I've grouped the red flowers with orange as there is a continuum between all flower colours so that no two are identical, but this particular shift is difficult to cordon off.
The warm colours in late winter are dominated by flowering succulents, mainly a huge diversity of aloes with their spear shaped inflorescences, some borne more dispersed as a tree of bells, and then the Cotyledon with its heads of hanging bells. Most of these succulents flowering now are red to orange or pinkish. They vary in size from enormous specimens of Aloe ferox (not indigenous) to tall clumps of flaming aloes over head height, and then tiny climbing aloes.
Round about this time of year bees become quite a problem because we have so many aloes and my dog has a habit of chasing and snapping at bees, they drive him crazy, and then I’m worried he’ll swallow one and his airways will swell up and choke him. But the up side is that these aloes have attracted malachite sunbirds, here in this over built up concrete jungle.
UPDATE: this year the bees have disappeared from our neighbourhood. We had to hand pollinate vegetables. I'm very concerned as to why. It may be the drought. Then they reappeared in spring after the rainy season. Its been a wet spring too.
The Cotyledon are mainly smallish plants with spoon shaped leaves, or more rarely big grey needles. They all have bell flowers. Some varieties can have leaves the size of a saucer and grow to waist high shrubs. I'm not a major collector but I have about 6 kinds, there are many more.
The next largest group in my area were, I found, the exotic Hibuscus, many at the tail end of their flowering season, but the deep red simple hibiscus and the frilly pink ones which are not at their fullest yet, do seem to come a bit later than the simple pale pinkish white ones which I photographed in late summer.
In our area is also red bell hibiscus which grows to the height of a large shrub or small tree which is now at its peak. I've found them easy to root too. Just stand a forearm length twig in a glass of water on the windowsill... that simple.
The aloes and succulents are largely indigenous, as is the Wilde dagga, or Leonotus leonorus, a large spicy smelling shrub. The Leonotus has attractive heads which are also interesting to look at when dried out on the bush. There is something about the Salvia family, I feel they are a must in every African garden, as perfumed medicinal plants which smell good in the strong sunshine, and whose flowers attract bees and nectar loving birds, as do the aloes.
Growing in our street are several of the Cape honey suckle, a shrubby sort of climber. Both this and Leonotus have bright orange flowers.
In our sandy area, there are indigenous Afrikaners, in massive stands growing in the long grass in a lovely rank garden on Merriman Street.
An isolated Clivia robusta ? was in a pot somewhere near there. None of my Clivias are flowering at present.
Many gardens have Crane flowers, and one has a massive majestic clump higher than head height. Orange flowers are borne by the Cape honeysuckle and the climber called Black Eyed Susan, and then there were exotic bottlebrush, Camelias, Pansies, Pointsettias, the red berries of the Brazilian pepper and then various other kinds of berries and foliage with warm colours which are also all exotics.
Bougainvilla is beginning to flower. I don’t like it because it is rank and invasive in the garden, has got so out of hand in gardens I know and I think it is basically ugly and boring in its form, and leaf, except for its diverse colours. Its hard to work with, covered in thorns which burn for days and penetrate shoes if a branch is left on the ground.
I could not include photographs of everything on this page, but I have a photo album of red flowers on another website. To see all the colour pages on this website, go to my navigation bar and hover over 'decoratives', then move down and hover over 'colours'. You can see each individual colour .
We all know about home gardening. Tell us about your successes, challenges and ask about issues that bother you. You may have the luxury of a back garden, but there are other ways we learn. Few people age without growing something or buying vegetables during their lives ! It is absolutely guaranteed that you have learned things which can help others on their gardening journey.
We invite you to share your stories, ask questions, because if a thing has bothered you it will bother others too. Someone may have a solution ! No question is too small. There is learning for everyone involved, for you, for me (yes, I learn from every question), for us all. Exciting stuff !
We are starting on a new journey. Every week we will profile your letters ! The best stories and questions we receive.