The Garden Plant
False Bay garden in May 1

False Bay garden in May

by Diana Studer

– gardening for biodiversity

in Cape Town, South Africa

For April in our garden, I looked back at the changes across four years. This year we were delighted to have an indigenous plant sale at Kirstenbosch again. I went with a careful list (chosen from the online catalogue), then allowed myself a few substitutes for the Sold Out Already.
Kirstenbosch Plant Sale 2019!
Kirstenbosch Plant Sale 2019!

Lachenalia bulbifera
Lachenalia bulbifera

Aloe ferox buds
Aloe ferox buds

For Spring Promise (pink, white and silver) I have replaced Pelargonium tomentosum (minty leaves, semi-shade) and Pelargonium cordifolium (also prefers light shade) Another buchu Agathosma collina for herby fresh leaves. I love silver leaves and added Helichrysum petiolare Petite, Syncarpha Pink Bud and Gazania Hybrid White.

New plants for Spring Promise
New plants for Spring Promise

For Cornish Stripe (‘blue’, purple and white) a replacement Scabiosa incisa (attracts butterflies) and Berkheya purpurea (African thistle).

New plants for Cornish Stripe
New plants for Cornish Stripe

For Summer Gold (yellows) In the pot in the shade Knowltonia vesicatoria (ranunculus family) and Commelina africana with yellow flowers – two plants I love from our Fynbos Rambles. Artemisia afra with its soft anise and liquorice leaves at the zigzag in the path.

New plants for Summer Gold
New plants for Summer Gold

On the ‘chalk fingers’ Cotyledon orbiculata the first of MANY flowers has opened. I am afraid to plant out the last Kirstenbosch plant – a thumb sized Serruria villosa (blooming wild and free on recent hikes). From the pot I removed about a dozen yellow Clivia plants – now enjoying spreading their roots under the carob tree. Furry purple Mexican bush sage. Woolly bear caterpillar chewing succulent leaf. I moved the Dipogon to more sun and maybe, and planted a sucker from the Jasminum angulare growing happily in the shade of Halleria lucida from a Porterville cutting – should be more successful at using the trellis around the rain tank.

May in our garden
May in our garden

April pictures made me see that I had lost the charm of the offset path. I cut back hard Salvia africana-lutea (renamed Salvia aurea – after five years take cuttings for fresh plants they say) to make space for Artemisia afra. And also the overhanging branches. 
Spring Promise with silver leaves
Spring Promise with silver leaves

Summer Gold with yellow daisies times three
Summer Gold with yellow daisies times three

With all the horror around plastic pollution we have been on a long slow Zero Waste Journey. My personal target is zero waste muesli. For this batch I achieved dates, coconut flakes, sunflower seeds and almonds. Next time there will also be oats, Brazil nuts and soft dried apricots (also cinnamon and ginger when I need refills). That leaves carob powder, nutmeg and cloves. We add chopped (unpackaged) fresh ginger (in honey, yes in plastic). Still generating single use plastic waste for recycling from … yoghurt, linseed meal, vegan protein powder, and most of the fresh fruit we use. Zero waste dry groceries in BYO containers from Low Impact Living in Glencairn.

Targeting Zero Waste muesli
Targeting Zero Waste muesli

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False Bay garden in May 2

Pictures by Diana Studer

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