After a golden day on Saturday when we were out all day with no time to run on the farm, we finally set off late on Sunday morning, the dogs and I. Just as we left the house a light drizzle began to fall and I went back, wisely as it turned out, for a rain jacket. It was only drizzling as we ran down the drive and then started to climb, but by the time we got high on the farm the weather had closed in. Somehow this line of pines with the dams below always seems a little Japanese to me – is that an odd thought here in the uplands of Paarl? Perhaps it is.
The landscape Japaned by the mist and the light
Luckily the weather hadn’t deterred us and some flowers glow and seem to photograph even better in the rain. Take this Cyphia volubilis, the delicate white creeper. There is one on the drive that is climbing all the way up this unidentified and rather plain shrub.
A close up reveals the charm and beauty of this delicate flower, notice the tiny pink spots at the centre, and of course the drops of rain, proof of our damp run.
Cyphia volubilis – detail
All over the farm these yellow shrubs are flowering profusely, it is Hermannia grossularifolia I believe; there are as many as 60 fynbos subspecies but this one looks right, it belongs on these sandstone slopes and is flowering at exactly the right time of year.
Another flowering shrub is this one that I’ve posted before, unidentified until a friend pointed out that it is the common Tickberry (thank you Gilly), which used to be called Chrysanthemoides monilifera but is now correctly identified as Osteospermum moniliferum. This shrub, although included as fynbos, is not unique to the fynbos region but grows happily, wild and in gardens, all the way up to tropical Africa.
An oft-posted winter flower was the wild rosemary, Eriocephalus africanus and I though it would be interesting to post it now that it has gone to seed. With so many seedheads one can understand why it is so prolific on the mountain.
Eriocephalus africana – gone to seed
The light lent itself perfectly to capturing the magnificent white Erica which I believe to be the plukenetii. It could be the coccinea, but the book says that particular subspecies does not exist in white and this is most definitely white. Magnificent with its protruding anthers. This is a common Erica and occurs all over the farm in many colours.
Erica plukenetii (?)
At this time of year the lands are full of flowers among the buchu. The overall effect can be hard to photograph although this field of senecio high up in the lands gives a good sense of the colour and effect even on a dark day.
The lands full of flowers, primarily Senecio
Saving the best for last. One of the loveliest sights on the farm occurs at this time of year when this particular Leucadendron turns coral coloured. One of the interesting things about the Leucadendron family is that although less flashy than the protea to which it is related, it tends to be highly localised, fussy and choosy about where any particular subspecies will grow. This appears to be Leucadendron tinctum, the name giving away the remarkable change in colour at this time of year. The shrubs are everywhere in the higher parts of the farm and the effect is magnificent, one of our all time favourites.
The magnificent Leucadendron tinctum
I hsd planned a long run covering most of the farm, but by the time we reached what we call the look out it was raining heavily, I was tired slow and a bit sore after a lot of travel and show jumping on Saturday. The dogs were soaked and had been very patient as I took photos on the way up, not that they care, they happily sniff and hunt although Seamus, who misses us when we are gone, never left my side. So we put away thoughts of fynbos and plodded a little wearily down the hill to lunch, a fire and an afternoon in front of the TV.