Life goes on in the cycles it has followed since the world began. I have been thinking about the many things that have made me happy in my life and my thoughts naturally turn to my children and grandchildren. I could fill pages of cute baby photographs compared with the adults my children have become and how my grandchildren have turned into interesting people – but I won’t. Well, to warm to the theme of growth, let me slip in one idea of how little hands later become large hands capable of doing so many different things:

We tend to think of living things when we mull over a theme of growth. While rust does not reproduce or eat in the way a living organism would, it is a chemical reaction we are familiar with the consequences of: if we leave rust alone it will destroy almost anything – like this cannon:

Think of growth in a different way, such as in how each puzzle piece contributes to the growth of a complete picture:

Then, back to the living as we admire peach blossoms that will, in time, turn into delicious peaches:

Baby fork-tailed drongos will grow to adulthood and will, in time, end up feeding young of their own:

Finally, among the many small pleasures that keep me alert whilst providing peace for my soul is the way single letters – combined with brainpower – fill a crossword grid. That is a very satisfactory kind of growth!



It is a boon to have a peach tree growing in one’s garden. If the climatic conditions are right then one can look forward to a delicious harvest every year. Our neighbour’s peach tree is a drawcard for Speckled Mousebirds, Redwinged Starlings, Black-collared Barbets and Cape White-eyes as the various owners or tenants have paid scant attention to the ripening fruit. So, why have I titled this post Alien Peach Trees?

They are ‘alien’ only in that they have not been planted in a garden. This fine specimen has been growing near the road on the edge of town for years.

The blossoms delight every spring and I have enjoyed seeing passers-by pick the fruit. Then ‘developers’ moved in with their bulldozers and wreaked havoc on all the natural vegetation by pushing over the trees and scraping the ground clean of any grass, flowers or bulbs … and left it for pioneer weeds to take it over, leaving no space for anything indigenous … those got scraped too … for what? Fence posts were erected a year later and nothing has happened since, but that beautiful peach tree is gone forever.

If one drives through parts of the Free State during spring, one is struck by the number of peach trees growing in the wild along the highway.

These must have had their origin in the pips thrown out by occupants of passing vehicles. There are dozens of these trees for kilometres at a time. Their blossoms surely provide a welcome source of nectar for bees and other pollinators.

In time, these trees too probably provide a welcome bite of fresh fruit for anyone who can draw off the road safely to pick them. I haven’t been there during the fruiting season. Aliens they might be in the sense of not being indigenous trees, but not unwelcome. There is no sign of them being invasive and they provide a quiet bounty for those in need.


The veld grass is still a palette of browns and yellows at this time of the year. The weather is cold and the feeling of hibernation still prevails for the air is fresh and biting. Winter still has a grip on the countryside … or so one thinks until coming across one of the many isolated peach trees blossoming along the road.

As the majority of these trees grow close to the road, I can only imagine they originated from peach pips being tossed from passing traffic. Nonetheless, they make a beautiful mark and provide the comforting signs that spring is on its way!



While we remain in the grip of cold, grey weather, Nature is already gearing up for the season of Spring in the garden. New acacia leaves are emerging from their winter sheaths on hitherto dead-looking branches.


Peach blossoms are looking beautiful now – even the ancient plum tree is showing a few brave white flowers – and the crossberry is covered with blossoms.



The wild ginger bush and the pelargoniums are blooming.

ginger bush


So are the white daisy bushes and jasmine – the latter fills the garden with a sweet scent, particularly in the late afternoons and early morning.



Best of all, the cheerful weavers are back en masse. Some are already bearing strips of leaves or grass to practise their knotting skills prior to serious nest-weaving. The Cape Weavers are looking particularly beautiful wearing their deep breeding blush.