by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
“Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” is a visually striking outdoor installation at the Tower of London by artist Paul Cummins of 888,246 ceramic poppies built to commemorate Britain’s involvement in World War I. The red poppies each represent a British or British Colonial military fatality from the war — over the course of the installation, the poppies will be gradually added until the final day, when the last poppy will be ceremonially placed. The installation opens on August 5th, 2014, the 100th anniversary of Britain’s first full day of involvement in World War I. It ends on November 11th, the day that the Armistice was signed in 1918, marking the end of the war.
For bloggers who share my Irish roots - Carrie, Foxglove Lane, Stone Art who writes about The Tree That Ate The Church and
My maternal Anglo-Irish grandfather
'Pat' Frederick George Yeates
7th Oct 1878 to 2nd Sept 1918
Air Mechanic, 35th Kite Balloon Section of the Royal Air Force,
in Northern France, at the Bucquoy Road Cemetery, Ficheux
My cousin asked the Commonwealth War Graves Commission where our grandfather’s grave was. When the Ungardener and I were crossing Europe in the old Land Rover, we went to visit his grave at the Bucquoy road cemetery. I read the entry in the register stored at the gate. His entire life, in a few lines. Nearby is Delville Wood where we walked quiet avenues of tall trees, and no birds sang.
We have a studio portrait of my grandmother, with two small girls. My mother was only four there. "With love from all of us." Which would have been returned to his widow. I claimed my mother's shamrock brooch years ago.
|My mother's shamrock brooch|
O Paddy dear, and did ye hear the news that's going round?
The shamrock is by law forbid to grow on Irish ground!
No more Saint Patrick's Day we'll keep, his colour can't be seen
For there's a cruel law against the Wearing of the Green.
(lyrics to a traditional Irish ballad)
My mostly indigenous garden has leaves in many shapes and sizes. I heart interesting foliage. Fragrant, velvety or mirrored, heart-shaped, huge sheets or tiny needles, feathers or swords. Burgundy or orange, cream, clear silver. Sommer green as leaves should be, extremes ranging from golden to purplish. With scalloped edges, curves or points. Stripes and patterns for the lunatic fringe.
|Silver leaves on camphor bush, peppermint pelargonium|
Dusty Miller, camphor bush and cotton lavender
It looks black and white but the Dusty Miller from the Mediterranean is true to life. Velvety leaves on shade-loving peppermint scented Pelargonium tometosum. The camphor bush Tarchonanthus camphoratus arching over a border of Mediterranean cotton lavender Santolina.
|Dark leaves on Diospyros whyteana, wildeals|
bietou, wild olive
Dark mirrored leaves on Diospyros whyteana, furry young spikes on bietou, Chrysanthemoides monilifera gifted us by the birds and its berries. Wild olive with tiny berries. Grey blue feathers of Artemisia afra, wildeals.
Having seen a copper beech or a maple? in one of the stately gardens at Elgin I came home and planted a Canadian Prunus nigra. The dark presence grounding Paradise and Roses.
|Succulent leaves Strelitzia nicolai, Sansevieria|
Huge leaf of Strelitzia nicolai. Striped leaf of Sansevieria trifasciata from tropical West Africa. Moroccan rose Aeonium which I pick in summer to watch the tight burgundy leaf buds open out to green blades with dark tips.
Dombeya heart, nameless
Crassula, citrus pelargonium
This is a Dombeya heart. A nameless tiny green leafed succulent, an orange Crassula. Citrus-scented Pelargonium citronellum with chiselled leaves.
spekboom, bergbamboes and dwarf Papyrus
Bergkaree, Searsia leptodictya arching over the bench. Cyperus once collected by my father at the little beach beyond Bakoven. Lush shiny green spekboom. Bergbamboes, dwarf Papyrus and sedge, in and near Ungardening Pond.
|Tecoma capensis at Elephant's Eye|
Groot Winterhoek foothills in the distance, with karee in the middle, and Big Red Tecoma capensis up front.
|Green in my vases|
Our garden is mostly foliage, in style. I don't do displays of annuals for colour. I prefer a more Japanese interpretation of seasonal interest. We have the first March lilies.
I'm not a bunch of florist's flowers sort of woman. I bring the garden in. Great bunches of dramatic texture and colour. Branches of Mexican rose Echevieria form a trellis to support the rest. Three silver fountains of Dusty Miller. Nandina from East Asia, Cyperus or Papyrus for height. Succulent Mexican and Moroccan 'roses' last for weeks, strike roots then return to the garden.
Joining Pam at Digging for her Foliage Follow-up.
Pictures by Diana Studer
of Elephant's Eye on False Bay
(If you mouse over teal blue text, it turns seaweed red.
Those are my links.
To read or leave comments,
either click the word Comments below,
or click this post's title)