The plants I treasure most in my garden.
Are not the ones that cost an arm and a leg.
Nor the ones that were on my wish-list, and took years to find.
Not the ones I grew from seed, then waited years for flowers.
What I delight in, are the ones that just appear. A surprise out of the blue. Gifted by nature. A solitary seed that slipped into the wrong packet. Trespassed in the wrong pot. (You know, what the Ungracious and Ungrateful call WEEDS, and reconciliation ecologists would recognise as locally adapted wildflowers) Our Ungardener calls them Free Spirited Plants!
Someone suggested leaving a dead tree standing, for the birds to perch on. To see what came up from the seeds they leave there. Too long term for me. But this bietou, bush-tick berry, whose berries turn black - was a gift from the birds in our last garden. Despite being part of the daisy family it grew into a woody small tree. And the cutting has become a shrub in this garden.
With autumn and the winter rain, I go into the garden hopefully and expectantly. From May thru to August we can have drifts (and even whole fields from kind green farmers) of snow. White rain-daisies.
In our garden, we also have a soft buttery straw yellow daisy. Gousblom, with purple seed fluff that the harvester ants collect.
Down the centre of the gravel driveway, we have a middle-mannetjie. That strip in the centre, where plants can grow, between the tyre tracks? There one day I found a blue summer snowflake. A true Geranium (radial symmetry, no pansy face looking at you).
This took me by surprise, in the Apple Creek. It looks like blue flax. But it’s pink! Which colour our wildflower book takes for granted. Tiny flowers but with a vibrant flash of colour.
When summer has left us with swathes of baked clay. That look as if we’ve given up on the garden, and gone for simply covering the problem with a layer of concrete. It rains. And overnight it all turns green. Then a shimmering party dress. Lemon yellow with lime overtones. Embellished with triple heart shaped leaves. (And the Californians are yelling WEEDS WEEDS!!!) See, if they were primroses in an English wood (same colour), people would come from far and wide to admire them, but here they’re Just Weeds.
If you love ferns, perhaps like mine, your favourite, is the one which came unaided, said - I like it here - and flourishes. We used clay pipes for drainage in the retaining walls in the last garden. There was a tiny self-sown fern I loved. Builder had a look at something, large boot in a convenient foothold. And that fern was history. Sniff. But now in our waterfall we have … A Fern.
Photos by Jurg and Diana, words by Diana of Elephant's Eye