We had a lunch for bloggers and blog readers, under the tree. Relationships that sparked in cyberspace have frequently been the basis of real friendships, for me (my marriage being a case in point!).
Flowers I used to take for granted I now can't get enough of. This Fuchsia magellanica (perennial fuchsia is a common name) and its delicate pendant drops of hot pink and purple grows in three spots in the garden, and I visited them again and again, snaring more slender branches for some blowsy flower arrangements.
My mother had already filled two enameled tin jugs for the lunch table, and I interfered by pushing more fuchsia and honeysuckle into them and adding flowers to every surface I could find. Convinced it would continue raining I thought we'd have to dress up the carport, with its wood pile, bags of compost and antique, gleaming jaguar (car, not cat). But the rain held off, big clouds billowing high above us and the green plane tree.
My mom, Donovan (Green Lima Beans) and his Rosie, Johannes, Anjo-Mari (Voer) , Peter...somewhere off screen, Marijke (Biodiversity Blog), Karen (Smashing Cape Town), and Fanie.
A bit of Johan, Marlene, my dad...
Peter, and more of Johan - journalists I met after Johan, then its editor, penned a story for Visi about my Brooklyn terrace (this became the kernel of an idea for my book). These two lovely men brought with them from their garden plot in Koringberg: a pot of their own bees' honey, four jars of olives, and several bottles of wine. In fact everyone brought wonderful goodies - better than a birthday. Late in the evening - and everyone only left well after 6pm, to my delight - I had some poached eggs on toast for an unnecessary supper, sprinkled with Lily's gift of hot red pepper, fresh from Istanbul.
The fennel was tossed with raw sliced lemon as well as salt-preserved lemon rind.
Red pepper mousse.
Herby chickens cooked in verjus.
Homely blackberry crumble.
And at the end of it all, a cork, the flowers, and gifts on the sunroom table...
...that tell stories. Ginger from Karen's garden, complete with rhizome, to be planted. That pepper from Istanbul, which Lily left in tears. Salt from France when Johannes got an unexpected visa approval, plum pudding from the Lake District, paprika from Hungary. Olives from Koringberg, made in two different ways, and honey from African bees who don't like builders. Not pictured, some truly wonderful wine, chilling for an imminent garden lunch.