From the Sentinel to Redhill

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

In August the Ungardener scrambled up Steenberg Buttress to Lower Steenberg Peak all the way up 504 metres from sea level. Tuesday rain dancers kindly bringing us some rain most weeks.

Steenberg Buttress
Steenberg Buttress

My fynbos ramble went to Cape Point where the everlasting daisies were tight buds. A fortnight later Syncarpha speciosissima flowers were open at Redhill. The landscape dotted with sunshine bushes Leucadendron salignum in spring golden leaves.

Syncarpha speciosissima at Cape Point in August Leucadendron salignum
Syncarpha speciosissima at Cape Point in August
Leucadendron salignum

Tiniest of the proteas (zoom in to see the ant for scale) is Diastella divaricata. China flower Adenandra villosa gleaming like delicately glazed porcelain. Vibrant blue of Lobelia pinifolia. You know the blushing bride protea, demure in pink and white? This is her feisty fiery sister in glowing golds. Serruria villosa endemic to the Cape Peninsula. Cerise buds open to white flowers on Anaxeton laeve. Salt and pepper is Erica imbricata. Parasite on roots in red velvet is Hyobanche.

Cape Point flowers Olifantsbos in August
Cape Point flowers
Olifantsbos in August

In September he hiked from the East Fort to the manganese mine. Looking across to the Sentinel.

East Fort to manganese mine
East Fort to manganese mine

We went up Noordhoek Peak (a gentler circuit than his). Grateful for many eyes or we would have missed this orchid moment. On the sunny side Pterygodium catholicum its hooded head bowed down. On the damp and shady side Satyrium odorum (rising from the promising leaves on earlier walks).

Orchids at Noordhoek in September
Orchids at Noordhoek in September

Sweetpea bushes Podalyria calyptrata in a gentle range of pinky mauves with silver leaves (love that but can't keep them alive!) Pelargonium capitatum echoes the pink. A pointed reminder of why we are walking in a group. Leucadendron salignum has weird cone flowers. Bolusafra bituminosa is another in the pea family but with tar scented oil glands on its leaves.

Noordhoek flowers September
Noordhoek flowers in September

They climbed, with ropes, up the Sentinel in Hout Bay. 331 metres sheer down to the sea. A bird's eye view of Seal Island. Smoke rising from unrest in Hout Bay which they were escorted thru once they were down again.

The Sentinel at Hout Bay
The Sentinel at Hout Bay

Thanks to one of our botanical ladies, who also does the mountain climbs, for an Erica halicacaba. Grows on cliffs and named for the Cape gooseberry (from Peru but the fruit grows in our garden) No way I could perch on a cliff to see this growing.

Erica halicacaba on the Sentinel
Erica halicacaba on the Sentinel

Last week we headed towards Simon's Town, Red Hill and Maylands. Understated notes on our map remind me of Highland Clearance in Scotland, as these farms and villages were obliterated but for names on the map during apartheid.

Large and striking yellow daisies are insultingly called Cape Weed Arctotheca calendula. Monkey beetle on buttons of Cotula orbiculata. Yellow stars of Pauridia capensis (was Spiloxene). Tripteris clandestina with flat shiny flakes of seed. Tiniest bunch of roses is Petalacte coronata with silver leaves (another for my wish list). A taller prouder cousin to the rain daisy is Dimorphotheca nudicaulis. Delicate spikes of understated mauve on Cyphia bulbosa. Striped and spotted petals on Tritoniopsis dodii. Tall purple Senecio arenarius. Babiana ambigua has peacock eyes at the heart of its throat. Mimetes and Leucadendron cover the slope. Glowing in peach Oxalis obtusa.

Redhill Mayland Flowers in September
Redhill Maylands
Flowers in September

As we drove up there were hundreds of these glowing golden orange spikes beside the road. I thought Bulbine? But it is Satyrium coriifolium. Spectacular!

Satyrium coriifolium Redhill in September
Satyrium coriifolium
Redhill in September

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. Such amazing plants to be enjoyed on your hikes and climbs. Well worth the effort for plant lovers. Happy you are getting rain!

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    1. Counting every single millimetre! 4 next Monday??

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  2. Now that is quite a climb but what a view. Your wildflowers always take my breath away...some so small and so stunning....love that orchid find too. What a beautiful plant growing off the cliff.....I couldn't climb out there either to see it grow.

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    Replies
    1. Many are so tiny that it is only back on my laptop screen that I can see the joy!

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  3. All I seem to do is sigh over the many wonderful plants growing in your region. I'd never even thought of visiting South Africa before I started following your blog but now it seems like something I should plan!

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  4. It's so fascinating to see your wildflowers--they're so different from ours, and most are unfamiliar, though fabulous. It's fascinating to learn about them. What wonderful places you have nearby for hiking! That view out over the Sentinel at East Fort is incredibly beautiful!

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  5. Goodness! What a collection of incredible flowers all so bright and happy and some so tiny. Love that landscape what a joy xxxc

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    Replies
    1. You would enjoy it too - and we have summer hot sun already.

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  6. All those colorful flowers ... so strange, so beautiful. That Hyobanche looks alien.

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    Replies
    1. That is the tip of the bud emerging. Once the spike rises and the flowers open it loses its weird.

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  7. Your wild flowers are lovely ... Some so delicate and tiny ... You wonder how they survive the wind & weather on the mountains. My mother loved the Cape gooseberry bush I'm sure she would have been surprised to see it growing on the cliff face like that..

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    1. It is called the gooseberry erica for the flower shape and colour, but the fruit grows down here in our gardens.

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    2. I always enjoy your posts on Wildflower Wednesday. Everything is so different from anything I have. Thank you for taking the time to share.
      Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

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  8. So many wildflowers, and I adore the rugged scenery. What a wonderful place to live.

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