Generally speaking, South Africans seem to experience summery weather from as early as October through to March, with spring-like weather often being confined to September. More to the point is that trees, birds, flowers and animals do not follow human conventions. Some of the many weavers visiting the garden are in full breeding plumage; I spotted three Pin-tailed Whydahs this morning that are sloughing off their winter tweedy look; Common Fiscals and Olive Thrushes are already flying back and forth to their nests with food in their beaks … ‘officially’ there is still a month to go before spring arrives on our doorstep.

In the meanwhile, here are some pictures from around my garden that are cheering. The first are some petunias that have been flowering bravely despite a lack of adequate water and having taken a battering from the wind that has been blowing fiercely.

The few surviving phlox are making a brave show too, in between the petunias, pansies and some self-sown African daisies.

Around the swimming pool, we are still enjoying the lovely blossoms on the Crassula ovata that attract bees and other insects.

Some of the indigenous Plumbago is coming into bloom too.

Soon the freesia buds will open – a timely reminder of the flowers carried by my mother in her wartime bridal bouquet.

Then there is the jasmine, the heady scent of which fills the garden during the late afternoons and early evenings.


The drought continues. In fact, yesterday morning we woke to not a single drop of water in our taps! So far the rain forecast either comes to nothing or it might yield 5mm – that does little more than settle the dust for a little while. This is the second summer in a row that I have not been able to grow vegetables or much in the way of flowers. Yet, there continues to be some colour and things of interest in our garden. The ever faithful frangipani (also known as Plumeria) is blooming beautifully and exudes the most delightful scent once the sun sets and the garden settles down for the night.

No matter how hot and dry it gets, we can always rely on the Plumbago to provide colour – and such pleasing colour too.

The hibiscus shrubs were already mature when we moved here three decades ago. Their long-lasting blooms too never disappoint.

I am very pleased that the variety of petunias I planted in containers in December continue to provide happy splashes of colour.

Then there are insects, such as this bee foraging on the tiny flowers of a tall weed.

I come across a spider-hunting wasp (Pompilidae) outside the kitchen door.

It is under the lip of an outside windowsill that I see a potential danger lurking in the form of two South African Paper Wasps in the throes of building their intricate nest.

End note: The water supply is trickling back in our pipes.