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Archive for April, 2018

in gusting wind
the coloured leaves
swirl away

on every lawn
rests a patchwork
of gold and red

fall … fade … die
all autumn leaves
reach the same end

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We find them everywhere―old buildings and objects large and small―time washed and weather worn, covered in a patina of rust and peeling paint. Yet despite their abandoned and decrepit state, these objects still have character. They engage us in a poignant reminder of their past lives, spent in hard labour and service.

Worn fingers, aching muscles, and stiff backs – all were part of the legacy of our early settlers. As they toiled with primitive tools, these hardy souls carved out a living for themselves and their families in the early days of our untamed country.

Their personal possessions were few and far between. While early settlers could make do with simple things, these precious possessions were created with care and skill. If only these objects could speak to us what stories would they tell?

Hats off to these pioneers! Although their lives were difficult, they built the foundations of the country we enjoy today.

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Bauhinia variegata

Aren’t they lovely―our Hong Kong orchid trees―when they flower in multitudes of  blossoms? The five-petaled flowers, resembling orchids, appear in shades of white, pink, mauve and crimson. While this tree is native to China, it grows abundantly in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world.

Another distinctive feature of the bauhinia lies in its unusual bi-lobed or twin lobed leaves. The resulting heart shape has given rise to the Afrikaans popular name of kamelpoot, meaning camel’s foot.

The pink and cerise toned flower of the Bauhinia blakeana, is the source of its name, Hong Kong orchid tree. An added pleasure this tree provides is the fragrant scent of its blooms. Such is its popularity that it has become the official floral emblem of the Chinese colony of Hong Kong.

Bauhenia red

The scarlet coloured blooms of the Bauhinia galpini, add a wonderful splash of colour to any garden. Growing to a height of 5 – 6 metres, when mass planted these Bauhinias create a superb hedge or a stunning line of street trees. Even after vigorous pruning they keep right on growing and blooming throughout early summer into late autumn. It seems they have the ability to carry their flowers for long periods of time.

Bauhinia variegata 1

The white Bauhinia variegata,  provides a good example of how multiples of blossoms can also decorate a single branch of this amazing species. The sight of an entire tree covered with flowers makes it quite a show stopper. Happy are those who can enjoy the pleasures provided by the Hong Kong Orchid tree.

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