Hello from a very damp, soggy Hilton. The summer rains have certainly come with a vengeance this year, with very few sunny days in between. I must say I am enjoying the cooler weather having just spent 3 weeks in hot sunny Gauteng. The garden has taken a back seat and had to pretty much look after itself while I have been doing Granny duty in Johannesburg, welcoming my granddaughter, Juno Belle. In September I had the privilege to visit my son and his wife in Singapore and meet my grandson for the first time. Dear little Aidan Michael, he was just 6 weeks old and smiled for his gran. It is a fact of modern day life that so many grandparents are separated from their grandchildren by continents, the days of Sunday lunch with Gran and Gramps are over for many of us. Thank goodness for modern technology, we get many photos and bbm videos; we haven’t made use of Skype as often as we should, due to 6hr time difference.
Enough feeling sorry for myself and back to the garden, it is looking amazing, so very green and all the agapanthus starting to flower. The Plectranthus zuluensis growing along the edge of the veranda is a mass of blue. Plectranthus belongs to the mint family and there are about 350 species in Africa, also India and Australia. There are 53 that occur in South Africa and Namibia, many occurring in Natal and Eastern Cape. I was given an amazing book, The Southern African Plectranthus by Ernst van Jaarsveld; it is beautifully illustrated, with interesting descriptions of the plants and the history of when and where they were first discovered. Walking in our local centre in Singapore my daughter-in-law, was amused when I managed to find a nursery/flower shop, and there in amongst pots of beautiful orchids, palms and ferns was a pot of Mona Lavender Plectranthus. This is a well-known deep mauve hybrid, bred in SA by Rodger Jacques. I said a quick,” Hi” to my fellow South African, took a pic before we continued with our sightseeing. I won’t mention what we saw outside the pet shop!
Most of the plants in the garden seem to have enjoyed the rain, the Arum lilies are all flowering, and a clump of Cape Restios, Elegia Capensis is looking good. Their flower stalks are stunning and make quite a statement. I planted them in a very damp spot and they have done extremely well in spite of our frosty winters. The indigenous Cape Fuchsia, Phygelius capensis and the wild Impatiens are also starting to flower, and definitely like a damp spot. I have seen them growing right in the water of Drakensburg streams.
Gardening truly is an amazing hobby, and while waiting for Juno Belle to make an appearance, I spent a lovely afternoon in the garden with 4yr old Aimee Rose. We potted up some herbs and a bright geranium. We also planted some radish seeds, as they germinate and are ready for eating relatively quickly. I have always wondered at the wisdom of planting radishes as a child’s introduction to gardening; it must be a huge disappointment to pull up a bright red ball, only to discover that it’s not all that nice! Hopefully her parents will be pleased with her harvest and that it won’t put her off gardening.
The wet weather followed by some sunny days has brought the mosquitoes out in their droves, not much one can do about it. I did check and empty any containers that had water in where they can breed. The water feature needs a clean too. I also stocked up on citronella candles and Peaceful Sleep so hopefully we will be able to sit outside and enjoy a beer on the veranda, after a day of gardening.