Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Breathtaking Botanical Beauty

Looking back on my experiences in South Africa, one word springs into my mind - spring! We arrived as springtime emerged on the southern hemisphere, and that meant that flowers and plants that had been dormant through the winter, suddenly woke up and started to bloom. I have already shown some of the beautiful flowers of the South African Spring. Here are some more.

Blooming in the mild winds of the Indian Ocean

The beauty of the flowerbeds along the streets and beaches of Durban. In the mild winds of the Indian Ocean the flowers and trees were thriving.

It is so strange to see flowers that usually grow in your window.

Two varieties of hibiscus, one pale pink another yellow and dark red. A wonderful strelitzia, or bird of paradise flower.

And a bright green cycas, not a palm tree, but a species closely related to pine trees but with roots back to times when dinosaurs roamed the world.

A garden in Kwa-Zulu Natal

We stayed three nights at Aintree Lodge in Pietermaritzburg. In the hotel garden spring had arrived.

Look at the roses, with tears made from the mild African rain. The patience, that I plant at my summer home and die at the first frost, here they have flowered through several seasons.

In a suburban garden (above)

In Heidi Hollands garden in Melville spring was in the air. In the neighborhood, pale purple flowers covered the jacaranda trees. Leaving the gray shades of Europe, it was such inspiration to arrive in the South African spring, and to be welcomed by such a botanical beauty.

Flowers of Sundown Ranch

I have already told you about the fabulous gardens of the Sundown Ranch Hotel. Within the garden and bordering the wilderness there were more flowers and plants.

Some were easily recognizable, as yellow and bright red honeysuckles.

I had already experienced the medicinal properties of the South African Aloe, and the cactus of Africa, the euphorbia, was growing to large trees.

It is still winter, but the inner images of the Africa are still strong.

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