September wildflowers, water, and books

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

Weird to live the way we used to. Flushing the loo with clean drinking water! The horror - at home we collect shower and bath water to use again. We are so used to using each litre thoughtfully - that it was alarming away from Cape Town - also emptying dams there, but no concern about water use?! Our city is still discharging raw sewage via marine outfalls along the Atlantic Seaboard. From our False Bay suburb our sewage goes to Wildevoelvlei sewage works, where a hiking companion does a monthly bird count. Across the country most sewage works sadly have huge issues, failing infrastructure, and heavy pollution of rivers.

Hiking among wildflowers
in the mountains
around Cape Town

His hike on Karbonkelberg above Hout Bay, looking across to Chapman's Peak and Long Beach at Noordhoek.

From Karbonkelberg to Chapman's Peak
From Karbonkelberg to Chapman's Peak

August rain was lovely. September was half the long term average. October bounced back. At the end of the hydrological year our dams are at 84%, heading down till autumn rain in May. Every Monday we get a report for the previous week. Back to loadshedding, as urgent or planned maintenance cuts power supply. Our photovoltaic panel installation awaits municipal approval ...

My September hike along the Red Track (map) at Cape Point (a gentle 5 kilometres), looking at Wolfkop.

On the Red Track at Cape Point looking to Wolfkop
On the Red Track at Cape Point looking to Wolfkop

Vibrant blue Aristea africana. Trachyandra hirsutiflora. Orange and greys in lichen.
Yellow Geissorhiza humilis after fire.
Watsonia coccinea, violet anthers, spotted blister beetle (don't touch - cantharadin!)

September bulbs at Cape Point
September bulbs at Cape Point

Syncarpha speciosissima with a yellow heart.
Osteospermum polygaloides yellow daisies with their distinguishing leaves.
Monkey beetles on creeping Arctotis angustifolia.

September daisies at Cape Point
September daisies at Cape Point

Crassula glomerata red fuzz on sand. Purple Senecio elegans where we check the involucral bracts.
Yellow with a green central ring Ursinea paleacea. Furry white bracts with minute purple flowers Petalacte coronata

Crassula with daisies Cape Point in September
Crassula with daisies Cape Point in September

After a few days changing from yellow or white to pink, this crab / flower spider was still there for a photo when we circled back from our walk. Lachnaea densiflora in cream and pink.
BLUE Wahlenbergia capensis. Polygala bracteolata with white tassel.

Pink crab spider with September flowers at Cape Point
Pink crab spider with September flowers at Cape Point

Golden stars for Christmas Ficinia radiata. Aspalathus juniperina pea flower.
Yellow and white Sebaea aurea with keeled calyx lobes gentian family

Christmas star flowers at Cape Point in September
Christmas star flowers at Cape Point in September

Bladderwort eats insects in damp places, tiny Utricularia bisquamata. Tall yellow Gnidia oppositifolia along streams.
Adenandra villosa. Clustered velvety flowers Serruria glomerata

Cape Point flowers in September
Cape Point flowers in September

Mountain zebra with white bellies eyeing us from the ridge.

Mountain zebra at Cape Point
Mountain zebra at Cape Point

3 Jeffrey Eugenides - The marriage plot
Sigh. I read 70 pages, skipped to the last chapter, then skim read a random sentence. I will try his - Middlesex.

2 Fiona Snyckers - Now following you
This is South Africa, a blogger, and contemporary. It fascinates me to see my here and now through other, much younger and rainbow people, eyes.

1 Patrick Gale - A place called winter
In September I did a digital detox during the 3 weeks we were on the road. I took 7 books, then read the best one again. Early Canadian settlers, pioneer life. Social attitudes have changed so much since Oscar Wilde's trial. Every character in this book (even the evil unsympathetic ones) is vivid and three dimensional.

Fiona Snyckers - Now following you
Fiona Snyckers - Now following you

We met some interesting people on the way. On the train home a couple from Texas Hill Country (like Rock Oak Deer blog in San Antonio) Their business is large rain tanks. We have drought, and how to live with rain tanks in common. At Magoebaskloof  the couple at the next table were going to a bush wedding (the bride's mother wore little pink wellies) Both geologists at Witwatersrand University studying lithium mining. And we have an electric car ...

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. You have the most beautiful wildflowers, and how amazing to see zebras while you are walking. We certainly take our supposedly endless supply of natural resources for granted until we no longer have them. Laura.

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  2. Lovely flower shots as always. I was intrigued by the Wahlenbergia. I grow one variety (labeled simply as Wahlenbergia species by the grower) but it isn't nearly as interesting as the W. capensis you photographed. I'm glad you've received decent rainfall overall. We're still waiting to see what kind of precipitation we can expect during this rainy season - thus far the answer has been none! Our state lifted most water restrictions last year, after a single year of heavier-than-normal rain (and despite the truly pathetic rainfall in the year prior to that). I consider that exceptionally foolish.

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    Replies
    1. On today's hike the pretty blue was next to a quiet white W. tenella - didn't look remotely related. Waiting and wondering what will happen to our water restrictions next.

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  3. As always, you post images of fascinating wildflowers, most of which are unfamiliar to me. Your shot of the Monkey beetles is great! Are these beetles considered good guys or bad guys?

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    Replies
    1. Pollinators like honey bees, who eat pollen - and cute too!

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  4. This year I was so distressed about the drought with no rain for month, I seriously considered a water collection system for used water from the shower and the washing mashine. But where can we put the water tank?

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    Replies
    1. Washing machine water (if you choose a suitable detergent) can be run onto the lawn.

      We have a smallish 'tank' with a lid about 80 litres - and that I can use with a watering can for strategic plants. Big budget option would be a buried tank and a pump for an irrigation system. Grey water should be used within 24 hours - but mine lasts a few days.

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  5. Mountain Zebras, now that is exciting. We get both excited and horrified if we see a rabbit in the garden.

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  6. The pink spider perfectly color coordinates with the flower. Pretty. P. x

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