Banksias on Brakkloofrant

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

Hiking among wildflowers
in the mountains
around Cape Town

On Signal Hill in October fine grey leaved Leysera gnaphalodes. Moraea gawleri with red spotted nectar guide. Tall Moraea bellendenii.

October Moraea on Signal Hill
October on Signal Hill
Leysera and Moraea

Anglican priest Bernie Wrankmore fasted for 67 days at this kramat, protesting the death in detention of Imam Abdullah Haron in 1969.

Tandem paragliders and paraseeds Ursinia anthemoides. Rusty Salvia aurea.

Blue bulbs Geissorhiza aspera and tall Babiana fragrans. Purple lined Wurmbea spicata Colchicum family. Blush pink Watsonia borbonica.

Central white star on Lapeirousia corymbosa. Slope scattered with creamy Ornithogallum thyrsoides. Soft mauve daisy Felicia fruticosa and prickly yellow Berkheya armata.

Delicate twining Cyphia digitata. Black and lemon Pelargonium lobatum (similar to Pelargonium triste but) with each solid leaf the size of my hand. Cream Pelargonium elongatum. Sebaea exacoides at the entrance to the throat - two broad long strokes bookended by two fine short strokes on each petal.

October flowers on Signal Hill Remembering Bernie Wrankmore
October flowers on Signal Hill
Remembering Bernie Wrankmore

Began our Mule Track walk with this house in Kalk Bay. Next door to the building site - which remains an access road and NO houses. Such a successful green roof, which doesn't obstruct their sea view!

Blue bulbs Geissorhiza aspera and Moraea tripetala. Yellow with rich golden peacock splotch Wachendorfia paniculata.

Yellow daisies Arctotis acaulis and prickly Cullumia setosa. Fingered petals on orange striped Hebenstretia repens and plain Dischisma ciliatum.

Struthiola ciliata is usually pink, yellow or white with green leaves - this plant had deep burgundy leaves. Low Cyphia bulbosa. The mule track with memories of before the coastal road was built around the quicksand at the mouth of Silvermine River. Burgundy veins outside the buds of Bolusafra bituminosa.

Otholobium fruticans with rounded heads of flowers. Caterpillar in glorious Technicolor. Pelargonium triste (with finely divided leaves). Pelargonium cucculatum Peninsula subspecies.

October flowers along the Mule Track in Kalk Bay
October flowers along the Mule Track in Kalk Bay

Bubbling stream from his Table Mountain hike on the First of October.

Table Mountain stream in October
Table Mountain stream in October

When we walked down from Brakkloofrant to Glencairn, we stopped to discuss these. I saw radiating stars of leaves and spikes of flowers - Brabejum stellatifolium! No they said, invasive alien, Banksia integrifolia (also protea family). Four nicely grown trees in the firebreak above the houses. Central lower picture with stacks of felled invasive aliens, left to dry and shed their seeds before burning.

Banksia integrifolia blooming in October
Banksia integrifolia blooming in October

What we wanted to see was Satyrium carneum in many pinks, and one white.
Beautiful Syncarpha gnaphaloides with feathery silvery leaves, russet buds, soft lemon flowers!

Satyrium and Syncarpha gnaphaloides in October
Satyrium and Syncarpha gnaphaloides in October

Low Protea scolymocephala. Towering over us a forest of Leucadendron coniferum. Berries on Knowltonia vesicatoria (in my garden with beautiful leaves, interesting flowers and berries still to come). Tall Aspalathus carnosa with a reddish standard.

True yellow Linum africanum. Striking brick red and cream flowers Crassula fascicularis. Passerina corymbosa looks pink but is red sepals, long stamens and NO petals. Huge head of Pseudoselago spuria.

Senecio rigidus with sandpapery leaves. Largest Cape lappet moth caterpillar I have seen! Intricately marked Gazania pectinata.

Pelargonium betulinum has small leaves. Pink Watsonia borbonica. Gladiolus carneus dark 'shovels' on lower petals. Unusually tall Ixia dubia reaching up to the light.

October flowers on Brakkloofrant
October flowers on Brakkloofrant

Fragile fumitory family flowers and inflated oval fruit Cysticapnos vesicaria. Tiny Tetragonia decumbens and minute Exomis microphylla (amaranth family).

Fierce thorns Lycium afrum Solanaceae. We sheltered Under Milkwood (Dylan Thomas in Wales) ours is Sideroxylon inerme. That advancing rain caught us. Lichen each colour has a different name.

Twirled bells Hermannia pinnata. Lush red fruit tortoiseberry Muraltia spinosa. Burnt lime gold for Manulea tomentosa. Toothy leaves Senecio halimifolius.

October flowers ar Kommetjie
October flowers ar Kommetjie

Not to be outdone by mere paragliders, the Ungardener on Reserve Peak.

Reserve Peak
Reserve Peak

We stopped as we drove home from our Cape Point hike to Gifkommetjie to admire Dilatris pillansii with its fishbone remnants of last year's seeds.
An UNusual Helichrysum, retortum has large white flowers.

Dilatris and Helichrysum retortum in October

At Gifkommetjie Syncarpha vestita sparkling perfection which is Cape Snow. Delicate pink wash on opening Arctotis aspera. Yellow daisy Cullumia squarrosa with matching companion blister beetle.

Dishevelled echo of Felicia is Amellus astericoides. Carrot and parsley family Dasispermum hispidum. Flamboyant pairing of deep terracotta flowers with shimmery silver leaves, and inflated red seedpods, Lessertia frutescens.

Just above the crushed shell beach Crassula glomerata. Covered in white Agathosma ciliaris. Teatime - I longed to stay and watch the waves and the pair of African black oystercatchers. Luminous pink Orphium frutescens.

Microdon dubius usually plain yellow, but burgundy margins add oomph. Roepera flexuosa again yellow marked with russet. Searsia laevigata stiff leaves with pointed tips. Blue-headed rock agama.

October flowers at Gifkommetjie
October flowers at Gifkommetjie

hike with U3A (listed as False Bay)
His hike with U3A each week (listed as Cape Town)


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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. It sounds absolutely wonderful! Every minute of it!

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  2. I never cease to be impressed by the diversity of flowering plants in your part of the world, so many f which I've never seen in photos before, much less cultivation. Your husband's pose on Reserve Peak made me gasp.

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    1. But, you know, without the second picture ... no worries!

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  3. How did the Banksia integrifolia end up there? You would think there is no need to import plants when the indigenous plants are so beautiful and various.

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    1. That I would also like to know! We have many invasive Australian plants. I don't know if the nursery trade sells us Banksias? I sometimes feel as if I learn about a new invasive on each hike. Sob.

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    2. PS garden escapee from nurseries.

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  4. Oh gosh, I just don't have words because it is all so, so beautiful! I will look through this post again for inspiration. It is brown and gray here (but warm, so that's nice). Some day, I hope to get to South Africa. So beautiful!

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  5. How wonderful it must be to have such colour and riches In December. Wishing you a Merry Christmas Diana and a peaceful new year!

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  6. Being not accustomed to the flora of SA, I would never have guessed that it was alien...

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  7. What an amazing variety of wildflowers! Wow! Was the Ungardener's perch on Reserve Peak as dangerous as it looked? Or was this a trick of the camera angle? At any rate, the view had to be magnificent! Best wishes for a prosperous new year, and happy hiking and gardening in 2020!

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    1. I could NOT be there and watch - and have to trust that it is ... safer than it looks. They are usually about a dozen, so help would be near.

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  8. I so enjoyed my visits and the beautiful blooms this past year, Diana. Looking forward to 2020. Best wishes for the new year.
    Amalia
    xo

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  9. It takes time to examine each of your hikes amazing native plants in your posts-- I stop to look up so many plants--would imagine your hikes can get very slow, taking in all the flowers?

    So sorry to see alien plants invading such a special place. Here the California Native Plant Society (I think it is) works with the California Nurseryman's Association to eliminate the sale of ornamental plants that are, or that have the potential to be invasives and noxious weeds in California wild lands--any program like that in your country? Working together to eliminate the supply before it gets to the home gardener has proven effective.

    Ungardener photo--a bit scary, but memorable!

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    1. That battle against invasive alien plants is happening slowly. Australian wattles already required biocontrol when I was a botany student! We have two sets of teams Working for Water (to remove alien guzzlers from mountain catchments and rivers) and Working for Fire (to remove the aliens which burn too hot and destroy the seed bank) In theory, nurseries don't sell listed invasives.

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