Six years in this garden

 by Diana Studer

- gardening for biodiversity

 in Cape Town, South Africa

 

After two years our garden displayed bones planned and built by the Ungardener. My shrubs and trees showed what they are made of. Step Through the Garden Gate with Sarah Down By the Sea in Dorset

 

Karoo Koppie
Karoo Koppie

Out front on Karoo Koppie, the aloes I planted are hip high with fierce pokes if I get too close. Willowy olive sapling would shield our bay window, without the tapestry hedge on the verge.

 

Summer Gold and Spring Promise
Summer Gold and Spring Promise

Graceful offset path from Summer Gold to Spring Promise is getting blurred.

 

Woodland Walk and Froggy Pond
Woodland Walk and Froggy Pond

Winding past Froggy Pond (frog IS still behind the dwarf papyrus). Birds roost in our carob overnight, he trimmed another slice. Next door's palm was small in 2017, our lemon happier pre-drought.

 

Cornish Stripe and Washing Pergola
Cornish Stripe and Washing Pergola

Edible banana at this end, is coming up fresh. Tallest section of distant Strelitzia nicolai is on the cutting back list. Washing Pergola freshly painted on its weatherbeaten top.

 

Bonsais
Bonsais

Two bonsais, seedlings from the Camps Bay garden where I grew up. Five cypress trees - trimmed the top, sorted the stones to an 'outcrop'. Cotoneaster had been trained with exposed roots, trying to work in stones to make the 'cowboy with no horse' look as if it grew that way.

 

Swiss cat ladder in 2017
Swiss cat ladder in 2017

Back in 2017 when the Ungardener was teaching Thomas to be a Swiss cat and use his ladder to climb the wall. Since he jumped down the other side ... he cut a cat flap in the gate. At first a Perspex flap so they could come home, but not get out (but, see 1 above, ladder!) Now no flap and they come and go as they please, reserving the ladder for neighbourhood watch stints.

 

Cats occupewing our pies
Cats occupewing our pies

On Sunday they were occupewing our pies. They liked to sleep under the overarching grass, which I cut back from the path.

 

2021's junior hadeda
2021's junior hadeda

This year's junior hadeda keeps a wary eye on us, as he digs around pots for beetle grubs or snails.

 

Waxbills eating purple sedge seeds
Waxbills eating purple sedge seeds

Mine is not an I Didn't Choose It, I Didn't Plant It, OUT, garden. Purple sedge Cyperus congestus volunteered. Waxbills need soft (green growing) seeds. Feeding on the arching stems, with others collecting what they drop.

 

Warm April flowers
Warm April flowers

Our April has been dry and sunny. Photographing a hummingbird hawkmoth, I found a disgruntled preying mantis who lost her lunch. Spires of delicate white flowers on red-leaved Crassula capitella. Scarlet and gold sparkles Nerine sarniensis. Wary of this cluster of smaller flowers reverting on my South Africa rose, I cut that stem back. Under the trimmed carob, an apricot Tecomaria. Next to velvety orange Leonotis. I leave most of the dandelion / Hypochaeris; flat yellow daisies are perfect for rescuing tired hungry honeybees for Gail at Clay and Limestone in Tennessee and her Wildflower Wednesday. Euryops with green, and silvery, leaves - with pollinating fly.

 

Fire on Table Mountain, began next to the freeway on 18th April. Swept up thru 'heritage' pines. Exploded gas tanks at Rhodes Memorial restaurant. Swept down to take out Jagger Library and the top floor of the biology building at the University of Cape Town. Finishing with Mostert's Mill burnt to the ground.

 

Walk with the firefighters (Facebook album Day 1 with text for each photo)

Day 2

We had a new weapon this time, manned drone, eye in the sky

Hermes the caracal alive and well after the fire

Devastated library, African Studies with films and documents from the Struggle years, and New South Africa. Everything at the Plant Conservation Unit.

Aerial photos after by Jean Tresfon

 

Cool April flowers
Cool April flowers

The weather has turned, we have had our first fire. Hypoestes aristata in white, and purple humming with bees. Pink Thuli Madonsela rose. White Iceberg. Softest sky blue Plumbago auriculata. Commonorgarden pink Pelargonium (with the tiniest bee my camera has ever seen). Autumn's moody blues - Plectranthus saccatus, Barleria obtusa - April violets, blue Australian Plectranthus parviflorus.

 

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

of Elephant's Eye on False Bay

 

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Comments

  1. I can't believe this is your six year anniversary. I remember when you started the garden. Has it really been six years??

    It is sad when any library burns and all that knowledge is lost. I am a booklover and hate when that happens.

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

    ReplyDelete
  2. I’ve studied your first picture carefully. The olive tree has grown so much. It’s amazing! We planted an olive tree in our front garden about five or six year ago and it looks similar your tree in 2017. Anyway, we are happy that the winter is over and our olive tree is still alive. Sorry to hear about fires in your town.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have a gentle mediterranean climate. Plants grow slowly in winter if we get our rain, and rest a bit in summer - but really they grow year round.

      Delete
  3. The curves of your pathway there are so graceful--beautifully done. Drought slows everything down. Your kitties look loved and happy, and your Ungardener does great work!

    The Table Mountain fire was on the news--was very sorry to see that.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I’m not sure my comment was published, it said oops, error,, so I’ll try again, your garden has only become more beautiful over the years and what a clever step placement for the cats, I’ve never heard of that! You asked about my guide dog,, I was to receive her in March of 2020 but covid locked down the border from Canada to the U.S and after 6 months waiting for the border to reopen, they felt they could wait no longer. She was sold to someone else. The border is still closed at this time, over one year. I will get my dog as soon as things return to normal, it is a process, sadly my name went back down on the list, a small problem compared to many caused by this pandemic, thank you for asking. Take care,

    ReplyDelete
  5. You and the Ungardener established a great foundation to build on. I had to smile at the cat stairs - my husband build some to facilitate visits by the neighbor's cats at our old place (as they clearly believed my garden was also theirs). My cats weren't permitted to roam outside in either that garden or our current one but they had screened "catios" in both places with spots to climb.

    I'm sorry to hear your area experienced such a destructive fire. As dry as we've been here (our rain total is still stuck below 4 inches for the entire period since October 1, 2020 which is the start of our "water year" in California), I fear another very bad fire season.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Dear Diana,
    sex years? Are you sure? I met you at elephant's eye and thought it was yesterday :). Your are doing so much for mother nature. I can imagine the cats and birds love all these. Spring is coming now to Austria the fruiters are in bloom at the moment.
    So we all take a deep breath.
    Sorry to read about the fire.
    Send you all my best and wish you happy happy days in your nature paradise
    Elisabeth

    ReplyDelete
  7. Six years has gone quickly, but your garden is looking good. I was very sorry to hear of the fires at Cape Town University, especially the library, my cousin worked there years ago and has fond memories.

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  8. Dear Diana, time is running and your garden looks gorgeous now! I´m really happy to see you still blogging. Remeber my start and all the help you gave me, ten years ago! Wish you all the best in this crazy days, love, Gesa

    ReplyDelete
  9. You've created something special here, Diana. I always enjoy my visits.
    Amalia
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's lovely to see the developments as your garden grows. :) And lovely to see your blog after I've been away for a year. I've wanted to thank you for your kind comments on my own blog last year, which I never replied to as I was dealing with pretty intense depression. Things are looking up now, and I so hope to be around peeking at the beauties of my friends' gardens again...

    ReplyDelete
  11. I like your bonsai, don't remember seeing them here before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The before is here
      https://eefalsebay.blogspot.com/2020/12/november-in-our-false-bay-garden.html
      I was looking after them for my sister when she moved. Some beautiful inspiring old bonsais at Kirstenbosch (and also at Stellenbosch University botanical garden)

      Delete

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