Postberg and Darling for spring flowers in September 2014
by Diana Studer
- 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 carnosa var. Tomentosa leaves covered in white hairs, this daisy shrublet grows very close to the sea at Plankiesbaai.
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|
Salvia africana-lutea, Sutherlandia frutescens
(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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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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