Midsummer January gardening in Johannesburg...January 7, 2014
|Luli Callinicos garden glimpsed through the Patio|
I think of myself as a pretty bona-fide plant nerd, but I have to admit that although seeing plants in the wild is my my goal in traveling, visiting gardens is just as rewarding. And meeting special people in their native habitat like this makes travel to another country real. And how exciting it is to hear a few casual nuggets emerge as we speak by this biographer of Oliver Tambo, who not only wrote a biography of him, and a picture book about Nelson Mandela, but knew them both and fought alongside them for decades for an end not just to Apartheid, but to the unbalanced social contracts that cloud the future not just of South Africa, but of the entire world. Her work is far from done.
|I love the smell of Sweet Alyssum (Lobularia) here planted near the patio! I think Luli does too.|
|Herbs, tree roses in a border along the swimming pool|
One doesn't often see tree roses blooming and growing so happily.
Both Callinicos sisters are really artists in hiding: their homes are filled with lovely original artwork, and of course there is some delightful garden art--I'll show details in a bit...
We had Dahlias blooming almost into November in a few special spots this year--and here they are two months later--I like that sort of telescoping of the garden year!
I envied the healthy fig--I think it was a dark fruited one. She had a light fruited fig as well..
Impatiens x walleriana is afflicted with a devastating downy mildew in Colorado: they're suddenly rare for us--good to see them still growing and thriving (and probably perennial) here in Johannesburg!
|Aha! the other fig!|
I was almost as shocked to see these paper birches here as when I stumbled on some happy ones in Los Angeles, for God's sake! How unjust that they seem to thrive here with no bother with borers, and their so much harder in our more "appropriate" cold climate. The puritans who insist we only grow native plants blah blah blah really have it wrong. Sometimes the WRONG plant does better.
|Bill Adams and Agapanthus|
You can tell a real gardener: this wonderful potager is tucked away where hardly anyone notices or can see it!
Bill and Luli on the very inviting patio.
I chuckled to see Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' with a few flowers left (most had been harvested--probably for flower arrangements--earlier in the season.) Bred by Dale Lindgren in Nebraska, he shared it with me in the early 1980's in Denver, where we effectively publicized and ultimately distributed the plant through local nurseries (I believe Little Valley sold it first)--one of the great local plant introductions that helped lay the groundwork for Plant Select. Wish we had a penny for each one of these that's sold: Dale definitely wishes he had!
A bit of the classic Greek emerges here and there as one would expect from a woman who may trace her ancestry to Alexander the Great's generals, or perhaps Theophanes Kallinikos who invented Green Fire in the 7th Century. Ore anyone of dozens of others of that surname who made enormous contributions over the millenia. We Greeks have quite a burden of history to bear.
This gave me a twinge of nostalgia: the ceramic roof tiles that one used to see quite often in neoclassically inspired buildings built a century or so ago all over Greece.
|Aloe aristata and Crassula ovata|
|Me (in my Greek flag colors) next to Luli, the elder of the two Callinicos beauties.|