I use the Biblical language with care – the beauty of May has been an almost religious experience. And on one walk during these last days I took 177 photos, which I whittled down to 50 to choose from for the next two posts. And of them I guess 40 will make it onto the blog. Comments will be brief, or I will never get done…
I will start with a selection in which the gables of the big house are noticeable – note that here you can see both in the reflection, but only one through the foliage.
Here is a similar angle but from up in the arboretum. Look at the mauve azaleas with profuse autumn flowers that are a wonderful addition to the autumn reds and yellows.
More autumn detail, more mauve – and if you look on the very edge in the middle of the right-hand side of the frame you can just see the left side of a gable through the foliage!
Another panorama, with a young beech in the centre – beeches are highly treasured rarities in South Africa, and I’ll never forget an Austrian friend describing the germinating beeches being like fleas on a dog’s back as the snows melted!
Save the best for last – this photo gives a pretty clear indication of the state of things; despite there being flowers out, and plenty of autumn colour around still, the frosts have knocked the cannas and the lawns. The Upper Rosemary Border always looks good at this time, as autumn highlights the various shrubs growing there. More of that anon.
The mauve azaleas – lightly scented and almost completely deciduous – are worthy of a close-up… and then some!
‘Evergreen’ azaleas aren’t usually noted for their autumn colour, but many loose some leaves or have leaves which take on rich tones in the cold. They add immeasurably to the beauty of late autumn.
The paler the flower, the yellower the leaf; the darker, the redder…
Many trees and shrubs have lost most leaves, but those that cling on often turn richer shades than earlier stars, which faded before the cold became more intense.
There is more sunlight reaching the remaining leaves too – here the five-fingered Liquidambar styraciflua. And since counting fingers has become a bit of a pre-occupation, below is Croft Cottage against the three-fingered Liquidambar formosana, a late bloomer that with luck will glow into July, and a detail of the tree below that.
Well OK, not really a detail, but hopefully you can see the three-fingered leaves. And the fact that these trees along Park Lane, the motor road up the arboretum, are only just turning. And Mateczka who, having covered kilometres dashing away on the walk, is now parked off in the sun waiting for me to get a move-on!
Continuing the fingered theme, the Japanese maple (Acer palmatum) has seven – sometimes five – fingers; here is the tree on the edge of the lawn, which has an unusually uniform rich red colour.
Our three-fingered maple, by choice and sheer force of s/weedlings, is the Chinese maple or Acer buergeranum. Dare I say that its autumn colour can be even more impressive than the Japanese maple’s, although it never achieves the same grace of form. Below an avenue of Chinese maples cross the official entrance into the garden where Flora’s Path passes by the end of the Rosemary Terrace.
Rose heps – and the final roses – also add autumn colour to this last bit of the Upper Rosemary Border which forms part of the New Old Rose Garden. Below, hiding behind the greenery in the shade of the Chinese maples is a Japanese Maple of great beauty, tucked into much too small a space…
In fact, I think it is worthy of a close-up:
Let us step back now for a change of theme, to the furthest end of the Rosemary Terrace. No photo I’ve ever taken makes its name so abundantly clear as this one.
Have I mentioned? Mateczka does dash-dash-roll and Taubie, the old girl with the gammy leg, does plod? But loves the walk even more than do the other dogs! What appears to be solid rosemary on the left is in fact interspersed with a wide variety of shrubs, annuals and herbaceous perennials. (Go back to the photo of the house from the arboretum.)
Here, seen across some rosemary, is flax, oak-leaved hydrangea, berberis and abelia, with the Chinese maples in the background. Below is the marigold which featured in my previous post – now thoroughly snuffed, but still architectural.
And to end Part 1, a photo from the beginning of the walk – the upper side of the Upper Rosemary Border near the steps.