We woke to thick mist casting a white mantle over the garden – not surprising, for last night we enjoyed the rare treat of rolls of thunder and flashes of lightning that turned the sky purple. Such joy it is then to find almost 20mm rain in the gauge – an amount worthy of photographing!
The excessive heat along with the lack of water has put paid to most flowers in the garden. I was thus surprised to see these poppies providing a brave show of colour.
They are among the few successes I have had with growing plants from seeds so far. The marigolds all shrivelled and died once they had put out their first proper leaves – the rain came too late for them, but I shall try again. Meanwhile, the Pompon trees – many of which are self-seeded – have put on a magnificent show this summer, filling our garden with pink delight. They have passed their peak now, yet there are still patches of new blossoms to enjoy.
The other great delight was the later than usual return of the Lesser-striped Swallows. They have deliberated long and hard about the best site for their mud nest. The rains have come at the right time for them and they have made good progress this week at the site of the original nests that have been built here for the past twenty-odd years. They need to complete the cup and then build the tunnel.
I had to negotiate the damp garden path with care in order to photograph the carpet of yellow Tipuana flowers from the tree in our neighbour’s garden. They became very slippery when wet!
While I was walking around our delightfully damp garden, I heard the clopping of hooves of a small group of the Urban Herd walking along the road next to our front fence.
You might just make out some of the lilac Jacaranda tree blossoms that are strewn across the road.
Whenever I scroll through my photographs I am surprised at the number of patterns that jump out at me. At the risk of boring readers with yet another lot, I have a few more to show. The first are raindrops on the grass. There is a great delight in these shining drops for we received some unexpected rain last week – enough to green up the grass on my unmown lawn and to give the flowers in the garden a ‘lift’:
After the rain comes sunshine and these patterns shining on the side of our swimming pool caught my eye. The pool was filled with grit and leaves after the rain:
Thanks to the ongoing drought, it is a while since I have been able to enjoy large marigolds in the garden. None of the many seeds planted this year have shown a sign of sprouting. Nonetheless, I enjoyed finding this picture in my archives:
I have shown several Eucalyptus trees of late; here is a closer look at the leaves of one of the trees growing around the corner from where I live:
Next is a picture regular readers may be familiar with. This is Bryan, the angulate tortoise that came to live in our garden for some time until eventually the desire to travel on overcame him. I love the pattern on his shell:
Lastly, I cannot resist adding this stained glass window:
I am pleased to report that my garden today is wet. Yes, really: it is wet, wet, wet and although the rain has made way for the sun, leaves are dripping – some are even weighing down the branches with the weight of rain. This is a sight for sore eyes – 28mm of rain!
Rain means mud and mud means that the Lesser-striped Swallows can proceed with their urgent task of constructing their mud nest under the eaves.
A Hadeda Ibis chick balances on the edge of the precarious nest in the back garden.
While a beautiful nest woven by an excited Southern Masked Weaver bobs up and down with no tenants – it was obviously not deemed to be good enough when the female inspected it!
My teeny weeny patch of flowers has got a new lease of life – just when I thought it was soon going to revert to being a bare patch of ground.
A very old hibiscus has come into bloom.
So has the indigenous Plumbago.
A matter of weeks ago I thought I would have to remove the Christ thorns lining the front path.
All over the garden the Crossberries are coming into bloom.
Yesterday and today have been by far the coldest of the winter so far – uncomfortably cold. The best part about this icy weather is that it has been accompanied by some very light rain: 4mm one evening, 4mm the next, and today we measured a ‘whopping’ 12mm! The garden is rejoicing. Look at this flower on the ginger bush:
Even the dry grass in the background has greened up over the past two damp days! It is wonderful to see damp soil in the patch of garden around the bird feeders instead of dust.
This is not a quality picture at all, but the very sharp-eyed among you might just recognise the shape of a Knysna Turaco in the leafless tree. I counted five of them in the garden yesterday! The strong Berg Wind that brought the cold front in its wake shook the trees and sent leaves cascading all over the garden. Instead of the usual crunch underfoot, I could delight in seeing wet leaves on the path.
Already Cape White-eyes and other birds having been making use of the pools of water that have collected in the aloe leaves.
These are snaps taken with my cell phone – not brilliant, but enough to share with you the joy of hearing the soft pattering of raindrops during the night; of breathing in the delicously damp aromas of wet soil, wet dry grass, and the unparalleled freshness of rain-washed air. They are good enough to convey the feeling that there is hope and that – despite the cold – even that little rain has revived me just as it has perked up the flowers in my tiny patch of garden and brought a new ‘growth-energy’ to the almost dead lemon tree in the back garden.
In the words of Langston Hughes:
Let the rain kiss you Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops Let the rain sing you a lullaby