by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Our garden has gathered its enthusiasm for the Karoo Koppie. What we see, and I linger on, when we come home. Our curb appeal is singing with Lachenalia rubida for Wildflower Wednesday! Also our view, from the other side, thru the bay window - where we queue up to sit in the sun! The Cape winter is the Green Season, grateful for rain in our dams but COLD. 5 or 6C overnight.
The verge has a block of Plectranthus neochilus raising purple spires. I loathe that sharp geometric edge from shears, so I snip stalk by stalk for a gentle straight edge - as if the eland have nibbled the fresh green.
Inside the palisade fence the Karoo Koppie is Autumn Fire in orange and red. Fire heath is one of two happily surviving ericas from the few I planted. Spotted leaf aloe has flowers that echo the colour of firesticks. Spekboom with golden leaves adds yellow to the flames. Cotyledon orbiculata has coral flowers and a red edge to its leaves.
A gracious volunteer from the garden is this clump of reeds with seedheads that captivate Thomas. That exploding fountain adds extra texture. Sedge?
Dusty Miller cuttings are filling in nicely. The opposite two plants I will replant next winter. Spirulino's has been repainted in the soft green we are using to cover the wall exposed after we removed invasive aliens. I wish the previous gardeners had left it quietly concrete.
If I search I can find a few flowers behind the garden gate. White Iceberg roses. In Froggy Pond dwarf papyrus. Dune crowberry at the front door is bulked up to match the verge. Sunbirds are delighted to find tiny red trumpets on Halleria, not easy to photograph as the flowers are hidden on the branches. Hypoestes blooming again. A battered heart of Hibiscus tiliaceus leaf, the cuttings have survived moving from Porterville, and the week that was Brexit.
The garden has good bones. Established shrubs and trees. Negative space for the eye to rest, brick and concrete paving, wide paving stone paths. The Washing Pergola like a stage set with Strelitzia and edible banana, whose great leaves are the curtains either side. White variegated leaves light the shade and the Prunus nigra and Japanese maple will bring intense darkness.
On the sunny side Spring Promise has silver leaves always sparkling. Chasmanthe just coming into bloom at Summer Gold ... is orange instead of yellow - will have to sort the orange to the Karoo Koppie and find the yellow ones for here. The offset path has made a happy square for Bauhinia, Dias cotonifolia and Dombeya covered in buds.
There are flowers. Turquoise Lachenalia, now I've found which pot, is clearly labelled. Outside the kitchen door blue Oxford and Cambridge and purple Polygala make a good pair. Burchellia flowers lurk at the Leonotis. That orange Chasmanthe. Yellow Bulbine. Almost pink Grewia. White Pelargonium. For the promised snow on the mountains snowflakes Leucojum.
Thomas must have been a teenager when we got him in November. He is at least twice the cat he was. A great ruff like a lion, furry breeches, feathered boots and a plumed tail that needs its own stool to lie on. Turkish Angora cat in a blue tuxedo?
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