Postberg and Darling for spring flowers in September 2014

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

That September we went to Postberg Flower Reserve in the West Coast National Park for the spring flowers. Free entry with our Wild Card. Stern notices say Stay In Your Car, except at the picnic and parking spots. In 2010 we enjoyed walking the Bakoor Trail. Disconcertingly we were no longer allowed to walk into that rocky view.

Didelta at Plankiesbaai 2014
Didelta at Plankiesbaai 2014

Didelta carnosa var. Tomentosa leaves covered in white hairs, this daisy shrublet grows very close to the sea at Plankiesbaai.

Saldanha ships, vygie  angulate tortoise
Saldanha ships, vygie
angulate tortoise

From Postberg Flower Reserve you look across Langebaan Lagoon (nature conservation) to Saldanha Bay with ships taking iron ore brought from Sishen by train. Daisies, bulbs and succulents (electric pink vygie). An angulate tortoise kept me company. We climbed up the hill with the flowers.

Pelargonium fulgidum, Moraea tripetala, Diogon lignosus Zaluzianskya Salvia africana-lutea, Sutherlandia frutescens 2014
Pelargonium fulgidum, Moraea tripetala, Diogon lignosus
Zaluzianskya
Salvia africana-lutea, Sutherlandia frutescens
2014

(Wish list) Scarlet Pelargonium fulgidum with lush silver fur on its green leaves, also grows at Cape Columbine. Blue and yellow Moraea tripetala an iris in tiny feathered perfection. Purple and pink pea flowers of Dipogon lignosus. Five distinctively forked petals, common name drumsticks, is Zaluzianskya (can't ID a pink one?) Strandsalie here living up to its name; Salvia africana-lutea grows in my garden. Metallic pods and leaves on Sutherlandia frutescens.

Postberg daisies 2014 Gazania, Didelta carnosa var. tomentosa, ? ? Gazania, Dimorphotheca pluvialis
Postberg daisies 2014
Gazania, Didelta carnosa var. tomentosa, ?
?
Gazania, Dimorphotheca pluvialis 

Gazania peacock marked with chocolate and cream at the base of its petals. Didelta carnosa var. tomentosa. Two yellow daisies. Dimorphotheca pluvialis rain daisies are white with a purple heart.

Tinie Versfeld Wildflower Reserve
Tinie Versfeld Wildflower Reserve

Since we went that way home, we stopped at Tinie Versfeld Wildflower Reserve outside Darling. Swartland Renosterveld grows on fertile clay soils, almost covered with wheat fields today. 4% survives; this reserve is part of 1.6% which is conserved.

Romulea tabularis, Sparaxis bulbifera 2014
Romulea tabularis, Sparaxis bulbifera
2014

Romulea tabularis blue stars with a golden heart (I have a name for one of my potted treasures!) Soft yellow Sparaxis bulbifera grows with wet feet.

Pelargonium triste, Wachendorfia brachyandra Lachenalia pallida, Babiana angustifolia 2014
Pelargonium triste, Wachendorfia brachyandra
Lachenalia pallida, Babiana angustifolia
2014

Pelargonium triste clove scented at night. 'John Tradescant, took Pelargonium triste to England in 1632, one of the first pelargoniums from the Cape to be collected and cultivated' - PlantZAfrica. Wachendorfia brachyandra has red roots and golden flowers. Lachenalia pallida cream with green tips like a snowdrop. Babiana angustifolia blue with violet details on the upper petals.

Monsonia speciosa 2014
Monsonia speciosa 2014

We have so many different flowers that at the end of the day, I slide into SEEN those, but what is THAT large lonely white flower whose petals were neatly edged with pinking shears? Monsonia speciosa is one of our few true geraniums to set against a wide spectrum of pelargoniums.

Geissorhiza darlingensis 2014
Geissorhiza darlingensis 2014

Late afternoon in Darling, setting out Geissorhiza darlingensis was open, but as we returned half an hour later, the flowers were tucked up for a cool evening. In the iris family, yellow wine cup is only found at Tinie Versfeld, on damp granite soil. We did walk carefully, appreciating the boardwalks!

We saw the Clanwilliam dam overflowing in August 2014. That dam is now at 41% (after winter rain) and the flower show was cancelled as the wild flowers are battling to survive at all, let alone sustainably harvest a generous display.

CSAG Cape Town rainfall chart
CSAG Cape Town rainfall chart

Interactive chart from the University of Cape Town's Climate System Analysis Group. Looking back at rainfall figures over recent years it is hard to believe that only three years ago we took fields washed in flowers for granted! (20 percentile = 1 in 5 observations fall below the blue band = 3 in 5, 80 = another 1 in 5 above) Currently we follow the pattern of 1994, will we get that spike??

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. I remember asking this before, but I forgot. Why can you only leave the car at the picknic and parking spots?

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    1. The roads are narrow and this year I saw daunting pictures of the tailback on the national road, HORDES of people waiting to get in. Within the park the roads are just wide enough to allow two streams of traffic - but no space to park, without smashing the flowers.

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  2. Diana, all those flowers are gorgeous and the landscape is breathataking! I see the pictures and want to be there! I always imagined that Cape Town would be as humid as here considering the similar latitude but I see it's considerably drier.

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    1. For a humid sub-tropical climate you need to head up the Indian Ocean (warm current) to Durban. Where today they sadly have appalling storms, floods and wind damage.

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  3. Oh thank you for the sunshine, landscapes, beautiful colourful flowers and a tortoise. Put a smile on this weary face xx

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  4. Beautiful wildflowers, so colorful and plentiful it's hard to believe they are struggling.

    The rainfall chart looks grim, I hope you get more rain before summer. We had two years of drought and are back on track recently.

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    Replies
    1. We are at the nasty (post winter rain) side of a 3 year drought.

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  5. Beautiful scenery and stunning flowers. It's sad that so little of the Swartland Renosterveld is conserved (not that the US sets any standards with respect to conservation, particularly under the current administration). I'm also sorry that drought still plagues you and I do hope you get that hoped for spike in rainfall soon.

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  6. It's always thrilling seeing your wildflower posts, especially as your region is so rich in bulbs - which I have always loved. I hope you get a surge in rainfall to bring the water levels up and the wildflowers back!

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  7. The bulbs of the Cape region are marvelous; we are lucky to be able to grow some of them here. Babiana, Sparaxis. I hope you and those precious wild plants get that spike of rainfall. I've seen S. africana-lutea for sale here, does it grow large in your garden?

    Just too many humans crowding out the marvels that are other species. This goes for the world, not just SA or California.

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    Replies
    1. Salvia africana-lutea is a sprawling hip-high shrub. You can keep it trimmed back and the leaves smell good. Burnt terracotta flowers are an unusual colour. Nectar for our sunbirds and your hummingbirds. http://pza.sanbi.org/salvia-africana-lutea

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    2. The pza.sanbi.org website is really good. I've learned a lot from it. The recent "facelift" has included a lot more information.

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  8. Wildflowers in Scotland are, shall we say subtle but treasured. In your part of the world well and truly in your face
    (fabulous)

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  9. Your wild flowers always remind me of my mother's time growing up in the Cape & her life long love of Cape wild flowers... I hope many species she loved have survived, especially without protection. Are you keeping records of your photos of wild flowers to be kept for future generations? I hope rain starts to fall regularly again, we have not had our usual rainfall this year.

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    1. There are various scientists doing formal research. While the blog remains on the web - this flower - this 'place' - this month in this year - is searchable.

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  10. That Salvia African lutea is one of my favourite plants. I tried it in the garden once, but it didn't work out and we had to part company. It's lovely to see it at home. TV Flower Reserve really special place, so sad only 1.6% but I suppose we must be grateful for that, it could be worse, like 1 or 0%.

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    Replies
    1. another piece added recently
      http://overbergrenosterveld.org.za/first-conservation-easement/
      which I hope to visit one day

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    2. I also hope to visit it one day, but you are far more likely to make it than me, so I look forward to seeing it through your words and lenses.

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  11. Those reserves full of wildflowers look amazing, what a shame you couldn't walk in the first one. It must be so inspiring discovering new plants that you could try in your own garden. Sarah x

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    1. It is a want want want walk ;~)

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    2. I would love to be able to visit your beautiful area in spring. So many of the UK's garden flowers originate in the Cape region. Even with less conservation than you would wish the area is so rich. Like you we have had so little rain in the last year; the early rains in September gave me hope but October has been completely without rain and I notice that seedlings that have germinated are flopping and look like they will die, I even watered them, but I can't do that long term! I hope you receive some rain soon.

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    3. Heartbreaking to try and pull tiny seedlings thru a drought.

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    4. So colourful, this is an amzing landscape!

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  12. Your wildflowers are amazing, Diana. I think I remember that posting because of the angulate tortoise. At that time my grandchildren found a tortoise in our garden, under the woodpile. Sadly, we haven't seen any since then. Praying for your spike in rainfall! P. x

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    1. and I hope the baby tortoises we found in our Porterville garden survived the new owners.

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  13. I'm in love with Romulea tabularis. I'm finding the changes in our weather patterns alarming -- record warmth here, with the second year in a row of moderate drought. And still our federal government buries its collective head in the sand.

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    Replies
    1. That Romulea is very similar to a blue flowering bulb from the USA.

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