Rocher Pan with beached seals

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

In November 2013 we lived in Porterville and were looking forward to my Ungardener’s Swiss pension (now I'm a twirly too!) We celebrated at Rocher Pan Nature Reserve walking by the sea on a long, long sandy beach. (We've walked there before in summer and winter, and stayed in the new cottages for spring flowers!) But first we collected our Wild Card permit from the office.

Rocher Pan and its office building
Rocher Pan and its office building

The road was covered in fine shell gravel as we walked to the gate which I remember as - locked years ago, the end of the road. We walked on to the lookout picnic site on the crest of the dune.

Rocher Pan beach looking to Baboon Point near Eland's Bay
Rocher Pan beach looking to Baboon Point near Eland's Bay

Rocher Pan beach with dune vegetation
Rocher Pan beach with dune vegetation

We were quite alone, except for one other couple who claimed the picnic site as we left.

Walking on the beach at Rocher Pan Pic
Walking on the beach at Rocher Pan

Watching a Cape fur seal at Rocher Pan Nature Reserve
Watching a Cape fur seal at Rocher Pan Nature Reserve

Our brains may have evolved to sift through the barrage of visual input in our eyes and identify those things that are most important for us to consciously perceive, such as a threat or resources such as food, Mary Peterson suggested.

Cape fur seal at Rocher Pan beach
Cape fur seal at Rocher Pan beach

That beach walk began grimly with beached seals. Some too young, with soft grey fur. Again last Sunday on our False Bay beach walk we saw two dead seals.

News24 20111209 "A scientist told us that the phenomenon is associated with the breeding season of seals; very rough seas, and strong wind conditions." He said seal pups were vulnerable and could find themselves in distress if they could not swim.

I approached yet another carcass cautiously … my heart stopped, as the seal suddenly twitched, blinked at me, then sat up and swore. The littler one nearby also woke smartly Wassup?! They headed out to sea flipper by flipper. Littlest one wallowed in the surf waiting for those bleddie people to go. So he could settle on the sand again, heave a big yawn, and go back to sleep, warily.

Cape fur seals are endemic to Namibia and South Africa. Mating and breeding time is November/December.

Cape fur seal on the shore at Rocher Pan
Cape fur seal on the shore at Rocher Pan

About seal culling in Namibia. On the SAPPI Seal Platform at the Two Oceans Aquarium within Cape Town Harbour, one animal had to be carefully released from a discarded plastic loop embedded in the flesh around his growing neck. Please always cut open plastic loops before you ‘throw them away’ or recycle.

Sea colours at Rocher Pan with red seaweed and beached kelp
Sea colours at Rocher Pan with red seaweed and beached kelp

I planned sea colours for our False Bay house. Sea glass, breaking wave, milky green. Aqua skies and still waters. Ivory of sea foam. Taupe of wet sand. With a little of the best bitter chocolate in dried kelp fronds. That muted palette sparked with the rusty colour of red seaweed - on the front door, the garden gate and our washing pergola.

November 2013 flowers at Rocher Pan Limonium peregrinum, Didelta carnosa Grielum grandiflorum, Antholyzoa plicata
November 2013 flowers at Rocher Pan
Limonium peregrinum, Didelta carnosa
Grielum grandiflorum, Antholyzoa plicata

Since we walked the road, I could gather flowers. Pink Limonium peregrinum (or is it capense?) sea lavender, in the plumbago family, among 350 species of Limonium worldwide. Buttery yellow Grielum grandiflorum sandy coastal flats from Port Nolloth to the Peninsula, rose family. Strange ‘flowers’ which were the prickly bronzed seedheads of yellow daisies with succulent leaves Didelta carnosa with leaf-like involucral bracts beneath the yellow petals. On the dune near the sea, siren song of fierce red flowers Antholyzoa plicata iris family.
– Info from PlantZAfrica, and the South African Wild Flower Guides for the West Coast, and for Namaqualand.

Advent wreath 2017

For 2017's Advent wreath the garden gives me silvery plumes of Dusty Miller (spiller), tufts of scented Pelargonium leaves (filler) and Alstroemeria (thriller).
In a vase on Monday with Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.

I invite you to join us at Elephant's Eye on False Bay. Please subscribe as you prefer
via Feedly,
or Bloglovin,
or Facebook 

Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

Teal blue text is my links.
To read comments if you are in email or a Reader,

Thanks for comments that add value. Maybe start a new thread of discussion? BTW your comment won't appear until I've read it. No Google account? Just use Anonymous, but do leave a link to your own blog. I would return the visit, if I could...

I welcome comments on posts from the last 2 months.

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your seals (and all that beach and sea), as well as the local wild flowers and your own wreath - so pretty

    ReplyDelete
  2. I first learnt to use Dusty Miller in arrangements after seeing you use it many Christmases ago. I still think it gives a lovely lively look to an evergreen arrangement.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. those 'Prince of Wales' feather leaves, and the silver velvet surface - my favourite!

      Delete
  3. I'm glad your personal encounter with the seal "carcass" turned out so well, Diana! Your advent wreath is lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Nature Reserve looks very special. I'm so glad those seals were just fast asleep! I have been writing about plastics in the ocean too. Your advent wreath is lovely so different to our winter greenery, Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
  5. Rocher Pan is a beautiful place. So glad to hear at least some of the seals will make it back to sea. Your advent wreath is always so pretty and I look forward to seeing them.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your sea colours sound perfect - so far from my hot desert hues... As I have no sea to offset the heat, I find the abundance of hot, pale soil and sun-filled sky here demands a sharp accent of brilliant and dark colours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love dark leaves - covet a copper beech. Tried a Prunus nigra but it has shuffled off.

      Delete
  7. Looks like you live in paradise, Diana - beautiful beach photos. Your advent wreath is especially nice. I like the dusty miller 'pinwheels.' It would make a lovely table arrangement any time of the year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. https://elizawaters.com/2017/12/10/in-a-vase-on-monday-holiday-welcome-2/

      Delete
  8. Hi Diana, love your blogs. They bring a bit if outdoors in. What is an Ungardener's swiss pension and a twirly?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. His Ungardening is the hard landscaping, pond, paths, pergola ...
      He is a Swiss pensioner.

      Twirly I read in an English novel. Pensioners get free travel on public transport after 9 - but they try to slip thru earlier, and ticket inspector says - Too early, dear (= twirly)

      Delete
  9. Eliza and Eleanor - I would like links to your blogs please?
    You don't have your blog on your Google profile.

    Or comment using Open ID and your blog URL?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm living vicariously through you these days. We're in the midst of the cold winter stuff now. I don't like it. Fortunately, the holidays add light and joy.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your wreath looks lovely and a good story to read too. The bright skies and vibrant flowers cheered me up on a cold and wet day in Manchester - thanks love bec ps I nipped over from in a Vase on Monday

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I enjoy the Monday vases, and this week my Monday and my vase came together.

      Delete
  12. That nature reserve was stunning - I love places like that where there are hardly any other people. So awful to see the dead seals. I love the colour of Didelta carnosa - never seen it before, or heard of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Here is the Didelta, as yellow daisy flowers, before it has gone to seed.

      https://eefalsebay.blogspot.co.za/2017/10/postberg-darling-spring-flowers-september-2014.html

      Delete
  13. I always enjoy seeing your advent wreathes -- so different from the wreath-making materials we have here, which are mostly pine boughs and red berries of winterberry (a native holly).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In our hot, dry, windy I need a vase to keep the 'evergreen' alive.

      Delete
  14. Love your beaches. We have similar ones in the Aberdeen area, much fewer days to enjoy them of course.
    Watching, David Attenborough( blue planet) last week really brought it home to me the danger which plastic is having on the oceans.

    ReplyDelete
  15. How lovely that you planned sea colours for your False Bay house. Your 2017's Advent wreath is beautiful, as always. P. x

    ReplyDelete

Popular Posts