For me there is nothing more beautiful and calming than being in nature before 'the early bird catches the worm' and being treated to a sighting of dew forming little clear magnifying droplets on flowers. I took these pictures early one morning before dashing off to a hectic day at work - real food for the soul.
'Gardening with INDIGENOUS SHRUBS' by David & Sally Johnson and Geoff Nichols (page 71) - has this to say about the Mackaya Bella:
'Size: up to 3x3m.
Natural habitat: Mackaya is found naturally in the wetter parts of the east (RSA). It occurs in coastal and mist-belt forest, often in the undergrowth.
Growth form: Mackaya is usually shrubby and densely evergreen. The leaves are large and brilliant, dark and neatly serrated. Mackaya is deservedly famed for the BEAUTY OF ITS FLOWERS. These are quite large and a very pale mauve, striped with purple inside. They appear in profusion in spring, sometimes dominating along the edges of forests.
Uses: Mackaya makes a sparkling large shrub and is always worth planting where the climate is suitable. While flowering best where it gets several hours of sun each day, it also enjoys partial shade. An ideal position is the east side of a wall, tall tree or forest clump. Growth is fast, 1m or so per year, and first flowering occurs at two years. Mackaya makes a good screen for a shady position where other plants would struggle. It enjoys a warm summer provided that the rainfall is high; if the summer is temperate it can manage with moderate rainfall. Mackaya has little frost tolerance but if planted in the proper place this is never a problem.'
I created the following Mackaya Bella layout today, which was actually the fastest I have ever scrapped a layout. This just proves that good pictures create a layout on their own. And with the aid of the latest beautiful BASIC GREY patterned paper range, there was no battle to be won.
I leave you with the following 'Words on Beauty' by Helen Exley:
'When in these fresh mornings I go into my garden before anyone is awake, I go for the time being into perfect happiness. In this hour divinely fresh and still, the fair face of every flower salutes me with a silent joy that fills me with infinite content; each gives me its color, its grace, its perfume, and enriches me with consummation of its beauty.'