PREPARING FOR MAGNIFICENCE

Shades of orange are traditionally associated with autumn and as I was walking around my garden to check on the progress of the aloes dotted about, my eye was caught by these bright spots:

This fungi has appeared on an aloe stem and looks rather attractive when looked at more closely:

Back to the aloes though. I am heartened by the appearance of many tightly closed buds, such as this one:

The tall Aloe ferox in the front garden has been pushing up its swelling spikes unseen until now:

Soon these rather insignificant looking spikes will grow tall – you can see a discarded dry stem from last season still hooked onto the leaves – and unfurl into a magnificent display of colour. Watch this space!

A TASTE OF THINGS TO COME

This beautiful aloe – the first I have seen blooming here – is a taste of the autumnal treat that we look forward to.

These beautifully rich, warm colours will delight us – as well as birds and insects – throughout winter. The aloes in my garden are pushing up their closed spikes, but this one, growing in the full sun next to the road leading into town, is magnificent.

These flowers fill my heart with joy as I anticipate more to flower all over the country!

GIANT CANDELABRA LILY II

I called a halt as soon as I spotted these pink funnel-shaped flowers peeping through the grass not far from the edge of the road. These Giant Candelabra Lilies (Brunsvigia grandiflora) are usually seen during March, so it was a lovely surprise to find this one blooming in April!

When looked at from above, the long wavy grey-green leaves are visible at the base.

Here is a closer look at them.

There is a darkish pink stripe down the centre of each petal.

The buds look darker than the open flowers. This one is still unfurling.

These flowers occur naturally in the grasslands of the Eastern Cape, Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.

EARTH DAY 2021

The veld has been tinder dry for weeks as the relentless drought continues. A grass fire, fanned by hot wind, raced through the mountains around our town at the weekend, engulfing us in a blanket of smoke and ash. Today the Mountain Drive area looks bleak and black. Yet, Earth Day is one that encourages us to look at our environment more closely; to get to know it better; to consider what we can do to protect and nurture it better; as well as being thankful for what we have.

How extremely thankful I am for the 4mm of soft rain that we were blessed with during the night!

This has encouraged the canary creeper buds to open – these are the first of what should become a waterfall of bright blooms.

The Crassula ovata is also covered with buds waiting to open.

Meanwhile, the Cape honeysuckle flowers are already providing swathes of bright colour and a useful source of nectar.

The Virginia creeper is showing off its autumn colours.

In keeping with these autumnal colours, it is fortuitous that an Olive Thrush was the first bird to greet me this morning.

Happy Earth Day!

YELLOW FLOWERS

During these drab, drought-stricken times we need some cheer in the form of a bright colour. I have looked through my files for examples of cheerful yellow.

How the various varieties of gazanias survive in the dry conditions of the veld – especially during this long period of drought – never ceases to amaze me.

The buds of the canary creeper are already beginning to swell so that I will soon be able to show updated photographs of these delightful yellow flowers that bloom at this time of the year.

The sweet-smelling flowers of the Vachellia (Acacia) karoo are always worth the wait.

Not indigenous, yet fun to have in the garden, are sunflowers.