Well winter has certainly arrived here at Swallows Nest! Winter is our rainy season here and we've just had almost 2 weeks of wet weather. The sun would pop out for brief moments as the wind pushed clouds across the sky, but on the whole, its been grey and misty. Lovely weather for growing proteas. And despite what you might think, its not so bad to pick them in either, as long as you are suited up in your warmest wet-weather gear. It is actually something I enjoy, in a strange kind of way - getting out in the weather and working. As long as there is a warm fire and a good cup of tea waiting when I'm finished!
The Neriifolias are starting to bloom.
I love the way mist wafts through the valley - so peaceful.
My picking companions have been rather entertaining lately. The spaniel (too excited to catch a photo that wasn't just a blur of brown and white) has been rushing about madly and ending up drenched. She comes back to the house looking like a homeless dog! The cat seems to manage, miraculously I think, to maintain a complete state of composure and doesn't even seem to get wet! Her winter coat must have waterproofing!
I've been focusing on pruning in the last few weeks, as some of our leucadendrons have grown too tall for their own good. Generally, pruning is something that is done at harvest time, but we're playing catch up this year. There have been areas of planting that have been neglected due to our family situation over the last few years. Some of our Safari Sunset are over 3 metres tall this year and are being pruned back to a more manageable size. This type of Leucadendron has a root system called a lignotuber, and this means that it can be pruned quite happily, without causing damage to the plant. In fact, they seem to thrive on pruning. I'm looking forward to next years crop already - I know the plants are going to be happily pushing out lovely long stems.
After such a long rainy spell, its beautifully sunny today so I'm off to take advantage of the blue skies - I'll leave you with a "before" shot of the beginnings of our new flower shed.