|Eros School. Teach me tonight?|
|A giant bird of paradise, Kandis and Barb firmly in its bill. Wak Wak!|
|Look out Jennnyyyyyy!!! Those things are ravenous!|
I grow these sweet periwinkle blue Cape daisies in hanging baskets on my porch back in Ohio. So many of the flowers I was seeing have been adopted by horticulturists the world around. That's what made visiting the Cape region such a hoot for me, as an avid gardener. Here, Rootie and Barb page through their field guide, puzzling out something they've just seen.
One of the first things I found upon entering the garden was a giant hissing cockroach, rooting around in some mulch. Picked it up and showed it to everyone as it squirmed, kicked and cussed in a high thin voice. It was a kind of icebreaker, to reaffirm that we'd be appreciating a little bit of everything on this trip. I was pleased by the women's collective interest. No yikers or shudderers here! Jenny even asked for a lesson on holding such a creature. The only thing: not to fear it.
Egyptian goose was to be our most ubiquitous bird country-wide, being seen on every single day of the three-week trip, from highlands to seacoast.
But we'd never see the "Gyppo," as Leon calls it, better than we did on this day!
Helmeted guineafowl were pretty much everywhere, too, talking and squawking and walking through the gardens. The moire of their plumage casts a hypnotic spell if you stop long enough to appreicate it. Yes, the domestic ones have barely changed from their wild progenitors. Except, of course, where we've seen fit to breed them pure white. Why? How is that better than padded in elegant dotted Swiss?
Mountain light played over indigenous metal sculptures of dinosaurs, stomping through ancient cycads.
I practically needed a bib to make my hurried way through the garden's nursery shop. I was drooling over baby plants I was sure I could grow in my greenhouse. No, Zick, you can't take ANYTHING home with you. You're flying, remember?
So I got a little glass-beaded zebra for Liam back home. I needed a souvenir already; it was that kind of trip. We filled our empty bellies with delicious food at the garden's cafe (I got a Middle Eastern platter)
and resumed our leisurely tour of this magical place
where a malachite sunbird paused for a split second, giving me my only decent look and shot of the trip. Sunbirds are maddening to photograph, staying still approximately half as long as hummingbirds do. They're the hummingbird's Old World ecological equivalent, but sunbirds are too big and heavy to hover, so they've perfected clinging!