Friday, December 31, 2010

Hamba Kahle 2010

Streets Cafe, Stellenbosch Square shopping mall, a must visit for anyone in this area!

The title of today's post is the isiXhosa expression to say, "Farewell!"

IsiXhosa is one of the 11 official languages of South Africa, and a very beautiful one at that, ranking second, with English coming in at 5th place.  Of further interest, Nelson Mandela is of isiXhosa origin. 

Anyway, as a proudly South African citizen, I have chosen to use this expression, in particular, today, as a tribute to the final day of 2010.  Furthermore, my wish for 2011 is that this wonderful country of ours will make even greater strides in our 16 year old democracy.  Let us all build on the tremendous successes achieved in 2010! Please click the read more button below to continue...

The Passage of Time

It's a little over a year since my husband set me up with my very first greenhouse.
  This time last year, it was still virtually brand new, filled with newly bought plants and sought out treasures
to add character and make it "my space"
...a delightful little refuge to escape to...
for dreaming and pottering
...and quite probably, if truth be told, for me to stay safely out of my husband's hair for a few hours each day ;)

Please click the read more button below to continue... 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Forty Days!

Our mountain wearing a shawl today, always a sure sign of wind!
This is probably of no interest to anyone but myself, but I'm going to record it here,, to me, it feels like quite a big deal!  For those of you who aren't interested in what I have to say, I'll post plenty of pictures I randomly took while walking around the garden today.  You can just scroll quickly through those and continue on your merry way.  Or leave right now, should you so wish :)
Please click the read more button below to continue...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Prickly Borage and Fragrant Passion Flowers

After a deliriously delightful lull over the Christmas holiday, it's "back to work in the garden" for me.  I spent a good few hours yesterday, trimming, deadheading and lightly pruning excessive growth.  Once again, I was astounded to see how rampantly the plants that populate my garden had grown, in the absence of the normal care they receive from me.  It's as if they deliberately commune with one another to see which one can outgrow the others whilst my back is turned.  The race is on and, by the time I'm ready to resume my daily pottering, I barely recognise the garden as my own.  Please click the read more button below to continue...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Joy and Sorrow

We awoke to a pleasantly cool, cloudy day today - a most welcome change after the searing heat and humidity we've endured the past few days.

I'm holding thumbs tightly we get at least a few spots of rain to make it even better, but as we live in a winter rainfall area and this is SUMMER, I'm probably being a bit too optimistic.
Dietes flowering in the wetland garden today.

Another very pleasing thing about today happened when I came to check if any of my favourite bloggers had been busy posting, while I was snug in dreamland last night.  What a delightful surprise greeted me - no fewer than seven (7) had added new posts to their blog!  So I hurriedly nipped off to make a fresh pot of Early Grey tea, promptly poured myself a cup as soon as it was ready and joyfully returned to enjoy some quiet "catching up time" in front of my computer.
Please click the read more button below to continue...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Scene in the front garden today.

Summer has definitely arrived to stay and, along with it (besides the wind), we've been having some decidedly hot days.  

It's now that our trees really are appreciated and we tend to gravitate to the front garden quite a bit, either to sit beneath their shade, take a dip in the pool or enjoy a light meal under one of the umbrellas.  Today was such a day!  I had my camera with me and took a couple of pictures to share, especially with those of you who are in the midst of your winter season.  

View from the top terrace area looking down towards the pond at the far end.
Please click the read more button below to continue...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas nourishment...for soul and mind!

With just 7 days to Christmas, I thought I'd lead you around my garden and show you some of the lovely, decorative items Nature has provided to celebrate this special holiday...remember to take a deep, relaxing breath and leave your stress behind...I want you to enjoy this moment of "time out!"

Hush!  Do you hear them?  Those are our Christmas beetles (cicadas)!  They have just begun their high-pitched strumming (singing) for the day - I love to hear them, although many others find them annoying and for anyone who happens to suffer from tinnitus, it's apparently quite painful.  I hope they aren't bothering you?  To me, they are an essential part of our Christmas experience, as it is now that they make their appearance. 

They aren't easy to spot, but they are by no means what you'd call "pretty" insects.  They look a bit like an oversized fly or moth to me and their colouring is a nondescript brown - this helps with camouflage since they attach themselves to the bark of trees. 

Cicada - photo by Bruce Marlin, Wikimedia Commons.

Please click the read more button below to continue...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's an ill wind that blows no good!

Christmas time arrives just as we're entering our hottest months of the year and, along with it, we are battered left, right and centre by strong South Easterly winds, which typically arrive in the Mother City (Cape Town) towards the end of October and through November, picking up in both tempo and frequency through December and January and continuing, on and off, until the end of February and even into early March.

This wind is "affectionately" named, The Cape Doctor (by locals), as it keeps the city air free of pollution, blowing away almost everything in its wake (OK, so it's not a completely ill wind!). However...when it reaches gale force proportions, as it has been doing the last couple of days, it can be almost impossible to stand in places in the city centre and pedestrians are frequently seen clinging to lamp posts, as they desperately try to avoid being blown away.  The highrise buildings in the city tend to funnel the wind, causing it to pick up even more speed and, at times, it can be quite frightening, if not exactly treacherous! 
Please click on the read more button below to continue...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas in Summer

This will be my first Christmas as a fellow blogger.  
Little cherub in the greenhouse.

Almost everyone whose blog I follow has been busily preparing her home for Christmas.  I've seen lovely festive wreaths, beautiful little cardboard village montages, mantlepiece displays of much loved, vintage and other collected ornaments, Santa paintings, prettily decorated Christmas trees, brass wise men, homemade handstitched Christmas decorations, well-loved children's handmade decorations, Christmas baked goods and so forth.  In addition, I've been treated to the most exquisite photographic snowy and frosty scenes and have been introduced to the intricate works of art created by hoar frosts as well as other scenes of twinkly Christmas lights and falling snow and it has been a truly wonderful experience sharing all of this with each of you.  So, THANK YOU!  
Please click on the read more button below to continue...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Elemental Me!

Without further ado, allow me to hand over to my very first Guest Blogger...

Hi!  I'm Heathcliff...

Alpha Male, I am, but definitely not your regular kind of dog - I don't have "papers" but boy, do I make up for the lack in personality and verve!

Not to put too fine a point on it, I tick all the boxes when it comes to intelligence, astuteness, spunkiness, ease of transportation (believe me, this is an important attribute!) and, I hold the Platinum Award for Best Indoor/Outdoor Canine fact, my merits outnumber any demerits 100 to 1.
Please click on the read more button below to continue...

Second time round

Who says you can't have fun the second time round?  Clearly, it all depends on your temperament, because I can happily do lots of things, over and over again and each time, the experience is fun, new and exciting...
~ The Grotto ~
Today was a perfect example of this.  My husband needed to return to the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley a second time.  The first trip was to do the initial logging (GPS recording) of each of a number of sites and to do a rapid baseline assessment.

Please click on the read more button below to continue...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Rich Or Poor - How Rich Are You?

It all depends on the way you look at so aptly illustrated by the following story.
The author is unknown.  I found this on the Pearls of Wisdom website @

One day, a rich father took his son on a trip out into the countryside, with the firm purpose of showing him how poor people can be.

They spent a day and a night on the farm of a very poor family.  When they returned home from their trip, the father asked his son, "How was the trip?"

"Very good Dad!"

"Did you see how poor people can be?" the father asked.


"And what did you learn?"

The son answered, "I saw that we have a dog at home and they have four.  We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden.  They have a creek that has no end!  We have imported lamps in the garden.  They have the stars!  Our patio reaches to the front yard.   They have a whole horizon!"

When the son added, "Thanks, Dad, for showing me how poor we are!" his father was speechless.

A simple collection of sticks and stones off set against the peeling bark of our Ulmus Parvifolia (Japanese elm).  The grey spiky foliage of the air plant adds complementary colour and texture.
Please click on the read more button below to continue...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Painterly Incas

Everything in creation has its appointed painter or poet and remains in bondage like the princess in the fairy tale 'til its appropriate liberator comes to set it free. 

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~

Please click on the read more button below to continue this post...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hemel-en-Aarde Valley

I've had a wonderful day!  I accompanied my husband on a field trip to the Hemel-en-Aarde (translation: Heaven and Earth) Valley.  

We left shortly after 9h00 and arrived back home just after 19h00, having successfully accomplished our objective, namely to visit and log the nine individual sites required of this survey.

My husband takes his camera everywhere.  He needs to do so to keep an accurate record for his consultancy work and, now that I'm blogging, I proudly took mine along, too.  What fun I had!
To begin, herewith a selection of pictures I took.  I'll also include a few taken by my husband to follow on from these.

View from the highest point on the survey agenda.  This lovely pink pelargonium was growing everywhere.
Please click on the read more link below to continue this post...

Tranquility beyond the picture window

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living.  We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon - instead of enjoying the roses blooming outside our windows today.

~ Dale Carnegie ~

I bought this potted rose last year (sold as a patio rose).  I do not know what it is called, but after it had flowered, we planted it in a larger pot and put it in the garden outside the greenhouse as this is
where the best sun is.

Please click on the read more link below to continue this post...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hard to believe, but there REALLY is a downside to summertime!

"Oh, please, please, PLEEEZE can we go with?" 

"Yes, YES!  We promise we'll be good!"
These were the expressions my husband had to face first thing this morning.  He (and our daughter, who was visiting for the day) was scheduled to do a site visit on a farm about an hour and a half's drive from where we live.  As they were to be meeting with both the owner of the farm and the developer, it had been decided it would be best to leave the dogs at home with me for the morning.  

Please click on the read more link below to continue this post...