Our False Bay garden in February starring Metalasia muricata

by Diana Studer

- gardening for biodiversity

 in Cape Town, South Africa

 

February flowers for Through the Garden Gate with Sarah Down By the Sea in Dorset

 

Metalasia muricata flowers in a gentle silver and gold, ivory and straw. Tiny flowers packed closely within dense layers of brownish bracts. The sprig on my windowsill from the posy two weeks ago is as appealing as ever.

 

Metalasia muricata flower detail
Metalasia muricata flower detail

I have been taught, for an ID, always photograph the leaves (and growth habit) as well. Daisy family, Metalasia, is easy but the species needs to see those tiny hooked leaves. (Macro in a Mason jar technique) Gentle while they are fresh and green, more argumentative when they get old and crabby. My shrub is absolutely covered in flowers!

 

Metalasia muricata
Metalasia muricata
 

It volunteered in place to fill the gap in our tapestry hedge. Jewel in the crown when it flowers. Standing just a little taller than I do! Supporting biodiversity for Gail at Clay and Limestone and her Wildflower Wednesday

 

Tapestry hedge
Tapestry hedge

Edible banana has 3 lush leaves, with another doubtful little sprout emerging. Knee high already.

 

Edible banana sprouting
Edible banana sprouting
 

The Ungardener has been chewing slices off the carob. No longer do the branches reach for our house (we can see that neighbour's gable). Looking down to the pond, lightening the leafage, we have a glimpse of mountain, and more white wall.

 

Trimmed the carob
Trimmed the carob
 

I deadhead the roses steadily, and have fresh flowers. Lots of life. Aphids. Predatory  ladybirds and syrphid / hover flies. And preying mantis waiting with eager open arms. A looping caterpillar and black and white spotted beetles. Golden South Africa, pink  Thuli Madonsela and white Iceberg roses.

 

Rose Courtyard
Rose Courtyard

Since I don't have a fig tree to worry about, this longhorn beetle was fascinating. Phryneta spinator.

 

Figtree longhorn beetle
Figtree longhorn beetle
 

From my window Clovelly Ridge at sunset, turning from carroty orange to beetroot red one evening.

 

Clovelly Ridge in orange
Clovelly Ridge in orange
 

Australian Plectranthus parviflorus was stripped by caterpillars, but has forgiven me with the first flowers. Senecio tamoides is climbing up towards the trellis. Has soft stems so we will WAIT before tying it in. Deep purple Streptocarpus is bursting out of its newest pot.

 

Plectranthus, Senecio Streptocarpus
Plectranthus, Senecio
Streptocarpus
 

Jacaranda blue Plectranthus spicatus has neatly chiselled leaves. Canary yellow Hypoxis has furry leaves arranged in three ranks. First orange tiers of Leonotis.

 

Plectranthus, Hypoxis, Leonotis
Plectranthus, Hypoxis, Leonotis
 

Still learning to use my new camera (with the new multifocals, sigh), which complained about the smoky haze. Last Sunday a fire started in the mountains above Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Over 13 000 hectares burnt. Inaccessible terrain. Two firefighters seriously injured. Planes and helicopters are being used, but not suitable for the burning cliffs.

 

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Pictures by Diana Studer

of Elephant's Eye on False Bay

 

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Comments

  1. Metalasia is a very interesting plant and unlike anything I've seen here. The figtree beetle looks like he'd make an excellent model for a villain in a superhero movie. The sunset photo of the ridge is remarkable too. News of the fire is depressing. With our rain levels so low this year, plant foliage is already dry, especially in southern California, and we're hearing early warnings about the wildfire risk this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ta da, completely overcast, can smell smoke. With a few drops of rain coming tonite. Cooler and kinder for our tired firefighters.

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  2. I absolutely love your Tapestry Hedge. It is what I would want if I lived in a city. Privacy is something I must have. Yours looks so healthy.
    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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    Replies
    1. Drive by neighbours probably think (no lawn, sprawling shrubs) nobody living there now ;~ It's a little pocket of nature in suburbia, with Table Mountain National Park only a few houses away.

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  3. It is always a treat to visit your garden and see what is growing and blooming.

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  4. The ridge is so golden, at first glance I wasn't sure what to make of the picture until I noticed it's not pure gold, it's a mountain..

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  5. Your close up images of the Metalasia are fantastic! Sorry to hear you have had a bad fire in the area. Your garden seems to be growing well with the Under Gardener having to cut back! It was lovely to see your roses too. Clovelly Ridge bathed in orange light reminds me of the cliffs here at sunset.

    When I switched my computer the other morning the window lock screen showed a coastal view I was pleased to guess that it had to be somewhere in South Africa, I have learnt so much about South Africa through reading your blog! Sarah x

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  6. I sometimes forget your wider landscape which is made for sunsets and also bears the harsher realities of fire on the mountain. Within, it's always interesting to see what is growing and time and time again find myself drawn to the blues! Streptocarpus my grandmother grew in her greenhouse, so it reminds me of childhood, and the Plectranthus is just lovely.

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    Replies
    1. Somewhere on the Welsh border is your National Collection of Streptocarpus. We happened on that while travelling - which led to me growing at least one!

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  7. So many different plants in your garden. We do share streptocarpus and iceberg rose though :) B x

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  8. Things look wonderful in your part of the world with so much color and variety!

    Feel free to share at My Corner of the World

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