Tag Archives: Lobostemum

Gone with the Wind

So there I was only a couple of weeks ago feeling triumphant and even rather pleased with myself.  Then it struck me.  Not a brilliant idea; a tummy bug.  At first I hoped it was a 24 hour tummy bug but then I realised it didn’t have a time frame.  It took me a few days to realise I was actually really quite ill and by then I was already bored of it so I went to see the fabulous Dr Shelley and explained that I had to be on a plane to Plettenburg Bay in the morning.  “Have to?” says the Doc.  “Well, want to” says I.  She sharpens up her needles and gives me 5 injections, or was it 6?  I lost count.  “Now you’ll be able to travel if you want to,” says she “but if you do this will just go on for longer.”  She’s better at prediction than the weatherman; it took me another full week to be over it completely and back on the mountain again.

Everyone always says that the great thing about tummy bugs is that you lose weight, and while it’s true while you’ve got the bug, I always worry about compensating afterwards.  So I got back out on the mountain as soon as I could and after two or three runs I’m feeling pretty good out there.  I know I’ve missed some flowers though, which is always a bit sad – will have to wait until next year.  Fynbos bulbs can come and go in a day, but the shrubs are amazing – they will flower for months.  One example is the Lobostemon Fruticosus which is such a friend, I posted a photo of it in August and it is still flowering now.  On a bright hot day the flowers dim but a little grey and a dash of rain and they glow on the mountain.

It’s wonderful to recognise some special flowers that I identified last year and this is one of the them.  I notice them more this year, scattered all over the place and in partiular in one small shady area where a whole clump of them grow, but where the light didn’t lend itself to a good shot of the clump and we may try for a better photo of this charming Tritonia undulata the next time we are out.

Tritonia undulata

Tritonia undulata

A rather dark photo on a bright day – it’s almost impossible to get a good shot of a blue or white flower in bright sunlight.  I was glad I caught this Walhenbergia capensis on a run just before the flu hit, they are all gone now.

Wahlenbergia capensis

Wahlenbergia capensis

And isn’t this one absolutely gorgeous?  Another one that I captured on the run just before I had to stop and I’ve completely forgotten where I saw it and of course it has disappeared now.  I think it’s Geissorhiza exscapa.

Geissorhiza exscapa

Geissorhiza exscapa

I promised a better photo of the fabulously named lily, Wachendorfia paniculata.  This one grows along the drive and I was feeling so well on Sunday that at the end of our run the dogs and I trotted all the way down to find and photograph it while the light was dappled and it was still looking good.  Look how it glows against the yellow-grey sandy wall.

The flowers are amazing and really, that’s the point of the blog yet there are so many other special things, it’s just that flowers look great in pictures.  The grasses are absolutely gorgeous and I often try to capture their whimsical or even dramatic charm.  The iPhone doesn’t usually get it, but this one was a good attempt and I think these are Willdenovia incurvata.

As we bounced up the mountain the morning before I fell ill the wind was howling and I had decided not even to try and take a photo.  Then we came across this gorgeous Gladiolus angustus.  Luckily I decided that despite the wind I’d take a photo.  When I finally passed the same way 12 days later there was not the tiniest sign of it.

And finally – there is always a sunset.  I don’t capture them every day.  This one was special.

Sunset in the Western Cape

Sunset in the Western Cape

Water!

As Capetonians know every day this week we’ve woken up to the thud of rain on the roof which is a huge disincentive to go up the mountain. Somehow I have become an African and the sound of rain is welcome, although I will never get over my Irish dislike of getting wet and don’t stand happily in the rain like some of my South African friends. I’m certainly not keen enough to go running in the heavy rain.

This morning the rain was not merely thudding; we had a warning of big storms today and during the night it started hammering and it didn’t let up until around 2pm and picked up again a couple of hours later. When it rains like this our thoughts immediately go out to those who have to cope in informal settlements all over the Cape. It must be hell for them.

Here in Paarl the rivers all look set to flood, any low areas of roads are flooding, and our mountains are disgorging water everywhere. It’s wet, but it’s also stunning and these long winter rains feed the Cape all year and make its fabulous wines and harvests possible. Dams are finally full and the winter is fulfilling its promise.

When the weather cleared for a while at 2pm, perhaps the eye of the storm or the bad rains finally wearing out I put on my running shoes and set off with the dogs to look at the rivers on the farm. The waterfall is amazing, gallons of water a second pouring down, white with fury and pressure. In the interest of a good picture I clambered down to the bottom of the fall to capture this photo. At the top of it you can see a pink flowering shrub – it’s the one I had identified as “purple gorse” but I went back to check and it is an Erica – Erica multumbelliferia.

The waterfall after heavy rain

The waterfall after heavy rain

Erica multumbelliferia

Erica multumbelliferia

The poor old fynbos bulbs are a bit tattered after a week of rain but the same rain that flattens then will only produce more flowers. Meanwhile the Lobostemum seems to glow in the grey light and definitely took the slot of Flower of the Day. Here it is again.

Lobostemum fruticosus

Lobostemum fruticosus

I’ve noticed over the years that after heavy rain the birds are always very active and it was true today with birds calling and flitting all over the place. Best of all was an outraged Malachite Sunbird who had clearly decided the weir belonged to him and and him alone; he called furiously while flitting from branch to branch. There is another who loves the scented flowers by the house and who sits on a high branch outside the backdoor shrieking with rage on spring mornings when we emerge. One day I must capture him on film and post him on the blog, the emerald green colour is extraordinary and fully merits the name.

Higher up the weir is also pouring water and upstream from the weir the pools look amazing. You can see the gathering water and the magnificent trunk of this beautiful Ilex Mitis, the Cape Holly, with its foot in the stream.

Ilex Mitis, the Cape Holly with his feet in this permanent stream

Ilex Mitis, the Cape Holly with his feet in this permanent stream

While I was running merrily around the farm Peter was far more concerned with the dam, which looked like it might overflow and possible breach the dam wall which would be a disaster. He had sent the farm staff home – not much they can do in this weather, and spent the afternoon digging out above the wall to make sure we’d be safe. Fires a stiff drink and comfort food all needed at the farm this evening.