It's a good year for agapanthus. Here they line the driveway leading to Klein Constantia, where we stopped in to buy a couple of cases of their Sauvignon blanc (yup, in Cape Town they stop at local estates to buy cases. None of this Brooklyn stopping-in-for-a-bottle at the liquor store on your home home from work...). It's a beautiful place on the slopes of the Constantiaberg, the lower reaches of which I used to ride on the chestnut, ornery horse, Cromwell. Back in the day.
The blue agapanthus are everywhere: gardens, sidewalks, medians, fallow ground. Newer varieties are bred to have darker colours and more tear-like flowers: deep indigo and near black, and are gorgeous. These almost outmoded, standard blues still impress in their swathes of colour, and from my Northern Hemispheric viewpoint, speak of a climate at once mild and half forgotten, exotic in its ability to impress a mind imprinted with countless agapanthus Christmasses, now seeing them as one does who returns to a place remembered to learn it again.
Funny how one's focus changes. I've been to this cellar many times and probably just galloped through the doors thinking of Vin de Constance. This is the first time I actually looked at the terraced water feature. I don't think I can have visited since designing gardens in New York, or it would have struck me before. It's very simple, very effective - flanked by the iris-like Dietes bicolor with its peacock accents on each petal, and planted with the local, scented waterblommetjies (Aponogeton distachyos), so delicious in lamb bredies: