Memories came flooding back as I hiked along a coastal path laid through a natural rock garden full of blooming wild flowers. The colours were striking- oh how Mother Nature combines her artist’s palette! It’s the colour magenta that triggers the wistful memories of childhood and my father’s garden. Even back in those days there were drought years and water was rationed. My father was a canny gardener choosing waterwise plants and along the front wall section a thick stand of sturdy Magenta Lampranthus (mesembryanthemum) took pride of place. Every spring the flowers dazzled in an exuberant show of glittering brilliance. There were other species too though not quite as showy but as fondly remembered. In contrast, there was a bed of delicate lacy pink flowers of nerine species – bulbs which had come from my maternal grandparents’ garden. Stately cannas stood in hardy rows; pelargoniums, honeysuckle, plumbago were also some of his favoured species. Gazanias, narcissi, ranuculas – all presented a plethora of colour and form. Gardening was his hobby and I smile when I think of him on his ‘collecting’ sprees – garnering slips or collecting seed pods from other gardens. Amazing how he coaxed things to grow. Which brings me back to the present and the lessons on learning to live in harmony with nature; bringing balance, conserving precious resources like soil and water.