Vondeling with Biodiversity and Wine and fire
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
In October 2013 we went to Vondeling near Wellington for the WESSA (once was WWF South Africa) Annual Regional Meeting. Vondeling was a proud supporter of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative and is now a Conservation Champion of WWF.
We had a brief walk along the edge of the vineyards. Diana trailing along last as I revelled in new to me flowers.
Since the 2011 fire they have collected over 900 species on the Paardeberg for their herbarium. Four species are endemic to the area: Babiana noctiflora (flowers at night), Erica hippuris, Oscularia paardebergenis (succulent in the Aizoaceae) and Serruria roxberghii (spiderhead protea). South Africa’s vineyards are in the Cape Floral Kingdom (which includes fynbos and Renosterveld). The CFK has over nine thousand species with many endemics. In 2004 only 4% of the Renosterveld survived.
Evidence of their success in maintaining sustainable habitat is a Cape leopard caught on their camera trap.
The Hantam is our only National Botanical Garden dedicated to conserving Renosterveld.
The Vondeling wedding chapel has enchanting windows. A round one high up with a dove bearing an olive twig. Outside the chapel is a line of olive saplings. Along the length of the chapel the windows are painted in trailing vines.
I was encouraged to hear about young interns, and school teachers – working with the next generation, and the next – wildflowers and Cape leopards in our future.
Colin Bell, author of Africa’s Finest, told us - If we try to hug national parks all to ourselves, we lose it. If we reach out and share, like Botswana and Namibia, we can conserve nature for the future. His ‘responsible, sustainable tourism – what we have termed the Green Safari model. Viable, long-term partnerships are a winning scenario for wildlife, wildernesses and people.’ The ultimate green lodge.
Rocher Pan cottages with composting toilets protecting the seasonal pan and migrating birds, on our one day wish list - achieved in September last year!
Next on our wish list is to see the garden where Ernst Van Jaarsveld (retired from Kirstenbosch) is now based at Babylonstoren. There will be a Waterwise Gardening workshop in February 2018.
Today's post is a distraction from two huge fires. The first started at Sir Lowry's Pass and burnt along the slope between Gordon's Bay and Steenbras Dam. Five buildings lost. Animal Welfare evacuated. The second started at Red Hill. Burnt across the mountain to Scarborough down to the sea. Then turned to Cape Point Nature Reserve. Thanks to our firefighters both fires are under control, and being monitored.
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The Green Safari Model seems to make good sense. That's similar to the model in many of our U.S. National Parks--welcoming tourists on a limited basis, so they appreciate and buy in to the importance and preservation of those habitats for future generations. :)ReplyDelete
I love seeing all of the beautiful flowers that are native to your area. Saddened by the fires. We have had some terrible ones in the US this year too. xo LauaReplyDelete
I'm so sorry to hear that you're experiencing wildfires too, Diana. I hope they're a safe distance away from you and, for those in their path, I hope they're quickly extinguished.ReplyDelete
We only saw some smoke beyond the mountain ridge. Safely out today.Delete
Impressive contrast to the grapes and the hillsides (chaparral to me!). That green safari tourism concept makes sense.ReplyDelete
sorry to hear about the fires, very scary. Managing tourism and protecting the environment is a challenge, it's good to hear about the green safari model.ReplyDelete
I remember your wonderful eco -holiday.The Waterwise Garden workshop will be useful/ I was interested to read the garden Babylonstoren garden used to supply food for the old Sailing Ships. I'm so glad that the fires have now been put out.ReplyDelete
Very interesting post as always...Your beautiful wild flowers always surprise me ( with delight). I hope the fires are not doing too much damage to the land as well as the people.I look forward to seeing the Babylonstoren garden, and the water wise garden workshop if you join that.ReplyDelete
The workshop is beyond my budget.Delete
But I do look forward to a garden tour, and lunch from the garden!
Very interesting and informative post. I went and read about the Renosterveld, now I know a little more than I did before. Thank you!ReplyDelete
We have been getting a good stretch of cool, mild weather, with rain up north, so we are hoping our fire season is over for several months.
Hoping for rain Monday / Tuesday . This is WAY too early for our fire season!Delete
This was interesting, I enjoyed coming along and seeing the pretty flowers.ReplyDelete
The words of Colin Bell make so much sense.ReplyDelete
I remember reading about the composting toilets in one of your previous postings, Diana. I would love one in my garden.ReplyDelete
I would need a smallholding or a farm. Definitely seems a better option than a French drain or a septic tank if you are off-grid.Delete
When we built our Camps Bay house, we had electricity and water, but we used a chemical camping toilet, and our neighbour had a soakaway ... until we had enough houses for sewerage to be financially viable.
How awful! Fires and water shortage. Are there more nature fires now because of climate change?ReplyDelete
It is a nasty combination of drought, and human carelessness, or even arson. Climate change gives us summer thunderstorms and a risk of lightning strikes.Delete
Fires terrify me, though I know many plants depend on fires for their propagation. Ultimately, the fires contribute to biodiversity. But I am upset when fires are started by humans through carelessness... and sometimes deliberately!ReplyDelete
With an added layer of horror when land owners don't bother to remove infestations of invasive aliens - which blaze up like fury!Delete
What a delight it is to see all this bright light and colour. A breath of fresh air as winter approaches here in the UK.ReplyDelete
Lots of "new to me" flowers here. I'm especially smitten by the Watsonia -- love its shape and color. Is it in the lily family?ReplyDelete
Close. It is the Iris family.Delete