Some leisurely lurking around our garden pond in times past yielded some patterns pleasing to the eye and to the mind. In these troubled times and after the widespread damage from the fearsome hailstorm we experienced last week, for this post I settle for some undemanding peace and quiet.

The severity of the hailstorm did not result only in damage to vehicles and to residential  housing, but also it caused significant damage to electrical infrastructure such as substations and transformers, to water and sanitation infrastructure, to roads and bridges, and to municipal buildings including our iconic City Hall. The estimated cost to municipal infrastructure amounts to R2,8 billion and the city has declared a local state of disaster.

So, for this more soothing post I have selected from my stash of old images photos taken of our pond and surrounding plants. Since the storm, the pond has not been looking its best: the water plants are shattered and shredded and there is a lot of plant debris all over the garden, which on an ongoing basis we are still clearing up, including out of the pond.

In the image above, the reflected sky and the reflection and shadow of leaves create a dreamlike quality as tadpoles forage on the surface of a submerged rock.

Garden pond patterns and reflections

At the pond there is a stand of tall emezi grass also known as mat sedge (Cyperus textilis). The vertical reflections of the reed-like stems alternate with narrow stripes of bright reflected sky, and add to the layered effect produced by water plants, fallen leaves and rocks in our garden pond.

Damselfly perching on vegetation near pond

The narrow leaves and stems of wild irises and sedges provide a diffuse patterned backdrop for this damselfly with its veined wings outstretched.

Skeins of frog spawn from guttural toads decorating a pond

Thick strands of spawn from guttural toads (Sclerophrys gutturalis) are coiled around a rock and then back and forth across the pond, making for an arresting pattern in the pond.

An adult Natal tree frog (Leptopelis natalensis) perched on a leaf near a garden pond in KwaZulu-Natal.

An adult Natal tree frog (Leptopelis natalensis) is perched on a long narrow Crinum leaf beside the pond. The frog’s amber eyes contrast strikingly with the camouflage patterns on its skin. Female tree frogs can lay as many as 200 eggs in shallow burrows or among dead leaves near the water’s edge. Once the tadpoles hatch they are able to wriggle to the water and even climb over stones and sticks in their path.

Leaves of a Berula erecta at garden pond

Leaves and shadows of the lesser water-parsnip (Berula thunbergii /erecta) pattern rocks in the pond.

A perched dragonfly showing veined wings

Frequent visitors to the pond are dragonflies. This one is showing the delicate tessellated patterning of its wings.

Pattern from inflorescences of the dwarf papyrus (Cyperus prolifer)

Dwarf or miniature papyrus plants (Cyperus prolifer) form spikey and almost spherical inflorescences making for a densely patterned architecture in the bog garden next to our pond.

Asparagus fern decorated with droplets of rain

After a gentle rain the needle-fine leaves of the broom asparagus (Asparagus virgatus) form a pattern of reflective raindrop crystals. The plant, also known as the asparagus fern, bears tiny white flowers in the summer that lead to small red berries that are relished in particular by visiting vervet monkeys. 

Pattern formed by leaves of the common sedge (Juncus effusus)

In soft focus, the spine-shaped leaves of the common rush (Juncus effusus) provide parallel patternings alongside the pond. And to finish, below is a raindrop decorated flower of the yellow wild iris (Dietes bicolour).

Close-up of flower of the Dietes bicolour

Yesterday brought very sad and shocking news. A close friend of my sister’s, a lovely kind-hearted family man with an irresistibly buoyant sense of humour and an adventurous spirit, died suddenly a few days after the onset of Covid-19 symptoms. He will be greatly missed and we send our deepest condolences to his family.

He was a huge fan of the Rolling Stones. So in his memory I link here to one of the Rolling Stones’ quieter songs, ‘As Tears Go By’ – in memory of Mike, and may he rest in peace.

Posted by Carol