April in our False Bay garden with COVID kilometres

by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Who would have thought, when we planned this garden from Porterville, how deeply we would appreciate three things. We live in a broad valley with a borrowed scenery glimpse of mountain on each side. Down to Cape Point then Antarctica, or up to the City and Africa. No dead wasted space here. No lawn, no green desert, I want interest and biodiversity habitat. A reason to explore. Sun out front or shade under the carob. Bird song and bubbling water, reflections of blue sky in the pond. A path to stride out, or step carefully, a gentle slope with a few stairs. Bricks or varied paving slabs. Straight, curved, or turn here. Five years of gardening. (Looking back to four years)

Up to the City and Africa, down to Cape Point and Antarctica  (Borrowed scenery in our garden)
Up to the City and Africa, down to Cape Point and Antarctica
(Borrowed scenery in our garden)

A spritz of jasmine each time we pass this corner. Each lap, there and back, is a hundred metres. Ten makes a kilometre. He runs and counts his laps, three kilometres usually. Five yesterday!

The Ungardener running his COVID kilometres
The Ungardener running his COVID kilometres

I tried twice around the circle, made me dizzy. Once, clockwise up, and anti-clockwise down, works.

Paved circle under the carob
Paved circle under the carob

Froggy Pond has two frogs singing at night. We think they are in that large clump of Cyperus prolifer, which I trim just a few stalks at a time. The hippo is hidden underneath.

Froggy Pond
Froggy Pond

For Gail's Wildflower Wednesday at Clay and Limestone in Tennessee Cotyledon orbiculata comes in many leaf varieties. I prefer the grey, and the interesting leaf forms. First choice is these reindeer antlers! That tall blue pot is the view from our glazed kitchen door, and the turning point. Previously with a ratty purple sage. I am stretching my Cornish Stripe blue and white theme to include glaucous leaves now.

Tall blue pot newly planted
Tall blue pot newly planted

No wasted space again. We moved the new wooden compost bin to the corner, where it divides Cornish Stripe from the Woodland Walk. Also that ugly black tank for grey water is now tucked behind a small spekboom hedge.

Moved the compost bin and tank for grey water
Moved the compost bin and tank for grey water

For Through the Garden Gate with Sarah Down by the Sea in Dorset. This pair of hadeda ibis was digging together in that Iceberg pot for a while. I start my loop in the sunny front garden with weight-bearing stair climbing,  100 to 150 each day. Then I walk laps till my half hour is up (about one and a half kilometres)

Hadeda ibis
Hadeda ibis

One day, we will draw a line under this, a wobbly line. Our COVID lockdown warden on high alert. This is BOR-R-RING, nobody ever goes anywhere!

Lockdown warden on high alert
Lockdown warden on high alert

In autumn the garden turns purple Hypoestes aristata, Plectranthus saccatus and Barleria obtusa. With blue Rotheca myricoides and Felicia. Pelargoniums in pinks, white, red and coral. Red Halleria lucida and Nerine sarniensis. Orange Tecomaria capensis and leaf edges on Aloe striata. Yellow daisies Euryops and Gazania.

April garden flowers
April garden flowers

Easter seems so long ago. A posy of gifted plants inherited with this garden. Variegated Coprosma repens, white Iceberg roses and Hypoestes aristata. In a blue glass vase from my middlest sister, on a striped plate from my niece whose heart sings with colour!

Easter posy
Easter posy

Typhoid Mary no longer washes dishes. They are jetsetting, country club, members. TMI? Those first 100 days. We hope to follow in the steps of New Zealand and Portugal as they lift lockdown. On the 1st of May we go to Level 4 - cloth masks if we leave home, curfew from 8 at night to 5 in the morning, slowly back to work. COVID feelings from First Dog on the Moon ;~))

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Pictures by Diana Studer

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Comments

  1. Beautiful flowers, and I enjoyed seeing photos of your garden! Glad you have room to move around. I feel so sorry for those people who live in apartment buildings with no space to get outside. I know I would be totally crazy by now if I could not get outdoors and enjoy nature.
    I do wear a mask and use hand sanitizer when I go to the grocery store, but there are a lot of people here in the United States that do not. There is a lot of talk here (USA) of re-opening some business with requirements that everyone wears a mask.
    Be careful, stay safe, and may God bless you!

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  2. Thinking of your undergardener as he does his kilometres. You are in a much more severe lockdown than us. Being allowed out for two hours each day is my sanity at the moment. We are appreciating less grass like you. Paving and gravel definitely the way to go with lots more room for plants. Your garden is looking lovely in its autumn splendour. B x

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  3. You've created a truly lovely garden. We who can be out and about are quite fortunate. Take care.

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  4. As Barbara mentioned we have been so lucky to still be able to go out for walks. Your new methods of exercise have had wonderful surroundings to enjoy and even better to be able to appreciate all the hard work you done over the past five years to create such a sanctuary. Hope you have some more freedom soon. Sarah x

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  5. I like your pond, especially how the rocks make a little beach!

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    1. So the birds and bees can get to the water. Also a shallow shelf for the ibis at the frog end.

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  6. We're so lucky to have gardens to take refuge in! As you've done with yours, I work to ensure that all corners of my garden offer something meaningful to its inhabitants. Good for you and your Ungardener for being rigorous about getting regular exercise - I work in the garden every day but I'm not very disciplined about the nature of that exercise. I take it that your cats coexist peacefully with the Ibis?

    Best wishes with your planned re-entry. I expect that California will remain largely closed down through May, although there is some talk of easing selected restrictions. Meanwhile, my nephew in Oregon, just 32, has been diagnosed with the virus.

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    1. May your nephew be in the 4 out of 5 who recover - young is better. Daunting times.

      Thomas and the ibis keep a beady eye on each other, stay at a respectful distance. Zoe retreats smartly, they are BIGger than her.

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    2. So pleasant to enjoy your garden and not mine for a change. I don't see the work to be done in yours (it appears to be perfect) like I do in mine.

      Your comment, "Easter seems so long ago." struck a note with me. We keep saying the same thing to each other here. Has time stopped or slowed down? Have we been in lock-down for years?

      Today my area, southern middle Tennessee, USA is partially being opened back up. We do not plan to change our lifestyle or leave quarantine. We will remain cautious until we see if there is a resurgence.

      Do take care Diana.

      Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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  7. Thomas looks like a very stern lockdown warden who will not put up with any nonsense! I admire your creativity and determination in jogging and walking laps in the garden. I'm grateful that it is possible for me to go out and walk around my rural neighborhood; it's nice just to see other people and greet them from a distance. Even so, my weekly drive to a farm about 20 miles away to buy produce feels like a very exciting outing.

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  8. The frogs singing in my froggy pond are in tune with the ones singing in yours. I linked to you (and Sarah) in today's posting. Stay safe. P. x

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    1. Glad you like my new frog, Diana. In answer to your question on my site: Pierre du Pont who created Longwood Gardens planned every aspect of the Italian Garden, including the stone sculptures, after his travels in Europe. We found our replica frog buried in a corner of one of our favorite garden centers -- it had been there many years. We were thrilled when the owner offered to sell it to us. It is very heavy and we placed it in a spot where (we hope) it won't need moving.

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  9. Living in a city where there are quite a few Covid cases and being in a city apartment limits pretty walks for me. I do get out and go round and round my parking lot. xo Laura

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  10. You have created a beautiful garden and April flowers are wonderful. It's is really boring these times. We are not used to stay at home for so long. Thinking about the people living in the big cities, I'm grateful that we are in the countryside.

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  11. Your lock down is tighter than here. We can walk in the neighborhood and we do, avoiding others by as much space as possible. The county put up no-parking signs so people are not driving here to walk in our nearby county park. It has helped somewhat. Here people are getting restless while testing/contact tracing continues to be entirely inadequate. Americans are impatient, don't like to follow instructions and many are being foolish.

    I have an neighbor who walks his garden, carefully "supervised" by a fine cat who looks very much like your "warden", to make sure he does it right. Our pets and our gardens--we are so fortunate to have them. Best wishes!

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    1. Now we are allowed to walk, from 6 (still very dark) in the morning to 9. Crowds poured out, we stay home.

      Grateful also to be retired, as hungry people are understandably more and more desperate to 'let us get back to work!'

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  12. Thank you for sharing a lovely walk through your wonderful garden. I could just imagine sitting in it, relaxing.

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  13. I always enjoy visiting your lovely garden, Diana. When you're in lockdown it is such a blessing to have a garden.
    Amalia
    xo

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  14. I missed this post at the time. Funny combination of peace and frenetic activity. I will be inspired by you, now my arm is getting better, to do more conscious activity and not rely on the daily routine to take me up and down the stairs enough times to 'count'. Love the saucer you have your Easter posy on. It would make me smile every time I passed it.

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    1. It does make me smile - both for the colours, and for my niece I haven't seen for so long.

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