Impossible thing with December hikes
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
From Alice in Wonderland - the Queen said - "Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
When we walk on our beach I pick up plastic. I collected a pile of blue buttons. I was convinced they were manmade! All the same size and pink, blue and white. Some with frizzled out blue edges. Jelly on top with a hard support inside. Then we found one nearly alive with blue tentacles ... it is Porpita porpita a hydroid not a jellyfish, called blue buttons.
Cormorants basking in the sun on the rocks at the beach.
Hiking among wildflowers
and in the mountains
around Cape Town
In December I did one Fynbos Ramble to Silvermine Waterfall. Pink Erica multumbellifera and lime green Erica urna-viridis. Harveya purpurea has a yellow throat.
Proteas. Shrubby Leucadendron laureolum. Tiniest pink protea Diastella divaricata. Oh my Mimetes fimbriifolius is a Pensinsula endemic.
Bulbs. Pink Watsonia borbonica and salmon Watsonia tabularis. Tritoniopsis parviflora in yellow and maroon. Red buds open to yellow Ixia dubia with a dark heart. Dilatris pillansii and Dilatris cormybosa distinguished by the length of their stamens.
Daisies. Shrubby Athanasia crithmifolia. Shimmering yellow Edmondia sesamoides.
Russet bud unfurling to a yellow daisy Ursinea paleacea. White Metalasia compacta fades to grey. White Metalasia divergens has pink buds.
Everlasting. Straw flowers. (More daisies) Ivory Syncarpha speciocissima and white Cape Snow Syncarpha vestita with monkey beetle.
Fierce pink Pelargonium cucullatum. Delicate maroon and rose Pelargonium longifolium. Pink and white Lachnaea grandiflora. Rain splashed clusters of Psoralea pinnata. Roella ciliata and the Peninsula endemic Roella triflora.
Liparia splendens with ant. Succulent Lampranthus bicolor orange opening to yellow. Succulent sour fig Carpobrotus edulis with bee. Spikes of lemon Microdon dubius. Even here high up on the mountain beyond the urban edge an Australian invasive Melaleuca hypericifolia.
He has been on weekly hikes but only this picture for the blog. Standing at the trigonometrical survey beacon on Little Lion's Head with the end of the Twelve Apostles behind.
We hike with U3A each week.
He went to the Waterfront to charge our electric car. And to see The World. A strange way to choose to live in 165 residences. For the super rich with a choice of holiday homes and private jets.
Flowers with ants and bees and beetles. Remember when they used to have to wash a layer of squashed insects off the windscreen? When we were kids.
The insect apocalypse is here. The German study found that, measured simply by weight, the overall abundance of flying insects in German nature reserves had decreased by 75 percent over just 27 years. “With each generation, the amount of environmental degradation increases, but each generation takes that amount as the norm.” There are 12,000 types of ants, nearly 20,000 varieties of bees, almost 400,000 species of beetles. Half of all farmland birds in Europe disappeared in just three decades. An extinction of seed dispersal and predation and pollination and all the other ecological functions an animal once had. If you look at the world’s mammals by weight, 96 percent of that biomass is humans and livestock; just 4 percent is wild animals. Maoxian Valley in China each person covers five to 10 trees a day, pollinating apple blossoms by hand! “Clinging to survival in a devastated world, and trapped in an ecological dark age,” entomologist David Wagner adds, “the survivors would offer prayers for the return of weeds and bugs.” Lister chalks up the Puerto Rico rainforest decline to climate change, which has already increased temperatures in Luquillo by two degrees Celsius.
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