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Capetown: Garden city of South Africa



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



Martin Risk

Re Dr. Kelaidis's very good but too short article on Capetown: need many more photos like those excellent ones shown. Also, lots of technical comments on local botany, ecozones, geology, etc would be appreciated.
kathleen stewart

Eagerly anticipating photos and commentary from the "outback". Hope you have a great trip.
Panayoti Kelaidis

Dear Martin and Kathleen, Thanks for your kind comments: I would love nothing more than to expand my comments--but our Blogmeister might have words for me. I shall be sure to do a much fuller account in the Colorado Cactus and Succulent Society journal and DBG newsletter as well. The Fynbos ("fine bush" vegetation of the Cape) is after all one of the world's six floral kingdoms: a product not just of the Mediterranean climate but the sterile, quartzitic soils. They have done a magnificent job of preserving and interpreting Fynbos at many natural sites as well as Kirstenbosch. But this is only a tiny part of the story.
Doris Boardman

Panayoti, we would all love to see more pictures taken while you were in South Africa. I will be setting up a DBG account soon where you can post tons of images for the public to see. Stay tuned!

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