After flaking out thru a long hot summer. Gasping with relief when it turned cooler. Autumn is here at last. Then the heat wave struck. I wonder is there an expression like Indian Summer for this HEAT in autumn? The plants like my Dais cotonifolia tree, which likes a lot of water, crumpled to toast. Not long for this world.
Then came thunder, lightning struck, as the fires that fynbos is adapted to, raged again. The protea farm (Bees snow and proteas) up on the mountain, has gone up in smoke. Most of the planted shrubs have been destroyed. The houses have burnt too.
But last night the thunderstorm brought gentler, kinder, soaking rain. The fire is out. My Dais has revived.
For us in the South Western Cape a sign that winter will return is the March lilies bursting into bloom. In the North American style of Naked Ladies. First the pink flowers burst thru, standing tall and proud like a can can line up of frou frou skirts at the Folies Bergere. And some have darker deeper pink skirts, others are so pale as to be almost white.
With the benefit of winter rain, the big bulbs produce fleshy thick strap-shaped leaves like the Clivia. Building up reinforcements to see the plant thru the next summer’s aestivation rest (swirling ice cubes in a tall glass of something cold on the verandah!) till the cycle starts again.
From the plantZafrica website ---
Large bulb. Scented flowers (bit fiercely so, if you park your nose IN the trumpet). Flowers face into the full sun. ‘Naked Lady’ – flowers before leaves – is called hysteranthy. Amaryllis was a beautiful Greek shepherdess. Belladonna = beautiful lady. Their natural habitat is a small dense group among rocks. Bulbs must be planted with their necks at soil level (which helps the gardener, ‘cos you can SEE where the dormant bulbs are lurking). Can be grown in pots. Tolerate quite arid conditions. Growing naturally in fynbos, they emerge abundantly after fire. Pollinated by hawk moths or carpenter bees.
‘The family Amaryllidaceae forms a large group of over sixty genera, which are mainly centred in the southern Africa with smaller distributions in Andean South America. Other genera that belong to this family that have horticultural importance and are found in southern Africa include Clivia, Crinum, Cyrthanthus, Nerine and Scadoxus. Hippeastrum, which some gardeners mistakenly call amaryllis, is a large South American genus. Other northern hemisphere genera include Narcissus (daffodils) and Leucojum’.
Snowdrop Peepers look this way!
The sunbirds also enjoy these flowers. Haven’t succeeded in capturing a photo of them ON the flower, so the next post, will bring the birds …
Photos and words by Diana of Elephant's Eye