Summer in Cape Town
Finally, the summer temperatures are climbing down here in Noordhoek, South Africa, just about 30 minutes from the Mother city: Cape Town! And while the evening sun sneaks once again around Chapman’s Peak as each year at this time, and a strange mist hovers above Noordhoek Beach, the Blue Iris in my pond are exploding in magnificent hues of blue and violet to reflect the sun’s last rays.
Give me a camera and I forget time and myself – especially with these flamboyant beauties that more than often resemble winged beasts breathing the very essence of opulence and joy!
Being a Nature freak as you know from my various posts and photos on flowers – see also the ‘Cup of Gold’ – I always loved the Blue Iris – Iris versicolor (versicolor meaning ‘rainbow’ in Greek). I just could not find the ones I wanted in the local nurseries! But things really happened once a dear friend in the romantic Noordhoek valley – who owns the most amazing ‘iris pond’ – kindly gave me some plants and rhizomes. Admittedly, it’s hard work to clean these rather large and heavy plants; these were certainly 80 to 100 cms. I was warned of a certain algae that was most likely to come along with the gift. Although I literally showered and thoroughly cleaned each plant before potting them all and then inserting them in the dam and a smaller pond, I could not avoid it as I know by now. I briefly thought it were the eatable water blommetjies, but no! Nevertheless, in my mind’s eye, I saw them already flowering and offering me the most amazing sight from my kitchen window!
Oh, I’m big at dreaming…
But before the dream literally came true, I had some close encounters with a family of wild porcupines who just thought these new arrivals were the best thing on their dinner plate (as they had already finished off whatever arum lilies they could spot in the garden). So I schlepped most of the pots from the dam into the enclosed and therefore ‘porcupine-safe’ pond. Lo and behold – how they thanked me for it now, as spring turned into summer! They have everyone stop in their tracks in awe and admiration! I can’t get enough of them; their colours constantly change in dramatical ways following the light or absence thereof. The rhythm of their upright leaves, often in kinetic formations, highlighted by the sun while the background still slumbers in the shadows, with a dash of red from a bottlebrush tree caught by a wandering ray hanging just above their heads – a constantly changing display of expression and an invitation to let go, to heal, to be.
What a surprise when, just some hours ago, I discovered the first blue iris seed pod! Big as a thumb, I had never seen this before and actually looked the seeds up on Google to learn more and know what I could do from here. How exciting: so propagation also takes place via seeds. What I learned is that, eventually, the pod will change its colour slightly, dry out, until the pointed tip breaks open to release its seed. I will keep an eye on them and be there to collect them before the birds or a sneaky squirrel can, and then spread them on clean paper until they are dry. Then I will try my luck at planting the seeds!
So exciting! If anyone has some advice and/or experience, please comment!
I promise to keep you posted…