August in our False Bay garden and social distancing

 by Diana Studer

- gardening for biodiversity

in Cape Town, South Africa


We are in a cold snap. Down to 5C overnight, which is cold for Cape Town where we don't do frost at the coast. For the second time this month, there is snow on Table Mountain! On the blue sky days in between Zöe and the Ungardener fight for that sunny spot. Framed in the window the coral Aloe striata, sheaf of terracotta flowers and kind leaves bordered to match. 


Winter sunworshippers Aloe striata
Winter sunworshippers Aloe striata


Through the Garden Gate with Sarah Down By the Sea in Dorset to my view from my laptop of the owl and Euphorbia tirucalli, which is an even deeper orange today. Golden variety of spekboom Portulacaria afra.  


Karoo Koppie in August
Karoo Koppie in August

New plants in August from Kirstenbosch Nursery. Another attempt to coax a creeper up the trellis at the second water tank. Variegated Senecio tamoides from the summer rain side of our country (will need watering) with yellow daisies in autumn. For the gap in our tapestry hedge I chose these vivid red new leaves. Maurocenia frangula (Celastraceae family) is familiar from our mountain walks.  For Wildflower Wednesday with Gail at Clay and Limestone in Tennessee.   


New plants for August
New plants for August

Long ago another garden blogger wailed - I worked all day and the garden STILL looks as if it needs work! The advice she got was, instead of doing little bits all over, choose one bit to work on, the path to the front door, the view from your favourite window ... When we planted Froggy Pond in 2016 I had two neat polka dot pots of dwarf papyrus Cyperus prolifer. The shallow terracotta pot near the concrete frog is forced by its roots to be well behaved. The flowering stems arch over, when they reach the water they strike roots. And smother the surface. I wrenched out the bunch rooted on the pebble beach, now we can see the hippo again. Will cut back another chunk, but I leave some shelter for our live frog. We will need another bag of pebbles and stones (they seem to slide away, to the bottom of the pond?)


Froggy Pond cleared a little
Froggy Pond cleared a little

About microclimates. We have a pair of square pots at the steps down to the garden. I wanted a predictable matching pair of plants. Chose Cotyledon orbiculata cuttings from the front garden in April. But the pot shaded by the house in the afternoon failed. Just that courteous social distance of one and a half metres makes a difference, even to plants! On the shady side we have wintry Japanese maple and Rotheca, with exuberant tuberous begonia, Streptocarpus and maidenhair fern. Potted violet with nibbled flowers. On the sunny side climbing Senecio and developing bananas.  


Microclimate between shade and sun
Microclimate between shade
and sun

My blue and white for Cornish Stripe has Felicia daisies, lavender and the violet. White pelargonium and masses of Freesia leichtlinii, fragrant with touches of yellow and purple, a white Babiana. Iceberg rose and creamy green Ornithogallum bracteolata. Compost volunteer with 4 small yellow plum tomatoes.


Blue and white flowers in August
Blue and white flowers in August

Lime green and gold Albuca. Feathery white garlic buchu Agathosma apiculata. Nibbled yellow Euryops. Knowltonia vesicatoria has shiny green berries! Potted lime appreciates feeding, as do the freeloading Oxalis pes-caprae.


August flowers with Knowltonia berries
August flowers with Knowltonia berries

Hibiscus tiliaceus both leaves and flowers cycle thru autumn golds and russets. Inherited commonorgarden Hibiscus. Tiny pink hibiscus from Knysna. Self-sown nasturtiums from the russet seeds. Mandela's Gold Strelitzia. Scatter of red pelargoniums.


August flowers with Knysna hibiscus
August flowers with Knysna hibiscus

As evening falls our cats are on neighbourhood watch, heads turning in unison.


Cats on neighbourhood watch together
Cats on neighbourhood watch together

A wedding ring shawl of cloud draped across our hedge.

With music and our star spangled skies at Sutherland (also with snow now!)


Shawl of cloud across our hedge
Shawl of cloud across our hedge

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Comments

  1. Nibbled leaves and flowers: signs of a wildlife friendly garden :-)

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  2. That is quite chilly overnight Diana. Your garden is still looking wonderful

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  3. Winter is just not giving up in your garden, Diana. Too many beauties to choose a favorite in this posting -- maybe the Euphorbia tirucalli. Froggy Pond looking good! P. x

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  4. This is a wonderful post from top to bottom, Diana. I'm a little in love with the vivid red foliage of Maurocenia frangula, which I've never heard of before, much less seen. Lots of flowers and tomatoes too in winter yet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maurocenia comes in male and female plants. I might need another to get berries.

      Delete
  5. Apologies in delay to responding to your comment, I haven't been close to the computer! I love you plants from Kirstenbosch Nursery they must have a wonderful choice of plants. That is wise words about concentrating on one area at a time and about micro climates. It is just as well that it takes a lot for gardeners to give up trying! Hope you have more success with the new climber over the water tank. Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope to escape the computer for Kirstenbosch again later this week.

      Delete
  6. Great new plants. The Maurocenia is something like our Toyon, a small shrub-tree, very nice looking. The red emerging leaves are very attractive. Kirstenbosch Nursery must have some amazing plants.

    I have something of the same microclimate drama on either side of the front door, the left gets morning sun and the sedum there does okay; the side on the right fierce afternoon--toast!

    5 C is about as cold as it gets here. Snow on Table Mountain--stunning sight.

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  7. I have missed your beautiful posts, the gardens are just so exotic, so lush, so beautiful. It is sometimes shocking how persnickety plants can, so fussy about where they plant their “feet “ lol,,, your neighbour hood watch crew is very handsome and look very dedicated.

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  8. I did need your advice to just work in one section at a time. Right now it is so hot outside it is hard to stay long out there.
    Your garden looks perfect, as always.
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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  9. Your garden is perfect and the flowers are amazing.

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  10. Stunning shots of Garden. It would be my pleasure if you join my link up party related to gardening here at http://jaipurgardening.blogspot.com/2020/08/garden-affair-love-for-caladiums.html

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  11. That does seem chilly for you as you approach spring. But the garden and the wildflowers seem to be taking it in stride. All is beautiful; the advice is helpful; your words are poetry...wedding ring shawl of clouds draped across the hedge. Sigh.

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  12. A wonderful array of plants as usual!
    Re. micro climates and the sun. I have geraniums on the window sills on either side of my front door and my next door neighbour has some on her window sills too - all bought and potted up at the same time. The ones on my living room window flowered first - to the left of the front door. The ones on my kitchen windowsill - to the right of the front door - flowered next. Hers, next house along, still haven't flowered so she's moved them forward onto her front wall in the hope of catching more sun as it comes round. This is all within a few feet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am awed by how much more aware plants are, than us H. sapiens.

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  13. Definitely a chilly night! I don’t think we ever feel our gardens are complete, always more to do! The plants seem to know instinctively where they will grow best, to bad we humans weren’t as clever! Thank you for sharing such beautiful photos today, always such a joy to see.

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  14. Dear Diana,
    oh, snow on Table Mountain - that must look very nice! I hope the low temperatures do not harm the plants in your beautiful garden. We were twice in South Africa, in 2002 from Johannesburg via Kruger National Park, Durban, the Drakensberge and Harrismith back to Jo'burg, and 2016 after our trip to Namibia for a few days in Cape Town. There is even a travel report of this in my blog: https://rostrose.blogspot.com/p/klicks-zu-den-einzelnen-kapiteln-des.html
    We enjoyed both very much, you live in a very beautiful country! I hope the problems with Covid19 don't affect you and your family too much!
    Warm Sunday greetings from Austria and pet your two cute cats from me!
    Hugs Traude
    https://rostrose.blogspot.com/2020/09/september-ausflug-auf-die-hohe-wand.html

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  15. Snow on Table Mountain! In September! The whole world has indeed gone mad. At least your garden is looking as gorgeous as ever, that is a constant.
    Amalia
    xo

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  16. Beautiful!!! I Always admire your garden very much.
    Elke

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