For the gardeners…

Friends in North America, we remember so well the changes as August draws to a close– the garden abundance needing harvesting and processing; the slowing of growth and flowering as the mornings turn cooler; the giving up on this year’s garden and the mental shift toward “next year we will….”, and of course the urgency of yard and home preparations for a certain season coming soon.

Here in the southern hemisphere we are not as familiar with the cycles and seasons.   It certainly hasn’t felt like the winter we know, although there has been a wintry quality about the sun – even if the days do warm up. And the winter gardens are still full of life, despite that we have only experienced rain once since we arrived 7 weeks ago.

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There have been subtle signs of change in the air and in the stores – though not as dramatic as what we’re used to from ND! Nights over the past two weeks were not as cold and if one really takes note the daylight hours have increased by about 20 minutes. Hot water bottles and fleece blankets have gone on sale; September magazines feature stories on “spring projects.” Grass is beginning to grow a bit and some trees are swelling with buds.

I find it endlessly fascinating how much growth is present even under such severe conditions. Look at how these plants and trees look weathered and hardened but have such robust leaves, flowers, or colors!

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(Above: Poinsettias grow to tree height!)

It seems we will forever battle the wildlife no matter where we locate- only here it’s not rabbits and squirrels, but rather birds. Check out this lovely papaya tree in our backyard putting out fruit. Couldn’t they just leave one for us to try!?

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Just like home, we decided citrus bags might do the trick. After borrowing a ladder, Scott managed to cover up three fruits. Now, we wait for them to ripen.

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We have been enjoying the citrus season with oranges and grapefruit in abundance and cheap. But we have certainly never picked lemons right off a neighborhood tree! This was the project on a recent Saturday. The work of squeezing by hand definitely makes the end product taste even more satisfying!

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You may remember the neighbor’s bush we had been watching for new growth. Turns out it is a rose; I wonder what color!

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And here is a peak in the gate of the same neighbor’s backyard.

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Our garden, which does not resemble this one at all, is just on the other side of the brick wall.  Though not as tidy, ours does have plenty of things flowering.

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And look at this on our backyard tree, one of those trendy “air plants” that sell in floral shops in the US for big bucks- but this one is enormous!

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4 thoughts on “For the gardeners…

  1. I LOVE hearing about all your adventures! It’s been nice a don cool here this past week, but it’s supposed to be 95 by Sunday! I thought we left that back in NC!

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  2. Hi Amy, Scott, Elsa and Simon!!
    So fun to see your pictures! I really enjoyed the plants and tree photos you sent this time! Hey, papaya’s not that great anyway – I’d rather have the birds!! But that’s just Dennis and me … ha! I did a little searching and think I found a name for that bird: black-collared barbet. Did you already know the name? The papayas in Liberia were kind of soft and blah, though there was a more pinkish-fruited one that was quite tasty. Hope you get to enjoy them! Enjoy the birds too though! Dennis and I didn’t start birding till we were back in the US and still kick ourselves for lost opportunities. We also saw large plants of poinsettia blooming in Liberia, so despite the size of Africa and the distances between South and West, there are some things in common.

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  3. Hi Family
    Oh I am loving all your postings! Really neat to see the unusual plants, birds and your activities there. Fresh squeeze lemonade – what a treat! All the news re. Scott’s work, kids school, day to day routines, weather changes etc. are so fun for those of us back in the midwest. It is gorgeous here however – state fair started, all my suppers are feasts featuring my delicious abundance of home grown tomatoes. Miss you of course. Keep those interesting postings coming. Love, Grandma Nancy

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  4. Molweni! As a very dry season on our farm continues (just 15 miles away there has been plenty of rain!), your pictures of bright colors and tasty fruit bring big smiles here!! It is amazing how plants grow, and even prosper in such harsh conditions- rain once in seven weeks- there! I look forward to the fact that you all are heading to ‘spring’ as we head to fall and so on…your pictures will brighten our lives all winter long!!! Enjoy the lemonade…and maybe even a papaya or two? Cheers and prayers, Tifani

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