West coast summer is all about yellows, russets, sun-stressed reds and many shades of brown. Leaves wrinkled or tightly rolled into a ball – or lying crisp and curled in carpets under summer deciduous shrubs. Lichens fruiting madly. Here in the south the heat of summer creates a world which is reminiscent of a northern hemisphere autumn. In contrast our ‘fall’ is a time of rejuvenation and greening in response to the first rain.
To be fair, my eye was drawn to only one side of the plant spectrum – among these sun stressed species there were almost lush and green karee bushes (Searsia lucida, S.glauca) and sea ghwarries (Euclea racemosa). These hardy evergreens create a wonderful foil for the golds and browns of deciduous species.
To me there is great beauty in the stark seasonal changes of strandveld – as gardeners and landscapers we can drawn inspiration from this natural palette of ultra hardy plants.
Deciduous Zygophyllum morgsana about to loose the last of its leaves
Ballota africana (Kattekruie) with tightly rolled leaves
Below: Pretty seed pods of Zygophyllum morgsanaA carpet of leaves forms natural mulch on the soil
Sun-stressed Mesembryanthemum alatum which seems to be growing from seed, no matter how dry it is