Weavers

Village Weaver_Manzini-Swaziland_LAH_0766-001 Weavers! I was sure that the hanging nests of carefully woven grass belonged to some sort of weaver bird. After all, I’d seen such things in National Geographic. Now, here I was in southern Africa and the Jacaranda tree in front of me was decorated with dozens of these nests! Bluebird-sized birds fluttered around, and if I squinted, I could see them entering and leaving these cocoons through holes at the bottom.

As I mentioned last month, I recently returned from a trip to Swaziland. Fifteen people from my church were there to love on some AIDS orphans, and I was the team photographer. While my focus was on the kids, I couldn’t help but scan my surroundings for birds. After all—how often was I going to get to Africa?

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Calibrachoa (gesundheit!)

calibrachoa-_colospgs-co_lah_5043Imagine a petite petunia with intensely-colored, trumpet-shaped blossoms in shades such as magenta, violet, or copper. Flowers smother the slightly fuzzy, gray-green leaves from late spring until the first hard frost. Prolific flowering means that new flowers quickly replace those damaged by hail, a major asset in our area. Mature plants reach about eighteen inches in width and are less than a foot high. A relative newcomer on the garden scene, Calibrachoa has already gained a place of honor among annual flowers.

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