West Coast spring flowers
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Mid-August we took our electric car across country, planning to recharge the battery overnight where we stayed.
We startled the guards at the West Coast National Park gate as they waited in the office for incoming cars. 'Didn't hear you coming!'
Electric car is ideal for birdwatching, as we coast to a gentle halt. Ostrich parents observing us as they stride along, their babies scurrying along in knots and count-them-all-in stragglers. Black koorhaan is noisy in between eating - precisely barred black and white feathers on his back. Silent and without fumes we automagically glide away.
First was a chilly walk on an overcast day. Orange Gazania. Wild rosemary Eriocephalus africanus white with a cherry heart. Purple Senecio. Pink fragrant buchu Agathosma thymifolia.
Drumsticks, notched petals Zalusianskya villosa. African spoonbills tucked up for a nap, until the spoon peeked out for his photo. Spoon to catch water insects in the mud, or locusts on land. Yellow Cheiridopsis rostrata. Golden yellow with burgundy splotches Zygophyllum flexuosa.
Purple ruffled Muraltia spinosa. Lime pink creeper, petal tips swirled together Microloma sagittatum. Obese lily weevil - adults eat leaves, while the larvae demolish lily family bulbs. Lime gold Euphorbia mauritanica.
Peach Oxalis. Tricolour Romulea. Painted Babiana. Dusky bruinsalie Salvia africana-lutea.
We stayed at Masada guesthouse in Langebaan. Among so many Langebaan 'gardens' which are low maintenance - it was a delight to see a conservancy estate around our guesthouse. Full English breakfast buffet included forewarned vegetarian extras for us - fried mushrooms and potato croquettes with the eggs. The Ungardener and our host knelt in the rain to sort out the plug in and charge overnight.
Kelp gull with a red tip to its lower beak. Black oystercatcher - many pairs along the rocks and the Tsaarsbank beach - where I picked up a convenient hard hat to gather plastic debris in. Cape cormorant with his wings spread out to dry after fishing in the cold sea. High seas ahead of the heavy rain which caught us that evening. We went to supper on the shore of Langebaan lagoon. And a quick walk when we come out? Not a chance, a heavy downpour caught the car in a 20 cm deep puddle of stormwater.
Second day in Postberg. Blue flax Heliophila enjoying the sun with a mole snake on a chilly not yet spring day
Fluffy bud and flower are a weird daisy Othonna undulosa. Yellow daisy and cylindrical leaf Crassothonna cylindrica.
Fierce red Pelargonium fulgidum. Bontebok with his striking brown and white face. White rain daisies Dimorphotheca pluvialis. Yellow Arctotis hirsuta.
Striking tiny red Rumex lativalvis. Orange pea flower Indigofera procumbens. Duiker quietly browsing in the distance. Yellow Wachendorfia brachyandra.
Purple and white daisies. Blue Moraea. Purple and white Lapeirousia jacquinii. White Oxalis with a purple heart.
Tienie Versfeld wildflower reserve outside Darling. Chocolate hearted Tripteris clandestina. Yellow Arctotis. Peacock-eyed Gazania
Ivory and burgundy Pelargonium triste. Wildflower reserve, beyond the fence agri-chemical fields of wheat and canola. Purple tipped white petals Cleretum clavatum.
Softly yellow Hesperantha. Bronze star Spiloxene canaliculata. Sky blue star Romulea tabularis
Waylands wildflower heritage thanks to the Duckitt family in Darling. Schiaparelli pink Aizoon paniculatum. Clear white vygie Cleretum bellidiforme (Bokbaai vygie was Dorotheanthus). Statement shrubs Lobostemon. Light and darker yellow Arctotheca calendula.
Heliophiola dotted across the reserve. Mauve Babiana. Shimmering azure Geissorhiza aspera. Softest blue Gladiolus.
Pink Romulea rosea. Harlequin flower Romulea hirsuta. Dusky pink Moraea tricolor.
Ghostly Lachenalia sheltering.
Home via Blouberg for an Italian lunch.
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