22 June, 2016

Walk in the mountains and along the seashore

- 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.

Come this way
in Silvermine East

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.

Rock agama along the Silvermine East path

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.

Crassula coccinea ?

Face palm! You wouldn't believe that mere rocks would do that, if you didn't see it.

Face palm on Steenberg

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.

Restios, proteas and ericas at Silvermine in May

With the traffic and suburbia forgotten behind us, the path winds on along the ridge with wide views to False Bay.

Silvermine East

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?

Wildflowers at Silvermine in May

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.

Silvermine to Cape Hangklip

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

Cormorant thawing out

Hobie cat with its rainbow sail, against a sad layer of winter smog - traffic exhaust, wood fires, and somewhere there is a mountain fire.

Hobie cat

A brave artist went out to rock exposed at low tide and built this cairn - like a sand castle against the incoming tide.

Stone cairn in May 2016

We so enjoy all the 'where shall we walk this week' choices around False Bay!

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Pictures by Jurg and Diana Studer
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  1. You couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day for your walk! What a luminous sky. Ours continues to be a little TOO luminous, though rain clouds look promising tonight. Hope your niece is doing well.

    1. Hope you DO get that much needed rain!

      Winter days in Cape Town range from - it only rained once, all day - to perfect blue sky days.

  2. You live in a truly wonderful spot with beautiful scenery and wild flowers everywhere, going for walks must be such a joy!

  3. You DO have the most marvelous opportunities for scenic walks! Great water views and beautiful wildflowers, the diversity of which is much greater than we'd find in any of our few remaining wild areas. I loved the photo of the Cormorant and I can sympathize with both the traffic and smog issues - a dirty gray blanket has laid over the harbor below us for almost 2 weeks now.

    1. They call our summer Southeaster the Cape Doctor, as it blows the smog 'away'. We used to drive from Camps Bay, over Kloof Nek, and come down into the City Bowl, the haze of smog.

  4. So calming, and the wildflowers are beautiful!

    1. You always seem to have lovely relaxing outings. A very nice flair putting this post together. The Cormorant is a great capture.

    2. Thank you - I enjoy weaving the threads together.

  5. Such stunning flowers and beautiful photographs Diana.

  6. I loved the scenic walk, and your cormorant, he looks much bigger than the skinny little guys down at our lake. The distinctly South African flowers are always great to see, and then the beautiful views of False Bay and Cape Hangklip.

    1. Cormorant is deceptive. Neatly folded up he looks less imposing.

  7. Such wonderful scenery and wildlife you have!
    As well as the flower (obviously), I love the cormorant and the little cairn. It's funny how people have this inbuilt urge to pile one stone on top of another.
    The rock agama was a new one to me - you live and learn...
    Best wishes :)

  8. What a great scenic hike! i love rocks, so I especially enjoyed seeing the face palm. Also, I am still mystified by how stone cairns stay balanced!

    1. I can see a couple of ? pebbles or shells between the big round stones - but the first wave ... down it must have gone!

  9. It feels like another world with so many beautiful and different things to discover and it is wonderful being taken there through your blog.The Chapman's Peak road seems a challenge to maintain. It was lovely to end your walk by the sea, we watched a comorant sitting on the edge of the beach for ages before diving in for food! Sarah x

    1. When I was a child in Camps Bay we used to see great skeins of cormorants flying along the coast. Now we sometimes see tens or twenties.

  10. The cormorants with the wing-drying posture are familiar from my own Gulf of Maine coast. Do you know what caused the Face Palm rock formation? In my climate, we would turn to the glaciers as the most likely explanation, but I doubt that works at your latitude. -Jean

    1. Table Mountain sandstone weathers to our sandy soil. Prevailing Southeaster and heavy winter rain over geological time ... and the mountain is ground down.