Our False Bay garden in July

 by Diana Studer

- gardening for biodiversity

 in Cape Town, South Africa

 

In July we had weather building up from Antarctica and South America, across the South Atlantic Ocean. After 6 years here, the Ungardener climbed up into the attic and installed green insulation over our livingroom. Now our woodstove can heat us efficiently. His photo, a different view from up a ladder of our solar geyser, photovoltaic panels and rain tank in a green garden.

 

Our green house
Our green house

From my sister a bunch of flowers for my birthday. Serruria with Erica, and tiny white Phylica which still offers a delicious waft of honey each time I pass.

 

Birthday Serruria
Birthday Serruria

Zöe and the Ungardener like to soak up the winter sun.

 

Zöe in winter sun
Zöe in winter sun

Thomas and I prefer pale and interesting.

 

Thomas in shade
Thomas in shade

Come Through the Garden Gate with Sarah Down by the Sea in Dorset. Pictures of English formal gardens with grim dark hedges scattered with bright orange climbing nasturtium ... have found an echo in my garden. Climbing aloe reaches for the sun, up thru shrubs and trees, across to the sunny side of hedge or wall. Began as a branch reaching across from our Porterville neighbour.

 

Climbing aloe in our tapestry hedge on the verge
Climbing aloe in our tapestry hedge on the verge 

Aloe ferox in its mid-winter glory!

 

Aloe ferox
Aloe ferox

Buzzing with bees laden in bright orange pollen.

 

Aloe ferox with bees
Aloe ferox with bees

I was feeling sorry for the bees on garlic buchu Agathosma apiculata. Till I zoom in and see they are equally laden but in gloomy khaki and olive drab pollen.

 

Garlic buchu with bees
Garlic buchu with bees

Among the understated July flowers. Knowltonia vesicatoria in a shady pot with Commelina africana. Curly leaf grass Pentameris curvifolia planted for the delight it brings me when out hiking. Tall spike of green and white striped pregnant onion Albuca bracteata. Yellow Chasmanthe has one spike of buds in my garden - that was what Thomas chose to biff (he finds flowers untidy) Always unexpected to find berries on a tall daisy bush. Bietou Chyrsanthemoides  monilifera showing its 'ring of beads'

 

Understated flowers from our garden in July
Understated flowers from our garden in July

Dark orange Tecomaria capensis. My mother's coral tuberous begonia. Golden Hibiscus enjoying the sun since he cut back the carob. Climbing yellow daisy Senecio macroglossus with its glossy and succulent ivy leaves. Pink bells of Dombeya burgessiae.

 

August means spring flowers up the West Coast and there are already pictures on Facebook. Time we got back to pruning and making space for more light and colour in our garden.

 

July colour in our garden
July colour in our garden

I have not set up a new way to subscribe via email. I wonder, if I have readers who need that again? Since reading that Bloglovin has been abandoned, I have also removed that prompt - altho the service is still running.

 

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

of Elephant's Eye on False Bay

 

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Comments

  1. A belated happy birthday, Diana! Good for you on the solar panels. I've been trying to convince my spouse that we should install them but he mumbles about the bureaucratic headaches of connecting them to the electrical grid here. Your Aloe flowers are flashy but I love the flower of the Albuca best. Those bulbs are hard to find here and the one I had seems to have disappeared.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had some years of teething problems with domestic solar. I do still begrudge that we cannot feed in and be paid back. Sun shining, solar batteries full, solar geyser hot, car charged ... and the panels have nothing to do!

      That Albuca was on the verge at our first home. One day I found a neat hole - rescued all the tiny baby bulbs, and started again.

      Delete
  2. The flowers of your aloe are so eye catching, how long do they last? The sound of the bees on it must be amazing!
    Very interested in seeing your solar geyser, I had to go away and read more about it. We have a different method of solar water heating in the UK. We were put off by installing it as friends had found their water temperature wasn't constant. It's amazing how many extra miles we get out of the electric car in the summer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In my twenties I bathed every night, top up the hot water. Then we had loadshedding (please switch off your geyser) and drought (save water).

      We have a time switch on our solar geyser. 1130 to 1300 to make the most of midday sun. Again 1600 to 1700 for our evening use. (And again, bad Diana who is a non-solar night owl, for my very late shower). In summer, or warm winter days the midday slot doesn't need to kick in. Timer is needed to make it work for your family's routine.

      We were horrified how the electric car cut its range on the night we had frost in Magaliesberg - but it recovered on the sunny journey next day.

      Delete
  3. Was the green insulation recycled newspaper?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No it is plastic fibre - like pink Aerolite (duvet filling ish), but recycled plastic instead. And THICK - it was a mission to cut to fit between the rafters and beams.

      Delete
  4. Those winter aloe blooms are indeed stunning!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Happy birthday! The flowers of aloe are outstanding. How big is it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. about shoulder high? Not quite as tall as me, yet.

      Delete
  6. Winter light--lovely. Winter flowers--lovely.

    I've not set up a new way to subscribe by email either--I looked at a couple and they were not at all private, rather just another way to collect data on people. I won't do that.

    I'd love to have more solar panels, but our stupid roof is faceted instead of being a couple straight segments...grrrr! Still searching for a way.

    Best wishes from California.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lovely photos! I'm a fan of the aloe (memories of Southern California).

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  8. Wow, that Aloe ferox looks glorious! Not a colour I would expect in the winter :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I also gave up on the Email-subscription. Might be suspicious to readers anyway, I thought....
    Regards
    Elke

    ReplyDelete
  10. And yet. At the new nursery on Friday I met someone who 'reads my blog via email' But, you can't do that any more ...

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your garden is lovely, even in winter. I can't believe you have been there for 6 years now! Where does the time go?

    ReplyDelete

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