glimpse into the garden

1 02 2012

We have not had pictures of our garden for a long time – so here are a few. 

It is dry and hot: when we left for SA hols mid December it was still very wet and it did not get much warmer than 27C.  A friend recorded humidity yesterday at 5%, and our average daily temperature is around 33C. We water the gardens when we can (we have no water today so even washing dishes is a bit questionable!) and have seen how foliage is cutting right back.

The leaves are dropping from the trees and the winds are gusting at times.  Poor Mike had to cart 9 wheelbarrow loads of leaves yesterday! 

Not all is barren, though.  The bananas are still fruiting and we get some pawpaws (papayas) a week too. We are really happy to see a new fruit starting to bear:

 

Our passion plants that we bought as tiny little fingerlings in June are now massive vines with lots of fruit to offer!

The offerings of great photographic opportunities are found around this vine too.

Another newbie to our garden is the blossoming of Barberton Daisies, a kind of Gerbera. I LOVE these blooms (along with any thing floral!) so the delight of bloom from greeting us as a tiny bud, to the full glory on display below, leaves me smiling from my heart up to my mouth.

The birds have also been delighting us: we get to see them a little more clearly with all the leaves out of the way.

I saw 5 little bee-eaters at one time around the nectar feeder today. They are very tricky to catch a snap of – we will continue our efforts – but they are here!

We have managed to capture a few of the elusive woodpeckers. They seemed totally absent in the wet season, but we see them a few times a week now.  We seem to have both the cardinal and brown spotted woodpeckers coming to visit.

Hamerkop 015Hamerkop 013

I wonder if all the tapping on wood has damaged the brain cells of some of these birds.  Deon and I heard a knocking on metal a few days ago and went to see what was making it: we realised the sound was coming from a large light fitting on a pole near the verandah.  There Woody was, pecking away at the metal… dear thing.  I don’t think there were too many goggas (bugs) there!

(Sorry – these are very busy birds and my camera struggles to get them in focus!)

Our final performance for today’s entry gives us great entertainment at the moment.  Around Joburg, where we are from, many people try hard to out do neighbours with all their might: Being bigger and better than the Jones clan is a trend one can note.  We have met the match, and better, here in our own garden.  We think this bird has OCH – Obsessive Compulsive Homebuilding. We watch it cart beak-fulls of building material every day and it just never seems to be enough! 

The hamerkop is known to have the biggest nests of all birds.  This one up near our room is about 1 1/2 meters at the moment: and more grows everyday.  We hope he uses the chance to clear out gutters as a neigbourhood service! 

Hamerkop 004

  All sorts of plant material go into the nest: lots of banana leaves, reeds, grass and leaves. The nests can have chambers in them, and I can imagine that they would be rather cool inside.

 

 

 

 

Hamerkop 062Hamerkop 063

Heading back to the nest in the mango tree with MORE material for home-building.

The birds are, however, rather shy about showing house-building skills and hide when the camera comes out!  I could only capture a little of the eye of the hamerkop as it was making a few adjustments this morning.

We hear the raucous calls as we wake in the mornings (the nest is just meters from our window), but it is a lovely bush sound.  Like the mourning dove calling throughout the day and the odd ‘victor’ calls of the greater honey-guide we have heard a few times this week… these are wonderful blessings of nature to help us along each day. 

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2 responses

1 02 2012
Slowvelder

Hmmm so jealous of your granadillas. Hope to have some growing soon.

3 02 2012
Maria

beautiful photos 🙂 🙂

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