Friday, July 31, 2015

Slow blooming.

I am fascinated by shade plants - especially the indigenous South African bulb varieties. I bought a winter red hot poker or forest lily bulb from the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden's shop last year, with no indication of colour. In february I noticed the tip of a flower bud appearing - like the spear of a baby asparagus.

Since then, it has developed, ever so slowly.

Even though there is thick snow on the mountains of Ceres and the nights here are very cold, the garden is waking up...
The tiny green pineapples that are lachenalia buds are poking from the earth, the tightly coiled pincushion buds are unpinning and the aloes continue being their magnificent selves.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


In a quiet, mossy corner of the garden, a robin has made her nest.

For days it was empty, then there was one egg and on the next day, there were two. Perhaps there are three now, but we keep our distance. Last year's eggs didn't hatch. The gate is out of action for a few weeks, we tippy-toe nearby and draw the bedroom curtains as slowly and quietly as we can.

Extra peanut butter is put out daily and now we wait...

Friday, July 17, 2015


Apothecary jars sit on the windowsills, full of porcelain shards and other bits and pieces collected over the past two years.
Marbles, buttons, glass stoppers and lost limbs.

Last time we were at Churchaven, we met a man on Boerplein who took us back to his tiny house and showed us some of his finds. He gave me the piece with the temple on it, and wanted me to take more.
I didn't have the heart to tell him that half of the joy was in the finding. So I told him the story of the Willow pattern.
We dream of living there, but I could see that he was very lonely.

Walking above Pottebakkerij, we met some flower children and were rewarded with a tune on the didgeridoo. The instrument was so long that it rested on the ground, and he tapped a small round shaker against the cylinder as he blew...
even the birds stopped to listen.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Lichen Love.

Years ago, in an old National Geographic, I read about a man and his wife who travel the world researching and photographing lichens. I can think of no job more enticing.

Did you know that before WW2, in Scotland and Ireland, all the good tweeds were dyed using lichens? In huge pots over turf fires. Apparently they imparted brilliant colour and a distinctive earthy aroma. Gives me ALL sorts of ideas...

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bird of passage.

The usual suspects arrived.

A scruffy Karoo Robin and his wife had daily baths
in the ashes from our fires.

The flamingoes were never silent. Do they ever sleep?
In the mornings pelicans came sailing past on the lagoon.
After breakfast one day, I was startled by some mouse birds who came to inspect the crumbs. I had always thought that they were shy.
My heart almost stopped from happiness!

So graceful in flight, with their long long tails. So awkward on land, scuttling about on their little pink elbows.

You what?

Every night a fat orange moon rose over the water. The Bethlehem stars shone very bright.

In our absence, back at home, a new orchid shook out her
party skirts.