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Cosmos in Delta Park

#Gauteng52, Week 12: The Cosmos of Delta Park

Welcome to Week 12 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I will visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit Delta Park, which explodes with pink and white cosmos flowers every autumn. This #Gauteng52 post is cheating a little because I’ve been to Delta Park — a huge city park bordering the suburbs of Craighall Park, Blairgowrie, Victory Park, and Linden — before. But up until yesterday I had never been to Delta Park during cosmos season, which transforms this park into a totally different place. Fields full of cosmos in Delta Park. Cosmos are wildflowers that made their way to South Africa in contaminated horse feed during the Anglo Boer War; the flowers are native to the Americas. The cosmos took to the dry climate of the South African highveld and everywhere the horses fed, the cosmos grew. The flowers seem especially fond of ditches along rural South African roads and highways, and they grow like wildfire in Delta Park. Cosmos: Johannesburg’s Autumn Leaves March is the beginning of autumn in South Africa. We might not have the same abundance of fall leaves that I grew up with in America (there are some, but not […]

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Pink roses at the Multiflora Market

#Gauteng52, Week 7: Johannesburg’s Multiflora Market

Welcome to Week 7 of my #Gauteng52 challenge, for which I will visit and blog about a new place in Gauteng Province every week for 52 straight weeks. This week I visit the Multiflora Market, a massive wholesale flower market east of downtown Joburg. I love taking photos in warehouses and factories and the Multiflora Market had been high on my list for a long time. But you have to go at the crack of dawn to catch the action, and it’s not easy to drag oneself out of bed at 5:30 a.m. to look at flowers. Luckily the #Gauteng52 project finally gave me the motivation I needed. The Multiflora Market was founded in 1944 and is the largest flower market in Africa. Every morning before dawn, farmers from across South Africa ship boxes and boxes of fragrant blooms into this warehouse, where they go up for auction and get shipped out again to florists, grocery store chains, and even the guys who hawk flowers at street intersections. Buyers come to the Multiflora Market from all over Joburg, South Africa, other African countries, and even Europe. Cartloads of flowers lined up for auction in the Multiflora warehouse. Stopping to Smell the Roses at the Multiflora Market […]

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I’ve been attacked by an end-of-year malaise. My blogging motivation — and motivation in general — has flagged. So I thought I’d return to my quick-and-easy Instagram for Art’s Sake project today. Blooming. The agapanthus is one of my favorite indigenous summer flowers in South Africa. I love the word, too. So exotic. This lone agapanthus bloomed in my backyard last week. I took several photos of it but this is the only shot I’m happy with.

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Houghton Heritage

Tomorrow is Heritage Day, a South African public holiday. South Africa has lots of public holidays. I have trouble keeping track of them and what they mean. Heritage Day is pretty simple though — it’s a day to celebrate South Africa’s heritage. This can mean basically anything, because South Africa, like the United States, is a very diverse place with lots of different heritages. So basically, Heritage Day is an excuse to take the day off from work and do fun cultural things. Heritage Day falls on a Monday this year, which means we have a whole long weekend of cultural celebrations to choose from. Today, my friend Horst and I celebrated Heritage Day weekend by going on a tour of private gardens in Upper Houghton, sponsored by a local charity called Gardens of the Golden City.

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A Rose by Any Other Name…

Yesterday I had a picnic with the girls in the rose garden at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens. Under a tree in the rose garden on a quiet Wednesday afternoon. It was the perfect picnic spot. I’ve been to the rose garden many times and I wrote a post about it once, a million years ago. I hadn’t planned to blog about yesterday’s outing. But it was such an enjoyable experience that I decided it was blog-worthy. Especially because, for the first time ever, I got some decent photos of the amazing roses there.

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High and Low

I shot some photos in the garden the other day. All were snapped within a 10-foot radius of each other, although I shot half while looking down and the other half while looking up. The ‘down’ shots were taken in the middle of the afternoon and the ‘up’ shots were taken at sunset. There’s no need to search high and low for beauty around here. It’s everywhere you look. LOW Tiny wildflower.

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A Post About Photowalking, and a Whole Lot More

This post was supposed to be about a photowalk. Most of you know that I’m part of the Joburg Photowalkers; last Saturday we did a walk around St. John’s College, the oldest prep school in Jozi. It’s a beautiful campus — very Dead Poets Society. It was a lovely place to explore and I enjoyed it. The courtyard at St. John’s. It was a Saturday, unfortunately, so there were no cute high school boys walking around in jackets and ties. As I edited through my pictures of St. John’s, I realized this post should be about something else. Or rather someone else. This post is about Joe.

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Part 3 of a 3-part series about the Cederberg Heritage Route. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. When I left off, my travel companions and I had spent a magical evening in the village of Hugel-Bugel (a.k.a. Heuningvlei). We awoke early the next morning for the final installment of our Cederberg adventure: a hike across Krakadouw Pass. Our guide for the day was Abraham, an ageless, salt-of-the-earth kind of man. Abraham has lived in Heuningvlei all his life. He has worked tirelessly to encourage conservation and responsible tourism in the Cederberg. Abraham.

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The Fleeting Life of a Melville Iris

Flowers bloom easily and frequently in Joburg. But they don’t always bloom for long. The blooms on wild irises, also known as Dietes grandiflora, open gloriously for one day. The next day the blossom is shriveling, and the day after that it’s completely gone. We have several large clumps of wild irises in our back garden and yesterday they all bloomed at once. I had my camera ready.

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Bloomin’ Aloe

I’m leaving town for a few days and probably won’t have internet access. Before I go, I want to share a few recent pictures from the garden at the Lucky 5 Star. Before moving to South Africa, the only aloes I’d ever seen were aloe vera plants — droopy house plants that people keep around for when they burn themselves. Here there are hundreds of different kinds of aloes, ranging from small, cabbage-sized plants to massive trees. I’ve also recently learned that aloes grow tall, flaming orange blooms in early winter.

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Escape to the Rainy Countryside

Joe and I needed a to get away. But we didn’t have much money or time to get away with. So last weekend we decided to take a short trip to Magaliesburg, just an hour or so from Joburg, and spend the night at a B&B. I was excited at the prospect of getting away from the city, albeit for a short while, to relax in the sunshine and frolic in grassy mountain meadows. We awoke on Saturday morning to leaden gray skies and chilly pouring rain. Ew. The weather forecast predicted little change for the rest of the weekend. We nearly opted not to go at all, but we’d already put down a deposit. So we went and I’m glad we did.

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