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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wishing you a Wonderful Christmas from the West Coast







Nowadays, when I take a walk through the fynbos, I notice that the West Coast fairies have been very busy decorating their Christmas trees! We normally call this bush the tortoise berry shrub. In spring the strong thorny plants are covered in pretty pink flowers. And then, in December a wonderful berry pops out of each flower. It goes through so many colour changes, starting with light beige, soft green, yellow, followed by the purples until it reaches the final bright red colour. Look at my painting and the photographs and you can see how closely it resembles a beautifully decorated tree in miniature!

I never knew that there were West Coast fairies, but now there is a wonderful book: "Fynbos Fairies" by the poet Antjie Krog and illustrator Fiona Moody, and they have captured our fascinating ethnical community of fairies. The synopsis on loot.co.za reads: "There is a fairy living around each species of Cape Fynbos ----they work and play, they tend the fynbos or make a mess. They laugh, they sleep, they dream - life's busy for your average fynbos fairy in the veld."

The bright red tortoise berries are beloved by fairies, children, tortoises and birds who all love the thirst-quencing astringent tasting little morsels. Mmm, what a neat idea: the baubles on the West Coast fairies' tree are edible! The botanical name of the berry bush: Nylandtia spinosa. The book was published by Umuzi . ISBN 978-1-4152-0022-3

12 comments:

  1. Oh Marie! I absolutely love this painting! It is truly gorgeous and does indeed look like a finely dressed Christmas tree! Thank you too for the information about something that I don't see here!

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  2. They're so gorgeous Marie and so is your painting - it's only an artist's eye that can see this beautiful resemblance!

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  3. What a wonderful tree to have locally. Your photos certainly make it look like fairies have been around with little paint brushes as the colours seem to change so. Like your version too.

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  4. What a great story and what a delightful berry bush. They really do look like miniature decorations on a tree. You've captured their charm in this painting.

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  5. Absolutely beautiful Marie! I always knew there were fairies at the bottom of the garden, now I am aware of the Fynbos ones!

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  6. This is stunning! I love the way you turned the Fynbos berries into a most beautiful Christmas gift to the followers of your blog. Have been anxiously awaiting the festive painting, and as always you have produced a truly lovely work. May you and yours have a safe and peaceful holiday season.

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  7. How magical your photos and indeed too, your painting! Your warm thoughts cross the ocean and open our eyes to the beauty that surrounds you. What a wonderful gift to receive. Have a splendid holiday, Marie.

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  8. What a wonderful post to celebrate the season, Marie! Nature is a master decorator. All we have to do is to observe closely and learn!
    Love your painting! Don't let the fairies become confused-think it's real-and carry it off!

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  9. The colors and the story are delightful. I cannot believe the colors of the berries.

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  10. Hi Marie, great photos, story and most of all great painting. Happy New Year.

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  11. Your edible baubles are beautiful! I hope you had a wonderful season..
    Ronelle

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  12. Thank you to all my dear friends who played along and indulged in a little bit of fantasy with me!

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