Spring is all over: in the early blossoms, the first leaves, the blood…

Young maples

Above – young Japanese maple leaves. And above that, a sentence written a week ago. Since then the first heat has arrived and yesterday I awoke to a misty dawn and the frogs calling the rain. Now I sit in short sleeves, a week away from the equinox; it is 8pm and the french doors in front of and behind me are open, and the frogs are taunting the starry sky: the rain is close, the rain is close, we know…

Entry plants

Meanwhile I have been very busy with the magazine, the map and the webpage. Correction: I should right now be busy with the webpage. And so the flowers at the front door have featured more than usually central over the last days. The pot of stocks have been a swooning success. Stocks and clove pinks, salty and spicy, must be my two favourite flower scents, beating even the roses – and the buddlejas… the nicotianas, the viburnums. Here they are again, photographed this morning.

Entrance flowers

With my time fully taken  with the magazine, my mind , every spare moment, has been thinking through the details of the design for the house in my next life at Clearwaters Cove. There will be huge north (= sun) facing windows; perfect in winter, to be avoided in summer… from which was born an idea, supported by the view out through the flowers at and close to my front door.


1) I want an indigenous garden, which is not a flowery type of garden. 2) I want flowers, scented and/or bright with the light falling through them, close to the house.

And from that came the concept of  just beyond the full length sliding windows, still under the overhang of the roof (there is basically a balcony along the north facade) a windowbox filled with flowers, the outer wall a little higher than the inner one to cast shade on the roots. In winter the sun’s rays will swing across the box in through the windows, and in summer the box will stop the sun; light through their bright colours, and their scent constantly close. And it all sufficiently separated from ‘the land’ that I can indulge in contained exotics without compromising my indigenous approach.

In the last days we’ve had lovely walks, with the boys responding to the intoxication of spring.

Boys in a tree

I went to photograph the weeping cherry in its glory; the glory of the moment was much greater for them, as they used spray bottles as water pistols… (That is not, by the way, the weeping cherry which Beta has climbed!)

boys at play

Weeping cherry

Above is the tree, in all its glory. And below, in increments, we look at it closer and closer.

Weeping cherry and streama

I have studied Geoffrey Chadbund’s ‘Flowering Cherries’ in an attempt to identify it properly, and also Google Images. I can’t. I suspect it is Prunus subhirtella ‘Pendula’, but any pink in my blossoms is almost unnoticeable.

Weeping cherry dog and stream

Some years ago we nearly lost this most special of all our cherries when an adjoining invader was treated with ‘Chopper’ after being cut down. The cherry roots must have been intertwined with the invader’s; nearly we lost the tree we were trying to protect. Since then chemicals have been banned from most of our activities.

Weeping cherry detail

One of the reasons I believe this to be P subhirtella ‘pendula’ is that it flowers at the same time as our ‘wild cherry’, all trees self-sown from a magnificent mother tree in the Cheerio Gardens. If you read Chadbund’s description of this tree, (P. subhirtella) then its size and splendour are unique amongst cherries. I have admired the massive spreading dark branches with their delicately blossomed tips for over 30 years. Our own oldest example is now also an impressive specimen, although the contrast between its massiveness and its delicacy is difficult to capture in a photograph as the flowers are carried well above camera height.

Wild cherry tree

I was luckier when trying a close-up on one of the younger trees.

Fly on wild cherry

Fly on wild cherry detail

So tiny was this insect that it was only when I enlarged the photo that I could identify it as a fly and not a wasp or bee.

Wild cherry detail

So taken was I by these delicate blooms that I kept moving in (and cropping) closer, so here are two more versions:

Wild cherry close detail

Wild cherryvery close detail

In this shot across Freddie’s Dam, the upper left white is a young self-sown specimen with below it the weeping tree on the stream. To the right a dogwood (Cornus florida) makes its glorious contribution. Below it is a close-up of the flower – or rather flowers, surrounded by four bracts.

White blossoms across Freddie's Dam

White dogwood

This post has become quite long enough, although there are many photos ready to be added. I will end of with a close-up of a crab-apple, one of the lovely cultivars for which I don’t have a name – in fact it might very well be a South African seedling, rather than an imported cultivar…



3 thoughts on “SAP RISING

  1. While I love seeing the first flowers of spring crocuses and daffodils, it is the flowering fruit trees that really say “Spring!!” to me. Many years ago, I was acquainted with a couple whose back yard was dominated by an enormous weeping cherry tree. Each year, when the weeping cherry bloomed, they would have a party at their house and share the beauty of that tree with friends and neighbors.

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