Seasons: Spring at Pretoria NBG
Daytime temperatures may rise in September, but evenings are still cool. Many trees and perennials suddenly burst into flower, some even before the new leaves appear. It's an exciting time of year. The birds become active again and their calls fill the air as they busily begin building new nests and choosing mates. It is usually still a little dry as the rains often don't start until November.
Mesembs (vygies) captivate and enchant all. Their brilliant shimmering flowers appear in a variety of colours; red, mauve, pink, orange or white. Scrub hares are particularly partial to these plants and often make a meal of them before they have an opportunity to flower. At this time of year, grey duiker sometimes wander into the cultivated section of the Garden to look for food. They are browsers and feed on leaves, flowers and fruits, but in spring the natural bush is still dry and leafless and food is scarce.
The Medicinal Garden is also a pleasure to visit at this time and a variety of bulbs that were hiding underground during the cold winter months suddenly appear in all their brilliance. The bright red paintbrush (Scadoxus puniceus) is an excellent example.
It is quite special to witness the purple blossoms of the many tree wisterias (Bolusanthus speciosus) that are planted all over the Garden. The lane of Bolusanthus trees planted along the service road that runs parallel to Cussonia Avenue just outside the Garden is spectacular.
On the ridge, Ochna pretoriensis (Magalies plane) and Ochna pulchra (peeling plane) become clothed in masses of yellow flowers. Ochna pulchra has an attractive white bark which peels off in flakes. A broad band of clivias (Clivia miniata) lines pathways near the Tea Garden.
Rothmannia globosa (September bells) is covered in large, scented, creamy white bells and the many acacia trees (thorn trees) are adorned with fluffy, often scented flowers.