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  • Writer's pictureOverstrand Life

Tuesday 20th September 2022 - Tadpoles and Paintbrush Plant

Despite some improvement, the weather was not that great over the weekend but it has been a whole lot better today; calm with sunny spells. We have been to the garden centre this afternoon and purchased cyclamens for some pots and pansies to replace the bedding begonias in the WI planter on the Fishermens’ Green which took a dreadful battering from the winds. We have cleared the leaves in the garden, brought down by the winds, and whilst doing so it was quite obvious the summer plants are starting to shut down. With the surface of our pond covered in duck week we decided, last week, to clear this. However, it wasn’t long before I saw there were still tadpoles in the pond and these were being lifted out, along with the duck weed, in the sieve I was using. I did feel bad and spent time picking them out and putting them back in the pond. In the end we decided to stop and maybe return on a sunny winter’s day to clear the duck weed. I had no idea there would still be tadpoles. I assumed they would have either completed their transition into frogs and hopped off into the garden, or have been eaten or died.

I am going back some years now. Peter’s mum had a plant which flowered freely and produced bulblets which she removed and potted on to give away. She gave me one of the bulblets which produced more but rather than removing the bulblets, I left them all in one pot. I didn’t know what the plant was called, neither did Peter’s mum. On a visit to the Sea Marge in 1998, I spotted an identical plant in the Frazers restaurant and asked member of staff, Denise, what it was. She didn’t know its name but it wasn’t the hotels, the plant belonged to her. Back home I took a photo of ours and sent it to Kew Gardens who wrote back and identified the plant as a native South African plant, Haemanthus albiflos, commonly known, because of its flowers, as the paintbrush. They also sent me a fact sheet, which I copied along with the letter and sent to Denise, care of the Sea Marge. The fact sheet said it produces flowers late summer to early autumn but unlike Peters mum’s plant, mine never produced a single bloom – that was until this year when to my surprise it has produced four blooms. I have always kept the plant in our lounge, both in our previous home and now here in Overstrand but earlier this year, I moved it from the lounge into the conservatory. I guess the extra light and summer warmth are why after so many years, my plant has finally flowered. As Peter’s mum spent part of her life in Africa, before settling in the UK, I wonder if she or her family brought back the original plant


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