Cape snow and a Swiss mountain goat

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Hiking among wildflowers
in the mountains
around Cape Town

Our final Fynbos Ramble was in mid-December. We have dipped thru a few days around 30C. Even here with sea breezes in our False Bay home! Our previous home in the Swartland at Porterville, and the Winelands, would have been flirting with forty. I need to see some Cape Snow. Syncarpha vestita. Everlasting daisy with softly silver leaves (vestita means clothed), the pure white bracts hide maroon flowers.

Syncarpha vestita Cape Snow in December
Syncarpha vestita
Cape Snow in December

Mountain dahlia is the one flower that stands out from my sixteen hikes last year. Liparia splendens. Those spots of vivid colour blaze out in the landscape as if someone had planted orange plastic tulips! An unlikely looking member of the pea / bean family. Mahogany bracts enhance the sunny flowers. (Liparos for shiny leaves and brilliant flowers) 

Liparia splendens Mountain Dahlia in December
Liparia splendens
Mountain Dahlia in December

I've chosen four more from that Silvermine hike. Gone to seed Chrysocoma coma-aurea is endemic to the Western Cape. A platter of tiny yellow daisies for Athanasia crithmifolia (named for the 'deathless' bracts and leaves like samphire). Pink and white spherical buds on Berzelia lanuginosa (woolly named for the fluffy flowers). The first few sweet-pea flowers on the host of trees lining the Silvermine River Podalyria calyptrata (calyptrata for the cap on the flower buds).  

Silvermine December flowers
Silvermine
December flowers

He has been out hiking every week except Boxing Day. Walking along the ridge we see from our bay window, Cave Peak and Blokhuis Peak. A perfect view of the discordant golf green in a drought landscape of Clovelly Country Club making use of the Silvermine River which flows along their far lower edge.

Clovelly Golf Club
Clovelly Golf Club

Hiking the slopes above the Steenbras dams (Cape Town's hydroelectric pumped storage scheme which also provides a little of our water). Looking down to the bridge at Steenbras River mouth (and I see new housing with discreet green roofs).

Steenbras River mouth
Steenbras River mouth

Our mountain streams and pools are a deep brown. Tannin in fynbos leaves discourages browsers. At the river mouth a brown stream can flow into the sea.

Mountain pool near Steenbras
Mountain pool near Steenbras

Once upon a time, there was a man who lived far away. He found a cave and added tiny glazed windows. He built a faux sandstone door of concrete to fit the gap. When the door is closed ... no one would ever find him!

Faux stone door
Faux stone door

At Spilhaus Buttress was this 'meadow' of flowers. The crimson is Crassula coccinea (Crassula for the succulent leaves and coccinea named for the scarlet oak which provides a red dye).

January flowers at Spilhaus Buttress
January flowers at Spilhaus Buttress

Swiss mountain goat is in his element with the Curious and Adventurous. Grateful that I don't have a live experience. Just bloody socks and trousers to wash ;~) January hikes done and dusted.

Swiss mountain goat at Steenbras after the November 2017 fire
Swiss mountain goat at Steenbras
after the November 2017 fire

Hiking with U3A both for the company (safety in numbers) and to discover more of our mountain nature.

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. I think I'd be hiking too in such beautiful surroundings .. Everywhere you look are views of cliffs and the sea. The Cape snow is lovely, and I don't think I have ever seen a mountain Dahlia ...very interesting.

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  2. A genuine treat to read this post, and your blog. Plants I've never heard of, sights I'm desperate to see. In the bitterness of winter you've made my evening. The mountain scenery in articular is unexpected.

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  3. Such beautiful scenery despite your cruel drought! Your wildflower photos never cease to amaze and intrigue me.

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  4. 30c is hot, 40c too uncomfortable. The Cape Snow.looks very nice indeed. I hope the drought situation is improving.

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    Replies
    1. Watching two weather forecasts for the promised rain Friday to Saturday. We have the edge of the cold front so far.

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    2. Wow that was worth the climb with that amazing view and all of those fantastic plants to discover! Sarah x

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  5. I know I've said it before but I do believe you live in a place with the most wonderful natural landscape. My fingers are crossed for your rain.

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    1. Fairest Cape we are - said Francis Drake

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  6. Eeek! Yet another gorgeous posts with stunning photos of plants I have never seen. What a fabulous place you get to call home. I hope the drought eases, you said in my comment area that you pet had been out in the rain to go toilet - is this a turnaround in your fortunes? Any you have provided a much needed distraction from all the cold and rain here xxxx

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    1. Our cats are always free to come and go. But Thomas with his long silky fur, sits out in the rain till he squelches in, sodden! Nine millimetres gives him a thorough soaking.

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  7. What a beautiful place! Such unusual flowers for 'snow'! It is impressive what still blooms through the drought. Wishing you more rain there!

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  8. Your 85 F post was a perfect read -- a break from the frigid winter temperatures here. Such beauty in your scenery. You must be in great shape with all that walking, Diana. Your title is a teaser. With my love for goats .... ..
    P. x

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  9. We have been watching your weather report hoping for rain. My husband just called to me in the kitchen to tell me you did get a bit today! I had to rush to the computer to see it for myself. I hope you are outside right now with a bucket catching all of it!
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.blogspot.com

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    1. Friday we got 9 mm. Our two rain tanks filled. Little tank at the patio roof overflowed - to the first baby bath - to the second - to two basins - to a bucket!

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  10. I am as usual enthralled with the landscape you feature. The Cape Snow and Mountain dahlia alone are worth a hike, but so much more is to be seen. The cave man must have enjoyed himself tremendously in such a setting. The golf club does stand out a bit oddly, though the green is a refreshing contrast. Hoping for rain for you!

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  11. You have so many unusual (to me) and pretty blooms. I love that faux door on the cave. Did someone live there all the time?

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  12. Fairest cape, indeed. What amazing floral treasures you are able to enjoy. Thank you for sharing them!

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  13. What a unique landscape. Beautiful!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you - I can't return a comment as yours is limited to members. But you did remind me to plant a milkweed, as I saw a plant with seeds yesterday.

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