Good morning

Pink protea photo by Bianca Gubalke Flower Photography

Good morning from Noordhoek

Autumn has started in our idyllic Noordhoek Valley, nestled between the Silvermine Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, 40 minutes south of Cape Town, South Africa. The first storms have waltzed through the garden, celebrating full moon. Ripping off golden leaves from the plane trees and hurling them high up into the air, they chased down into the valley, they crashed across the beach, they threw themselves against the roaring surf. The moon smiled as millions of twinkling, glittering, glowing, hopping, bopping, radiant rocking particles smiled back at him.

Slowly, the moonlight faded, leaving a milky disc above the sea. A milky impression. A milky memory . . .

More and more the colours changed. The darkness drifted, shifted, lifted. Pushed by soft pinks and orange and golden tints an explosion of light heralded the new morning above the heroic Helderberg mountains in the East.

Protea Susara

Pink protea photo by Bianca Gubalke Flower Photography

As the glorious autumn morning set my garden on fire, light pushing the night, the darkness, the memory of the moon and the shadows, a tall blooming shrub took my breath away: Protea Susara (Protea magnifica x Protea susannae) with creamy, salmon-coloured petals rimmed by steamy pinks, enclosing a soft white centre topped by a velvety black crown.

The nectar-loving birds, the bees and the beetles were already there – and I just noticed that I wrote an article exactly a year ago, featuring a photo from this magnificent species here: “Learning from the Bees”.

From a conservation point of view it appears that the Protea susannae is threatened by extinction, as a lot of its natural habitat is invaded by alien species. Judging by its beautiful flowers, year after year, I’m grateful to know that this gorgeous indigenous species can still proliferate in my garden. I just put it on my to-do-list for cuttings and seeds!

Readers Favorite 5 Stars - Born With Wings - A novel

Born with Wings

For all those of you who love to read inspiring true stories about the magical mystical world, of Nature and beyond, you’d enjoy my visionary fiction novel ‘Born with Wings’ . It is entirely set in this part of the world, the so-called “Richest Floral Kingdom of the World”. A world heritage site.

Proteas play a big role – here’s an excerpt:

Almost overnight, the slopes of the mountains exploded into lavish yellows, oranges and golds as pincushions and leucadendrons started to bloom, with pockets of silver trees and proteas in between. Then there were more proteas!

“Oh, Great-grandad, I see they fascinate you as much as me!”

She saw herself following him through the veld and the mountains, discovering new species while he shared his wisdom with her: “Plants have a strong sense of place. A plant and its location belong intricately together. A similar plant in a different place naturally has a different vibration; hence it is not the exact same plant.”

She watched him take notes and make sketches of plants within their natural environment – and indeed, he used a quill! At times he added an insect, a butterfly or a bird, depending on its relationship with the plant, often as its pollinator. He collected the seeds and he cut flowers and leaves at different stages of growth for further studies and to execute the more detailed drawings at home. She walked on air within the timeless space they shared, absorbing his knowledge like a sponge.

“Look at the name of a plant for identification and classification purposes only. Beyond that, always remember that a plant is not a name.”

From the many species growing in the garden, Pippa already knew that proteas exhibited a wide variety of shapes. Their name had never meant anything to her.

“Did you ever notice how easily they adapt to any condition?”

Pippa nodded.

Now think of their name: protea. Protea! Where does this come from . . . do you know? You tell me!”

As Pippa shook her head, he continued: “Well, then let me tell you: they were named after the shrewd Greek sea-god, Proteus! Proteus stood for change; the constantly changing nature of things. Imagine,” he muttered under his breath, removing his hat as he bent down to her, “imagine, the god could take on any form at will!” Hidden behind unruly brows, his blue eyes were alert and shining as if he were the mighty sea-god himself.

Pippa was gobsmacked.

“Oho ja! He could well be the stone over there . . . a pie in the sky or this noisy cricket on my hand!”

She stared at him incredulously.

Great-grandad gazed intently into her eyes and nodded: “He just focused on it and, voilà!” He snapped his finger and laughed. “Knew a lot more than we do, da jolly old Greeks. Besides slipping in and out of their roles all the time, creating nothing but human drama.”

Pippa looked up at him wide-eyed, her imagination spinning.

“Beware what you focus on or wish for, young lady,” he cautioned her, “it could well come true.”

© 2017-2019 Bianca Gubalke Author

I hope you enjoyed this little morning walk through my garden in Noordhoek and that it put a SMILE ON YOUR FACE!

I promise, there will be more!

So . . . until we meet again! And, please do connect!