Winter in the Western Cape. Part One

Syringa Tree Winter Silhouette

Syringa Tree – Winter Silhouette

It is not always easy to notice that it actually is winter in the Western Cape, apart from it being a little chilly. So many trees here are evergreen, and some plants are in full bloom right throughout the heart of winter.

Native Capetonians may disagree with me, insisting winters here are harsh; (there are storms.) But I grew up in the north of England, where it used to snow most winters. As a kid it was magical to wake up and find snow lying thick on the ground and weighing down the bare branches of trees and the holly bush. It was not so much fun standing at the bus stop waiting over an hour for a bus to school. They were supposed to run every twenty minutes, but because of the snow, the double-deckers could not get up Mackey Hill.

Finally, frozen to my very marrow, I would walk back home to warm up a little. No sooner had I put my aching fingers on the radiator, than a bus drove past the house. Then I had to run out and try to catch it. (Complicated road system; so I had a chance of dashing across the dual carriageway and intercepting it.) So yeah, I remember winter as actually being cold; not the 9C we get in Cape Town.

Still, my Syringa tree does have a winter look about it; once all the leaves have fallen, and it stands stark against the sky with its clusters of orange berries.

Syringa Tree

Syringa Tree

Other trees have a short hiatus, when no sooner have they lost their leaves than new buds begin to sprout; like this oak tree, planted as an acorn, by a squirrel, about twenty years ago.

Oak Tree in WInter

Oak Tree in WInter

This mini series will show that all four seasons are present here right through winter. Basically, it is always summer in the Western Cape!

 

8 thoughts on “Winter in the Western Cape. Part One

  1. Midwestern Plant Girl

    Love the silhouette!
    Ya got me on the Syringa tree… I thought to myself, ‘I’ve never seen orange berries on a lilac’… As the scientific/Latin name of lilacs is syringa. Turns out syringa tree is just a common name for ‘Melia azedarach’.
    Interesting!

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    1. scifihammy Post author

      I shall have to come to you for plant info ๐Ÿ™‚ Everyone here just calls them Syringas. The tree I really like in SA is the Jacaranda, usually up in Pretoria/Johannesburg. Now that does have stunning lilac flowers. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      1. Midwestern Plant Girl

        I sought out the Jacaranda tree, VERY stunning purple flowers. Too cold here to grow. =-(
        I’d love to help with any plant questions you have =-)

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      2. scifihammy Post author

        ah – Awesome, cos once the snails have eaten any tags from the nursery, I have no clue what I have planted in my garden ๐Ÿ™‚

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