Cape Town Environmental Education Trust and hiking in Silvermine

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Let there be fynbos for future generations! I hope we will achieve that by encouraging children and young people to experience nature. We went with the Church in Creation to Kenilworth Race Course. In the oval in the centre of the track is a precious patch of Cape Sand fynbos with 34 Red Data species. Threatened with development, but we NEED another casino and fast food outlets etc. That morning I was encouraged by a fledgling environmental science student, and the two rangers at the reserve who were trained by the Cape Town Environmental Education Trust.

Cape River frog at Kenilworth Race Course
Cape River frog at
Kenilworth Race Course

In March 2016 we met the eland at the Gantouw Project, also CTEET work. I watched a video clip of a young girl from the neighbouring low income township on a weekend environmental camp, and the utter 'lit up like Christmas' delight on her face as she paddles her kayak on the water! It is from moments like that that the vocation to care for nature springs, or the political will to value our environment over profit.

Rock scrambling in Silvermine
Rock scrambling in Silvermine

The Curious and Adventurous shinning up rocks like mountain goats. Behind the Ungardener you can see our wide valley. So many houses. False Bay to the left, the Atlantic Ocean to the right and far ahead Cape Point hides.

In Silvermine the slopes of Spitskop and looking across our valley
In Silvermine the slopes of Spitskop
and looking across our valley

Up there in the mountains of Silvermine which lie in the heart of the Mother City, you see either the urbanisation, or the pristine unspoiled wild nature on the slopes of Spitskop above Noordhoek. Simply turn your head...

Flower textures at Silvermine in August
Flower textures at Silvermine in August

I like to linger on details, on textures and colours. New growth sprouts after the fires. A tiny groundcover is surprisingly a Euphorbia for Gail at Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday. Burgundy seedheads on a restio (Cape reed) Hypodiscus? A delicate and varied crevice garden is designed by Mother Nature.

Pentameris curvifolia Curly five awn
Pentameris curvifolia
Curly five awn

Grasses are a garden trend. This one I covet with its curly leaves. Blonde seedheads wave in the breeze. Curly five awn Pentameris curvifolia.

Our bietou invasive Australian wattle
Our bietou
invasive Australian wattle

Bietou bushes Osteospermum moniliferum have a spectacular year. I see a stream of yellow cascading down the mountain slopes. This colour is more intense, more orange than the ones in my garden. Sadly when we reached the river at the bottom of the valley the fragrant yellow flowers were a dense invasive stand of Australian wattles, exploding after fire.

Osteospermum moniliferum Bietou smells of chocolate!
Osteospermum moniliferum
Bietou
smells of chocolate!

U3A's botanical ladies are teaching me thru A Nother yellow daisy. Waving at shoulder height with little flowers and toothed leaves is Othonna quinquedentata. Senecio burchellii dangles her petals down. Cullumia setosa has prickles.

Yellow daisies at Silvermine in August
Yellow daisies
at Silvermine in August

Yellow pincushion. Vibrant pink with tassels is Erica plukenetii. Yellow tubes are Penaea mucronata - Penaeaceae family is only found in the South-Western Cape fynbos. Yellow and white coronets is Struthiola (Thymelaeaceae family includes Daphne). Red stems and hooks on (after fire) Asparagus rubicundus.

Silvermine flowers in August
Silvermine flowers in August

He has found me the macro setting on my new camera. White Romulea flava. Pink and purple Amphithalea - legume family. Zygophyllum yellow bells hang down hiding their vibrant burgundy hearts. Apricot Oxalis obtusa. Pink and blue Lobelia plants grow side by side.

Tiny flowers at Silvermine in August
Tiny flowers at Silvermine in August

I still miss our first garden where I nurtured a huge pincushion. Leucospermum conocarpodendron. Yellow and white, green and red. It had silver leaves on the Camps Bay side of the mountains.

Yellow pincushion Leucospermum conocarpodendron
Yellow pincushion
Leucospermum conocarpodendron

Yesterday Donna in Upstate New York interviewed me. We go back thru years of blogging, rooted at Blotanical.

I invite you to join us at Elephant's Eye on False Bay. Please subscribe as you prefer
via Feedly,
or Bloglovin,
or Facebook 

Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

Teal blue text is my links.
To read comments if you are in email or a Reader,

Thanks for comments that add value. Maybe start a new thread of discussion? BTW your comment won't appear until I've read it. No Google account? Just use Anonymous, but do leave a link to your own blog. I would return the visit, if I could...
I welcome comments on posts from the last 2 months.

Danke für sinnvolle Kommentare. Die werden erst veröffentlicht nachdem ich sie gelesen habe. Es können auch Bemerkungen sein die in eine ganz andere Richtung gehen.

Comments

  1. We need to expose more young children to the benefits of basking in the joys of nature. I am always in awe of the new life mountain slopes after a fire, nature - so resilient!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One of the rangers told us - he started with one of those weekends in nature, and never looked back! Also good to hear that the skills training is steadily moving interns on to paid employment.

      Delete
  2. Diana, when I read or hear anything regarding the environment you always come to my mind. I think it was back in 2011 when you published a post in which you were very troubled regarding fracking. I had never heard of it, I have gone out of my way to educate myself some more regarding environmental issues since that date, a lot of people are up in arms regarding fracking since the problem reached these shores.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly fracking is an even worse threat to us, as the drought bites. We can't risk contaminating groundwater, where that is the only source.

      Delete
  3. I'm very encouraged by programs like this. We need more the world over!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Our local paper has two nice stories this week. About nectar plants for sunbirds at four primary schools (there already 4 high schools planted). Another about CTEET with children planting in a nature reserve on a previously burnt area.

      Delete
  4. Such vibrant colors! August is a beautiful month in your area. Roughly equivalent to my February, but much more pleasant! We are still covered in snow at that point. Thanks for sharing highlights of your beautiful wildflowers and the amazing views! I enjoyed your profile on Donna's blog. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. COLD here today with more snow on our mountain tops. We saw hail along the track on our last hike.

      Delete
  5. I love the photo called Silvermine Flowers, absolutely beautiful, every flower. (and all the other photos too, the mountains are lovely as always.) I lived in Kenilworth for a year, I hope they are not going to build a casino there! Education is absolutely the key to an awareness of our environment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fervently hoping that public protest will help to preserve that nature reserve.

      Delete
  6. Interesting interview. Were you one of the first members of Blotanical? How did you discover Blotanical?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Way back when I began blogging, I looked for other garden blogs and they almost all led to Blotanical. One I remember from then is Gail at Clay and Limestone, with her Wildflower Wednesday meme I enjoy. I joined Blotanical when it was flourishing and growing. We met there too?

      Delete
    2. ... And I continue to love every one of your postings, Diana. I have learned so much from you. (For example, I learned that fynbos is a distinctive type of vegetation found only in your part of the world.) I share your philosophy about preserving the diminishing 'pristine unspoiled wild nature' areas. P. x

      Delete
    3. Stuart in Australia planted good strong seedlings at Blotanical and we continue to flourish today.

      Delete
  7. It's amazing that development has been approved despite it being a conservation area! It is good to see the young concerned about environmental issues.Your pictures on the trek are lovely,you have really captured the colours and textures.Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has sadly been an ongoing threat and battle for years. The nature worth preserving is there, the rangers work hard, with volunteers. But it is still not a formally declared nature reserve, so can be green field development.

      Delete
  8. I always find it fascinating how mother nature revitalizes after a fire. So much beauty. xo Laura

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is hard to believe when you see the scorched earth stripped bare, and then the magic when roots sprout, and bulbs and annuals emerge! And the mission to catch invasive aliens.

      Delete
  9. Such beauty needs to be preserved. Let's hope it will be there for future generations.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "Let there be fynbos for future generations!" I do hope so Diana but I fear that many habitats are being lost either due to Man 'needing' to build something or through climate change (again caused by us). I no longer believe that I can change the world but I can at least look after my very tiny part of it; as you do too in your garden, for how much longer that will be possible - who knows?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We do what we can because we must.

      Delete
  11. Beautiful flower photos!
    I had never heard the word 'fynbos' so I Googled it and learned some amazing things. We need to do everything we can to make people more aware of the natural world.
    Have a great week-end!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I only learned about fynbos as a first year botany student. Today the school kids learn about it.

      Delete
  12. Such a beautiful and dramatic landscape. So different from the flatlands around here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can imagine how disappointed I was to go with my now husband to Switzerland ... and where are the mountains, the Alps?? So much of Switzerland is rolling hills, with Belgium and France and Germany. Sometimes a glimpse of snowy mountains at the far end of Lake Zurich.

      Delete
  13. I too, had to Google fynbos and have spent the last hour in pleasurable reading. Thank you Diana for sharing a very interesting post.
    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have me longing for an Asian pear ;~)

      Delete
  14. Again, as I have so often when reading your blog, I am impressed by the majesty of your part of the world. Your photos of the mountains of Silvermine are breathtaking. It is easy to see the importance of preserving the environment of such beautiful places, but places that are less obviously amazing, or those already adjacent to development, are considered fair game for the developers. Eventually the development will creep up even the mountains of Silvermine. I look at developmental sprawl in my area, and I sadly remember the rolling countryside it replaced. Even sadder are many strip malls that are half empty, pointing out the fact we did not need them at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Today we were looking at the latest development creeping up the urban edge to Silvermine.

      Delete
  15. Oh, I also must mention how much I enjoyed your interview with Donna!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Diana, I, too, am encouraged by the environmental passions of many in the young generation. I am trying to get a campaign against invasive species going in my town, and this reminds me that the local schools would be a good place to look for energy.
    I also enjoyed the interview and the memories of the "Camelot" days at Blotanical.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A large part of my Camelot - was your sociologist based research project. Tantalising that Blotanical folded before you could do the second part!

      Is there something Sierra Club / Audubon based at the schools? Or migrating monarchs or hummingbirds that need pitstops?? Then fold the invasives into that informed and enthusiastic base?

      Delete

Popular Posts