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|
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|
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|
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|
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|
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|
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|
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|
As evening falls our cats are on neighbourhood watch, heads turning in unison.
|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|
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Pictures by Diana Studer
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