Crossing False Bay
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
The pictures of False Bay I've used on my blog have all looked out to open sea. I love that wide, open, view. But it doesn't show the bay, the mountains across the sea on the far shore. Last Sunday we walked beyond our beach towards Simon's Town, sat looking across our little bay to St James. Mid view is Cape Town's winter smog, rolling across from the Cape Flats which divide the Cape Peninsula from the Rest of Africa. In the far distance across False Bay are the Hottentots Holland Mountains.
Walking back along the beach we turned back when we reached the Silvermine River, its mouth bulldozed open to the sea, releasing 'slightly' polluted water from the wetland. A group of seagulls were splashing around enjoying salt and fresh water in the estuary.
Deep water starfish, which usually live 100 metres deep on the reef eating mussels, came into shore to spawn and were trapped by rough weather. They could also be reacting to acidification of the sea due to global weirding. Smashed against the rocks they lost some legs (which do grow again, given half a chance). Friends of the stars rescued 500 starfish. After they had recovered in the tidal pool, they were returned to their home on World Oceans Day.
We crossed the bay to hunt for two chairs for our living room. Factory visit sorted we went to Strand. Belgian waffles and pancakes for lunch, then a gentle stroll along the prom on a perfect winter day. Cape Town at its finest! For a Seasonal Celebration with Donna in NY State and Northern summers.
Looking along the coast to Cape Hangklip which lies at the landlocked end of False Bay.
The sleepy hollow I remember as a child, now has modern architecture. Topaz is a block of flats that looks as if it has just landed from Dubai.
Walking back from the beach, I look out for interesting gardens. We happened to walk past as this artist was adding the next set of pebbles to his garden art.
When we turn the corner for home, this bead and wire sheep greets us. On those wintry days with snow on the mountain, he wore a purple scarf. When it rains he is tucked up inside!
I am longing to walk on the mountain and see the flowers coming thru after the March fire, but it is firmly closed with barbed wire, warning notices and threats of fines. This is the finely focused chance for seeds and bulbs before shrubs shade and crowd them back into waiting patiently, for the next fire. It is not just about avoiding stomping on the delicate green sprouts you CAN see, but about the ones bravely coming up just below the surface. We've also been asked to leave the wildlife to recover in peace with what food and shelter is available to them.
Protea seed heads burst open after fire to shed their seeds and make the most of the winter rains. Standing cautiously next to the heavy traffic roaring along the Ou Kaapse Weg, this is a glimpse of an orange Watsonia. There were red fire lilies, some ethereal wild Gladiolus and a sprinkle of pink Oxalis. Protea bushes that escaped the flames are covered in flowers.
blooming in Silvermine after the fire
Pictures by Diana Studer
of Elephant's Eye on False Bay
(If you mouse over teal blue text, it turns seaweed red.
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