Karoo Koppie and the hell strip on the verge

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

Update - September 2015 with a tab/page for the Karoo Koppie before and after.

On the first day I planted the hell strip, between the palisade fence and the brick paved path along the street. (Hell strip in Indie's Boston, MA garden)

Planted on the verge
Planted on the verge

Aloe maculata unusual zig zag speckled leaves on a plant I found lurking under the Tecoma and Plumbago hedge. Three good sized plants are in front of the three pillars. This was the succulent hedge I planned so long ago. At the fence I have a line of Bulbine, orange left and right, yellow either side of the centre. Along the bricks is Plectranthus neochilus tough and vigorous with purple flower spikes. Minimalist planting in blocks is a formal welcome to our home.


Aloe maculata
Aloe maculata

On the second day I worked my way along the inside of the palisade fence planting a hedge for the Karoo Koppie with its theme of Autumn Fire, orange and red.

Planted the succulent hedge
Planted the succulent hedge

Spekboom along the street, and the golden leaved one along our driveway - will become a high dense hedge which I can prune to suit my needs. In front of the pillars Crassula ovata pink joy, a haze of tiny shell pink flowers. Closer to our windows a dense row of Cotyledon orbiculata with burnt orange flowers and nectar for the sunbirds. Near the bay window some climbing Aloe ciliaris, which will scramble up thru the spekboom.

Portulacaria afra, Crassula ovata Cotyledon orbiculata, Aloe ciliaris
Portulacaria afra, Crassula ovata
Cotyledon orbiculata, Aloe ciliaris

At the front of the hedge four alternating blocks of Sansevieria - the plain zig zag and the cream bordered from Paul and Helene in Porterville.

Sansevieria
Sansevieria

On the third day I planted what will be, tall and interesting. A wild olive Olea europea subsp. africana will be encouraged to make a gnarled and twisted trunk with the leaves giving us privacy for the bay window opening on to the street. The botterboom I coveted at the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden Tylecodon paniculatus. Lime green flowers on Euphorbia mauritanica and flaming red new growth on firesticks Euphorbia tirucalli.

Euphorbia mauritanica, Tylecodon paniculatus, Olea, Euphorbia tirucalli Firesticks
Euphorbia mauritanica, Tylecodon paniculatus, Olea
Euphorbia tirucalli Firesticks

The aloes are essential for their flaming red spires in winter. Aloe ferox and Aloe marlothii, with the fan aloe Kumara plicatilis (was Aloe plicatilis). Low growing and friendly (no spikes) is the coral aloe Aloe striata, named for its leaf edges - planted with a trio of grey-leaved Cotyledon orbiculata.

Aloe striata, Aloe marlothii, Kumara plicatilis, Aloe ferox
Aloe striata, Aloe marlothii
Kumara plicatilis, Aloe ferox

On the fourth day I filled in with the smaller plants. Foreign Moroccan rose Aeonium for the wine dark sea leaves and Mexican rose Echeveria for its gentle blue grey leaves. Clumps of montbretia Crocosmia aurea found here, rescued and replanted. Lined up along the Terraforce retaining blocks I have many pots of bulbs. Once they are labelled again, and have flowered - I'll plant Lachenalia rubida, largish bulbs which overwhelm the pots they seed into!

Potted bulbs and montbretia Echeveria, Aeonium
Potted bulbs and montbretia
Echeveria, Aeonium

A succulent pelargonium I have been nurturing for years (decades?!). Little prickly clusters of Haworthia. Orange leaved Crassula. Couple of nameless ones and Kalanchoe with Crassula multicava are still waiting to be planted.

Haworthia and friends Crassula pelargonium, ??, Cotyledon orbiculata, Haworthia
Haworthia and friends
Crassula
pelargonium, ??, Cotyledon orbiculata, Haworthia

Tucked in among our Klein Karoo winter rainfall succulents there are also wild bulbs to be found. Boophone (disticha ?) with its fan of twirly leaves. Haemanthus and Brunsvigia orientalis with a pair of leaves lying flat on the ground. Pregnant onions Ornithogalum with its cluster of tiny bulblets. Those tinys once rescued after the mother plant was neatly stolen from our Camps Bay verge.

Boophone, Haemanthus Brunsvigia orientalis, Ornithogalum
Boophone, Haemanthus
Brunsvigia orientalis, Ornithogalum

An 'instant' garden of delicious foliage for the 16th and Pam at Digging in Austin, Texas for her Foliage Followup.

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)

Comments

  1. Wow, you have such interesting plants. Unusual shapes. I look forward to seeing how your garden grows with time.

    Enjoy ~ FlowerLady

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    1. The flowers will be a bonus, but the texture and colour will always please me.

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  2. Was ich auf der Fensterbank habe, hast du im Garten - beeindruckend und ein bisschen ungewohnt anzusehen für Europäer. ;-)
    Der Streifen vor dem Haus wird bestimmt bald toll aussehen.
    VG
    Elke

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In a pot I have bluebells, which miss England.

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  3. You are making great strides with your garden. It is going to look stunning once it's has settled down and "become acclimatized" :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A winter's rain, a year or two, and it will fill in!

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  4. It is so interesting to see the different varieties of plants you can grow in your garden. I'm sure they will all grow wonderfully.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I enjoy 'broad brush painting' with those leaves.

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  5. You have chosen so many interesting plants Diana. The succulent hedge will be beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It will grow so fast, once it gets going, that it will need lots of trimming. But first I can harvest the bits for the gaps. Then what's left can be laid on the ground as mulch. I need to learn topiary skills.

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  6. Brick walkways and names like Karoo Koppie guarantee that you will remain an exotic locale in my mind's eye.

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    1. Brick paving is so popular here, I need to adjust to seeing it as exotic. There's less use of natural stone paving. Our slabs on the path will be concrete replicas.

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  7. It's fun to see you making a border of plants that are mostly house plants here. -Jean

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    Replies
    1. I'll be taking some inspiration from you as I plant my blue (and purple and white) with the lemon tree for yellow.

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  8. Your well-thought-out hell strip will look amazing when it fills out, Diana. No hell strips in my rural locale, but I feel my narrow front garden against the road is one. It is hellish. P. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I loathe gardening where I'm 'exposed' to passing comments. But behind the palisade fence I'm happy to chat with passersby. Better yet, step thru the gate, into my comfort zone!

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  9. Well the hell strip will be wonderful down the line : ) There's so much work involved in gardening!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was the waiting waiting waiting some more while we renovated that got to me. Now we CAN garden!

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  10. That's going to be a gorgeous succulent tapestry when it fills in, Diana. Great choices. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a satisfying and rewarding garden, the way I would like it (not the making something of what we inherited inside the gate which is more challenging)

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  11. I love seeing all of your exotic plants and seeing what thrives for you in your sandy soil. xo Laura

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. going back to my roots - I grew up on the other side of the mountain chain in Camps Bay. Then we were halfway up the mountain slope, now down in the valley and I can smell the sea. Sandy soil and indigenous plants, proteas ericas bulbs - colour me happy!

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  12. I can't believe you had a plant stolen! Your new garden will be just as incredible as your old one. Hell strip gardens aren't allowed in my neighborhood, only water sucking grass. How ridiculous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A large bulb left a neat round hole. Couldn't believe my eyes.

      Bit denialist to insist on grass, but grass is the first choice in our suburb too. Closely followed by gravel or brick. Trailing in third, people like us with a garden.

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  13. I really like the succulent retaining blocks! I've been thinking about doing that in a couple of spots. Looks like you've made major progress. Thanks for sharing the process with us!

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    Replies
    1. The retaining blocks need careful thoughtful planting, and it's fiddly. Still thinking of something to tide over the Lachenalia's dormant season.

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  14. The idea of a succulent hedge is brilliant. And the idea of using succulents to make a formal garden is very appealing. It will all look fabulous. It's so exciting to have a blank slate to work on. I have Sansevieria in a pot indoors, it will look very dramatic in the garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I admit I used to hate Sansevieria. But planted in blocks for texture, I've learned to see it with appreciative eyes.

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  15. I've always wondered why they call them hell strips...surely they could come up with something nicer then that. But then again, looking at your pricklies...lol I think it might be aptly named.

    Casa Mariposa had a funny post on the pricklies.

    Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's an expression American garden bloggers taught me. Here it's pavement planting on the verge.

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    2. I guess being Canadian we don't use it lol.

      Jen

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  16. Plants upon plants upon more plants - and lots and lots of work!

    ReplyDelete
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    1. The builders did the wall and filled the terrace, the Ungardener levelled. Nasty bit was picking out the little bits of shred my nails rubble. Planting was rewarding. Now I get to stroll and watch the flowers come and the plants rise up to meet me.

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  17. Diana this is fabulous...love the succulents so unusual plants and I really like the blocks you are using as planters...

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    1. The Terraforce is as supplied by the builder, but I like the warm colour and the lively texture.

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  18. You can grow such wonderful plants in South Africa!

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