Hiking battles and our Neighbourhood Farm
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Hiking among wildflowers
and in the mountains
around Cape Town
In March his group hiked up to Blokhuiskop (seen from our bay window) from where he could look down to our beach.
We hiked along Steenberg at Silvermine. Coming down the 'steps' we found a life and death battle. Too late for the Black Girdled Lizard's tail-biting defence. A successful hunt for the Karoo Sand Snake. We took our photos and circuited carefully alongside the path.
Lobelia coronopifolia deep blue with white flashes. Gladiolus brevifolius is hooded, its lower tepals with various delicate markings.
Roella ciliata banded in blues.
Distant stream of cars on Ou Kaapse Weg. Saltera sarcocolla in electrifying pink. Gnidia juniperifolia (4 x 2 petals and calyx).
He had a turn at trail blazing, stabbed by burnt ends of branches. Eina!
Hoof print of a small antelope. We walked slowly down to Smitswinkel Bay. Polygala myrtifolia with tassels and purple veins. Psoralea pinnata fountain bush grows with wet feet.
Leucospermum conocarpodendron with leaf nectaries. Kiggelaria africana fruit. Coral fern Gleichenia polypodiodes. Serious thorns on Gymnosporia buxifolia.
Erica ericoides with dark dangly bits. Tiny furry Erica parviflora. Spotted blister beetle on Osteospermum monilifera. Hibiscus aethiopicus low on the ground.
Phylica ericoides. Struthiola ciliata with an eight spiked central crown. Kniphofia uvaria. Wine dark sea edges to Cotyledon orbiculata leaves.
He was on Klaasenskop and along Cecilia Ridge.
We walked along a sadly dry Silvermine River. Erica multumbellifera little cherries. Erica abietina. Erica ericoides dark dangly bits. Berzelia lanuginosa.
Camphorbush Tarchonanthus littoralis (the female I wanted in the garden with fluff for bird's nests). Cunonia capensis (rooiels) flower and its butterspoon. Fresh dark Cape myrtle leaves Myrsine africana.
Tall ivory umbels Hermas villosa with large and decorative leaves. Yellow crab spider lurks on Helichrysum cymosum. Stoebe cinerea flower and the bush so striking once backlit by sunshine.
Tall Bulbine praemorsa. Vivid Indigofera filifolia. Muted Indigofera cytisoides spikes. Sky blue Pseudoselago serrata.
We walk up to Slangkop from the Catholic church past a Eucalyptus avenue (water guzzling invasive aliens, but the beekeepers like them). Here we saw Brunsvigia orientalis (which had been disappointingly mown down or dug up from the firebreak at Smitswinkel)
Glowing red Leucadendron salignum leaves. Golden Serruria villosa. Extravagant Protea cynaroides. Olea capensis ironwood with tiny fruit.
Silver leaves and fluff - kapokbossie - wild rosemary Eriocephalus racemosus. Salvia lanceolata with colour from the persistent red calyx. Blue Lobelia setacea.
Erica corifolia dark dots on bract tips. Creamy Erica mammosa. Yellow daisy Arctotis breviscapa. Dusky pink Tritoniopsis dodii.
I hike with U3A each week.
At our Neighbourhood Farm. Infrastructure paid for by the Department of Agriculture. Also at primary schools, with the largest and latest in Ocean View. For irrigation they use three well points. Water is filtered and treated with UV light. The white blob, about the size of my thumb, is a Rain Bird which monitors and cuts off irrigation as needed. Behind the tanks you can just see the roof of the hospital and the car park - from there they harvest stormwater to recharge the groundwater they use. Skills training, employment, sustainable food. Also BYO container for zero waste groceries - the nuts, seeds and dried fruit I put in our muesli.
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