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Big storm, no rain


South Africa is a land of diversity, diverse cultures, diverse geology, diverse nature and very noticeably, diverse weather. Growing up on the Reef, the high altitude plateau that Johannesburg and Pretoria is found on life was geared around the weather. Winters were sunny and warm during the day and cold to frosty during the night. And it was bone dry. You could wash your clothes and put them on the line and the moisture would evaporate before you knew it. Spring and summer on the highveld, as it is know, was something everyone remembers – mid afternoon the cumilo nimbus clouds would form and tower into the heavens, then the sun got blotted out, lightning would streak down to the ground and the rain would pour down drenching everything. 40 minutes later the clouds would disappear, the sun would come out and the air was filled with the fragrance of broken blossoms and a cleansed freshness. Ask anyone that has travelled to Johannesburg or Kruger Park in summer, and the one thing they will all recall are the thunder storms.

On the contrary, in the Cape, the clouds would slip into the sky in May and rain till August with out much show, definitely no lightning and deafening thunder, though the howling South Easter would work at altering the angle that the rain fell to the ground.

In the past 5 years things have changed, the lightning and thunder have reached down to the Cape. Last night the weather taunted us drought stricken southern Capeners. Clouds formed, lightning streaked, thunder boomed, a few drops fell but the drought was not broken. At least for a brief moment the air was filled with a moist freshness that we could cling to with hope.

But who is going to let a bit of drought get in the way of gardening? On Sunday Amanda bought some plants after her sports event in Port Elizabeth (about 320km east of our home) and we decided to plant them on Monday afternoon. Trying to dig into the ground was a bone jarring experience, almost as solid as cement, the dry ground bounced the spade back at me with seemingly more energy than I have tried to plunge it down. The only way was to remove sods of dried soil, chip a shallow hole and fill it with water to soak and soften before trying to dig deeper.

While Amanda was competing in PE, I headed north to the Swartberg, a range of mountains that border the southern Karoo, a semi desert region to hike and camp. While attempting to trail blaze up a river gorge, amongst the thick river fynbos I found a wonderful Pelargonium which fortunately had seeds enough to collect. So I will be planting them in the next few days when the moon is right.

Amanda love the colour and scent of a Patatoe Bush, but for me the attractive flowers and fruits of the Wild Pomegranate have more appeal, especially as they are a draw card for the many Sunbirds when they are in bloom. (sorry, no phot0’s yet, but I promise next time). Neither of the plants were big so it will be a while yet before they fill the space around them. But that’s gardening for you, a measure of patience.

As an idea for a garden seat I collected a pine stump from up the road and cut a wedge out of it, but it seems that with two pot plants on it, it may just end up as a garden feature instead of furniture.

More blog posts by capegardener

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Fascinating blog. Thankyou Capegardener :~)

25 Nov, 2009


Oh My! What a wonderful blog, it brought back some enchanting memories of our stay in Durban one year, we had a month long holiday staying on the bluff in the Fynnlands area. We also travelled up to Saabi for two of those weeks. We visited the Kruger Park where temperatures soared to almost 40C, and also visited a villiage called Pilgrims Rest where I found out what 'WYBMABIITY' means. We had a wonderful time there and I even managed to get myself arrested by the South African army, (but that is another (long) story,) and in all that time we only had one storm .... but what a storm, it came as fast as it went, lots of rain, noise and a brilliant show, then nothing, gone in an instant.
We did go back again a few years later to spend two weeks at Christmas in Durban where it snowed on Christmas day .... upwards! Millions and Millions of cabbage white butterfly's hatched out and took flight.
Welcome to GoY.

25 Nov, 2009


What a wonderful blog and welcome indeed to GOY.
I have a nephew who lives in Kloof in KwaZuluNatal and he has spoken of these brilliant storms .....and friends who have just returned from 5 years in Cape Town...just before they left - they experienced one of those phenomenal lightening storms - and sent me some great pics of it.....absolutely mind blowing.
Thankfully we don't get anything like that like that in Bonny Scotland!
We will look forward to seeing your pics in due course....lightening and all!!

25 Nov, 2009


Smashing blog its good to hear about gardening in a different country. T he storms sound spectacular but I would not like the lightining.

25 Nov, 2009


Interesting blog, Capegardener. You need some of the rain we are getting here in the UK!

25 Nov, 2009


....and you'd be welcome to it, as well!

25 Nov, 2009


brilliant blog cant wait to see pics

25 Nov, 2009


Very expressive writings . obviously a natural born writer

27 Nov, 2009

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