28 January, 2015

New patios in our False Bay garden

by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Before we hurtle into having the house renovated, I look back at January's garden. In December we removed problem trees, in January the patios were sorted.

East patio to lemon tree



Breakfast on the East patio with our lime transplanted and potted in Porterville. It has managed to hang on to one fruit thru the upheaval. The spekboom hedgelet under the kitchen window continues under the garage window. That patio needed lifting - first from next door's former * Brazilian pepper tree, second the 2 steps DOWN and then another UP to the washing machine. We added a proper planter against the garstigly green wall. A zigzag row of my tallest (spekboom) Portulacaria afra with a row of yellow Bulbine at their feet - and that comfortless space has become inviting. Going to prune next door's overhanging green * invasion!

East patio with 3 spekboom hedges in waiting

Walk thru the house to the West patio, where the Ungardener had complained about feeling seasick as the bricks sloped enthusiastically down to the bottom of the garden. Instead of the patios crumpling off to a ratty lawn, we have a gentle shallow Step Down. The silly small planters have been edited out and my pots are thinking about where they will settle. Succulent row waits for the front garden Karoo Koppie.

West patio Adirondacks in morning shade and afternoon sun

I'm clearing the inherited pots. We've ditched the ugly column my sister's sculpture stood on, the Lady is now with the * roses. The giraffe sees * Japanese maple and * tuberous Begonia, which will acquire sea green glazed pots once the builders are safely out of the way. Their corner is one of the few bits which are sheltered from afternoon sun and summer wind (but, they'll catch the winter weather!)

Checkerboard and Chocolat

Resisting planting, especially against the house walls. Wooden window frames must be replaced, and the walls painted. But two grey leaved shrubs, a camphor bush Tarchonanthus camphoratus and a Buddleja salviifolia, are in the tree down gaps where I plan a pink and white border.

Camphor bush and Buddleja 
either side of Coprosma

The * carob Ceratonia siliqua has no pods so I presume we have a male tree. At the bend in the path, if the wind is mischievous, you get WHACKED in the head by this * lemon. As soon as it is yellow I'll harvest it, with the few ugly elbows around the bottom of the tree. Plumbago hedge out front has flowers now it isn't pruned with revenge. Wafts of evening perfume I've tracked down to tiny white flowers on the * fiddlewood Citharexylum spinosum. In the verbena family!

Plumbago, carob
fiddlewood, lemon

I've always loved scented and ivy-leaved pelargoniums and have inherited these for Wildflower Wednesday.

Pelargoniums I found in the new garden

Two potted (Septemberbossie) Polygala myrtifolia at the gate are greening up and flowering as I clear dead wood and include them on the monthly feed the roses and lemon tree route. * Alstroemeria Inca lily is responding with fresh flowers to ripping out the faded stalks from the base.

Septemberbossie
Alstroemeria

A little flock of waxbills has discovered the feeder.

Waxbills

The first Ungardening project is a water feature off the West patio. To be linked to a wildlife pond at the bottom of the garden. My End of the Month View.

Trenches and pipes for the water feature

* marks the exotic foreign commonorgarden plants
Our False Bay garden before the builders start in February.

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,
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28 comments:

  1. Hi Diana, are those pelargoniums what we would call a geranium? I have them all over the place, but they are called geraniums here and do beautifully in pots. Perhaps in your warmer and more tropical environs, they grow into bigger bushes. I MUST know what that red-billed bird it. They are stunning. When I was in Africa, it was the birds that nearly made me swoon, much more than the "big 5."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. true geraniums don't have 'faces', left and right symmetry.
      Most of the commonorgarden 'geraniums' are pelargoniums.
      We have just a few true geraniums indigenous to South Africa
      and a HUGE variety of true species pelargoniums.

      Little, very little, bird is a waxbill.

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  2. Love both your patios!
    Great photos of the birds! I don't think I've seen photos of Waxbills before.
    Hope you are having a wonderful day!
    Lea

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  3. Scented 'geraniums' as we call them are wonderful. How lucky to inherit some of these plants. I love this type of scent. Not overly perfumed flowers but light citrus and herbal scents trapped in the leaves. Your new garden looks wonderfully hospitable and chocolat seems very at home there. I think you have found a very good place.

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  4. Oh, of course, I see the name now on your site just under the birds. We have Cedar Waxwings here, which are my favorite bird, and now I'll have to investigate if they are in the same family. The strong seed-eating beak should be an indicator and my Cedar Waxwings eat cherries from the 100 ft. tall trees in the back-back (what we call our back acre). So, perhaps "wax" is all they have in common, also because the Cedars are a medium sized bird. Lovely work on your new home. Hope you are enjoying making it your own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_waxbill
      TIL named because their beak is the colour of sealing-wax.

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  5. You have your priorities right! The hard landscaping first. then the plants then the inside of the house. Enjoy your breakfast, and sundowner patios.

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  6. Diana~Seems the strongest scents often come from the smallest flowers, often white. The fiddlewood appeals to me more than big, showy flowers. I love the warm color of the bricks in your east patio. Haven't seen any like them around here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We reused the found bricks.
      Which were two different colours. deep red and the buttery biscuit colour.
      Also two different sizes, so we end up with a gently worn effect which I prefer to Shiny New Must Have Now.

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  7. I'd be doing the same as you. Begin with the outdoors and then move inside. Both the patio areas are shaping up very nicely. I just love those Adirondack chairs. I can see a pair of those out on my courtyard garden! The Fiddlewood grows here at my place too. It's a very, very tall tree here and right now it's covered in new blooms. I just adore the perfume and love those white flowers. Those Pelargoniums are a terrific find.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm afraid our fiddlewood would like to be a tall tree, somewhen the garden service has hacked the main trunk back. But they are popular in surrounding gardens and seem to be smallish in the wind and sea air.

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  8. Very impressive. You've been busy and your hard work has paid off. It's looking great! The patios look so relaxing and the furniture is great for that setting. How wonderful to have Pelargoniums as wildflowers. Happy Wildflower Wednesday!

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  9. Diana I am loving the hardscape especially the patios...but the addition of the water feature is intriguing and I can't wait to see it flowing down to the pond.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, that's deceptive. It's not a rill, just a work in progress, buried pipe connecting the two.

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  10. The bricks of your patios are warm and lovely, Diana. Can see myself sitting on one drinking tea with you. Perfect. P. x

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  11. How exciting, a new garden and so many opportunities. It's all so bright as well unlike out greyness at the moment.
    I am looking forward to seeing the water rill project

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chocolat would agree with you. He loved being the highwayman waiting in ambush for a passing gardener!

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  12. Looking forward to following your EOMV this year, especially the water feature. Wow!

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  13. Your patios look wonderful. While you are just beginning the house renovation project that I am almost done with, I envy you the chance to get to work on the new garden. Mine is currently under 2' of snow (with another foot forecast for Monday!), so I have to wait until the warm weather comes and the snow melts (March-April). -Jean

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. with our mediterranean summer, I also have big planting plans for March or when the builders are out - whichever comes last!

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  14. 'Garstigly' is a word I never heard before. Does it mean 'unpleasant'? If so, I don't agree :-). Your builders did a wonderful job with the patios. The reused paving is beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I made it up. Ghastly ugly green reminds me of our bottle green school uniforms.

      In Porterville we left the concrete slab walls unpainted, the colour of the sand from which they were made, like stone. If the boundary wall must be painted, I'd rather echo the colour of the room inside so it is the plants which stand out, not the painted wall.

      Delete
  15. What great outdoor spaces you have to enjoy nature! The waxbills are so cute - I'm not sure we have them in Texas - at least I've never seen them in my garden. Thanks for sharing!

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  16. I wondered how long it would take for the Ungardener to get started on a water project! Your patio and garden is really beginning to take on your own character. I would love to sit on your patio,admire the garden and watch the birds! How fortunate to inherit the pretty Pelargoniums!

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  17. I'm curious to see where the water feature goes. I've always wanted one.

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  18. It won't take long before you have that garden whipped into shape, and it will be absolutely beautiful when you are done with it. It's nice now...but when you are done...well it will be a stunner. I love the patios in the sun, and shade...nice to have that option.

    Jen

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  19. Your Adirondack chairs look like they grew there--perfect. What an inviting spot. I need cushions for mine, though!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. the wood has gentle curves, you can sit with a cupertea. But to settle down and read we need cushions. Later we added the extra cushions for our backs - and now they sleep blissfully.

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