September 29, 2008 | Panayoti Kelaidis, Senior Curator & Director of Outreach

 

If there were a beauty contest for cities, Capetown would surely be in the final cut, and anyone visiting this week would give Capetown the crown, The weather changes as quickly as New England this time of year. We have had torrential rain, crystal clear calm days with aquamarine skies, overcast and contemplative weather, and blustery sun--all in the last four days. Springtime in Capetown is captivating in all this weather. And the flowers! Protea in a multitude of species and genera are everywhere: in vases, in gardens, in the veldt (Afrikaans and really just South African for "field" or the wild).

Notice the King Protea compared to my hand. This is Protea cynaroides (the National Flower), whose form is truly as stiking as an Artichoke (Cynara) but a lot more colorful! This was blooming at Kirstenbosch, where we spent a magical Friday. Cool weather, but warm enough for the annuals to open in one of the meadows (mostly Ursinia in several species, and Dimorphotheca pluvialis--the white rain daisy).

I include a shot of the Cycad Dell, one of the most amazing places in any public garden.

Although we had most of the day at Kirstenbosch, it was not enough. I'm glad I shall have several days to study and meet with friends there at the end of the trip...

Good flowers, good friends and a stunning city--what more can a soul desire?

Photographs by Donna Boucher

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