15 December, 2016

Dwarf papyrus Cyperus prolifer in Froggy Pond

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

That minimalist garden, with twelve plants? Dozen for Diana. Pam in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania has risen to my challenge - her virtual garden, her dozen!

Dwarf papyrus


For me it must include a pond for the biodiversity we share our space with. We have five plants in our pond. An African blue water lily with a few leaves is not yet big enough to flower. An oxygenating plant, perhaps parrot feather? Tiny white scruffy flowers and spear shaped leaves give some different texture - Sagittaria? Eel grass Vallisneria aethiopica is flourishing on the shelf with Uncle George.

First choice is dwarf papyrus. Cyperus prolifer comes from the East coast of Africa, including South Africa's Kwazulu-Natal. In Camps Bay when we first began to garden we had a patio pool. L-shaped with a planter at the narrow end needed a tall accent plant. I wanted dwarf papyrus. The first plant didn't survive, and, as it happens, we battled to find another one. One day the Ungardener came home to my delight bearing a dwarf papyrus (he knows I don't appreciate cut flowers from the florist).

Cyperus prolifer

That learning to garden pool was a delight to sit next to. Aragon used to enjoy fishing there (no fish, just the fishING). He built that pool of the blocks we paved the patio with. Eye pleasing angles but I watched hot thirsty lizards battling to reach the water from the overhanging edge.

Dwarf papyrus

In Porterville he built Ungardening Pond huge with a beach which the birds loved. They would line up to take their turn to bath. Lizards could scuttle from the shelter of surrounding plants to the water, and bees would drink from perches on the edge of water lily leaves.

Froggy Pond pebble beach

How to pond from Green Point Urban Park

How to pond

Froggy Pond (established this March) has to be small again, but with a beach again. The sharp overhanging edge is gentled by the ramp of pebbles. It fits all sizes of creature from Thomas who LOVES fishing and the hadeda down to bees.

The frog of Froggy Pond

Having established that second plant I now have endless supplies. Bits went from Camps Bay to Porterville, and then to False Bay. Today I cut back hard. Another human reason for a pond is to reflect the sky, the deep blue, the drifting clouds, perhaps the sunset - and that means a chunk of water surface must be kept open of plants.

Froggy Pond

Dwarf papyrus will also grow in the garden, if given some water - it doesn't actually need wet feet. Those exploding firework green seedheads are also good textural material for a vase and to Pam @ Digging in Texas for her Foliage Followup.

As the seedhead gets larger and heavier, so the stem arches down to the water - where it makes roots, and sends up the next bunch of stalks. Left undisturbed it would cover the entire pond surface, thank you!

We have a gazillion water snails in all sizes. I swirled out garlands of green hair algae, but the water is clear. The carob drops leaves on the beach, and those must be cleared so we can see the white pebbles.

Uncle George
and eel grass below the water

Uncle George is looking a bit weathered. That unglazed terracotta was never intended to live in the water.

Our beach with the yellow buoys of the shark net

The Ungardener walks on our beach. He is crossing the shark net with its line of yellow buoys.

Advent with pelargoniums

Advent is flying past.

I invite you to join us at Elephant's Eye on False Bay. Please subscribe as you prefer
via Feedly,
or Bloglovin,
or Facebook

Pictures by Diana Studer
(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. If you are in email or a Reader, first click thru to the blog)


22 comments:

  1. You've made a fine series of ponds, which are like gardens--each one a little better because of lessons learned. The pebble "beach" for the birds and lizards is especially fine, both visually and in function.

    Best wishes from far away, on the other side of the planet!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do love rocks and stones and pebbles and paving!

      Delete
  2. It was educational to hear of all the elements you took into consideration while building successive ponds. Ours is a prefab plastic job left by former owners that R wanted to take out immediately. It was pretty ugly at first but as plantings and stones have softened the edges over time, it has become presentable. If I get a charge of energy, I may put your tutorial to use and build a real pond.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember a garden blogger who made a very good pond ... from an abandoned spa bath.

      Delete
    2. Added a How to Pond link for you

      Delete
  3. Including a beach in your pond is a brilliant idea. We have seashells in the top tier of the fountain we inherited with the house to give the birds a safe perch. I'd love to have a pond here somewhere but I guess I should wait out our drought before I broach that suggestion with my husband. I like the "Dozen for Diana" meme too - maybe I can sift through my 2016 photos sometime after Christmas to compile my own list.

    I was glad to see your Ungardener walking along the shore. I hope you're both well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you - we are enjoying getting fitter. Daily beach walks have been bumped UP the bucket list ;~)

      Delete
  4. A perfect plant for your awesome pond. And that beach looks inviting, too--except for the sharks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have a pleasant team of young shark spotters (with a flag warning system) and lifeguards on duty. No worries.

      Delete
  5. I remember having a papyrus on my windowsill. It was a long long time ago, when I was a student living in a tiny room. Most students had this plant because it was so easy to propagate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It would fit your Japanese garden?

      Delete
    2. If it could survive our winters.

      Delete
  6. Your ponds are always works of art, Diana. I only have a little "bugbath" in a saucer dug into the ground and a birdbath. Both serve their purpose, but they don't have the human appeal of reflections and pebbly beaches!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The birdbath at our Adirondacks is the one we enjoy watching. The pond is that bit further, and takes deliberate effort with breakfast, lunch or tea.

      Delete
  7. I love pebbles and water, it always makes a garden look cool. The dwarf papyrus is a lovely green colour to add to a pond. I'm almost convinced to try one in the garden. I did hear on the radio that ponds in our area can attract snakes in summer...we are so close to the bush. That was a little off-putting. Good to see the Ungardener walking along that beautiful beach.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We were prepared for snakes, after mountain fires, when we lived in Camps Bay. Here we are tucked in the heart of suburbia.

      Delete
  8. Papyrus is a favorite in my pond garden as well. The flowering heads are like fireworks, and it has surprisingly good fall color. I love your beach and bet it does help the birds and other small creatures to get a drink or bath. On the flip side, does the beach also invite larger, more destructive critters into your pond? Here in the States, raccoons can be very destructive of ponds if given ramp access.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our little suburban garden is enclosed on all four sides by walls. The only large critter with access is the hadeda ibis.

      Delete
  9. This was so interesting, Diana. Papyrus is one of my favorites as well, it was used to make the first paper in ancient Egypt.
    Amalia
    xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We had true papyrus in Camps Bay.
      That grows HUGE!!

      Delete
  10. My garden includes a pond, too ... frozen over at this time of year. We were careful to make it with two depths. Love both your beaches: pond and seaside. I'm sure if we had a beach to walk on we would be more motivated to exercise. P. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are back to building up to exercise gently for the Ungardener. One day this week the beach will call us!

      Delete