A Week of Flowers: Day Two

For a second year Cathy of Words and Herbs is hosting a Week of Flowers, inviting everyone to share some “extra colour and cheer” by posting one flowery photo a day, for a week.

Polygala myrtifolia – Sweet pea bush (November 29 2021)

A great excuse for me to post some of the recent colour found in the sub-tropical gardens close to home.

Macro Monday #84

(click to enlarge to full size)

Melianthus major or honey flower is one of 6 species that are indigenous to South Africa. The exotic looking plant has gorgeous serrated leaves with pleated centres and has bright red flowers which cluster at the base of the leaves. The plant is also known as “don’t-touch-me-bush”  in South Africa because of the smell of its foliage. I can’t say I have noticed any unpleasant smell. The smaller form Melianthus comosus might be a better option for an English garden adding a touch of the tropics to the border.

Alternative Advent #8

In the period leading to Christmas some people buy an Advent Calendar to check off each day before December 25. Usually intended for children, it appears that in recent years there has been a rise in the popularity of luxury ones aimed at indulgent adults who feel the necessity to treat themselves on the run-up to the big day itself – from expensive candles and perfume to miniature bottles of Prosecco or Whisky and even chunks of cheese.

So I thought to balance all this extravaganza I would offer you an alternative in the form of a flower a day from Sunday 3rd December until Sunday 24th December.

All images taken on a mid-November day along the George V Memorial Walk alongside Copperhouse Pool in Hayle using my Olympus OM-D E-M10 and 40-150mm lens

 

Macro Monday #51

(click to enlarge to full size)

Aristea Capitata ‘Blue Spectre’ / Blousuurkanol

A herbaceous perennial from South Africa that will form thick clumps of evergreen, iris-like sword-shaped leaves year round, which stand upright to 1.5 meters. The bright indigo blue flowers are fragrant and each are about 1″ wide with purple stamens and yellow anthers. They are pollinated by bees, attract butterflies and only appear in spring, followed by attractive dry flower stems.

(Seen in the garden on St Michael’s Mount)

P is for Protea

Protea is both the botanical name and the English common name of a genus of South African flowering plants, sometimes also called sugarbushes. Wikipedia They belong to the same family of plants (the family Proteaceae) as the Australian banksias, grevilleas and waratahs.

P-=-protea-(1)

Pencil Drawing

Their “flowers” (actually a head or cluster of long, narrow, tubular flowers, often surrounded by colourful petal-like leaves or bracts) come in unbelievable sizes, shapes, textures, and colour ranges.  Most members of this plant group do best where temperatures are moderate.

South Africa: Blessed with some of the richest flora in the World

I first came across proteas when I moved to South Africa in 1973 and visited the wonderful botanical garden at Kirstenbosch in Cape Town where you will find all sorts of indigenous plants. The header photo is from the Botanical Gardens of Wales where you will find plants from all over the world inside the unusual Great Glasshouse.

P

Osteospermum

The name Osteospermum is derived from the Greek o’steon’ (= bone) and Latin ‘spermum’ (= seed). Osteospermums belong to the daisy family ( Compositae / Asteraceae), hence their common names: African Daisy or South African Daisy, Cape Daisy and Blue-eyed Daisy.

Osteospermum

July

Growing African daisies require conditions similar to those found in Africa. It likes heat and full sun. It needs well-drained soil and, in fact, will tolerate dry soils. The ones with the blue ‘eye’ tend to be the most hardy, but in the UK they are mostly treated as annuals.

Osteospermum: Whirligig

Nasinga Purple variety – also known as the Spoon Daisy.

whirligig Nasinga Purple variety

Here are a couple more including white or cream ones.

The name Osteospermum is derived from the Greek osteon (= bone) and Latin spermum  (= seed). Osteospermums belong to the daisy family ( Compositae / Asteraceae), hence their common names: African Daisy or South African Daisy, Cape Daisy and Blue-eyed Daisy.

Kirstenbosch turns 100

kirstenbosch garden

One of the world’s best-loved botanic gardens and the most beautiful garden in Africa, Kirstenbosch celebrates its 100th birthday this year. It was the first botanic garden in the world to be devoted to a country’s indigenous flora and where you can find wonderful proteas, ericas, restios and other South African specimens such as agapanthus, pelargonium, watsonia and oxalis. There are several trails within the garden as well as walking paths through the different garden areas.

protea

Coincidentally it would also have been my father’s 100th birthday on 6th April so it seemed a good post to start off this new blog of mine with. Sadly my father died in 2001, only a few days before Christmas, but happily I did have the chance to visit Kirstenbosch with him in the 1970s. I lived in Cape Town then and my parents came over for a couple of visits and to meet a new grandchild. On both occasions we spent many hours wandering around this beautiful garden on the east slope of Table Mountain near Cape Town discussing the various plants and I am left with many happy memories.

If you are in Cape Town this year then make sure you visit as there will be lots of events, concerts and guided walks to celebrate the centenary.

More information can be found at Kirstenbosch Centenary