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Home > Midweek > 2005 > Naturally speaking

Nature talks in its own sweet way ...
Naturally speaking

We have just returned from a midweek hike on Bartlettís Farm beyond Sparkling Waters Hotel and the number of wild flowers we saw blew me away.†† This hike is called the Frithia because of the small, stem less, perennial succulents found in the rough, quartz gravel. The problem with South African wild flowers are the names! Iím used to English wild flowers with names like Bluebells, Primroses and Foxgloves, whereas South African flowers often donít have easy common names.†† But Frithia pulchra goes by the delightful name: Fairy Elephant Foot!†† Most noticeable on the hike were the Sickle Bushes with their gaudy Chinese lantern flowers of pink and yellow.

Back at Utopia along the edges of Tonquani and Sterkstroom are the stunning scarlet Schizostylis coccinea whose common name is Kaffir Lily (Iím sure we are not supposed to call it this any more!).†† The Bobbejaansterts Ė Baboon Tails (Xerophyta retinervis) flowered briefly after our recent rains. It doesnít matter how much one waters these wild plants they wait until the first rains to begin their brief flowering in shades of blue.

Outside our kitchen door the Acacia Karoo (Sweet thorn) is making an awful mess with itsí beautiful yellow flowers and the air positively hums with the wings of a thousand bees all collecting itsí nectar. Nearby is a Wild Apricot with its scented white, star-like flowers.

And the ubiquitous Jacarandas, which we are supposed to abhor being alien trees but which, I secretly love!†† Their special shade of mauve stands out in the shades of green that Utopia is dressed in at present.

The cuckoos are calling frantically for mates and we have a friendly pair of Mocking Chats and a pair of Familiar Chats with a youngster who even comes right inside the cottage to ďchatĒ to us and beg for cheese!

Hilary Seeley