When I was contemplating a title for this post the words "tubular bells" came to mind but somewhere in the dim and distant recesses of the past I remembered a song by the same title. Wikipaedia, ever informative, confirmed that Mike Oldfield had a debut record album by that name in 1973. So, thank you Mike.
I found this succulent plant Cotyledon Orbiculata tucked away on the edge of the garden border, almost overshadowed by the flashy proteas and grasses. The pendulous, tubular, salmon-coloured flowers have a magnetic attraction for many of the little birds and bees which populate our garden and many's the afternoon I've tried to catch a shot of them hovering next to and dipping into the blossoms.
An interesting fact I found in my Ecoguide Fynbos by Colin Paterson-Jones and John Manning is that "the flower stalks were used by early hunters as a flute to mimic the call of a young klipspringer, luring the adults within arrow range".
The sculptural leaves are thick and fleshy and vary from silvery gray to green. Each leaf is outlined in red and more or less covered with a powdery white bloom, which prevents excessive water loss caused by the fierce summer sun.
I always knew the plant by its popular name "Pig's Ears" although some books call it "Dog's Ears". Either way it's a valuable little groundcover in hot areas and reminds me of a green rose. How I do miss my my rose pots left behind in Cape Town. Everyone told me that they wouldn't survive so close to the sea and unfortunately they were right. The only one I brought with me, a beautiful little red rose, given to me by my sister for an anniversary present, is very unhappy and despite plenty of TLC I don't think it's going to make it. Ah well, the lavenders and geraniums are flourishing.