Flowers and trees

It’s remarkable how much the flora and fauna here resembles a Dr. Seuss illustration.  When I first arrived, the purple and yellow trees were flowering.  Now, the trees shading the staff parking lot have exploded into bright red blooms, there’s a tree at the guest house with flowers resembling bottle brushes, and every day on my way to campus, I pass a tree full of puffy green pom-poms.  No wonder my eyes have been feeling a little scratchy lately.

The climate here is sub-tropical, and fairly arid at the moment.  There’s quite a bit of irrigating that happens on campus, though, and I have to smile whenever I see a garden of amaryllises (amarylli?) which I have previously known only as a houseplant.  (And, in true college-gardening fashion, they are removed and replaced after blooming.)  At the Bunda Ltd. farm, I saw some thriving roses, though in many places on campus the gardeners water scrubby brown grass in vain.  Some of the more interesting plants are thorny, flowering bushes and a shrub-like specimen with flowers that look just like a vinca.  There are lots of succulent plants here, too, cacti and aloe as well as the occasional palm tree and those bright red, yellow, and green leafy plants, like the one in my mom’s kitchen.  Throw various fruit trees – mango, paw-paw, lemon – in the mix, and it’s quite a sight to see.

Surprisingly, though, it’s hard to get good pictures of these things.  The colors aren’t quite as bright on my camera, and the abundance of plant life creates a visual cacophony when I try to do wide angle shots.  Since it’s spring but not raining yet, the plants are in various stages of growth – some trees are green, some flowering, and some bare, and shurbs are often stick-like in the foreground.  I’ve also had trouble capturing scale – whether it’s my (new) camera, the lighting, or user error, I don’t know.

Here are a few of the photos I’ve been able to get (of varying quality).  Let me know if they’re too small – I’m trying to optimize uploading time.

Visual cacophony!  I took this a few weeks ago when the yellow and purple trees were still in bloom.  Note the cacti in the foreground.

This is the pom-pom tree.  It reminds me of The Lorax.

Don’t the flowers look like bottle brushes?

Amaryllises – blooming outside!

If you don’t find plant life all that interesting (my mom does, and this is her blog), stay tuned for my next post:  moving to town and the conveniences of modern life!

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2 Responses to “Flowers and trees”

  1. Kaitlin Says:

    I read your posts religiously and love your insights on all things Malawi!

    I enjoyed the plant post… especially since tonight we’re supposed to get the first big freeze, which should pretty much knock out any flowers that are still left here in the Midwest.

    Take care!
    ~kaitlin

  2. Jules Says:

    Hi,

    I have been reading your interesting blog and as an African myself thought I’d give a tip or two!

    Try the Chibuku with Sugar and do serve it chilled.The purple trees are called Jacaranda Trees and if you are prone to Hayfever, this will be your mortal enemy. When in bloom, it also affects allergy sufferers’ eyes.

    Good Luck!

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