~Written and edited by Veronica Clark ~

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

For the Love of a Leaf!!! ~ Part 1

Hi Dear Friends!!
It has been some time since I have done a gardening post! The inspiration struck when one of my followers, on Twitter,  asked about iconic indigenous (South African) foliage!!!!
Well, he immediately got my mind racing and I have a few pics that have been sitting in files, obviously waiting, just for this moment....
Now, not all of these are indigenous to South Africa but they are some of my favourite leaves for various reasons. I will indicate the indigenous ones as I go along.

How does one choose a favourite child? Well, I feel the same about these...
Arum Lily ~ Zantedeschia aethiopica ~ leaves are just gorgeous. Have a look at these, in my neighbour's garden. Glossy arrow-shaped and frilly! A single one in a vase is a work of art! Then add the creamy bloom atop a flashy stem and you won't be able to avert your eyes....

Luscious...aren't they just?

Below, in the vase! Have a look at the underside of the leaves, you could turn them over and they are just as gorgeous!

During spring the hills of the Tygerberg and the roadside is ablaze in purple and yellow.  Lupins ~Lupinus luteus ~ pop up all over the place and in my garden. They are always a welcome surprise. Also known as the Miracle Bean, it is widely grown as a cash crop, alternative to soy! I am not sure that it is indigenous, but we certainly welcome them. I adore the shape of the leaves.

Little umbrellas adorned with morning dew that catch the sun!

Below, is a happy coincidence that happened one spring. A purple lupin perfectly partnered with a deep velvety maroon Ranunculus! Perfection!!! Just goes to show, all the amount of planning in the world can not foresee the bounty that nature will offer of Her own accord....

Now below, we have a painted work of art! One single leaf and look at the intrigue it delivers!!! A variegated Pelargonium that produces red flowers, I can not remember its name, but it sure is a showstopper!

Below, we have Pelargonium Tomentosum with velvety soft, beautiful lobes leaves. Run your fingers over it and the heavenly peppermint fragrance clings to your skin.

The Giant Strelitzia Nicolai has magnificent leathery leaves. Below, is a young leaf catching the sun. Of course, as they grow bigger, the wind shreds the leaves and one of my favourite sounds, is the wind playing through the serrated leaves of the Nicolai! I know I am home, when I fall asleep to the shoooosh shooooosh sound of the Strilitzia!

Take a closer look...

I took this photograph whilst stalking birds, and I never looked at the common Comprosma Repens with the same eyes again! Commonly known as the Mirror Bush and native to New Zealand but grows like a weed here!
An intricate work of lace, perfect in every way....

The fleshy leaves of Agave Attentuta always invites me to run my fingers over it as I walk on by. Native to Mexico, of course, I can not think of a garden without it and it falls firmly into my category of "designer plants"
I have seen it teamed with English lavender in the foreground with the most astonishing effect!

Designer plant indeed!

I have so many more to share with you!
I was hunting down my photos, that I know I have of Sparmannia Africana, but could not find them. They are lurking about in some forgotten place, so will share them just as soon as I locate them. I can nip outside and take some but want the flowers as well, and its not in flower now!
So, look out for the next instalment of " For the Love of a Leaf"
Do you have any favourites?
Please share your thoughts and favourites in the comment box below...
You can also find us on Face Book in the sidebar of this blog and soon to be on Twitter as well.
Will keep you posted
Live Well



  1. A gorgious post. The leaves, the arum are simply beautiful. I love lupins, tried growing them in Connecticut to no avail. While hiking through Iceland in June, i was mesmerized as the almost entire country was blooming! thousands of acres of lupins along the cost, in the inland. An extraordinary sight.

  2. Skillful photography; I love the backlighting, when the sun of the day shines through the green of the leaves. You captured it beautifully. We do get gorgeous blue lupine, sometimes, when our local hillsides get enough rain; they appear in April and May if we are lucky (here in coastal Southern California, U.S.A.). I saw an entire field/meadow of them about 35 years ago...a sea of blue for as far as my eyes could go...but it never happened again, not in all of this time, not in that place. I've decided it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The blue-bordering-on-purple is magnificent; we were wading through it like an ocean.

    At the moment here in March, although we have not had enough rain and are unlikely now to get more, yellow mustard is growing wild in the near hills. Again, if we are lucky, orange poppies might appear in April but I doubt they will be plentiful due to the spotty rainfall. Something I'm beginning to notice blooming here in the gardens of neighbors are purple tulips and purple wisteria. In May through July, the sturdy jacaranda trees will also bloom purple. What I've mostly smelled in the evenings are orange blossoms. So far, in the past mornings, we're awakening to sweet and heady scents in the fresh air of Spring with warm days where it's not unpleasant to be in the sun, light breezes and cloudless blue skies. Often in May through mid-summer July, we have much gray haze and, with warmer temps, unpleasant humidity (although it's nothing like the American Gulf Coast...Texas, Louisiana, etc.).