The other stand out aromatic that regrew from their burnt roots were an array of wild Buchu’s. The species that are found on the mountainside around here have an impressive array of flavours including citrus, orange blossom and aniseed whose fragrance is released when the teeny tiny oil glands at the back of the small leaves are bruised gently with your fingertips. The flavour of this wild herb can be harnessed by imparting its scent as simply as steeping in oil, vinegar or honey, made into a tincture or syrup and used in all manner of sweet treats.
I was standing in the kitchen last Monday morning with my hands in the sink, deep in the domestic duties of getting ready for the early morning school run. Something caught my eye and I looked up out the window at the mountainside. It seemed to shimmer and wink at me. “I have to go” I said, turning around to Tom who was sorting out some seeds and drinking coffee. “Do you mind if I go for a walk right now?” Tom is amazing and can handle the school run as well as fighting a blazing wall of fire bare foot, and took over the filling of lunch boxes and finding a lost shoe and signing an overdue crumpled sports form discovered in the bottom of a school bag while I ran outside and up the mountain with the dogs.
Sometimes the plants call you and sometimes they shout and you just have to listen. Scanning the landscape, the colours led us on a wandering winding walk, picking out mauves and pinks and oranges as well as all of the blues in the world.
You know how it goes – as soon as you spot one interesting plant, the rest magically pop up into your vision. On that morning walk there were plants flowering all over the place in bright pockets – around the rocks, over hills, along stretches of the veld and right in the middle of the pathway, with the majority of the flowers a dazzling array of blue like a paintbox filled with all the jewelled hues of the sea and the sky – exquisite Agapanthus africanus, Aristea macrocarpa, Aristea africana and more.