hot so I rescued the China flower to a gentler home, and replaced it with variegated mint which is indestructible. Blue butterflies of Rotheca climb in the kitchen door. Spotted curls of Hypoestes herald autumn. Clear pink Pelargonium. Polygala blooms almost year round.
One Limonium survived and has buds.
Now starring Strelitzia regina Mandela's Gold, gentler blue and rich yellow.
Beneath the buttery yellow flowers of the Senecio creeper, lurks a preying mantis. Only his toes on a petal are visible on the sunny side.
Metalasia cephalotes tiny pompoms volunteered on a shrublet with prickly leaves. Alstroemeria with short summer stalks. Iceberg roses are exuberant on a new diet of grey water with phosphates from our soapy washing powder. Striped Cyperus albostriatus is happy in the shade of the house. Pelargoniums in peach, scarlet, raspberry and white. Yellow Euryops daisy with grey feathered leaves. Lemons and yellow cascades of Natal laburnum.
Californian poppy reminds me I use half a kilo of almonds each time I make muesli. Shelled almonds have a Global Water Footprint of 16 095 m3/ton. During the Californian drought I share some guilt. One reason I am vegetarian is because it uses less water than producing meat. Dams are at 26.8 % and our water may last till the end of June.
For Sarah's Through the Garden Gate a reassurance that our garden is green, despite the drought. The lemon tree needs more coaxing into a balanced shape.
Warning to sensitive viewers:
On the edge of our pond we found this. Blue bits of mussel shell and snails. Mysterious in our walled garden. We are not far from the Silvermine River and walk 25 minutes to the beach ... looks as if we were visited by a Cape otter who slipped thru the gate.
A rare book, which I enjoyed so much, savoured and thought about. Gave it a day ... and read it again. Autumn by Ali Smith. The first of a quartet.
... a wonderful word, a word grown from several languages.
Words don't get grown, Elisabeth said.
They do, Daniel said.
Words aren't plants, Elisabeth said.
Words are themselves organisms, Daniel said.
Oregano-isms, Elisabeth said.
Herbal and verbal, Daniel said. Language is like poppies. It just takes something to churn the earth round them up, and when it does up come the sleeping words, bright red, fresh, blowing about ...
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