False Bay garden in November

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Late afternoon Thomas climbs his stairs to the top of the wall. Neighbourhood watch on duty. He took a few, zigzag up the steps lessons. Zoë observes him carefully ... and follows him up. Camera clicks and both heads snap round. Now she knows how to find her own way to the front garden.

Thomas and Zoë
Thomas and Zoë

We are in a 'looked at clouds from both sides now' limbo.

Clouds
Clouds

We sold our yellow Land Rover. After nearly 20 years! Making good use of our choice of a house in the valley and walking to shops, library and the station. Grocery shopping two backpacks at a time.

Leeuberg 4x4 September 2011
Leeuberg 4x4 September 2011

Now we struggle to capture a similar sunshiny yellow for the new electric car. The middle of these Californian poppy petals would be good. Or the pollen bags on the bee for Wildflower Wednesday with Gail at Clay and Limestone in Tennessee. More truly wild flowers from our hikes.

Bee on Californian poppy
Bee on Californian poppy

As I stand here, the olive, which was a tiny volunteer in a pot, fills the bay window and reaches above the eaves. Come Through the Garden Gate with Sarah in Dorset

Olive tree
Olive tree

Two of my plants have drifted to alive or dead? The granadilla and the Prunus nigra. Brachylaena discolor planted outside the living-room so I can enjoy the silver and bottle green leaves flashing in the Southeaster. I hoped to break the expanse of garage wall, but those LONG limbs are difficult to shape to a tree, rather than a block of trimmed green.

Brachylaena discolor
Brachylaena discolor

Strelitzia nicolai has huge blue and white flowers dripping nectar which ants and birds enjoy. On the potted lime was a citrus swallowtail. My second photo was blank as she flew at me, stroking my hand with her fluttering wings.

Ants and citrus swallowtail
Ants and citrus swallowtail

I fall for beautiful leaves every time. Toothed and citrus-scented Pelargonium. Beads on Curio radicans. Fan aloe Kumara disticha. Almost square leaves of Halleria lucida. Fierce blue-green teeth on Melianthus. Bronze heart of Hibiscus tiliaceus. White and green stripes of Cyperus albo-striatus. Ruffled hearts of nutmeg pelargonium. Creamy greens on Coprosma. Cotyledon orbiculata with grey reindeer horns. Softly blue grey Echeveria. Succulent 'ivy' hearts on climbing Senecio. Cream and white Plectranthus madagascariensis. Maidenhair fern. A silver leaved groundcover volunteering among the brick paving. Crassula ranked in fours.

November leaves
November leaves

A rainbow of November garden flowers (indigenous except Alstroemeria, Hibiscus, tomato and lemon). Deep vivid blues on Rotheca and Anchusa capensis. Along our verge a blue carpet of Plectranthus neochilus. Polygala in purple with white tassel. Crimson and shocking pink, and the patterned flowers of citrus pelargonium. Bells of Dombeya. White pelargonium along the shady ivy clad walls. Alstroemeria in a not my choice blend of peach, burgundy and yellow. Yellow daisy flowers that go with the 'ivy' leaves of climbing Senecio. Rich yellow Hibiscus. Volunteer tomatoes are a good size this year. Euphorbia mauritanica with the central flowers ripening from lime gold to bronze. Butter yellow Bulbinella. Truly lemon yellow (and a hint too green for the car - sigh).

November garden flowers
November garden flowers

Walking round the garden, Strelitzia nicolai would wave over the boundary wall (if we could see it thru the ivy and hedge) Winding path at the bottom of the garden between Froggy Pond and the lemon tree is next on my pruning list. The garden is clearly appreciating that we had 41 mm rain this November. 19 days off-grid using rainwater!

November garden
November garden

Still hoping our dams will get us thru summer. With help from our rain tanks, and we have ordered a third.

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. It’s so good to see your bright verdant greens and gloriously colourful flowers now we are in the start of winter here. Our gardens complement each other well. Hope you manage to find a suitable yellow for your electric car. B x PS gorgeous cat photo.

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    1. the sunny yellow of a Caran D'Ache pencil, is the one we are looking for.

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  2. That's a splendid portrait of the 2 cats, Diana! Your garden looks great too, despite the drought-y conditions. You got much more rain than we've had this month - our total to date since October 1st is just 0.19/inch (less than 5mm). I'm beginning to fear that we're headed back into drought as the ridges of high pressure are once again stopping the rain in the north from reaching us here in Southern California.

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    1. It would be heart-breaking for California to revert to drought. Hope the rains come.

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  3. My husband takes credit for catching the attention of the cats and the photo.

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  4. Diana, your garden looks beautiful! It looks very green and lush and your blooms are lovely, our gardens have many plants in common. The picture of the cats is adorable!

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  5. Lovely to see your colourful flowers & to read you have had some rain at last.... the photo of the cats is very good ... both cats looking magnificent... maybe Thomas just a little bit more..

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    1. Sir Thomas is imposing. The little lady has some African wild cat mixed in.

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  6. I loved the photo of your yellow landrover. Must have been fun riding in it.

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    1. Volunteering with the Cape Leopard Trust, journeys to Kagalagadi, Tankwa Karoo, the true Karoo, spring flowers ...

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  7. How about a rich yellow Hibiscus colored car?

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    Replies
    1. yes - I start to see THAT yellow again and again.

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  8. I am also attracted to the different colours and textures of the leaves. They so often aren't appreciated when the flowers are blooming. That is a fantastic picture of the cats you captured them so well. It must have been sad to say goodbye to your yellow landrover, my first car was a yellow Daf which was always easy to spot. Sarah x

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    1. People admired that yellow all the years we drove it. When we gazed across the parking lot at the mall - my mother used to say our car said Here I Am!

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  9. I think it's Thomas - on the left - makes me laugh because he has a funny surprised look on his face. Good on you both for managing to do without a car. What a perfect place to live - great nature nearby as well as shops, library and station.Hope your summer isn't too dry. We are bracing ourselves for freakish heavy rain - an unprecedented event.

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    Replies
    1. Wish we could share out the too much and too little rain.

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  10. Thomas and Zoe posing nicely for the photographer. An electric car, well, well, I am jealous. I am in need of a self drive car these days. Mind you, in spite of being registered as partially sighted, I am grateful to still have enough sight to enjoy whats going on in the garden and its amazing what can be done with computer ease of access.

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    Replies
    1. Been dreaming of an electric car for decades - can't believe it is parked in our garage now!

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  11. Lovely snapshot of your garden in November; it looks stunning and has grown so much. It is beginning to look quite mature.

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    1. Thank you. It helps to start with some established shrubs and trees.

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  12. Your kitties are beautiful. They struck a perfect pose. Bravo and congratulations on the electric car! We got our first in 2013 and still love it.

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    1. I'm still on a wow learning curve, and he loves it!

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    2. Have not gotten past the "Wow!" stage yet, and it's been almost 5 years!

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  13. Your November foliage collage is beautiful, as is the collection of blooms. You certainly got plenty of use out of that Land Rover! It's great that you're walking more. That's an interesting species of Strelitzia--I've never seen that before. It's beautiful, as is the Citrus Swallowtail!

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    1. So strange after the Land Rover, to approach a stop street and use just the accelerator - to reduce speed to 3, 2, 1 km/h - without changing gears, or using the clutch, or the hand brake. Floating on a magic carpet.

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  14. Zoe has a very sweet face. How exciting to be trading in your land rover for an electric car and a walking lifestyle. What kind of electric car did you get? Did you find a yellow one?

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    1. The yellow is going to be vinyl wrapped - which is coming from Germany. Ours is all electric, plug in overnight when needed.

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  15. A walk through your garden is always time consuming in the most enjoyable way. Stopping to see, admire and learn more of your plants - Strelitzia - white bird of paradise - I have only seen them in the sterile florist displays without the dripping nectar for visitors. p.s. I too backpack shopping but a recently discovered spinal injury has temporarily barred this activity - in need of an electric buggy perhaps!

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    1. Hiking with a backpack (or shopping) is reminding my osteoporosis to stand as tall as I can. Tramping across the garden with cans of grey water. I am at that 'use it before you lose it' stage of life.

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  16. Hi Diana, love the photo of your cats! And your iconic photo of the yellow landrover! I also enjoyed seeing all the flowers and foliage in your garden this time of year. Everything looks very lush despite your minimal rainfall.

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  17. Oh, pretty Zoe looks exactly like my Marley :-)
    I wonder if your citrus swallowtail is like ours in Florida, I can't tell from the picture.

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