midsummer shadows

After plenty of cloud cover, the sun has been shining a lot more of late, and on yesterday’s walk I was photographing in the golden light when I suddenly realised: our dinner guests were due in 5 minutes and I was  still on the opposite side of the valley… Today it was the midday shadows in the plantations that caught my eye. But then 12.07 noon on 21 December and 51km south of the Tropic of Capricorn (I know, I’ve just measured it on Google Earth) is about as close to the sun directly overhead as one is likely to get. Thus the above photo. And the one below.

Golden hour

Sunday morning – and last night was the shortest night of the year. Another perfect day today, as was yesterday, with a lingering sunset from friends’ west-facing terrace followed by a starry starry night. All of which is represented by this orange dahlia:

Orange dahlia

Seen here against my favourite foliage combination which has featured so often over the years…

Orange dahlia against my favourite foliage

Everywhere there are signs of the garden recovering after the hail, with the first roses in Trudi’s Garden starting to flower again, covered in buds and healthy foliage.

Trudi's Garden

The bank of hydrangeas in front of the old barn, knocked to bits by the hail, is flowering, although the flowers are not the huge heads of a really good year.

Hydrangeas  after the hail 10 Nov Hydrangeas recovering

Plants I considered discarding are recovering and soon will be ready for reconstructive surgery.

stripy accent plant

But the poor tree ferns will continue to look like well-used feather dusters this summer, although a little judicious pruning won’t do any harm!

Battered tree fern

High summer is the time of green. After plenty of gentle rain and lots of TLC from my wonderful staff, the last few walks were ripe with  the fullness of summer.

Beech Borders

Willow at the Lily pond

Freddie's dam panorama from wall

Almost natural - ouhout and grass and a few planted shrubs

Vitis vinifera

Vitis vinifera detail

The House that Jack Built reflected

Blue window, blue hydrangeas


Big House across dam

Most beautiful of all the greens is a particularly green Gladiolus dalenii, our local wild gladiolus which tends to greenishness; I have over the years selected plants which stress the green, or are more brightly mottled red.

Green Gladiolus dalenii Green Gladiolus dalenii 2

I just love the limey greens of this plant, and the subtle contrast with the flower stalk.

Green Gladiolus dalenii 3

Here is one of the redder plants.

gladiolus dalenii  redder Redder gladiolus dalenii 3

Redder gladiolus dalenii 2

I can’t resist one last detail from this plant. Then I post, and go off on my Sunday afternoon walk. There are plenty more pics from the last days clamouring for a post…

Redder gladiolus dalenii 4




3 thoughts on “MID SUMMER

  1. Wonderful pictures Jack. I particularly like the panoramic shot and the gladioli are wonderful. I think I favour the greenish ones, but they all look very special. We’ve just endured our shortest day and have a very dramatic storm approaching across the Atlantic, so it could be a very damp Christmas here.

  2. Finding your blof through Jean’s blog has been an interesting interlude on this last day of 2013. As we recount the good and bad of 2013 and the end of the yar, we look forward to 2014 with some excitement and some trepidation. Just as you in your home and garden…you are leaving behind an incredible place with great hopes for its future.

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