Hiking up Table Mountain and in Silvermine

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

Our second Botanical Ramble was harder. Quietly battling to get my camera to capture the flowers - now - BEFORE the breeze smacks it into another nasty blur. Then sprinting to catch up. We walked to the waterfall, not down to the big drop, but turning up to the Amphitheatre. Since we have moved to False Bay the wow plant for me is Mimetes in bloom. One of the proteas which proves that they deserve to be named after the Greek god Proteus, who could change his form. This shrub is big enough to hide a car. The flowers sing out in dusky pink, silver and hints of lime gold.

Mimetes at Silvermine
Mimetes at Silvermine

Mimetes flower
Mimetes flower

Such a delight to watch a 'live stream' and the waterfall tumbling over the rocks as Cape Town waits eagerly for more winter rain. We should get 10 mm around 6 tomorrow morning. Hoping for two full rain tanks!

Waterfall at Silvermine
Waterfall at Silvermine

The red Gladiolus bonaspei (endemic to the Cape Peninsula) was the eye candy this time - I needed the Ungardener to hold still - so I could get a picture. Tiniest blush pink daisies are Metalasia (honey bush, but not the tea sort). Leaves neatly stacked in four ranks, with a bonus of Barbie pink flowers is Saltera sarcocolla. Prickly yellow daisies with russet buds Oedera?? Yellow (and orange) bulbs Moraea ochroleuca we last saw at Cape Point, an after fire bonus. Euryops still waking up and displaying a green crown. Soft pink Pelargonium capitatum also grows in my garden. Long delicate petals on a yellow Euryops. Gentle mauves and silver leaves of Podalyria sericea (on my wish list).

Flowers at Silvermine in August
Flowers at Silvermine in August

One week later, turn left instead of right, and with botanical eyes peeled, we saw a fresh set of flowers!

From our first walk at Solole (now part of Silvermine) the ford as a reminder of the once was farm.

Ford at Silvermine (Solole)
Ford at Silvermine (Solole)

Again it was the very red flowers that we sought out. Babiana ringens for the sunbirds.

Babiana ringens
Babiana ringens

Just about as high as my foot in hiking boot, step carefully, was Wurmbea inusta

Wurmbea inusta
Wurmbea inusta

Leucospermum conocarpodendron grew in our Camps Bay garden. Where I could watch these buds open a little more each day, till the yellow candles emerged and then the whole flower opened up into a yellow and cream pincushion. I miss that!

Leucospermum conocarpodendron
Leucospermum conocarpodendron

For the Ungardener the gentle amble thru the flowers was not challenging enough. He went with U3A's Curious and Adventurous (rock scrambling in the Cape Mountains) this week. And came home after a full day VERY tired.

I have never hiked UP Table Mountain, but been up in the cable car. For him this was a second ascent. They began in Kirstenbosch Garden and hiked up Nursery Ravine to Reserve Peak, then down Cecilia Ridge. Looking down to Kirstenbosch dam reminds me, why I was NOT with them.

Looking down to Kirstenbosch dam and across De Villiers dam on Table Mountain
Looking down to Kirstenbosch dam
and across De Villiers dam on Table Mountain 

I have also never seen the fabled dams on Table Mountain. They were the original main water supply to the City of Cape Town. Those winter full dams wait as an emergency supply for next summer. More rain, desalination, tapping into the Table Mountain Group Aquifer, processing non-potable water - and we hope to get by until next winter.

Hely Hutchinson dam on Table Mountain (NOT flat up there)
Hely Hutchinson dam on Table Mountain
(NOT flat up there)

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. Diana, thanks for sharing these beautiful pictures, the landscape is breathtaking! I am now in love with those Mimete flowers!

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    1. Delighted to welcome a reader from Argentina!

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  2. Photographing flowers in the wind is so difficult! Were the other hikers not interested in flowers or just not interested in photographing them? Leucospermum conocarpodendron looks beautiful, did you forget to take a cutting with you from your Camps Bay garden?

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    1. One serious camera, and some clicking with me.
      Proteas are tricky to grow. I have one surviving of the few I planted, but I will keep trying.

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  3. I'm not 'up' on mountains but for some reason have always known of Table Mountain - and now I know I have always got it wrong because in my imagination it was more lush than it appears in the pictures.

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    1. In the deep valleys there are forests, on the exposed parts it is shrubby fynbos. With huge diversity when you see that THAT yellow daisy is different to this one, and to the next one ...

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  4. The Mimetes flowers are stunning! I also loved the delicate Wurmbea inusta. My mother always had a picture of a flame lily...is this from around the Cape area? I was interested to see the De Villiers dam...I didn't know about it.
    Congratulations to the Ungardener, I admire anyone who could climb Table Mountain! Another interesting post, I enjoyed it.

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    1. Flame lily is the emblem of Rhodesia. I wonder if they still use it for Zimbabwe? From up north, not the Cape.
      https://www.zambezi.com/blog/2014/flame-lily-national-flower-zimbabwe/

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    2. Oh yes, My mother must have seen them in Zimbabwe where our cousins lived...yes, I wonder if they are still an emblem...who would know.

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    3. See the comment from Samantha below - she is from Harare in Zimbabwe!

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  5. I can see why you're impressed by the Mimetes - it's a stunner! I've never seen the plant in local garden centers, although our "nearby" (3 hours north) Australian Native Plants Nursery has a listing for it but, if it grows big enough to hide a car, it's probably too big for my garden anyway. That photo of the Wurmbea once again captured my heart.

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    1. Yes, I couldn't squeeze Mimetes into my garden however much I'd love to!

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  6. I just have one thing to say about Mimetes -- Wow!!

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  7. What an amazing number of beautiful flowers you have in your winter months. You have spectacular scenery too!

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  8. Hiking with fast hikers is annoying when you really want to just take it all in. Glad you managed to great pics and yes the Flame Lily is still the national flower and emblem of Zimbabwe.

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    1. No - the pace was fine, just had a bad camera day. Still learning to use a new camera.

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    2. http://interviews.blogexpat.com/blog/2011/08/18/from-harare-to-johannesburg-ebony-delights
      Enjoyed reading about your roots in Harare. Brings back a little of how I felt in Switzerland - she's from South Africa, no really South AFRICA!

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  9. your new camera is learning to behave, I think. As you said, walking in a group enables you to learn the botanical names of the flowers you see. Wonderful, wonderful landscape. U3A is here too, so much to do.

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  10. Amazing images and interesting words - your blog is such a pleasure, thank you

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  11. You saw some lovely flowers on your hike on Table Mountain the Mimetes is my favourite one is looks amazing. It must have been such a climb for your husband, those views are stunning and look a long way down! Sarah x

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    1. Today his hike was easier. Rock scrambling, but not a whole mountain's worth.

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  12. Oh, my, Mimetes! So gorgeous. We saw them at the Santa Cruz Botanic Garden last year. Not big enough to hide a car here though. The other flowers too, but the Mimetes above all.

    Glad to hear you are getting winter rain. May your tanks be brimming full, multiple times. Congratulations to the Ungardener on his ascent--that's quite a climb.

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  13. Love, love, love Mimetes! Enjoyed taking this beautiful hike with you. P. x

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  14. Everyone has mentioned the Mimetes, but I find the Wurmbea to be charming and fascinating.

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    1. Have to tread so carefully - and was told it is better to step gently on the plant, it will bounce back later - rather than tip toeing which dislodges the roots.

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