False Bay garden and water in March


- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Our giraffe has a new view. I couldn't bear to look at the struggling standard Iceberg any longer. Such an unsuited choice of the previous gardener.

Giraffe enjoying spekboom
Giraffe enjoying spekboom

Today he looks at a spekboom (flourishing specimen harvested from near our compost heap) with a cutting of yellow Gazania to spill over. Now it fits.

Good riddance to a defeated Iceberg Long live the spekboom!
Good riddance to a defeated Iceberg
Long live the spekboom!

It has taken us three years to replace the glary white quartz chips with river pebbles. We need another bag or two. Boophone is fanning out its ruffled leaves for autumn. The spekboom hedge outside the kitchen, which was sad little twigs in December 2014, has almost reached the full height to the trellis.

Boophone leaves, spekboom hedge River pebbles between the paving squares
Boophone leaves, spekboom hedge
River pebbles between the paving squares

Despite coming from Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu Natal, after our drought summer - the afternoon shade, with grey water from the kitchen when I notice, suits Rotheca myricoides. A generous shrub with swags of blue butterfly flowers guarded by resident carpenter bees.

Rotheca myricoides
Rotheca myricoides

I love ferns and am nurturing the few that survive. Broad-leaved Rumohra adiantiformis (seven weeks fern). Maidenhair fern is happy at the feet of Rotheca. Tough Asparagus fern came with the garden. Softer green Asparagus macowanii is a survivor from Camps Bay.

Maidenhair, seven weeks and Asparagus ferns
Maidenhair, seven weeks
and Asparagus ferns

The compost volunteer tomato looks good but has a tough leathery skin. Still a few lemons to harvest. Bananas for shipping are harvested "three-fourths full". Three fourths of the bananas have filled out and do not have the predominant ribs on the sides of the fruit. We wait, and water, then will cut them to ripen indoors from starch to sugar.

We have bananas, lemons and tomatoes
We have bananas, lemons and tomatoes

From our March municipal accounts in litres per person per day.

2015 garden 483 litres while we were renovating (that lasts us 9 days now!) Still no March lilies sadly.

2016 garden 327 litres normal life as it was. Plants along Woodland Walk have filled in with a vengeance. Time to replant the border of yellow Bulbine. (Scabiosa and Tulbaghia have dwindled almost away)

2017 garden 160 litres on the learning curve down. That sun bed is gone; the second heap of soil is cleared. A chair awaits some new plants where he lifted and reallocated two paving slabs around the new tanks.

2018 on our latest account 37 litres. For March today, we have used 60 litres. Without our rain tank, we average 43 litres of municipal water. 8 days off-grid using our rain water.

Santolina, Iceberg with spider, Ivy pelargonium Dusty Miller, Plumbago, perennial basil Cyperus albo-striatus, Santolina, garlic chives
Santolina, Iceberg with spider, Ivy pelargonium
Dusty Miller, Plumbago, perennial basil
Cyperus albo-striatus, Sansevieria, garlic chives

Tom Brown reviews our dam levels each Tuesday (26th March) 'The first desalinated water should enter the system in April. CoCT will issue a tender for clearance and removal of >100 Ha pine forest in the Steenbras catchment by 2020 to improve rainwater yield. Households consuming more than 20 KL of water per month are down from 80,000 in March 2017 to 12,300 in March 2018.'

'At the end of April, if we are above normal, it’s likely we’ll have above normal rainfall by year end' - Will there be more rain in Cape Town this winter?

Pelargoniums with Oxalis 
Bruinsalie, botterboom, Sansevieria
Hibiscus, Bulbine, Senecio

For Through the Garden Gate  with Sarah in Dorset
and Wildflower Wednesday with Gail at Clay and Limestone in Tennessee.

Californian poppy, Tecomaria
Leonotis
and firesticks


Pelargonium, Nerine sarniensis, Halleria lucida
lavender, Hibiscus tiliaceus, purple sage
Limonium perezzi, with Plectranthus

Signs of hope as Nerine sarniensis buds open, with a folded heart on Hibiscus tiliaceus.

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Pictures by Diana Studer

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Comments

  1. Beautiful blooms! I especially like the reds and the orange ones.
    Love the Boophone - so pretty!

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  2. Thanks for the orange flowers, Diana! You've accomplished so much in dealing with Capetown's water problems. You're a beacon of hope for those of us also facing the ramification of serious drought! I hope you winter rains are both gentle and persistent.

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  3. That's an impressive drop in the amount of water consumed both in your household and thousands of others. Drought is a challenge in so many ways and changing plants that need too much water is just one of those. You still have quite a few great blooms to show. The desal will certainly help. We went through a two-year drought recently but rains have returned and I hope yours will too.

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  4. Diana, there are many beautiful flowers in your garden despite the drought, the californian poppies are especially pretty!

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  5. I wish I could taste a tree ripened banana. I know how much better other fruits taste when left on the tree. Are they sweeter when fully ripe?
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

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    Replies
    1. Learning curve. This is our first ever crop. Google says - you have to pick bananas so the starch can ripen to sugar. If they can taste as good as the flowers smelt ... will be delectable!

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  6. Your flowers and plants are still looking good despite the rigid weather/water conditions...the orange flowers are very eye-catching I must attempt to grow a few more myself. I also love ferns and I always had maiden hair ferns when we lived in Sydney, but they don't like our cold dry weather here in Canberra.
    I love the photo of the boophone!

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  7. I’m always amazed to hear how inventive you are with water. To see your maidenhair fern living so delicately outside. We struggle to keep them indoors. Love the blue flowers of the Rotheca Myricoides, so extravagant. We have certainly had much more rainfall this winter so with luck you will to. B x

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  8. such beautiful gardens, such a challenge with watering,,your knowledge of gardening, is wonderful,,its a treat to my snow weary eyes,

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  9. Your garden is lovely with so many pretty blooms. It is a testament to your skill and commitment in the face of severe water shortages. I am amazed that you and I (with my wet, humid climate) can grow similar ferns.

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    Replies
    1. Asparagus is tough, but the other two are tucked into the kindest corners I can find.

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  10. Bananas, lemons, and tomatoes...oh my! And they look very healthy and delicious. You have so many beautiful blooming plants. And the ferns--love them!

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  11. Hi Diana, I enjoyed your photos. I hope you get more rain soon.

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  12. It’s good to read that the water situation is improving. I hope it’s a good winter for you Diana, filled with rain. It feels very odd for me to say that..!

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    Replies
    1. And odd for us to say - remember how it used to rain for DAYS in winter!

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  13. It's really down to choice of plants and their position. Amazing you can even grow ferns in present climate. Love the giraffe silhouette, much more interesting than iceberg rose, even if it wasn't struggling.

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  14. Everything looks so warm and sunny! I'm still here, just very busy with lots of changes. I'm creating a new garden completely from scratch and will soon be having hardscaping installed in the form of terraces and retaining walls along with two brick pathways.How you manage with such little water is inspiring!

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  15. Really good to know that the lack of water is being reversed, Diana I do hope that this drought is over by the end of your winter.

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    Replies
    1. We need 3, perhaps 4, winters with good rain. Fervently hoping to at least go into next summer with a better chance.

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    2. In this part of the world we continually moan about too much rain and not enough heat. I admire how well you cope with the drought and am pleased the situation is improving.

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    3. Your garden and flowers still looks amazing despite the lack of rain , you must have green fingers to still have ferns growing in those conditions.. They featured the Silo Hotel on a tv programme this week and mentioned how they clean the windows using orange and lemon essence rather than water.

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    4. I would like to have seen that programme. That Triple Orange cleaner is popular here. I haven't tried it yet!

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  16. It all looks so fresh and beautiful. We're only starting spring, and you're almost into fall.Glad to see your garden faring so well.

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  17. I do hope you receive the rain you need. After about 18 months here of much below average rainfall, we've had lots in the last month, plus snow of course. It never helps my soil that much it is so free draining although the parts that get regular additions of my compost are slowly improving. I think my Bulbines were killed by the icy winds; hopefully some will regrow from their roots.

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    Replies
    1. Today I ripped out tired old Bulbine, and replanted only the vigorous bits.

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  18. I hope the giraffe appreciates the new view. The garden looks gorgeous, I'm amazed that you manage so well with the water shortage.
    Amalia
    xo

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  19. You have such amazing variety! I like seeing the view from the giraffe too! What fun! Enjoy your day!

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  20. Hi Diana... long time no hear... :-)
    I am updating my blog posts less frequently compared to before...
    Reason (excuse?) is, too many hobbies competing for the same time slots...
    Anyway, thank you so much for coming by my blog...
    Your blog is always full of colors, and I am always impressed by the amount of time you put into your amazing blog...
    Happy gardening!

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    Replies
    1. Here too - a weekly hike equals less blogging.

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  21. You've done an incredible job with your garden on almost no water. Your Boophone is a beauty. Mine's still a wee baby.

    Best wishes for a very rainy winter.

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  22. I do hope your receive more rain, Diana. Your garden is stunning. I'm sure your giraffe appreciates his new view. Mine is tired of looking bare beds with few blooms yet. P. x

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    Replies
    1. Boy oh boy , it sure is summer where you live. Everything is beautiful. Loving the look of river pebbles between the paving squares. Sorry I'm in the reply section but don't see "comment"

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    2. No worries (I can't see Comment either, my screen is full?)

      Holding my breath for autumn rain promised tonite, tomorrow afternoon, Sunday ... live in hope!

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