Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A walk in the garden

Day 1 in my mother's garden, soon after coffee, and I point the camera at flowers.  Agapanthus in great abundance, as well as variety. This flower is ubiquitous in the Western Cape, a municipal cliche, a mass of blue bloom in the summer months, and now available in cultivars that make acquiring more impossible to resist. There is a problem, though, and I think it may be a big one. More about that later, when I have amassed pictures and information. A moth, a caterpillar, and a long dark tunnel to destruction.

Below, Dietes grandiflora, each bloom luminous for a day, and also used often in 'landscaping'. Drought tolerant and low maintenance, like the agapanthus.

More natives - Cotyledon orbiculata is a sunbird favourite.

I have never seen sunflowers in this garden. Something new.

I noticed this huge scabiosa in the fridge at Seaport Flowers on Henry Street a few weeks ago, and here it is, 8,000 miles away - Scabiosa "Fama Blue". The seed came from Chilterns, UK.

Always pretty, shasta daisies - "Montawk" in the Northeast.

Yesterday the spider lilies in pots in the shade began to open -  Hymenocallis festalis, known as Peruvian daffodils.

Not to eat but to bloom - artichokes.

A plant from my childhood summers beside the Indian Ocean - Fuchsia magellanica. This shrub on the patio grows in a pot and is about 6 feet tall.

Rosa mutabilis is 7 feet high and at least as many wide.

The tree tomato, Cyphomandra betacea,  has lots of new green fruit, and I have already eaten a plateful of the remaining ripe ones - cut in half, scooped out with a teaspoon.

This is Charlie, the pin tailed whydah (Vidua macroura).  He is a small, officious bird with a fancy tail and he patrols the feeding area, dive bombing all comers, who ignore him. Charlie has Issues. And OCD. Perhaps the loss of his long feathers out of breeding season gives him a perpetual sense of midlife crisis. If he were a man, he'd drive a red Mustang.

A Cape turtle dove (Streptopelia capicola) sunning itself.

An olive thrush, Turdus olivaceus, and a white eye - Zosterops lateralis, breakfasting on banana.

Below,  Mrs Charlie, with her therapist.

Right now the mountain is covered in a huge blanket of cloud, and upcountry it is raining. I have not ventured beyond the borders of the garden in two days and will travel farther today, sniffing out seasonal menu possibilities for a blogging lunch under the tree on the 2nd of January, known here in the Cape as Tweede Nuwe Jaar, or second new year.

I'm still adapting to the switch from cool weather greens and root vegetables to abundant fresh green herbs, berries and apricots. There are worse problems.
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