Canberra’s spring festival…..the South African Embassy

As part of the spring festival in Canberra, many Embassies have opened their doors and gardens to the public, and South Africa is one of those Embassies.

IMG_5145 (640x367)The South African Embassy is one of the oldest in the diplomatic circle in Canberra. The beautiful Cape Dutch building was established in 1956, and the gardens were designed at this time. The elegant buildings and grounds reflect the era in which it was built.

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It is surprising these lovely long lawns have survived the drought. Nowadays many embassies, including this one, have very large water tanks to store rain water. Some years ago, Canberra suffered 10 years of drought, and since then there have been permanent water restrictions for watering gardens.

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However, this year we have had plenty of winter rainfall and everything is looking very green and lush.

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The Galahs have found some tasty seeds in the lawns of the Embassy, and, a Magpie is making a nest in one of the many trees nearby.IMG_5154 (640x480)IMG_5150 (640x368)During nesting times, Magpies become very territorial, and I’m watching her, watching me…..

In the front of the building is a wonderful bush full of proteas, the emblem for South Africa. My mother spent her childhood in South Africa, and she felt homesick every time she saw a protea…(or a Red Hot Poker, or Flame Lily)

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The plants in the garden are a mix of those that grow well in Canberra and those that represent South Africa..

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colourful, frost tolerant salvias..


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African daisy

and some flowers that seem to have strayed in from Monet’s garden…

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We visited South Africa a few years ago and enjoyed the markets, the colourful fruit and vegetables and the lovely fresh food served in restaurants…….IMG_5050 (634x640)

As one of the South African waiters said to me…when I mentioned that she had given me a very large serving….

“‘ What are you worrying about?……you can go on a diet when you get home….”

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I’m using this logic today at the Embassy cupcake stall…even though home isn’t very far away.




17 Replies to “Canberra’s spring festival…..the South African Embassy”

  1. Looking at this I felt I was in Cape Town dreaming of scrumptious scones with strawberry jam and cream – served on delicate bone china plates. Elegant lifestyle!

  2. Lovely post! And I always say to farmer’s market customers, “calories don’t count on weekends!” Enjoy your spring.
    I am bracing for more heavy, destructive rain as a coastal hurricane passes by then next few days! More rock necessary!!! 😉

    1. Thanks Diane, good luck with the coastal hurricane, sounds awful…….hope it passes you by, and doesn’t damage your beautiful garden..

    1. I agree about the camellia…it was only when I downloaded the photo onto the computer I thought it looks as if it was made of satin!

    1. Yes I agree Sylvia, those lovely old Cape Dutch buildings….and the South African Embassy gardens are gorgeous. They are near the road, and whenever I drive passed I think how cool and tranquil everything looks… a bygone era.

  3. King protea (Protea cynaroides)
    The African daisy is a gazania, but a new variety.

    That building is about my age. I wonder if they will adapt the garden to be a little more of an echo of South Africa’s plants, since ideas have changed down the decades. A time capsule.

    Are any of those plants in your pictures Australian natives?

    1. I don’t know if the Embassy will change, but most gardens in Canberra have changed dramatically since the drought. Most gardens now have at least some native plants, and the Botanic Gardens are lovely, full of Australian natives and trees and of course, plenty of birdlife. I’m going to do a post on the grounds around Parliament House which are all filled with native plants and very interesting.

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