Again in the garden

Both, my wife and I, like flowers. Maybe it’s our Dutch background (“Dutch say it with flowers”) but more likely it has to do with the restoration and extension of a historical botanical garden in South Africa that has kept us busy between April 2000 and July 2011. Anyway you find me every day in our garden with my camera and virtually every day there is something new. We live in an area with a subtropical climate (climate zone 10); ideal for succulent plants including cacti. Here are some pictures I shot during the last week or so.

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From the sea

Evolution is a weird subject if you come to succulent plants like cacti. Did you know that all succulent plants are originating from underwater plants. Hence that divers walking around in our garden are amazed by the view of many plants they link with plants they meet once they’re exploring the sea bottom. Southern Africa, where many succulent plants originate from, was once largely covered with lakes and during a period of thousands, maybe millions, of years these plants had to adept to a complet opposite environment; from surviving under water to surviving in a desert. So these plants evolved into waterstoring plants; storing water in roots, leafs and/or stems. Reason for us to collect some shells and rocks at the nearby beach and cover a small part of our garden with it.

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Minimal colors; an experiment

I like both: black & White and color pictures. There are many grades in each of both and I just experimented with grades between both.

To be honest: I don’t like it but you may think different.

A few examples. The full color ones as shot with my camera and the minimal color images by moving the ‘saturation’ slide in Photoshop to the left.

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Happy Birthday Card 2

Last month we posted the Birthday Card we send to ‘likers’ (and dear friends) on our Facebook pages. I just made a new Birthday imaginary with elements from pictures I recently made in our garden added with one of the angels of the Stanford Hotel (left). The background is the sky of 6 AM this morning.

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Associations and an anecdote

It’s a bit of a tricky image but the reality is on display in our garden. Especially visiting women notice this combination of two cactus species and they are not shy about it; some are even measuring the columnar one…. (47.8 cm I heard).

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But there is more to it. If you look to plants or in details of plants (like stamens) you undoubtfully have associations; especially using some imagination. That makes plants such fascinating objects to picture.

Between April 2000 and July 2011 we restored and extended the historical gardens (with oldest cactus, anno 1910, of South Africa) of Soekershof in Robertson. We ended up with an outdoor collection of over 2500 different species of succulent plants including cacti; by far the largest collection of its kind in Africa. And we had to market this place against the known heavily state financed and subsidized botanical gardens like Kirstenbosch in Cape Town.

One of the slogans to attract people was “Everything you always wanted to know about ……S – E – X ….. between plants but never dared to ask

Visitors from abroad could not find the way and asked to local tourism bureau. Says the representative of this bureau: “Don’t go there. It’s all p – o – r  – n – o – g – r – a – p – h – y in that garden”.

We never complained about it; it was the best mouth-to-mouth advertisement.

P.S. I’ve used spaces and lines between 2 words in an attempt to avoid search machines to pick these and to avoid unwanted visitors of this blog and the obvious spam.

P.S. 2 I used Photoshop to move the two barrel shaped cacti 10-15 cm just for a better composition.

Some more plants and flowers in our garden

Just snap shooting with Sony 16-50mm lens mounted on the A77 camera. Few pics have been cropped but no other editing in Photoshop. Me and my wife Yvonne live in Stanford, Western Cape that was recently awarded with “Best Village Destination in South Africa”. Yes we are privileged! And yes; we do have a very unusual garden with some plants and plant combinations that stimulate one’s imagination. But we’ll come back on this subject in the next posting.

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All those little faces

What you see is an ‘Euphorbia gymnocalycioides’; a very rare succulent plant that originates from Ethiopia. It’s very seldom that one sees this plant in cultivation but this beauty is one of the gems in our garden.

And look closely …. all those little faces.

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300 mm and cropped

Unfortunately an appropriate telelens (at least 800mm) for photographing birds and other wildlife is from a budgetary point of view not within reach (any sponsors? Sony for example since I work with a Sony A77 camera?). So I just have to use my 70-300 mm zoom and crop the end result. A bit greenish but than a lush garden is green.

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Garden update pictured

As written a few months ago I like to picture plants and flowers in our little succulent garden. We are privileged to live in a climate (Stanford, South Africa) that allows a year-round floral display provided you have sourced the right vegetation. Succulent plants, cacti included, are not only water wise plants but also fascinating to look at; especially the details.

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