Launching a new business and a book at the same time isn’t conducive to blogging about fynbos flowers. And the dry season didn’t give us a lot of flowers to talk about in any case.
All that is moving on. The May and June rains have been satisfactory for the first time in several years and the mountain is covered in flowers. The book launches were fantastic fun. I’m not sure I ever believed I would write a book that would find a publisher, be in book shops, and for sale on Amazon. Everyone asks, “how long did it take to write the book?” Quite a while is the answer, but the really hard work was to find a good title and cover design. I’m thrilled with the result. The stunning photo was given to me by Renate Aller, it comes from her “Oceanscapes” series.
I’ve concluded that I must be a terribly slow starter because I’m knocking off some big lifetime dreams in my 50s.
The new business is also growing fast. In fact, I was sitting on a plane to Malawi as I wrote this, on my way to do some leadership assessment work. I knew there had to be a demand for what we do if I found the right partner and got the pricing and client proposition right, and the proof is there in our growing business. For more information on that I’ll post our new website address on a future blog.
Before I go on a trip I like to take the dogs running on the farm, to centre myself and remind myself why I work so hard. We love this beautiful place and farms, at least small ones like ours, don’t pay for themselves.
Yesterday afternoon was one of those marvellous, sunlit winter afternoons where the air is warm and completely still. There were swifts flying low all around us, catching insects, birds calling everywhere – as the fynbos has recovered from the fire, so the birds have returned. Water, blessed, lovely water, is tumbling down the mountain, startlingly clear despite the heavy rains. The air is scented with flowering plants, particularly the wild rosemary, Eriocephaus africans, one of my many favourites.
Both the red Afrikaner and the large brown Afrikaner are flowering in damp places all over the farm. The large brown Afrikaner, Gladiolus maculata (which is much smaller than the small brown Afrikaner, for some strange reason) is a most queenly flower. This is hard to show in a photo; the flowers balance delicately on top of a long and very narrow stem, they dance in the wind and are hard to capture, because the slightest breeze causes the flower heads to nod gracefully. I love the browny-mauve and yellow colours, some spottier than others. In shadow the colour becomes almost purple. A truly beautiful flower.
Its close relative, the red Afrikaner, like many red and coral flowers is also hard to photograph well. This is flowering prolifically on the bank above the drive, quite an inaccessible place so I was happy to find a lone specimen up at Elliot’s look out to photograph for the blog.
During the dry season I took some photos of the Mulratia heisteria, which covers the farm in purple all year long. I rarely put it on the blog because it is so common, but then I found a white one, which I have never seen before. This is the second time this year that I have found a white mutation of a flower that doesn’t come in white. Interesting.
Oxalis stud the banks and roads in profusion. They love the land cleared by the fire and the wet autumn has also helped them along. Happy flowers.
Writing this in Malawi I have forgotten the name of this splendid thug which looks like a weapon of war when seen close up. I will have to look it up when I get home. The colour is gorgeous, and these spikey heads are actually the flowers.
As we ran home the sun dropped low in the sky and flooded the farm with gold. I took some photos of Maverick in the evening light. He is growing into a charming person. He’s still a bit of a crazy puppy, which is a lot to handle in a dog of this size, but he’s growing up. He loves his people and is never far from one of us, not a wanderer at all. Out running he likes to nudge my left hand “I’m right here Mum”, until he gets distracted by some marvellous smell for a moment. Then a quick nudge “I’m back , Mum, right here.” Sweet Maverick, he is becoming such a friend, a big, crazy, goofy puppy. His coat is tawny and grey and looks wonderful caught in the setting sunlight.