Cape snow and a Swiss mountain goat
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Our final Fynbos Ramble was in mid-December. We have dipped thru a few days around 30C. Even here with sea breezes in our False Bay home! Our previous home in the Swartland at Porterville, and the Winelands, would have been flirting with forty. I need to see some Cape Snow. Syncarpha vestita. Everlasting daisy with softly silver leaves (vestita means clothed), the pure white bracts hide maroon flowers.
Mountain dahlia is the one flower that stands out from my sixteen hikes last year. Liparia splendens. Those spots of vivid colour blaze out in the landscape as if someone had planted orange plastic tulips! An unlikely looking member of the pea / bean family. Mahogany bracts enhance the sunny flowers. (Liparos for shiny leaves and brilliant flowers)
I've chosen four more from that Silvermine hike. Gone to seed Chrysocoma coma-aurea is endemic to the Western Cape. A platter of tiny yellow daisies for Athanasia crithmifolia (named for the 'deathless' bracts and leaves like samphire). Pink and white spherical buds on Berzelia lanuginosa (woolly named for the fluffy flowers). The first few sweet-pea flowers on the host of trees lining the Silvermine River Podalyria calyptrata (calyptrata for the cap on the flower buds).
He has been out hiking every week except Boxing Day. Walking along the ridge we see from our bay window, Cave Peak and Blokhuis Peak. A perfect view of the discordant golf green in a drought landscape of Clovelly Country Club making use of the Silvermine River which flows along their far lower edge.
Hiking the slopes above the Steenbras dams (Cape Town's hydroelectric pumped storage scheme which also provides a little of our water). Looking down to the bridge at Steenbras River mouth (and I see new housing with discreet green roofs).
Our mountain streams and pools are a deep brown. Tannin in fynbos leaves discourages browsers. At the river mouth a brown stream can flow into the sea.
Once upon a time, there was a man who lived far away. He found a cave and added tiny glazed windows. He built a faux sandstone door of concrete to fit the gap. When the door is closed ... no one would ever find him!
At Spilhaus Buttress was this 'meadow' of flowers. The crimson is Crassula coccinea (Crassula for the succulent leaves and coccinea named for the scarlet oak which provides a red dye).
Swiss mountain goat is in his element with the Curious and Adventurous. Grateful that I don't have a live experience. Just bloody socks and trousers to wash ;~) January hikes done and dusted.
|Swiss mountain goat at Steenbras|
after the November 2017 fire
Hiking with U3A both for the company (safety in numbers) and to discover more of our mountain nature.
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