Friday, August 09, 2013
There are rain storms and bunches of grey days for sure, but in between are those jewel-like days when the sun shines, you peel off your layers and bask outside in T-shirts. You’re almost sure of at least two days a week to get your laundry dry on the line, at least we are here, with a north-facing stoep sun-trap and a nice long line.
And yet you can be chillier here than ever I remember being in England. No central heating, and in these days of electricity price hikes, no electric heaters either. Just the one ceramic fireplace to warm the whole house. When the snow is on the mountains and the wind freezing cold despite the sunshine, we huddle in more layers than the Michelin man, with hats and gloves on inside, wrapped in blankets at the computer and on the sofa. But I don’t miss that central heating one bit.
And here we have flowers in winter.
First the tiny gems of oxalis poking their heads up from the sand. Then their cousins of the oxalis family, the longer stemmed citrus yellow sorrel, join in.
These are the ones that our kids used to pick in bunches outside their kindergarten, sucking the sour lemony stems after school, while their mothers chatted and lingered.
Glowing aloes are next, hot coal embers of orange and red.
The golden shower isn't indigenous ( Pyrostegia ignea from South America) but it adds a brilliant wall of orange ...
and the yellow daisy bush (Chrysanthemoides monilifera) adds the last dash of sunset to the palette.
The September bush (Polygala myrtifolia) seems to flower almost all year round but its hot pinks are just that bit of clashing colour needed to avoid getting all matchy matchy.
Finally the proteas bring some subtlety to the show with their sugary pinks and sculptural form.
And the bees have a ball all through winter, gathering nectar from aloes, protea and the golden shower, so that they make it through to spring in good shape.
I took all these pictures two weeks ago and already spring is snapping at the heels of winter, chasing it onwards with a snowfall of daisies, even while the snow on the far mountains keeps us from thinking winter is completely over.
I’ll have another cluster of flower pictures very soon, as all the early spring flowers are coming out in a rush now, even as the winter ones are still in mid song.