The Phyto-Philes Special: Spring Gardening in South Africa, Part II

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Spring Gardening in South Africa, 2014: Part II

Willem is a wildlife artist based in South Africa. He says "My aim is simply to express the beauty and wonder that is in Nature, and to heighten people's appreciation of plants, animals and the wilderness. Not everything I paint is African! Though I've never been there, I'm also fascinated by Asia and I've done paintings of Asian rhinos and birds as well. I may in future do some of European, Australian and American species too. I'm fascinated by wild things from all over the world! I mainly paint in watercolours. . . but actually many media including 'digital' paintings with the computer!"

Tree Grape

Spring is also the time when plants that were dormant in the winter send out new leaves and shoots. Here you can see the lovely fresh spring leaves of the Tree Grape or Kobas, Cyphostemma juttae. They are bright red! Amidst the leaves you will also see longer stalks going upward. These are the inflorescences. These plants have small and rather strange flowers, not as brightly coloured as their leaves are. This is my largest Kobas specimen, already standing about a metre tall, and with a trunk at the bottom about 40 cm/16" in diameter. You can see many other plants in this photo. Right in front of the Kobas is a small Euphorbia clava; even further in front is an aloe, and aloes are behind it as well. The small grey-leaved plants right behind it are Kleinia fulgens, while the one with the rounder grey leaves further in the background is a Beestebal, Crassula ovata. You can also just barely see the trunks of two quiver trees.

Sesame Bush.

Last but not least, a lovely flower of a Sesame Bush, Sesamothamnus lugardii. I was most pleasantly surprised to find this flower in my garden! I have quite a few sesame bushes here, but they are fairly young and still small and haven't flowered before. This is a rather craggy-looking succulent tree, growing in very hot and dry places, and it is amazing to find such a delicate flower growing on such a gnarly plant! The flowers are very short-lived, this one having dropped off a few hours after I'd photographed it, but the plant has made some new flower buds so I hope it will be flowering for a while longer still!

I thank you for having read this special edition and hope to bring you more in the future. Meanwhile, why not send some of your own garden photos to The Post?

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