In Search of an Aandblom

While growing up on rural Overberg farms, there was a certain time of year of when my dad would come home with a small bunch of ‘Aandblomme’.  I didn’t know what these precious gems were called, other than by their common name.  It was only much later in my life that I learnt what they were.

These amazing little Gladioli bulbs only flower at a certain time of year, and if you don’t know what you are looking at, I guess they can be perceived as being insignificant. They name translates to ‘evening flower’.  When the sun goes down, these amazing little flowers produce a spicy smell, reminiscent of cloves to attract moths for pollination.

Keeping in mind that I feel more than a little sentimental about the lovely ‘Aandblom’, I am on alert whenever driving in September. I spotted my first ‘Aandblom’ of the season last Monday, not only one but TWO different species along the road between Van Brakel Stoor and Bredasdorp.

With that in mind, my mom and I went for a drive in search of the illusive ‘Aandblom’.  We were both more than a little disappointed that the ‘Aandblomme’ seemed to have disappeared.

We took a different route home and found an array of beautiful bulbs and flowering plants in the Renosterveld, which is critically endangered due to habitat destruction.  Renosterveld, typically, is pretty grey and can appear to be ‘boring’ ~ except in spring when we have an abundance of flowering bulbs!

We found various Watsonias, Orchids and even a rare Leucospurmum species! 

Did we find our Aandblom? Yes we did! And what a joy it was!

Our Aandblom - Gladiolus grandis
Watsonia species
Orchid species