False Bay garden in July
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
That low brick curb defends our water meter. On the edge of our driveway where it hopes to snag my tyre as I reverse in. Luckily our road is mostly quiet. We added a new pot, fibre cement painted to match 'I belong to this house'. The plant is another Searsia crenata dune crowberry, proof against the wind, sun and weather. Small leaves and can be kept trimmed compact. With berries for the birds. It was Rhus but that has been claimed for sumac, including the spice in za'atar. Anacardiaceae family ranges from cashews to poison oak.
Bietou bushes Osteospermum moniliferum on the curb have been carefully stripped of leaves by woolly bear caterpillars. Now the velvety new leaves emerge. Strelitzia nicolai has flowers dripping nectar with queuing birds. Very shiny new leaves on trifoliate Searsia crenata fresh from Harry Goemans Garden Centre's intensive care. Happy blue pot filled with Felicia daisies. Still a few blue butterfly flowers on Rotheca myricoides. As we step Through the Garden Gate with Sarah in Dorset
A family of dikkop live in our neighbour's front garden. Also using the ratty gaps at the base of our pruned tapestry hedge, among the frass from those ravenous caterpillars.
Softly grey leaves and gentle terracotta flowers Cotyledon orbiculata. Last month's aloe is history and Aloe marlothii is already fading. Halleria lucida in the open centre of the tapestry hedge has reached the top of the palisade fence. Open pink bells of Dombeya burgessiae. Furled speckled buds and swirled open golden hibiscus flowers.
We have a shallow bowl on the table outside the kitchen. Birds queue on the trellis. Weaver bathing (they have a nest in that neighbour's garden)
Happy bees for Wildflower Wednesday with Gail at Clay and Limestone in Tennessee where we garden for pollinators with year round flowers (and no poison) Bees appreciate any honest flowers, with pollen and / or nectar. Yellow climbing daisy Senecio macroglossus. Feathery and fragrant garlic buchu Agathosma apiculata. Potted lime has fruit to harvest, and the first of the next crop growing.
While our little clicking frog sings to us, I am still loath to cut back dwarf papyrus Cyperus prolifer, but I must soon, it has covered half of Froggy Pond.
Strelitzia nicolai, planted in 2015 reaches our eaves. I trim the fronds that reach into the path. One day we will trim out a strategic trunk.
From Stellenbosch University Botanical Garden - It’s the end of July and spring is already making itself felt, plants starting to shoot and the early flowering ones covered in blossoms. One of the great myths of the Cape, derived from a northern hemisphere garden bias, is that spring for plants is September. Sure, the Vernal Equinox, when the sun moves south over the equator is only late September. But our plants don’t care that the days are still shorter than the nights, they just see the increasing day length and approaching summer drought. Peak Cape plant flowering starts from August.
August flower display already in Namaqualand after good rain.
Buds on Freesia leichtlinii alba. Yellow Chasmanthe floribunda Duckittii are lolling after I removed their supporting Salvia aurea, which I cut to the ground - only two of my cuttings flourish. White Zantedeschia aethiopica whose leaves are chewed by hawk moth caterpillars. Three petalled limy Albuca. Green and gold Bulbine. Euryops pectinatus which I saw growing on our mountain last week.
Clouds intrigue me - I caught a glimpse of this guardian angel gliding across our garden.
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