My neighbourhood: West


Up the road, past the Zuid-Afrikaanse Hospital (against whose concrete walls this aloe was photographed; the row of aloes have since puzzlingly been removed), up into the part of Nieuw-Muckleneuk bordering the grounds of Unisa.

Runners in the neighbourhood training for the Comrades Marathon know it well, too - they run up a certain very steep hill to Unisa 11, 12 times. And is this hill x 12 anything like the Comrades? A faint glimmer of Cowies Hill, they answer.

Along this steep hill there’s a beautiful yellowwood with substantial girth - but it’s obscured by that bête verte, Cocos palms planted by the owners on the pavement.

Because it is an old neighbourhood, there are interesting plants in the gardens, including a couple of mature broad-leaved coral trees (Erythrina latissima), an uncommon tree. Here is another specimen, included because the gardener always fixes a stern eye on me when I press my nose against the gate to look at this.

I get more than a stern eye when attempting to photograph a property that is ‘‘special”, according to the metro cop who demanded that I delete my photos. It has a wall sweeping up to the façade snugly wallpapered with tickey creeper, Ficus pumila, and neat diagonals of larkspur showing the hand of the city parks department. You’ll just have to imagine it.

Nieuw-Muckleneuk garden

A male ginger bush, Tetradenia riparia, inconspicuous when not in flower and underused by us.