My mother's garden in Cape Town is large and well-established, but it continues to evolve. Gardens are never finished, and real gardeners never stop gardening. They dream and think and engineer the lay of their land.
In a corner near the house, flanked by two high walls, where the herb garden used to be, a small brick patio was built, where a semi-shady, semi-sunny, container garden thrives. The shade is low, the sun is high. I have not measured the area, but I think it is about 12 x 12...so 144 Square Feet. And yes, I think it could have its own blog.
Within the patio area are a built-in terra cotta tile-topped counter for her bonsai collection (above and below), shelves that go straight up those high walls, holding pots of ferns and streptocarpus in the shade, succulents and vertical herbs in the sun, and a bench, a small pond and several resident frogs.
The original herb garden grew more and more shaded as nearby shrubs grew taller and taller, and the tree tomato (Solanum betaceum) higher and higher. The herbs needed for the kitchen grow happily in pots against a sunny wall, as well as in various flower beds - rosemary here, thyme there...
These gorgeous dwarf amaryllis bloomed in a pot below the bonsais. No space is wasted, here. As they finish flowering my mom moves them back to the narrow alley area outside the kitchen, where they wait out the rest of their year, forming big green strappy leaves, to feed the bulb beneath the soil.
Lotus vine (Lotus bertholotii) and wire owl. A sunny wall.
Potted lilies and a begonia.
Streptocarpus (a South African native), ferns, fuchsias and heuchera.
In small spaces texture and pattern are better appreciated.
And some edibles have been allowed to stay; leaves like a little shade and here arugula (rocket, in South Africa) grows in a narrow trough.
I picked some flowers from this small garden when we were in Cape Town early last month, and put them in our bathroom. That night I nearly stepped on a small brown leaf on the bathmat and bent down to pick it up. It hopped away. It was the smallest, cutest little frog I have ever seen, about the size of my thumbnail, legs and all. It must have traveled in on the lilies or peppermint pelargonium now in a vase beside the bath. I carried him carefully back out into the night, and hope he ribbits, here, still.