Shades of winter

We live in the most diverse floristic kingdom in the world which has a Mediterranean climate.  The contrast between our part of South Africa and the Highveld struck me again as I flew between Cape Town and Johannesburg last week.  The latter, which has had rain, is lush and green.  In our part of the world, except for cultivated land: the vineyards, orchards and domestic gardens, the veld (countryside), is drab and brown but with its own beauty.

Then, as I was browsing through my photographs, looking for something else, I found these.


All of these grew (some naturally occurring, some cultivated) and were picked on the mountains above our village, and all except the Banksia, are indigenous and natural (i.e. not dyed).

Our mountains after a hot summer, before the winter rain.


A closer look at the colours to which we look forward each winter.


Not all are as vibrant.  The aptly-named blushing bride is delicate and ethereal.


In 40°C+ (100°F+) heat, winter cold is hard to contemplate.  I hate winter.  The flowers are the best thing about it, especially as they are at their best when the weather’s the coldest and just before spring.


Having seen Hugh’s post about this week’s WordPress Daily post photo challenge, and this week’s theme, “vibrant”, this is my entry.

© Fiona’s Favourites 2016

0 thoughts on “Shades of winter

  1. Until we finally had a few thunderstorms in January , our Jozi gardens were looking dismal. Brown lawns and not a lot of flowers. My Pride of India , which is usually a wonderful vibrant cerise colour throughout December , is only now full of buds and starting to flower. Luckily it only takes two deluges of ‘acid’ rain to revive the lawns which are now lush and need to be mowed once a week. Up until last summer , it was twice a week. We are now drying and collecting our meagre grass cuttings to supply drought-stricken farmers with feed for their live-stock. The country is in the grips of a terrible drought and I hope your part of the world will be as picturesque in winter as it normally is and should be.

    Love the beautiful display of flowers. The colours blend amazingly.

    1. Thanks, Chris. My post, Salad Days – I talks about the drought and the heat we’ve had. I was pleased to be rained on when I was up in Joburg last week.

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed this post, with thanks to the weekly photo challenge, Vibrant. I’ll follow you for more! But first, I want to know which of the flowers are waratahs and which are blushing brides. Gorgeous pics!

    1. Ah! Katherine – welcome!

      The Watatahs are the bright red and blue (dyed) flowers and indigenous to Australia. The blushing brides are the ones in the bottom left of the bottom picture. The pale, almost transparent pink flowers in the yellow bucket. They have a very short season and are very difficult to cultivate.

      Appreciate your dropping in!

        1. Kathryn – after your comment, I went and checked again. I had an abberation: those flowers – the red and blue are a type of banksia ( and not the Warratah ( I’m glad you asked because I have had both in arrangements in our house, from the same farmer, and when I wrote that, I must have been having a bad moment. So, apologies for the error, and thank you for making me check. I’ve now corrected the post, too.

          1. Oh so interesting! Thank you, Fiona. Wasn’t intending to stir things up! Merely curious because these are flowers I’ve never seen, and I wondered to which ones you referred. I admire any writer who takes such care with the details. You have a new fan!

          2. Kathryn, I’m glad you asked and annoyed with myself because I’d done the research before. And forgotten. I should have checked, but I’ve had some IT challenges coupled with having been travelling on business for all of last week… No excuses, though. There are equally interesting differences and similarities with some of the flora of our part of the world and Australia, and I’m glad that my faux pas was not picked up by some of my Australian readers. If it was, they were too polite to say so!

            Lastly, thank you for joining the band of Fiona’s Faves!

    1. You’re welcome, Hugh. Thank you, and they do! We are so lucky in the village, to know the flower farmers and to be able to buy huge bunches of them at what would, in the city, be less than market price. Most are exported. And, I didn’t know it at the time – I had blushing brides in my bouquet when The Husband and I were married: they must have come from here!

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