Saturday, April 9, 2011

Say it with flowers!

And all the loveliest things there be,
Come simply, so it seems to me!
~ Edna St Vincent Millay ~

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it within us, or we find it not." - these wise words, attributable to the American philosopher, Ralph Waldo Emerson prodded me into thinking about how closely we really look at all the loveliness around us.  We view our gardens, close-up and from a distance and think we are really seeing all there is to see, but do we?

Please click the Read more button below if you'd like to view life in my garden through a macro lens...

I sweetly asked my husband to test out 'this theory' and his macro lens on the flowers in our garden, ostensibly to teach me, as he has volunteered the service of this lens which conveniently fits my new camera, too. 

The common name for this indigenous South African shrub (Clerodendrum myricoides) is Butterfly need to explain why!

Geisha Girl, not indigenous, but she was bought for her irresistible colouring!

One of our indigenous shrubs.  It flowers continuously through Spring, Summer and into Autumn. 

This fuchsia originated from my Mother's South African garden more than 25 years ago!

Cerise pink hibiscus flower.

Pistil and stamens of one of my hibiscus shrubs.

Impatiens, another truly rewarding plant except the Emperor moth's caterpillar finds them truly irresistible and can happily devour an entire plant overnight!

I do not know the different names of my fuchsias and know them only by their genus.  I have about six different species.  To me, they are all the ballerinas of my garden.

Pink flowered Streptocarpus (see below)

Streptocarpus, or Cape Primrose, another of our indigenous plants and one of my favourites.  It's related closely to the African violet (in the photograph below).

Beauty is truth - truth, beauty - that is all Ye know on earth, and all Ye need to know!
~ John Keats

Anthurium growing in my greenhouse.

Eureka Lemon blossom being worked by the ants.

No garden should be without a lemon tree!

Seeding Lantanas are banned in South Africa.  This is one of the three we are permitted to grow as they are sterile.  They are sheer perfection when covered in masses of their tiny colourful florets.

Blue flowers take pride of place in my garden. 

Plectranthus, another of our exceptionally rewarding, indigenous shade lovers.  I have several species.  All are currently flowering.

A Carpenter bee busily going from flower to flower on this salvia.  The bees and butterflies love them, too!

As with bees, the Carpenter bee only visits each flower once.

And here, we have a honey-bee coming in for a drink.  Hope that Carpenter bee left enough!

Oops!  There's that greedy Carpenter bee again!

A bicolour salvia that I have growing in a pot beneath my 'study' window.

It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder...ask a toad what beauty is and he will answer, "A female with two great bulging eyes, a great wide cavernous mouth and a bloated yellow belly!"   While I have no idea to whom to attribute this great wisdom (they are not my words), I couldn't agree more with the else would so called 'aesthetically disadvantaged folk' fall deeply and madly in love with each other...or gardeners break into raptures over their collections of spiky, thorny plants that, to the uninitiated eye fall, without question, into the 'toss out instantly' category?  Why else are weeds so maligned by most, yet eulogised by others?  If you want to experience beauty through the lens of an avid naturalist, then visit Laura @ Forest Walk Art  Anything viewed through her lens becomes instantly captivating!

A gheko in our garden...we have a whole civilization in residence!

The bark lifting off the trunk of the Ulmus parvifoliar (Japanese elm).

Is there anything more lovely than a 'dewy' spider's web?

Prayer plant in the greenhouse shortly after the overhead irrigation had finished its cycle.

Water and Maidenhair fern...a match made in heaven!

Romeo and Heathcliff getting in on the intense scrutiny act!

"This is NOT the correct way to observe a pesky fly!" says Toby.

"This is the correct way to watch a pesky fly!" says Toby.

While I'm learning to use my new camera, you'll be taken around my garden in minute detail.  For those of you who only come to have helicopter flights, I'm sorry to disappoint.  At the moment, my focus is going to be more zoomed in on the aspects of life right beneath my feet and at the tip of my nose.  If you want glorious, panoramic landscapes, please do drop by Michael and Hanne's blog @ Penticton Commentary and delve through their amazing archives! 
One final is Autumn in South Africa, yet my garden is behaving as though Spring is up next!  I have snowdrops and freesias popping up and azaleas in flower!  What is happening?


  1. I do like fuscias, but I definitely agree about blue having pride of place! My garden is a complete mish mash (I'm a bit of an uninformed gardener!), but I love to see swathes of blue flowers!

  2. Desiree, without a doubt that was the best photography I have ever seen of plants and insects. They were all so incredibly clear and the detail was amazing, especially of the bees. You have an amazing gift Desiree and I thank you for sharing it with us. It was truly a blessing.

  3. I love macro shots...of helicopter flights or gardens! LOL The Fushias are beautiful. THOSE I know! ^_^

  4. Alot of ooohhh wowwww and ahhhhhh...on this site of the world ! your flowers and your post today.......wishing you a happy sunday darling....lots of love from me.......your Dutch friend.......wowww...i am so glad i found your blog !! always a pleasure to come

  5. I love the macro lens and WOW! You have done a wonderful job here! Beautiful!

  6. The pic of dog sleeping?? I've been just like that all day long. Great pictures. So pretty.

  7. Beautiful photos again! We had a lovely time on TV when Rudi Maxa visited Capetown the other evening.We also had another helicopter ride and visits to the Botanical gardens. Do you have any King protea in your garden? I think he said it was the national flower. No I didn't back the winner.( Grand National) What a wonderfully scenic city you live by! Thanks for giving us a plug!

  8. I love the way you coupled quotes with some of your flower "portraits". I won't say pictures because they were more than that. I savored the look of each and every one of them.

    The commentary matched the splendor of the flowers.

    Very enjoyable. kt

  9. Those pictures are absolutely gorgeous!! I love the fuchsias... Your garden looks so delightful, and so alive!!
    Beautiful post!! :) :)

  10. Wonderful closeups! The blue butterfly flowers are wonderful. And such beautiful fuchsias -- I love them but don't have much luck with them.

  11. I gasped when the first photo flashed on my screen. Fuchsias are the most colorful and elaborate flowers, aren't they? The Hibiscus is downright sexy and the light captured on the Plectranthus is incredible!
    Fantastic post, Desiree,....and I can just imagine how sweet you can be when you ask hubby for something. He would probably do whatever you ask! My husband calls it "Doing my wife's bidding".

  12. You captured some amazing images with that macro lens! Just beautiful. Well done you.

    I like your travel posts, but I really love when you focus on your garden. It's interesting how your natives are our exotics.

  13. Such beautiful photos, I love the incredible detail of the close-ups. That's one impressive camera!

  14. The colours and variety amazes me! Wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

  15. All these flowers and details are mesmerising. I look from one photo to another, thinking "wow" "gorgeous" "is that flower even possible?".

    I'm really impressed by the picture of the bee flying there. Your husband has very good photography skills.

    Again, I want a garden just like yours when I grow up. Well, with Romanian flowers and trees, most likely.

  16. Desiree! WOW!!! i don't know where to start...i always look forward to sitting back...relaxing...and rambling through your posts...strolling through your part of the world. well, unless of course we're in a helicopter...then i'm not so relaxed...but still...beautiful sights!!
    your flowers...your pictures...are breath taking! i just LOVE those butterfly flowers...the bright colors...amazing!

    macro! my favorite!! spiderwebs! dew on petals and leaves!! ALL so wonderful!! but i have to mention...that 'Anthurium'...hmmm...i hate to say what went through my mind when i first glanced at that one...(kind of phallic...) woops!

    i LOVE them all! your flowers are enough to bring a smile to your matter how 'frowny' one may feel!

    OH, and the little guy!!

    and a perfect ending...lazing Toby!! :)

    the quotes are great too! so nice to see someone who appreciates...and notices...all the LITTLE things! (one of these days...i have to invest in a better camera with interchangeable i can REALLY get as close as i'd like...)

    ((oh yeah, and thanks so much for the mention!! you're so thoughtful...kind...i appreciate that!))

    thanks for starting off my sunday with such beauty!!

    have a happy day... :]laura

  17. The first one is stunning. The colours are so vibrant and the macro shot so crisp. All your flowers are lovely and your garden must be a treat to visit. You are doing well with the macro lens. I am still trying to get mine in focus. You have re enthused me to try some more.
    The fuchsias are the best and they won't grow up here.

  18. Trust me, there is NOTHING disappointing about this post! Such beauty and delight! I could literally feel my heart rate slow down as each beautiful photograph sent me further into a relaxed state of mind--just what I needed today because of too much on my schedule. Not anymore. Now, I will enjoy the beauty around me- the schedule can wait.

  19. Beautiful photos. Yes, we must take time to look at the beauty that surrounds us. It's good for the soul. :)

  20. You have an amazing talent with the camera. I love visiting your garden. You're dogs are awsome too. I'm espceially fond of german shephards.

  21. these pictures are so fabulous! i just ooh-ed and ahh-ed over every one! thats alot of oohs and aahs! thanks for the great eye candy, i loved it :)

  22. Hi H
    I've come via M & H's blog and felt inspired to come and read your profile. I live in the UK but I love the same kind of garden as you do, ferns, mosses, rocks and old tree stumps!

    I grow many South African plants in my garden, they lend such vivid colour to the hot borders.

    UK garden fashion is muted, but who cares about fashion.

    Still, my ferns and mosses . . . . . . my shade lovers come first.

  23. sorry for getting the wrong name, I definitely do mean you, Desiree, and your blog.

  24. Hello Desiree, I can tell I'm going to enjoy that macro lens of yours! What wonderful bounty in your fall garden. I'm enjoying the color tremendously as a snow storm envelopes our house here in CO. I can't pick a favorite - they are all glorious!

  25. These are fabulous pictures. I really want to learn how to take better photos like these. I wish you were closer.

  26. I love those fuschias, and the butterfly flowers, and the maidenhair... and all of them in fact. great photos!

  27. We call these Japanese lantern plant. Your photo is just beautiful!

  28. Lovely photos, and a gardener who knows the name of every plant she has again. Still need my little plastic tabs to figure out mine. Have hardly been out there this Spring. My heart is not in it yet. Will try though. Thanks for being a sweet-pea, big hug, Gina

  29. Beautiful photos! They look professional. You have such a lovely garden.

  30. These are really remarkable shots - the exposure, contrast and color of many of these seem perfect. I especially like your "ballerinas" - and what a fitting name.

  31. Loved your macro flower photos! So envy your ability to grow anything!


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