False Bay garden in June

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

We have had rain. Our garden is green and flourishing, ready for determined pruning and tidying. But I was down and out for ten days. Who knew secateurs would slice a 'forgotten' finger. A moment of looking in horror at blood blooming on my finger, then I wrapped the other hand around the bloody finger and went off to get five stitches.

Extreme gardening
Extreme gardening

The garden is predominantly green and needs more structure - I dream of some strategic topiary to make it snap into focus. Out front the Karoo Koppie has its shining moment as the Lachenalia rubida bursts into glowing colour. This False Bay garden begins its year when the red Lachenalia blooms for Through the Garden Gate with Sarah in Dorset.

Lachenalia on Karoo Koppie
Lachenalia on Karoo Koppie

These small bulbs are planted in the retaining blocks. It is a bigger plant with more substantial leaves than other lachenalias. Spotted leaves have their own charm.

Lachenalia rubida
Lachenalia rubida

The outer red petals open with green flushed burgundy tips; the inner ones are edged with a green spot on burgundy, and a fine gold margin.

Lachenalia rubida detail
Lachenalia rubida detail

My nemesis, the Dusty Miller plant you can glimpse in the bottom right corner of the wide view of the garden. Yesterday the Ungardener was seconded to plant duty. We are clearing a space for him to put in the foundation for the second tank, behind the three small trees against the wall. Not eye candy, but the best place we can find.

I have four clumps of Dusty Miller cuttings (the fifth is waiting for the tank to be installed). The first is already a tiny fountain (as I want them to be). Harvest cuttings generously, two handspans long. Trim the base at a diagonal. Trim off plenty of lower leaves, then trim the top by half - leaving the tiny centre leaves undamaged. Plant the bare stem deeply with only the leaves on the surface. Repeat every autumn in this kind climate.

Dusty Miller cuttings
Dusty Miller cuttings

I cut the Melianthus back hard after flowering and now have fresh green leaves, and lots of sprouts coming up from the base. Tuberous begonia has recovered from summer. Two sorts of Sansevieria need to be lined up (stampeding Thomas tends to treat them like a bowling alley!)

Melianthus, Sansevieria Tuberous begonia
Melianthus, Sansevieria
Tuberous begonia

On the bietou was a magnificent furry caterpillar Eutricha capensis, the Cape lappet moth.
Spekboom hedge at the granadilla trellis was coming up nicely. When I investigated the bald tips I found an ant nest. Industrious little farmers harvest their crop and build their home.

Eutricha capensis and ants
Eutricha capensis and ants

Thomas didn't want to linger for a grey photo. Those blue and grey succulent leaves set off my chosen orange and red flowers (and leaves) on our Karoo Koppie. Hedge fund, Pink Joy, Crassula ovata is blooming from Porterville cuttings.

Karoo Koppie Crassula ovata, Tecomaria Euryops Cotyledon orbiculata, coral aloe, firesticks
Karoo Koppie
Crassula ovata, Tecomaria
Euryops
Cotyledon orbiculata
, coral aloe, firesticks

June's flowers for Wildflower Wednesday (apart from the luminous red of Lachenalia rubida) are quieter. Pink and mauve and white. Pineapple sage is the focus of Cornish Stripe.

June flowers Septemberbossie, pineapple sage, Dietes pelargoniums, Brachylaena buds Iceberg rose, white and purple Hypoestes
June flowers
Septemberbossie, pineapple sage, Dietes
pelargoniums, Brachylaena buds
Iceberg rose, white and purple Hypoestes 

Our damage from the wind of Cape Storm was trivial. One bietou bush on the verge broke a few branches. I pruned steadily and the bush is a shadow of its former self. Sadly we forfeit a lot of yellow flowers, but it is trying again.

Trivial storm damage

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Pictures by Diana Studer

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Comments

  1. Oh your poor finger! You don't need me to tell you gardening is dangerous.. The rain is better news.

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    Replies
    1. I shared your precipitous slope risks when we gardened in Camps Bay.

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  2. Poor you, not good to snip a finger :(. Your garden looks in good shape thanks to the rain. Ours had a good deluge on Tuesday and has perked up no end, as have the water butts. B x

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    Replies
    1. Counting up our June water use - what I took from the rain tank to supplement the mains to the washing machine etc - was about the 750 litres it contains.

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  3. I've done the same thing but didn't have stitches. I did feel ill from the sight and shock of how fast it happened, but it healed up and it doesn't keep me from gardening. That happened years and years ago. At my age I do try to be more careful and more aware of what I am doing.

    Your flowers are all lovely and you've done quite a lot there at your new home/gardens.

    FlowerLady

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My finger still looks as if a dog chewed it, but feels as if it belongs to me again.

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  4. Gardening can be a dangerous sport! I hope your finger is on the mend. Very happy to hear you've had rain. Interesting that your June flowers, like mine, tend toward pastels.

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    Replies
    1. Stitches out today - but I am not allowed to garden yet ;~(

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  5. Ouch!! I'm always surprised that any of us gardeners have all our fingers (although my worst was almost cutting through the electrical cable to my house). Take care!

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    Replies
    1. Scary! But you lived, to tell the tale.

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  6. Really pleased to read you have had rain, at last! Very bad luck to snip your finger like that, and you probably didn't realise how much you needed that finger for gardening! Your June flowers look lovely, and nice to see you have pineapple sage too, it is my favourite, although it has a ''low key'' flower. The garden is thriving..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is soft soaking gently raining now!

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  7. Ouch!!! I hope your finger is doing much better. With the exception of the finger news, this is a wonderful post. Hooray for the rain! The Lachanelia are beautiful - they're very hard to find here. I'll have to try your approach to propagating dusty miller - I have one huge clump in a spot I'd rather not have it but it could be useful elsewhere,

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    Replies
    1. Those silver fountains are good for repetition, to draw your eye around the garden. Huge clump will give you MASSES of cuttings.

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  8. Poor Diana, you must have cut it so deeply to have 5 stitches , it is so easily done. I'm glad that it is on the mend now, it must have been quite painful and frustrating. Your lachenalias are so colourful and looks so eye catching in those retaining blocks. That caterpillar looks so hairy! Thank you for joining in with me again for another month, it is always a treat to visit your garden each month. Sarah x

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  9. It's been awhile but that finger must still hurt. May you heal completely and quickly!
    Your garden is such an inspiration to me, as we are still on water restriction in San Diego, and likely the whole state will be for quite a long time. First to get the house in order, and then to create more drought tolerant areas, though I am committed to my two rose bushes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roses flourish on grey water. That was all I used in our Porterville garden.

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  10. Gardening is a hazardous hobby. Best not to think off all the things that can go wrong when standing on a high ladder with sharp secateurs.

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  11. So glad you got rain. Sorry about your finger, 5 stitches is a significant cut. So easy to do when you are immersed in 'the' zone. It's an exciting challenge working out how to get more structure. Enjoy!

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    Replies
    1. Looking forward to having ten gardening fingers again, one day!

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  12. As clumsy as I am, garden tool hazards are something I go out of my way to avoid. But they aren't enough to cause me to be an ungardener...yet. Your winter growing season phase is quite attractive.

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  13. Hi Diana, i am sorry for not looking at my blogroll anymore! Your garden is still very lovely, i still remember the old blog though. Curiosity, why is the place called False Bay, is it manmade?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a map on my sidebar. From the days of sailing ships and the Dutch East Indies, when they thought they were coming into Table Bay and the city - but found themselves in the wrong bay.

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  14. Five stitches, 5! You're lucky you got to keep that finger. Oh I bet that was sore once the shock wore off. It just goes to show how rock and roll gardening really is!
    Love everything but of course you can see the changes you want to make, like that cool caterpillar I would love to live there just as it is :)

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  15. I hope your finger is healing up well. I've done that twice myself, forefinger on one hand, middle finger on the other. The feeling came back in one, but not the other.

    So happy you got some rain, your garden looks really good. The Lachenalia rubida
    I will have to look for, it's very striking. It is said to be fairly easy to grow in SoCal.

    Once saw a rainwater tank--they took some large palmate and philodendron leaves, laid them against the tank, and spray-painted with dark green just around the edges of the leaves to create a pattern of painted silhouettes on the tank--simple, and helped the tank blend in a little with the garden around it. Another tank they surrounded it with metal screen kept a few inches away from the tank itself and grew vines on the screen. That looked good.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I wonder how long and how well it will heal. It feels, odd and looks awful.

      Once you have a few bulbs the Lachenalia will seed and spread.

      I'm planning trellis with indigenous clematis and jasmine, perhaps the Canary creeper.

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  16. I have a horror of doing that while snipping too fast with my hand buried in all the undergrowth. My husband sliced his toe with the lawnmower once! I do hope you are nearly back in action.

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    Replies
    1. I was holding a bunch of stems, and one of those I sliced with revenge, was my finger.

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  17. All your hard work is paying off, the garden looks wonderful.
    Amalia
    xo

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  18. Ouch on that finger!! Glad no worse damage was done: that looks quite enough! Your Lachenalias are so beautiful; I've had such mixed results with bulbs, including the beauties from Africa (Galtonia and Crocosmia failed, ixia survives at any rate, and freesias have on the whole been encouraging). But I could be tempted to try these... ;-) especially as I think the seasonality is the biggest issue!

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    1. Crocosmia came with the garden, Galtonia I once had, Agapanthus - afraid they may need summer watering which I don't do.

      Red Lachenalia and freesias are the ones I can keep going.

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