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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Gardening on the West Coast







In planning a West Coast garden, I decided to take my cue from the surrounding veld. There are no trees in the pristine fynbos, so I did not plant any. This is not a coast of waving palm trees and huge tall plants, and I often see people planting them because they love trees/want shade/want birds/need something tall as a focal point, or for whatever reason. But surely one would then attract the wrong sort of birds, because our Cape Robins, Francolins and Black Oystercatchers sleep on the ground or in low vegetation.

Another rule would be to have no flowers that will self-seed and start spreading into the fynbos. Nasturtiums are a no-no! I plant so that there is always a great display of colour. This is a long narrow garden and I want colour as far as the eye can see. By not trimming and allowing plants to grow together there are never any weeds as there is no room for them. Because of harsh rainless summers you need plants that do not need a lot of water. We are planning to make some "green" plans this year to water the patch of lawn.

In the photos you will notice that I allow the wild pelargoniums, sorrel, watsonias, Livingstone daisies (bokbaai vygies), all types of aloes and ragwort to grow where they want to. I make no division between wild and cultivated plants.

My garden has been photographed by many people who can see it over the walls, and are thrilled by all the colour! This is a garden where I only spend about 4 days working in a year, while the buffalo grass grows vertical and needs trimming about every third week only.

18 comments:

  1. What a lovely site you have to look at every day. It's beautiful. Being a keen gardener myself I really can appreciate the work you have put into this garden. Very thoughtful of you to stick to local plants.
    Jean

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  2. What a spectacular success your garden is! Your rule about growing only stuff that belongs there is brilliant. It's interesting that Livingstone daisies are native to the west coast -- for many years they were planted along the sides of some little stone bridges over a series of waterfalls in the Parks Deptartment gardens in the Canadian Rockies, in a climate which must be just about the exact opposite of yours! The poor little things looked lovely but must have been struggling, especially on the (frequent) cool rainy days.

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  3. Thank you, Jean! I must also thank you for the previous comment, but my Internet was funny today and would not allow certain things. Ah, we should exchange garden photos! Have you blogged yours?

    Thank you, Charlene. We have areas where there are miles and miles of Livingstone daisies in spring. I can happily sow them in all the empty little spots, knowing they will be beautiful after all the winter rain!

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  4. Marie what a natural, beautiful garden filled with color - I can see how you stay so inspired. Thank you for sharing. How wonderful to be able to stand there and drink it all in!
    xox

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  5. I've been lucky enough to see your beautiful garden and what a riot of colour with the Spring flowers!

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  6. Hi, Nancy! I am glad you have enjoyed my garden, not lush like yours which I have often admired on your website, but doing OK in the salty air. Thank you for the lovely compliments!

    Thank you Liz, I really appreciated the help I got from nature with those wild felicias inviting themselves in!

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  7. Hi Marie, thanks so much for sharing these lovely pics and information on your lovely West Coast garden. I can imagine lots of people would like to take photo's over the wall. I like the thought that you should not plant any invasive flowers that might spread to the surrounding vynbos.

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  8. What a lovely garden - I'm not sure I would want Palm Trees either because they might block that beautiful view of the sea!

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  9. What a wonderful project you created in your garden understanding the local plants and bird life. Over here in England I just choose the flowers and shrubs to plant that I love in an endeavour to create colour all year round and to my surprise nature takes over and brings summer flowers out in Autumn, spring flowers out months early and today I noticed my camelias that should be in bloom next spring are already budding!! Currently six feet tall cosmos in full bloom!! So I don't have control after all but certainly enjoy every day. Thanks again for your wonderful photos of your delightful west coast garden plants.

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  10. Thank you Sandra!Once the view is hidden,it would be spoiled!

    Joan, I can picture it all! Those British gardens that are so completely natural and are an inspiration for everyone in the world. British gardens rate up there with cricket and Shakespeare! Show us yours one day, or is it on your blog somewhere?

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  11. It looks magical, not to mention high maintenance, Marie!! It sounds like you planned it very well though-- I started to wonder how on earth you find time to paint with such a lovely garden, amazing!

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  12. Thank you, Diane! The maintenance is very low because most of it is natural!

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  13. Marie, You are also a landscape artists! Your garden is beautiful and one that is low maintenance makes it especially enjoyable. I have been working towards that myself for several years.

    Thnak you Marie, not only for your comment on my painting, but for taking the time and effort to comment on my blog instead of FB.

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  14. Impressive gardening skills!
    And photos!
    And location!

    (ps. I forgot to tell you that you looked lovely at your art-party!)

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  15. Marie, I see that you are multi talented! Not only do you do lovely paintings, but you create beautiful garden scenes as well. I like the fact that you incorporate the local flora a fauna, which makes it easier to maintain, as well as attracting indigenous wildlife. I would love to walk among these flowers in the early morning, listening to the surf and the sea birds. I am jealous!
    Thank you for you comments on my recent postings. I do spend time working out the details of my pictures in hopes of creating a "good" painting. Sometimes I think I should be more spontaneous! And yes, Toronto with its streetcars is a wonderful city!

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  16. Thank you, Carol, I am glad you enjoyed my garden pics! Your link is on my main page now, so I will keep in contact!

    Jill, one looks around for the perfect spot to retire and we really found it here. Thanks for the comments about my garden. As far as the exhibition is concerned, thank you for the sweet remark! I think I felt very warm and happy that day with my kind friends and the attention I received!

    Catherine, Thank you, this place is ideal because I need not really attend to this garden! I follow your work closely and think "the light in the dark"- method is not something I will ever master. You have such unique vision!

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  17. Beautiful garden and the flowers photos are just wonderful. Best of luck with your exhibit. All the best. Linda

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  18. Marie thank you SO much for sharing your beautiful garden with us!! I had a ball 'walking' through it. Just love it!! Raaitjie Lock.

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