27 January, 2016

Our False Bay garden in January

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Ungardener GRRRumbling Gartenzwerg and Pissed Off Gardener. UGG whined about privacy. POG forked out the spotted leaf aloes and moved them from the verge to the Karoo Koppie. UGG added four more plants to the bietou and tree fuchsia tapestry hedge on the verge for End of Month View. False olive Buddleja saligna. Dune crowberry Searsia crenata.

Tapestry hedge planted on the verge

UGG - spekboom hedge around the East Patio - it'll never grow.
POG - it is, half way up the wall!

POG needs to rethink the planting at the blue pot. One end sings happily with golden oregano, joy of the mountain in Greek. The other is sinking under lemon mint.

POG and UGG need to battle out a truce about pruning the Brachylaena coastal oak. It needs cutting back to encourage branching and make it denser and resilient against the wind. As I coax the lemon tree to a good shape.

Spekboom hedge, herb garden
Coastal oak, lemon tree

Last week the mountain slope (that burnt the day we moved here) burnt again. There is a stretch of the upper slope which has been able to keep its hard won delicate green layer. Fynbos needs 8, 10, 12 years to set seed and rejuvenate after a fire. FAR too soon! This time we know the fire started from two railway carriages that caught fire. Why the train caught fire is an ongoing investigation. For two days we had dense smoke. Deeply grateful to teams of firefighters, who had been battling an earlier HUGE fire in Elgin and another in Stellenbosch.

Glencairn to Fish Hoek fire

Next day we walked along the coast to Glencairn where the fire started. Past a pair of nesting oystercatchers just next to the railway line.

African black oystercatchers

From the beach the clear blue sky next day, with just a last wisp of smoke as the firefighters are mopping up.

Our beach the day after the fire

Thomas the cat took 5 weeks before he would trust us enough to let us stroke him. He is still patiently trying to make friends with Aragon, but the old lady hisses F**K off when he gets in her personal space. He has nudged her into admitting that, yes, it is nice to sleep on the Adirondack cushions out on the patio.

Thomas and Aragon

For Wildflower Wednesday I've gathered three bunches of flowers, mixing the inherited exotics with my own indigenous. Cherry red ivy pelargoniums and a fire heath. Funky scented male flowers on the carob tree. Sculpted dusky pink tubes of Ceropegia. Abelia is ready for a vase. Firesticks has settled in and is sprouting. Deep orange leaves on Crassula. Fuchsia in the proverbial fuchsia pink, with edible berries - sweet with a disconcerting sharp aftertaste.

Red flowers in January

Six pack of yellow Gazania is eating the path! Tiny white flowers on Asparagus fern take me back to the first day at school as they smell exactly like wax crayons. Bright orange berries of Coprosma, also edible! Yellow Euryops with feathery blue-grey leaves. Tiny lime fruits. Yellow Hibiscus. Indigofera covered with spires of pink and white flowers. Still a scattering of mixed yellow Californian poppies.

Yellow and white flowers in January

Three different pink pelargoniums. Inherited pot of electric pink Oxalis. Deepest blue Cape forget me not. Soft purple mounds of Plectranthus (stoep jacaranda). Tulbaghia first flowers in the herb garden. Blue Plumbago hedge rising from stumps. First flower on Septemberbossie as I encourage the tired pots.

Pink and blue flowers in January

Blue and white for my Cornish Stripe garden. Volunteer white Alyssum against the cobalt blue pot.

Alyssum against cobalt blue pot

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Pictures by Jurg and Diana Studer

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27 comments:

  1. So much to admire in your January garden - so colourful!
    I always like the combination of cobalt blue and white (ever since I had a pot just like yours stolen from outside our front door a few years ago, with white Pelargoniums in it).
    A great shame about the blaze!
    All the best :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that, makes me hesitate about personalising our front porch.
      Certainly won't be a blue pot ... that could walk!

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  2. The fires must be terrifying, particularly to those living so close.

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    Replies
    1. We've lived thru mountain fires when we lived in Camps Bay high up.
      Once when we had fire burning on 3 sides, but never evacuated.

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  3. Isn't it a nostalgic journey when we conjure up wax crayons ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that back to school delight of fresh stationery, blank books, new pencils!

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  4. Your summer colours are wonderful, I think I'll try a bit harder with my perlargoniums and put them on display!

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    Replies
    1. they do reward with lots of flowers, if you keep taking cuttings and starting with vigourous young plants. I have two pots and a hip-high barrier outside the bedroom to recycle.

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  5. I have never seen Black Oystercatchers - so pretty!
    I like your garden, especially as it's winter around here and everything is kind of bleak.
    Elke

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    Replies
    1. and the oystercatchers have a haunting whistling call as they fly overhead

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  6. You have a lot going on. Your newish plants seem to be doing well. Of course love the kitties. And that smoke...sure hope any fires don't travel close to your home. Ah, so nice being near the beach, I know we love it even though sun bathing is not my forte. We have more interesting birds than the ones I've photographed but it means getting in the car...takes much more time. I'm a little lazy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We no longer live, urban edge, mountain slope.
      There are a few rows of houses between us and potential wild fire.

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  7. I chuckled several times while reading this post. Thanks for that. The fire looked like it was too close for comfort! I'm glad the kitties are working out a truce--they're both handsome felines. :)

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    Replies
    1. Yesterday Aragon hopped on his footstool, swore at him, and he hopped down and said Yes Ma'am!
      He, does truce.

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  8. Thomas, I think you may have your work cut out with Aragon and her charming way with words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. aww, he knows she's all hiss
      and no bite ;~)

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  9. In my experience trees and shrubs suddenly start to grow two or three years after planting. And there's a saying 'snoeien doet groeien' which means 'pruning promotes growth'. Maybe that's a consolation for the UGG?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. seems to be either, the plant sulks off, or it explodes!
      I wish that you could come and prune the Japanese maple - it needs a good shape.

      Delete
  10. The Ungardener here isn't allowed to make suggestions for how to care for the garden since he isn't a gardener! I hope Thomas and Aragon can work out a truce. :o) I'm so glad you were safe during the fire. That's always such a concern in arid environments.

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    Replies
    1. Since the Ungardener does the Ungardening (hard landscaping, paths and now the pond) we need to agree. Thomas seems happy, it's the little old lady who needs reassuring.

      Delete
  11. What a richness of colours and blooms. I realy miss it. Love the stone path too. Looks great!
    It's an old wool :)!
    Happy days and all my best to you and yours
    Elisabeth

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  12. Fun fun fun wildflowers! For us, they're still a few months away, so good to see the ones from your garden...

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  13. What a delightful assortment of red, white, yellow, pink and blue flowers you have blooming in January! I had to laugh at some of the UGG and POG discourse. Now that we are both retired, my own Ungardener is beginning to make gardening decisions without asking me! This could rapidly lead to war, and we have had to have some discussions about the issue. I am afraid I am becoming a POG, like you.

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  14. My favorite time is monthly getting my garden fix here....all those flowers. The reds caught my eye this month. Glad to hear Thomas is acclimating.

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  15. Lovely photos, Diana, except for the fire. There is nothing I dread more than a fire.
    Amalia
    xo

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  16. Sometimes it is better to do all the gardening yourself, at least there is no one here in my garden suggesting things I don’t want done – on the other hand I really would have liked a strong man to do some digging for me now and then. Can’t get everything, can I... :-)

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  17. Oh, those crayons! I instantly understood exactly what smell you were describing. The foliage on the coastal oak is lovely, definitely worth a prune to establish more density. I love the blue and white combination. All that smoke must be rather disconcerting. Hope that is the last fire you see on the mountain for a good long time.

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