Bulbs and a Couple of Peas and an Irish Wolfhound or two
What a busy week it has been. I must apologise to friends who prefer the chatty blog to the technical botanical blog. At this time of year there is so much to share, so we have a botanical phase for now and more chat will inevitatably follow.
Although I have been wanting to post a collection of flowering bulbs for some time there was a small problem with identifying one or two. The best way to get help is to post on ispot, where the South African flora and fauna geeks all post their sighting and help one another out with identification. Sure enough, within a couple of days I’ve had some help and can now happily identify a paricularly pretty apricot flower as yet another Moraea, this time miniata.
The other one is our most common gladiolus, which the experts identify as the famous and common Painted Lady, Gladiolus carneus, known as the White Afrikaner. This must be right yet it is also frustrating as the books insist on the red splash on the lower petals while mine splash yellow. Everything else fits though and they are just coming into flower now so I’ll be on a determined hunt for red splashes and I’m sure over the next few weeks I’ll post a few more photos of this really stunning Gladiolus.
Running last week was great from a running point of view as the weather was dry and windy and I have learned that taking pictures of flowers is best left for days with little or no wind. The dogs loved the faster pace and once again we had a photogenic moment when Seamus and Maebh stopped at Fox Pan for a drink as we ran up the dry side of our farm.
There is such an abundance of flowers this year and every step of the run means another group or another flower. There are shrubs I haven’t stopped to photograph because I think, they’ll still be there in a couple of weeks. Flowering bulbs are different, they have a short life and you only get a few days to capture them. I know I don’t see them all, for example last year I completely missed this dramatic Moraea bellendenii and this lovely Aristea spiralis which both flower at the same time, when I was away.
Other bulbs that flower at this time of year include Geissorhiza aspera, which opens when the sun shines and covers the lands in blue stars. And yet another Aristea, the pretty Aristea africana, which is often used in gardens. The pink Wurmbea punctata is much less common and easy to miss, it’s snuggled up to several shrubs along a busy road and there are very few of them. The Baeometra uniflora which is not very prettily known as the Beetle Lily, it is choosy about where it lives and grows prolifically in one specific spot.
There are a couple more I don’t have names for, I’ll see if the geeks can help. This first one is tiny – the flowers are less than half the size of the nail on my little finger. I really should be able to name the second one, but there are quite a few flowers that look like this, so I’m not sure. And the third one is the most exquisite little thing – also tiny.
Finally, two distinctive peas. One is simply known as the Blue Pea, Psoralea aphylla, found in marshy places and along streams, which is exactly where we saw it. The other is prolific at the moment along the top road and very distinctive; I’m pretty sure it is Lotononis of which there are 40 odd fynbos varieties and only two are covered in my book. It isn’t either of those but the tri-foliate leaves and solitary flowers on slender stems are a bit of a giveaway.