24 December, 2014

Christmas garden on False Bay

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

We have been in our new old garden for a month. The last of the problem trees have been removed. Australian bottlebrush trees, one a Dr Seuss trunk with all the flowers and leaves up at the roof, the other blocking the view.

Two bottlebrush trees to go

Lime in pot, 'bonsai' Coprosma Marble Chips
mountain view without the bottlebrush

The Wendy house has gone and we have space for the Ungardener to build his new pond and waterfall. Blinding white quartz stones I picked out from the checkerboard. I would rather have small grey (to echo the mountain) river stones.

Wendy house and quartz chips gone
Pots and Twirly waiting 

The white bench and two potted trees went to a neighbour. I planned to first paint the death green wall, then display tender plants. But three walls and brick paving makes a suntrap. The window boxes were repurposed for a low spekboom hedge under the kitchen window. More window boxes under the garage window later, and a wider planter against the boundary wall where the hedge needs to block that privacy gap. Spotted aloe was rescued from the verge.

Sun patio, spotted leaf aloe
spekboom hedgelet, succulent holding bed (with banana)

We have three white roses. The poor standard (who chooses a standard rose in our prevailing southeaster!!) was still in its nursery bag, we cut off the roots. The buds drooped for a few days, and then the rose chirped up. Chocolat is staking his claim to his patch, leaving his Here be Dragons scratches.

Roses with Aragon and Chocolat

Agapanthus, yellow Bulbinella, Californian poppies from buttery yellow to russet, lush golden Hibiscus, pot of pink Oxalis, amethyst stoepjacaranda. First flower on Leonotis.

December flowers
Agapanthus, Alstroemeria, Bulbinella, Fuchsia
Californian poppy, stoepjacaranda, Pelargonium, Leonotis
Oxalis, Bougainvillea, Agapanthus,
Agapanthus, Hibiscus, Alstroemeria, Streptocarpus

The Advent wreath has Coprosma and Bougainvillea. My square glass vase first with septemberbossie and Alstroemeria, now scented pelargonium with Bougainvillea and a Begonia leaf.

I wish you, my readers, a very happy Christmas!

Advent Wreath, straw stars
December garden vases

We looked at LARGE GREEN compost bins. Tried this instead - drill lots of holes in a small dustbin.

Small compost bin

We have begun planting. Near the checkerboard - Brachylaena discolor to flash silver leaves, Diospyros whyteana dark mirrored leaves, Melianthus major leaves and the nectar flowers, Erica versicolor red flowers for the sunbirds. At the birdbath - Halleria lucida to feed the sunbirds, Grewia occidentalis lavender star berries for birds, attracts butterflies. Next to the carob again for the sunbirds - Burchellia bubalina and Leonotis leonurus tiered candelabra flowers.

Diospyros, Brachylaena, Grewia
Leonotis, Burchellia, Halleria, Erica

At the birdbath a pintailed whydah, dove, robin and a LARGE hadeda ibis. Today he put up the terracotta bird feeder.  

hadeda ibis, fiddlewood

In Porterville I themed Paradise (and Roses) adding indigenous South African plants. Spring Promise - pink and white flowers, velvety grey leaves - will be last, as that is now the succulent holding bed. Summer Gold - yellow to orange flowers, golden foliage waits for the pond to be built. Autumn Fire (Karoo Koppie) - orange and red flowers, succulent leaves - waits for the palisade fence at the front.

Winter Chill - blue, white and purple flowers, foliage either white or dark - waits for the washing line pergola in the New Year. The cobalt blue pot we found in the garage. Blue flowers we have, Agapanthus and Plectranthus - but the glazed pot is intense. Liriope I found here and tada, it works. The pergola will frame the lemon tree and mountain (yellow against the blue and white).

Winter Chill
blue and white, with lemons

For Helen The Patient Gardener's End of Month View

Newly laid patios in January

Pictures by Diana and Jurg Studer  
of  Elephant's Eye on False Bay 

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  1. You have already been very busy in the new garden Diana. Beautiful mountain view. I like the terracotta bird feeder. And lemons! Happy Christmas to you and yours!

  2. You're making your mark and settling in - wonderful.

    Happy Christmas to you and Jurg.

  3. Enjoy your new old gardens Diana, looks like you have already added your personal touches to it.
    Wishing you and the under gardener a very happy holiday season.

  4. Wow! A lot of work, but beginnings are exciting too, and I know it will be beautiful.

    Merry Christmas!!

  5. This is all very exciting Diana as I watch things slowly form and you stake our your garden territory...loving the plans. Wishing you a very Happy Christmas!!

  6. Yes, removing those trees makes a big difference! It is exciting to see your garden in its early stages. You already have some wonderful, colorful flowers. The cobalt blue planter is striking, as well as your yellow lemons. My favorite is your terra cotta feeder. Happy gardening in 2015!

  7. Your new old garden is shaping up already! Love your mountain views. We live in the mountains and ne'er a mountain can be seen from my garden. Happy and healthy new year, Diana. P. x

    1. Now I'm curious. Your mountains are hidden by hills (as ours were in Porterville) or trees?

    2. The Pocono mountains are hidden by trees on our property. They are not very big mountains anyway -- more like rolling hills.

  8. A new garden is not just for Christmas :) Hope that you have had a good Christmas Diana and may the New Year treat you and your garden most kindly.

  9. We do share some plants and yet it is obvious that you garden on the other side of the world. Makes it into an interesting form of travel for me. I'm late to wish you a Merry
    Christmas, but Happy Memories and a Memorable New Year to you and yours.

  10. Hi Diana
    A new garden, how exciting. I shall look forward to seeing more updates through the year.

  11. So exciting to finally be in and starting to make your new garden what you both want it to be. A new year for new beginnings, I hope you have loads of fun.

  12. Diana, All your advance planning has paid off as you already have so many beautiful flowers in your new garden. Aragon and M. Chocolat look quite at home in their new space, too. I particularly enjoyed the images in the last collage, which give me a sense of your new space. -Jean

    1. these End of Month View posts let me see that change IS happening.