11 November, 2011

Some corner of a foreign field

Remembrance Day. Poppy Day.

Poppies grow, between the crosses

Nasturtiums, Cistercians? What's the difference, he says

Foreign also takes me to the original Carol at MayDreamsGardens Bloom-Day, which I choose to use as a record of this month’s foreign flowers in my garden. Usually roses, but as this is their month, they are getting their own posts. So, Not Roses. The nasturtiums, called Cistercians by the Ungardener. Orange day lilies and lemon yellow iris came with the garden. 

Day lily and iris

Thanks to Jack I know this cosmopolitan wildflower as hawkweed. Ten thousand microspecies says Wikipedia! A rosette of leaves, lots of flowers dancing on tall stems at knee height, buttery sunny petals with a picotee edge, wildlife friendly. I’m rather fond of my free spirited plant (not a weed this!)


Our smelly old socks daisy  has been deadheaded hard and is turning to a second lighter flush. Delicate feathered leaves, the weird smell is in the flowers. Think of chrysanthemums. And the little herb feverfew (Tanacetum / Chrysanthemum / Pyrethrum parthenium). New Hampshire Garden Notes suggested Pyrethrum. Argyranthemum from the Canary Islands (the climate is right), Marguerite or Madeira daisy. Or is it a Persian chrysanthemum Arash?   Susan in the Pink Hat at Ink and Penstemon also has a large white mysterious daisy?

Argyranthemum Madeira daisy?

Our apple trees have blossom. What we eat, is mostly foreign. Off the top of my head all I can think of local, is waterblommetjies and madumbis (‘wild’ potatoes)! Not just locally grown, but literally indigenous/native. 

Apple blossom

I wanted, an indigenous blue water lily. What I have, is foreign, pink. And that tiny pond weed is invading again. The lonely South African today is blue Plectranthus neochilus.

Water lily

This is a flower designed by a committee. Lots of bits that are attached, but don’t belong. Tuberous begonia is here for its glorious asymmetric leaves, a hand with fingers reaching wide. Tall coral flowers were a surprising bonus. One of my mother’s pot plants set free in a shady corner.


Following the lead of the Prunus nigra which is laden with cherry sized fruit, the real plums are coming on slowly. So the colour wheel turns from red orange yellow, to white, thru deepening pinks to plum. Meeting at the crimson and scarlet boundary. A Red Cross.

Edible plum, Prunus nigra

Post title from Rupert Brooke’s poem The Soldier, written in 1914. He is buried in an olive grove on the island of Skyros in Greece.  

Pictures and words by Diana of  Elephant's Eye 
- wildlife gardening in Porterville, near Cape Town in South Africa
(If you mouse over brown text, it turns shriek pink. Those are my links.)


  1. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous :)

    Diana, would that tiny pond weed not assist in keeping the water cooler in the coming summer months? The small pond we had (and has since been emptied) was invaded with blanketweed - a terrible plant! I often wondered if more surface cover wouldn't have helped.

  2. Whatever they may mean to you or to anyone, they are lovely to me, and i love most that begonia which we also have here!

  3. Dani - oh yes we wanted shade. Saw that at a nursery. Asked for some. We were warned, have to scoop it off every week! There is a larger duckweed, easier to catch, this is a nightmare!!

    Better solution for shade is the water lilies, and the trees around. Your pond needs a certain depth against our summer heat. And the blanket weed will settle and resolve itself given a little time.

  4. your family history shows something else we have in common with plants - we also travel the world and end up in foreign lands - until we become naturalized but hopefully never weeds. What we eat here is mostly foreign too but there is a real trend towards whitefellas learning from indigenous people about bush tucker.

  5. Loved this complete oppposite of wildflower wednesday and viewing begonias as composed by committee. So true and they could not quite agree!
    A thought provoking post too - followed the link to your Grandfather...'In that rich earth a richer dust concealed'.

    We have a flying connection - my great uncle joined the RFC as engineer and survived to tell the tale

  6. Such a great description of a begonia, it certainly is indeed.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  7. Diana, I think there are several flowers designed by committee and the begonia is a wonderful example. A lovely post and as always the comments are an excellent read. gail

  8. Diana what a beautiful post honoring your grandfather. And I loved your thoughtful post of flowers...that pink water lily may belong in my garden...I also have that begonia or one similar...

  9. A very interesting thought provoking post, it is right to remember, I also enjoyed Catmint's comment - that is so true about people being like plants and spreading through the world, also sometimes in certain places being an invasive non native that shouldn't be there and sometimes blending beautifully with the nature inhabitants. Thanks Diana. Christina. PS my mother in law loves reading your posts but so far she hasn't plucked up courage to leave comments on the blogs she follows - she's 85 and bought her first computer a year ago, we are very proud of her.

  10. Christina - please tell your MIL my stats show lots of readers today, but we see few comment. We all felt weird when we first left comments, I don't know her, can I just jump into the conversation ... Hullo Christina's MIL ... you are one of my 9 out 10 silent readers, always in my mind when I blog.

    As Gail says - as always the comments are an excellent read. It is the comments that bring a post to life.

  11. Ah, Hawkweed, Habichtskraut! It's the same word in German, and I can't tell all those species apart.
    Have a nice weekend!

  12. Elke - they say the name is from a legend that hawks eat it to improve their eyesight.

  13. Hope you will have lots of apples fruiting soon...

  14. Beautiful flowers as always. Your "Thanks for the memories" made me think how blogs actually have become our diaries through which we don't just keep our memories, but also share it with others.

  15. Firefly - a part of me is thinking, that scrap of paper, that diary, that photo of granpa - is so easily lost. If I leave a little family history here, it will remain available to my great-nieces. Nothing is forever ...

  16. Diana, this is a lovely post - I had a lump in my throat while I read it. And as always, your blooms are quite gorgeous!
    Happy GBBD :)

  17. wie schön... alles in voller Blüte...
    die Kapuzinerkresse ist bei uns erfroren, leider... die Blüten esse ich sehr gerne, sie schmecken so schön pfeffrig und sind reich an Vitamin C.
    diese Sorte Begonia liebe ich sehr als Topfpflanze und man findet sie kaum noch in den Blumenläden...

    Grüße nach Südafrika von Traudi

  18. aloha diana,

    love the story and tie in to your great niece...funny how some want to explore by choice or opportunity...but that gives you a wonderful excuse to visit the great gardens in England :)

  19. I enjoyed this post, and I enjoyed the links I followed, so much so that I forgot to come back and leave a comment.


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