Walk in the mountains and along the seashore
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Silvermine is divided into East and West by the Ou Kaapse Weg. When I was a child that road was a treat, FAR away, a scenic drive thru Table Mountain National Park. Now sadly as the coastal route is delayed by road works, and the next option - Chapman's Peak Drive - is a toll road, most of the traffic to the South Peninsula squeezes thru on THIS road.
We walked on the other side of Silvermine in May. The East climbs steeply up to the ridge. With the sight and sound of heavy traffic until you eventually get up and over. Steenberg Peak is 537 metres high. (The West side is more peaceful). Rock agamas and little birds enjoying the flowers accompanied us.
This Crassula grows its leaves in four regimented architectural rows, with vivid pink clusters of flowers at the tips of the branches. Many discarded photos of Diana battling to capture the flowers, in focus. One for my add to the garden list. Crassula coccinea? Altho I wouldn't describe those flowers as scarlet, they are vibrant.
Face palm! You wouldn't believe that mere rocks would do that, if you didn't see it.
Restios, proteas, ericas and bulbs tell me I am walking thru fynbos. Protea cynaroides as seen on the Kirstenbosch display at Chelsea, and growing wild and free on our mountain. Metalasia whose pink buds are prettier than the open flowers. Erica plukenetii with curved leaves. Erica cerinthoides fire heath. And another unidentified among over a hundred possible species.
With the traffic and suburbia forgotten behind us, the path winds on along the ridge with wide views to False Bay.
We walked thru swathes of these tiny yellow daisies, shrubs butterfly dancing as Gaura does. The next yellow daisy grows flat on the ground in a rosette of leaves. Luminous glow from a buttery yellow succulent. Pink spires of pea flowers. Pink and white Gladiolus. Another unnamed soft pink Erica. Blue Lobelia trumpets. Seriously blue Roella is another that I would love to grow in my garden. Tiny mauve Selago?
As the path wound up and down, around the rocky outcrops, we had tempting glimpses, then awesome views, across False Bay to Cape Hangklip. Over a few hours of hiking we met just a few more hikers in Silvermine East.
Down from the mountains, we walk along the seashore. A cormorant, after fishing in that cold ocean, stands with his wings spread to dry or to thaw out. Crucifixion of the cormorant and Spread wing postures
Hobie cat with its rainbow sail, against a sad layer of winter smog - traffic exhaust, wood fires, and somewhere there is a mountain fire.
A brave artist went out to rock exposed at low tide and built this cairn - like a sand castle against the incoming tide.
We so enjoy all the 'where shall we walk this week' choices around False Bay!
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