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Sunday, 1 September 2013

August in the garden

Never yet was there a springtime, when the buds forgot to bloom. 
— Margaret Elizabeth Sangster


The 1st of September is officially Spring in South Africa but all the signs of spring are there much earlier, sometimes as early as late-July — peach trees full of blossoms, Tiger grass and other plants pushing out new green shoots — but today is one of the coldest days of the past winter with temperatures at -2℃ early this morning and not going much above 10℃. Hopefully this will be the last of the cold and it's forth into summer from here on!


Every August I stand in wonder as the landscape transforms itself from a dead-yellow and dusty-brown to wondrous greens. We had a ferocious veld fire last week, thankfully the only one this season, and already the green grass shoots are peeping through the blackened landscape.




As usual, the Bulbinella (Bulbine frutescenc) came through the cold fairly unscathed and put up a lovely show of flowers. Most species of Bulbinella are endemic to South Africa and is used as a remedy for wounds, burns, rashes, itches, ringworm, cracked lips, herpes, cuts, insect bites, cold sores and acne. Crush the leaf softly between your fingers and squeeze the clear leaf sap out, putting it directly on the cut or burn. I cannot seem to work in the garden without getting cuts and scrapes and this wonderful plant has come through for me time and again.


 This year my Tree Fuschia (Halleria Lucida) has stayed green, a testament to the mild winter we've had. Last year I thought I had lost it but luckily it sprung to life again in spring.


My Tree Fuschia (Halleria Lucida) to the right of the pot looking all but dead last August

These Aloes, which I had not planted and which had somehow taken root next to one of the pathways, make a lovely border. They haven't flowered as yet, so I'm still trying to identify them. The Nasturtiums carried on right through the winter, not taking any notice of the cold, but the Hydrangeas right at the back are definitely looking worse for the wear!



An Aloe and some Echeverias I planted in an old metal tub last spring have surprised me with their prolific growth. The Old Man Cactus in the pot in front has made an identical twin, probably needs to go into a bigger pot...

And so, as we officially leave winter, I'm hoping to get a bit more done in the garden in September, I've really been taking advantage of the cold as an excuse not to do much and my garden is showing signs of neglect. I'm taking some blame, can't blame it ALL on the chickens!

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