25 November, 2015

Our False Bay garden in November

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Two great heaps of sandy soil at the bottom of the garden from the Ungardener digging the pond, and me each time I dig a hole for the next plant. After Camps Bay days I am loath to garden on even a tiny slope. I dug my heels in for concrete retaining blocks and raised beds. Two layers of neatly lined up fluted columns. Ivy pelargoniums will cascade down from the blocks, and 3 little trees wait patiently. For End of month view.

Raised bed using concrete retaining blocks

Cornish Stripe has borage, kingfisher blue Felicia daisies, commonorgarden forget-me-not in soft blue and Anchusa capensis the Cape forget-me-not in a deep blue, purple spires on lavender and Plectranthus neochilus, tiny pansies as a good border.

Purple thistles as Dusty Miller explodes (already! I only planted the cuttings in July).

Blue and purple flowers mostly for Cornish Stripe

A happy blue Gilia capitata from California. I'm scattering the seedheads where I want the blue flowers.

Gilia capitata from California

Dark Aeonium is in the Karoo Koppie. Japanese maple and Prunus nigra at Cornish stripe. Bougainvillea and scarlet Pelargonium an electric reminder of before. Cape Snow a white everlasting, straw flower, opens and closes with the weather, to show deep red hearts. Two white pelargoniums, one for pink and white Spring Promise and another for blue and white Cornish Stripe.

Red and white flowers and leaves

The white Iceberg roses at the garden gate have friends. White spotted fruit chafer beetles.

White spotted fruit chafer

Spring Promise has the mellow pink Pelargonium I thought hadn't survived from Porterville. Potted Fuchsia and Oxalis come with the garden. Also Alstroemeria which needs moving. The green and white variegated leaves which I was going to add to Cornish Stripe have coral pink flowers. Dais cotonifolia has pink pompoms for Christmas (a little early?) and I couldn't resist Armeria sea thrift.

Pink flowers

Californian poppies range from ivory yellow to a burnt orange. Woodland Walk has Burchellia bubalina and Leonotis with trumpets of nectar for the sunbirds. Inherited Hibiscus and my Hypoxis with a border of Gazania rigens at Summer Gold.

Yellow and orange flowers

I do heart leaves and choose my plants for foliage first. Grey Cotyledon orbiculata. Oxford and Cambridge flourishing as it never did in Porterville. Brachylaena already pruned and flashing deep green mirrors with silvery echoes. Melianthus fronds claiming the paved courtyard. The second lemon verbena is good to go. Butterfly leaves on Bauhinia. Orange leaved Crassula. Heart leaves on Hibiscus tiliaceus. Green waterfall as the edible banana pops out a fifth new leaf. Green and white Coprosma with an appealing twisted trunk. Dark spotted leaves of Drimiopsis (from my mother). Green and white Plectranthus and Felicia in the blue pot. Feathery Asparagus and shiny discs of spekboom. Silky soft feathers on an Asparagus fern that came from our Camps Bay garden. Dusty Miller and lamb's ears being silver for Spring Promise.

The wider garden views
would be mostly leaves

Chocolat has crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and we need company for little old lady Aragon, someone to claim our garden from the neighbouring cats. We went to the SPCA in search of a young tomcat, we both hoped for gray. We think he is about a year old. Handed in as Unwanted, he has been fed, but is VERY wary of people. Who knew that long-haired cats had extra feather tufts on their feet?

Thomas Gray
Do NOT touch me

His name is inspired by a book my mother loved to read. With her bookmarks of baby Diana. Thomas Gray, philosopher cat by Philip J. Davis.

Thomas Gray
my mother's book

For Wildflower Wednesday the South Africans are Felicia, Anchusa, Plectranthus, pelargoniums, Cape Snow, Dais, Oxalis, Burchellia, Leonotis, Hypoxis, Gazania, Cotyledon, Brachylaena, Melianthus, Bauhinia, Crassula, Hibiscus tiliaceus, Drimiopsis, Asparagus and spekboom.

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Pictures by Diana and Jurg Studer

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26 comments:

  1. Isn't it nice when a plant you thought you lost reappears in your garden? And perhaps even better when plants are happier in the new garden than in the old. Your new philosopher cat looks like a very handsome fellow. -Jean

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    1. I'm awed by the enthusiasm with which this garden greens!!

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  2. I enjoyed looking at all your flowers, the soft blue ones look lovely, but then the bright yellows and orange seem to tell us summer is coming.
    Thomas Gray is a very handsome cat, I don't think I have ever seen whiskers that are so long...I wonder if he has trouble keeping them out of his milk or water?

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    1. We were watching him at his waterbowl. He sits down with all four feet, settles his chin in the water, but the whiskers are fine. Going to be a lage fluffy cat once he has grown into his whiskers ;~)

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  3. You have a wonderful selection of plants and flowers. They have made the move to their new garden very well and look happy. Your new Thomas Gray is looking serious, I'm sure he will soon be happy with his new family.

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  4. I can quite understand your reluctance to garden on a slope!

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    1. Our Camps Bay garden was about 45 degrees, with a terrace for the house to be built on. Made the garden look bigger, and more interesting. But.

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  5. Happy Landings to the Philosopher Cat, Thomas Gray - he has most auspicious beginnings because the picture on the front of that book shows Clare College, Cambridge - my alma mater.

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    1. when I was googling for a link to the book, I couldn't find one with THIS cover - which I enjoy.

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  6. Thomas Gray is quite handsome. With love and good care I hope he learns to trust and enjoy people. Does he and the lady Aragon like each other? And does he appreciate the beautiful garden?

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    1. We've been told to keep Thomas in a separate room for the first 2 weeks. Till we are sure he is as healthy as he should be, as he has been checked for.

      They see each other thru the hooked partly open door. Young Thomas is cautious and curious, Aragon, so the Ungardener tells me, hisses and growls off (Bleddie intruder on MY patch ....

      This morning Thomas was sitting on the windowsill admiring the garden. Another week and we will let him explore.

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  7. Your retaining blocks look so much better than the ugly grey things you can buy around here.
    The cat is handsome, I'm sure he will be a great companion!

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    1. these are nicer, better texture, than the plain ones we have at the front.

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  8. As taken as I am with all your flowers (and what a clever way to display the color families in groups) it is the steady gaze of your philosopher cat that is most winning to me on this day. Arriving late to the post (technology troubles....oof!) but had to join my hopes to the others that he is settling in and becoming as much a fixture in your home and hearts as you hoped.

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    1. Just now he let me get close enough to sniff my fingers, after I filled his dinner dish.

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  9. very good of you 2 to take in an unwanted cat and give it a loving home, a feline sib and an intellectual and academically respectable name. Hope TG gets to appreciate his luck. What a huge variety of flowers you have, Diana. It's great to have the continuity when you manage to transfer and establish plants from your earlier garden, and especially wonderful to grow plants that came from your mother.

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    1. These flowers are the ones the camera agreed to.
      There would be more ... shiny pink flowers on the Christmas berry make the camera whine migraine.
      I do enjoy the plants that come with a story.

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  10. The white spotted fruit chafer is beautiful. Horse manure again? I like all the different types of foliage, especially the butterfly leaves of Bauhinia. I also choose plants for foliage. Thomas Gray has amazing whiskers! I hope he will soon feel at home.

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    1. perhaps some beetles travelled in pots with Porterville's horse manure, others simply wander across from neighbouring roses.
      Thomas was investicatting the livingroom this evening, till Aragon swore at him and he retreated to 'his' room.

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  11. The names and palettes of your garden beds are charmingly inventive Diana. Always a sense of excitement when I revisit FB - the ungardener's pond (a rainbow bridge there too I wonder!) and raised beds (less bending too for any future decrepitude). Hope Thomas Gray will find a home there too

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    1. Our little pond is too small for a bridge, but there will be a beach for the birds to bathe. And a waterfall for the sound of falling water.

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  12. I'm with Rusty Duck in understanding your reluctance to garden in a slope, we share each other's sloping pain!
    What a beautiful cat and a lovely name

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  13. Sandy soil, definitely not good on a slope! I imagine you dig in better soil or compost when planting? Your flowers look delightful and I am so glad you have a companion for Aragon. Thomas Grey looks very handsome.

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    1. My mostly fynbos choices expect that sandy soil, good drainage, VERY easy on the fertiliser or they fade away. I do mulch with enthusiasm, the prunings get laid back on the ground.

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  14. OH Thomas has quite the serious expression...hopefully he will come around a bit. Love seeing all that is blooming. With your climate it is as if you plunk down the plant and it grows and flowers...I can see the heat through the pictures and bouncing off those walls that I am really admiring.

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    1. (a little alarming quite how fast it grows!)
      We have a banana plant, battled to keep it alive in Porterville, then here in a pot as we decided where to plant it.
      Planted next to the washing pergola ... it is now popping out a leaf almost every day.

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