False Bay garden in December with carillon
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Fireworks on the last day of the year. Maltese Cross. Sprekelia formosissima from Mexico. Bloomed in October for 2 years, then in February this year. Remembered to 'water in summer' and out popped the buds!
fern blooms after fire to feed bees - pollen
baskets laden in orange, the bees are blissed out and tumbling thru the
flowers, with their 'back to school' wax crayon smell. Pollinator for Gail
at Clay and Limestone in Tennessee for her Wildflower Wednesday
December flowers in our garden. Oxford and Cambridge blues Rotheca myricoides. Cluster of lemons. Yellow stars of Hypoxis hemerocallidea. First flower of blue Salvia africana (has sadly been renamed without its caerula for blue African skies). Spotted Alstroemeria. Deep dark nasturtium. For Through the Garden Gate with Sarah in Dorset.
Dutifully picking off and moving to any other plant little grey weevils each day ... and getting the exuberant tuberous begonia leaves I love. My mother's plant.
My garden is mostly green and leaves. But with colour and texture. Burgundy rimmed silver, and Rudolph's antlers - are both Cotyledon orbiculata. Pearly ostrich feathers Centaurea cineraria. Groundcover at the lemon tree, with matching flowers, Helichrysum cymosum. Christmas butterfly on potted lime. Fiddlewood is an orange torch. Then light. Coprosma repens, Cyperus albo-striatus and Plectranthus madagascariensis.
Advent wreath this year was simple with a few pink flowers. Cyperus flowers to fill the gaps as December passed. I lingered with an undressed white township tree - that minimal uncluttered look appeals. This year we moved the lights to the yacht that sails our bay window year round ... with a suggestion of a promenade on the shore.
But the bling calls. Straw stars and a crocheted snowflake in the window. Next year I will try for a Southern Cross. The decorations this time mostly echoing the pale sails and straw. With a choir of angels lined up to sing on deck!
I was delighted to hear our carillon at the City Hall. (After WW2 Capetonians donated to found the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital - next to flowers on Rondebosch Common). After the Great War 1914-1918 the Mayoress with the women of Cape Town chose a carillon to ring out peace and gratitude to all. Renaissance man Alexios Vicatos is a chemist. Interested in horology - while investigating the clock and its 5 immobilised bells, he was drawn to the carillon (which hasn't been heard for decades!) With his father he restored the mechanism then turned his organist talents to playing the console of the carillon. Despite those huge and heavy hammers, the keyboard is played gently with the side of his fists and wrist movements (with padding for the little fingers which take the impact). We heard 2 classical pieces, followed by our national anthem Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika and My Lady Greensleeves - to get a feeling for familiar music on an unfamiliar instrument.
PS I am a word nerd with Squirrelbasket in Wales and Poetrypix (Laura in the comments below) in North England. I want to spell carillon with a second i, but the word comes from French quarregnon, a peal of four bells.
We climbed up from the grand entrance, marble stairs to lists of WW1 dead, then brown painted office stairs, with a single file flight to the console. Up ladders past the bells (and the Ungardener climbed to the hatch in the roof!) We left via Mandela's balcony where he proclaimed peace, democracy and freedom. I wish you those three with music in 2020!
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