March hikes before lockdown

by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Hiking among wildflowers
in the mountains
around Cape Town

Time out. Back to March when we were still allowed on our mountains to hike. My Fynbos Rambles started the year very gently with the Red Track at Cape Point. On the level, stopping at each flower.

Deepest cherry red Protea cynaroides. Yellow pea Rafnia angulata and daisy Osteospermum polygaloides. Small pink Erica corifolia (dark tips to petals) White daisy Metalasia divaricata. Creamy balls studded with tiniest detail Brunia abrotanoides.

Red Track at Cape Point March flowers
Red Track at Cape Point March flowers

Yellow Tritoniopsis is T. parviflora, while the deep red is T. triticea. Gladiolus brevifolius each plant personalising the markings on its lower petals, yellow stripes, pink dots and flares. Aristea glauca with its elegant seeds.

March bulbs along the Red Track at Cape Point
March bulbs along the Red Track at Cape Point

Lachnaea densiflora in pink or white. Staavia radiata with the actual tiny pink flowers nestled in the heart of a ring of white bracts.

Lachnaea and Staavia in March at Cape Point
Lachnaea and Staavia in March at Cape Point

That tortoise fled in horror from the paparazzi. Three species of Roella. First 'good Diana' R. goodiana with yellow buds. Dramatic colours for Roella triflora. Groundcover with red leaves is Roella squarrosa.

Roella in March at Cape Point
Roella in March at Cape Point

To Silvermine hoping to see that vivid red Disa ferruginea. Bee on Macrostylis villosa. Golden Serruria villosa.

Disa at Silvermine in March
Disa at Silvermine in March

Blue pea Psoralea aphylla. Bright blue Aristea glauca. Variations on blue, purple, white and pink for Lobelia setacea. Pink Erica ericoides. Gladiolus brevifolius touched with purple, or muted to almost unmarked.

March in pink, blue and white at Silvermine
March in pink, blue and white at Silvermine

Returned to Slangkop after a long break due to security concerns. Expecting the same display (2019 and 2018) of terracotta Brunsvigia orientalis but we found only one plant in bloom. White Diosma oppositifolia and furry Phylica ericoides. This Protea cynaroides at the other extreme of barely flushed with a hint of pink. Tiny furry orange Manulea cheiranthus. Something (wind or baboons digging?) exposed the tubers of Euphorbia tuberosa, which usually appears as leaves lying on the ground.

Brunsvigia at Silvermine in March
Brunsvigia at Silvermine in March

Wild rosemary (again daisy family) with white flowers Eriocephalus africana or the weird renosterbos Elytropappus gnaphaloides. Two more variation on small pink Erica silvery furry E. bruniades and E. corifolia again.

Silvermine in March wild rosemary and Erica
Silvermine in March wild rosemary and Erica

Next stop Antarctica, as I watched a veil of mist roll in across the Atlantic. Looking across to Hout Bay folded between the mountains.

Slangkop to Hout Bay
Slangkop to Hout Bay

The Ungardener tripped over Thomas and broke his toe. Thomas - 1 Ungardener - 0. He achieved one hike at the beginning of March. From the East Fort along Alfie's Trail with a much closer look at Hout Bay, both its suburbs and the bay.

Alfie's Trail above East Fort
Alfie's Trail above East Fort

Followed by COVID lockdown, extended to the end of April! Not allowed out to walk, except to the nearest shop for food. Tomorrow is Easter Sunday - in a year the world will never forget.

hike with U3A (listed as False Bay)
His hike with U3A each week (listed as Cape Town)


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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. I can imagine the wildflower beauty you are missing now being locked down. The variety of flowers on your walks always dazzles. Ouch, broken toe--I know how a break feels.

    We here may be locked down at least to mid-May more probably to June. Very hard on people with no jobs and no savings, and there are millions of them here.

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    Replies
    1. Lots of food parcel and soup kitchen initiatives here. Even the bigger companies are wobbling. For small businesses, freelance or contract workers the immediate future is bleak. But it seems our total lockdown is working.

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  2. We too are in lock down but am allowed, so far, a beach walk a day. My walking is not as it once was so that is enough. I do love seeing your lovely flowers. No wonder we have so many here in Oz.

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  3. What a wonderful wildflower round-up of your hikes. Must be inspiration for your native flower garden. So often the beauty is in miniature as with the Stavias but was really grabbed by Lachnaea densiflora . A fleeing tortoise is a sight to behold. Hope the Ungardener is on the mend - no better time to be immobile than lockdown.
    Happy Easter to you Diana regardless of these strange circumstances.

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  4. Sometimes some of your plants really surprise me, they are so different from the kinds I am used to - and that is true of some of the selection you have made for today.
    Different groups of citizens in the UK currently have different rules applying. And to some extent it depends in which of the home nations you live. Because I have had a stem cell transplant I have to stay indoors completely for three months and have my shopping done for me etc. Broadly though . . . people can go out for essential shopping, for medical reasons, to go to the aid of a vulnerable person and for one form of exercise a day near their home.

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  5. As usual, I'm amazed by your floral grandeur. This time, I found myself falling in love with of all things the pale pink gladiola with the purple tracery. Those panoramic views are spectacular too. I'm sure you're both missing those hikes.

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  6. Lovely blooms. You must miss them so.
    Amalia
    xo

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  7. I hope you can soon return to your hikes and enjoy the grandeur of the scenery and wildflowers in your area. keep well.

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  8. Astonishing views, and astonishing wildflowers! I am always amazed that wildflowers can be just as gorgeous (or more so) as cultivars that are the result of intensive breeding by man. How sad that you are missing the hikes! It seems to me that hiking through the hills would be one activity that could be easily adapted so that it could safely be allowed.

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    Replies
    1. First restriction they have lifted - is selling baby clothes. Hoping they will allow vets to sterilise cats and dogs - or we face puppies and kittens. Hiking, plant sales, stationery for home schooling ... long list.

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  9. I went to your blog to see how you were faring in Cape Town. It's not much different than here in southern California. It is peak wildflower season. But many of the parks are closed and we are told to stay at home.

    I was really taken with this view and the caption: Next stop Antarctica, as I watched a veil of mist roll in across the Atlantic. Wow, just wow.

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  10. Stunning blooms, Diana. Nature is a great consolation at this time. P.x

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  11. Hi Diana, it has been ages since I visited you. Someone on Twitter was asking where Blotanical had gone and a few links later I was here. Beautiful flowers, we are still waiting for things in our garden to grow. The crocus, daffodils are blooming with more spring flowrs soon to come. I hope you and your family are doing well during this covid crisis, as we are. Have a great day.

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  12. Dear Diana,
    what a hughe variety! Your are living in an amazing part of this world. Even we all are not allowed to go far theese days nature will wait, will repeat, will save the beauty for our eyes tomorrow, next week, next month, next year.
    Stay save my friend, take care and all my best
    Elisabeth

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  13. So many beautiful flowers. I wonder if it's true that the world will never forget the COVID-19 pandemic. At least in the United States, the 1918 influenza pandemic was forgotten remarkably quickly, so that we couldn't take advantage of the lessons of that pandemic to do a better job managing this one. I think most people here don't have a realistic idea of how long we will need to have some kinds of restrictions in place. (In 1918, the deadliest month in the United States was seven months after the beginning of the pandemic.) Thank goodness for flowers and beauty in the world to help us keep our current trials in perspective.

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  14. Beautiful flowers and stunning scenery. I hope the broken toe is healing well.

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    Replies
    1. All better thanks, ran his 3 kilometres round the garden today.

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