By Julienne du Toit
Photographs by Chris Marais
In Namaqualand, the spring daisies keep civilized hours. Only after 10am do they wake up and smile for the cameras.
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the technicolour horizons of a good flower season. So stop anywhere and photograph a few metres of flowers at the side of the road. Just get to know a few blooms.
Suddenly you’ll notice their individual characters. One or two may be bashed about, with battered petals. Others are all fresh and trustful and budded. Look at the starry patterns they make on the earth.
Give a few photos all your attention. Soon you will be struck by the flowers’ blithe courage and careless beauty. It infects you and everyone else with great happiness.
It’s as if you glimpse the Great Spirit at work, just before you. A tangible grace.
Little pink felicias, delicate as anything you’d find in an English garden. White and yellow daisies, tough orange gazanias. Mesembs shiny in orange and pink, bright as iridescent sunbird feathers.
What is also so touching is how they group together in little book clubs of daisies. They look as if they are gossiping.
On windless days, all you can hear is the crunch of your own footsteps and the urgent buzzing of hundreds of pollinators hard at work. Many are evolved to ‘fit’ the plant they pollinate. And it’s not all about the bees. Certain flies have very long tongues that can only be used with spur flowers like diascias.
Grasses with fresh green seed-heads nod among the blooms.
The intensity! The foundation for the years ahead is laid in these few weeks. All this exuberance belies an unseen caution. Not every seed sprouts, not even in ideal conditions. Some are always left as reserve.
The diversity is so striking. In some places you see the Great Designer has been at work blending the Persian carpet spread before you with yellow, pink and white. Among them, flowering kanniedood aloes. It’s the Poor Man’s Mardi Gras in full swing out here….
- The Springbok Lodge and Restaurant often has the best tips on where the Namaqualand flowers are blooming.