Tag Archives: plants

The Winter Solstice 2021

Winter Flowers 1 – Plumbago

Haiku 250

A bleak mid-winter

While seasons keep on turning

Another solstice

.

Winter Flowers 2 – Poinsettia

Today, Monday 21 June 2021, is the winter solstice down here in South Africa. It is the shortest day, the longest night, of the year. For most of my readers however, it is quite the reverse, as you reach mid-summer in the northern hemisphere.

Winter Flowers 3 – Lavender

For us, the sun will now start returning; though to be honest, I can’t say it’s ever been far away!

Winter Flowers 4 – Honeysuckle

However, winter proper has yet to come. July and August are the coldest, wettest months in Cape Town. Actually, I hope we do get some decent rain, as once again, our “rainy” season has been fairly dry so far.

Winter Flowers 5 – Viola

Dotted among the text in this post, are photos from my garden.

You would hardly know it is winter!

 

post script: A bleak mid-winter refers to one of my favourite Christmas carols; In the bleak mid-winter. 

.

For those interested: Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate; warm wet winters and dry hot summers. However, South Africa is very big and other parts of the country have completely different climates. Some places north of the Western Cape have snowfalls in winter and many places are much colder. Johannesburg, 1400km to the north of CT, has hot wet summers, but cold dry winters. When we lived there the temperatures dropped to minus 8C one winter, and the fountains froze in town!

 

A Little Potty!

Blue Pot Flowers 1

Haiku 247

Day by day by day

Keeping busy in Lockdown

By going potty!

.

During our endless Lockdown, apart from the usual chores, I have kept busy by reading many books, watching far too much Netflix than is good for me and spending the rest of the time on YouTube clips!

It was while surfing YouTube that I came across a short clip on brightening up your garden pots, with a little spray paint. I thought this was a great idea! All the plant pots on my stoep are years old, and the ones that came with the house, decades! These have lost their original paint over the years and were looking very sorry for themselves.

So I trundled down to the local hardware store and selected a few cans of spray paint. I’ve never painted anything with spray paint before, having used paintbrushes or rollers to paint the house in the past. I thought it would be a lot of fun, and as the plant pots are small, not too expensive.

Blue Pot Clean 2

The two pots above are the ancient ones that came with the house. Although looking very sorry for themselves now, they are painted, so wouldn’t need a primer.

Not sure how to go about cleaning them, I scrubbed them very well with a solution of sugar soap, rinsed them and left them to dry.

Then came the fun part!

Blue Pot First Coat 3

Wearing a proper, well-fitting face mask, to avoid breathing in paint fumes, I placed the pots on newspaper and sprayed away.

Blue Pot Second Coat 4

Again, not really sure what I was doing, I just laid down a thin layer of paint, thinking it would be better to build up a few layers than try to spray thickly.

Blue Pot Third Coat and Soil 5

This colour is Electric Blue and I wondered if it might be too bright. However, once I’d placed the pots on the corner of the stoep and filled them with a red dianthus and some lilac violas, it was just right.

Blue Pot Flowers 6

I also planted many new freesia bulbs and have been watching these sprout over the weeks. They should start flowering in August.

Blue Pot Flowers 7

So a hobby started to pass the time has provided many hours of enjoyment and I still feel cheered when I see my bright Electric Blue pots on the stoep.

 

post script: I realise some countries will immediately assume potty refers to a child going to the toilet! Where I grew up in the north of England, it meant silly, daft or slightly crazy. 

 

Exquisitely

Daisy 1

Haiku 246

Gloriously gold

Petals absorbing sunshine

Glow exquisitely

.

Daisy and bee 2

This exquisite flower, an orange Cape Daisy, entices insects to itself, with alluring scents and ultraviolet markings, hidden to us. Here is a Cape honey bee making use of all this bounty, though I don’t think it’s the same little guy from my garden the other day!

How lucky are we, to enjoy Nature’s beauty, even if it was never meant for us!

 

Flower seen at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Town.

 

Drownded!

Viola in pot

Haiku 245

Hang in there my dear!

Had too much of a good thing?

I’ll save you *now now!

.

It’s not unusual to have rain at this time of the year here in Cape Town. It is winter and the rainy season (such as that is) after all.

But instead of a few days here and there with a little light rain, we have been having nothing for weeks on end – and then a deluge!

In March, it was totally dry until we got all the average rainfall for the month, in one day! This pattern has continued.

Fortunately, we don’t get floods in my area, though many places in CT do.

Still, as you can see from this little pot, the other day it got more rain than it could cope with, and the Viola was gasping for air!

The pot doesn’t have a drainage hole at the bottom, so I had put stones in and then planted the viola in an old plastic pot that does drain, and placed that on top. Mostly the system works very well.

But hey – Deluge!

.

post script: * “now now” is a commonly used South African expression, meaning at once. There is also “just now”, which means in a moment, later. These are direct translations of the Afrikaans expressions and used in South African English. For further explanations, try here.

post post script: This is not the post I had planned for today, but, with an unerring sense of perfect timing, I returned to Blogging just as we went back into Loadshedding. Today’s power cut is for two and a half hours before lunch, so no time for a post with many photos that need editing!

post post post script: I really wanted to title this post “Drownded”, just for fun, but thought it might be too daft. On looking the word up, I find it is a real word.

Drownd is an archaic form of drown, and drownded an archaic form of drowned. 

So, daft it is!

 

Busy Little Bee

Cape Honey Bee on Honeysuckle 1

Haiku 244

Busy Little Bee

Buzz from flower to flower

Pollinate away!

.

Cape Honey Bee on Honeysuckle 2

Hard to believe it is winter here in Cape Town, when the honeysuckle is in full bloom.

And bees are hard at work collecting nectar and pollen, while pollinating the colourful flowers for the next generation.

Cape Honey Bee on Honeysuckle 3

This little guy is a Cape Honey Bee  Apis mellifera capensis and is indigenous to South Africa.

 

Hope

Spiky Red Flower

Haiku 241

A New Hope – Because

Not all spiky balls are the

Corona Virus

.

 

I spotted this unusual flower at Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens, Cape Town, South Africa.

After a year spent mostly at home, I ventured out one morning to wander round this most beautiful of places.

It did not disappoint.

 

The Cover-Up!

Syringa Tree

Haiku 237

Denuded branches

Quickly mask the exposure

With a Cover-Up

.

The giant syringa tree that was heavily pruned a few months ago is making a game recovery. See Exposure 

Syringa Tree 2 – Pruned

It took a while to get going, but now is in full swing. By this time next year you won’t be able to tell it was ever cut back.

A successful cover-up indeed.

 

Undecided

Hydrangea 1

Haiku 236

When undecided

Pink or blue, which should I choose?

Try a blend of both!

.

Hydrangea 2

My ancient hydrangea, though small, continues to produce these beautiful flowers year after year.

Sometimes the whole plant is blue, sometimes a mixture of blue and pink. This year it is about as pink as it ever gets.

 

Gleefully

Giant Dandelion 1

Haiku 233

Gleefully golden

Spreading your seeds everywhere

Welcome to the bees

.

Giant Dandelion 2

These giant dandelions have suddenly sprung up all over the lawn.

Pretty to look at, indeed, and the bees certainly favour them. – see photo below

Giant Dandelion and Bee 3

But in the end, they’re just big weeds, which are successfully overwhelming the struggling grass, so they have to go!