Kanonkop shipwrecks and summer flowers

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

An old signal cannon aims at Cape Point. Kanonkop is in Cape Point Nature Reserve.

Kanonkop to Cape Point
Kanonkop to Cape Point

Suikerbossie in Hout Bay holds childhood memories of Sunday tea. Scones and cream. My U3A Fynbos Ramblers took me above that restaurant. A little pocket of the mountain that has missed the many wildfires, where I saw my tallest and oldest yellow pincushion Leucospermum conocarpodendron. Companion in blue for scale. We crossed a remnant of Thomas Bain's road lined with Eucalyptus. Victoria Road along the coast between Camps Bay and Hout Bay was built in 1887. Another place and time, and the flowers were also in a parallel universe that day.

Very old pincushion Thomas Bain Road
Very old pincushion
Thomas Bain Road

December flowers above Suikerbossie. Micranthus alopecuroides comb flower in vibrant lavender. Cyanella hyacinthoides Lady's Hand (resembles hyacinth?) Watsonia borbonica I remember an after fire year in Camps Bay when the whole slope of Lion's Head was this colour! Arctotis aspera with monkey beetle. Lampranthus emarginatus shimmering pools of mauve. Corymbium africanum with iris leaves is, an endemic daisy! Lichtensteinia lacera will be a pale yellow umbel (Beware of the related blister bush which looks like celery!) Relieved to see invasive alien pines that come up after fire were ring barked. Berkheya armata with sharp teeth. Hibiscus aethiopicus trails along low to the ground. Crassula flava not orange or red, but lemon yellow - this one I noticed. Commelina africana while the commonorgarden Tradescantia is blue. Otholobium fruticosans in purple and white. Indigofera psoraloides not indigo but terracotta. Aspalathus cephalothes var violacea not the expected yellow. Rafnia angulata yet another yellow pea to learn (Rafn was a Danish botanist)!

Suikerbossie flowers in December
Suikerbossie flowers in December

Cape of Storms with a trail of shipwrecks. His hike started near the same Hout Bay Neck but headed towards Sandy Bay. Cape Town's nudist beach if you want an all over tan.

Sandy Bay and Little Lion's Head to Lion's Head
Sandy Bay and Little Lion's Head to Lion's Head
(between the Lions is Judas the last of the Twelve Apostles)

To Oude Schip Island and the wreck of fishing vessel Harvest Capella 1986 they crossed an isthmus. Walking on water. IN water as it was deceptively clear but at low tide you can cross.

Shipwreck near Sandy Bay
Shipwreck near Sandy Bay
(with the corner of Table Mountain in the centre)

He had a chance to see the BOS 400 crane 1994.

BOS 400 crane
BOS 400 crane

At the end of November we were at Redhill. On the slope above the road was a horde of Agapanthus africanus. A few early flowers with many more promised for Christmas.

Agapanthus africanus in November
Agapanthus africanus in November

Ruined farmhouses at Redhill. Maylands and Kleinplaas survive only as names on a hiking trail. New houses are being built at Dido Valley for land claimants.

Maylands memories and clearance
Maylands memories and clearance 

November flowers at Redhill. Bobartia indica a 'bunch of reeds' before its true flowers, named for German botanist Bobart. Ixia dubia yellow deepened by red buds and dark centres. Watsonia zeyheri blazing orange. Watsonia tabularis in salmon. Delicate blue and white stripes on Lapeirousia corymbosa. Aristea tall and blue. Macrostylis villosa mauve with two red stripes. Berzelia abrotaniodes showing its red legs. Ursinia paleacea feathery seeds and two happy monkey beetles. Edmondia sesamoides pink and white buds opening to yellow centres. Helichrysum foetidum (leaves can be used to dress wounds). Chironia linoides glowing in pink (gentian family). Crassula glomerata a trail of drops of blood. Fierce pink Saltera sarcocolla is endemic to fynbos Penaeaceae. Erica multumbellifera flowers like tiny cherries. Swathes of bright yellow along seeps are an exotic weed Hypericum.

Redhill flowers in November
Redhill flowers in November

In November he hiked above Misty Cliffs over Redhill and down to Scarborough via Baskloof Fynbos Private Nature Reserve.

U3A  hiker resting in comfort above Scarborough
CMCA (Cape Mountains for the Curious and Adventurous) U3A  hiker
 resting in comfort above Scarborough

Resting above Scarborough with U3A hikers.

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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Comments

  1. It must wonderful discovering so many beautiful flowers and having such spectacular scenery on your walks. I wonder whether my Great Grandfather ever went along any of the Thomas Bain roads! It is amazing how long it has taken to allow the families back to where they originally left. Sarah x
    .

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    1. It makes my heart ache each time I walk past 'just a name' on a sign. But I have seen the roads laid out for the new houses.
      Most of our mountain passes are a legacy from Thomas Bain - so I am sure he did!

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  2. I'd never have imagined that Leucospermum could grow so large! I need to find a spot to grow Watsonias. They did unbelievably well in my former garden squeezed into a relatively small space between the neighbor's fence and our driveway so there has to be room for them here somewhere.

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    Replies
    1. I brought watsonias from Porterville. There, they bloomed - here they haven't :~(

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  3. Scones and cream--yum! Your December flowers are as pretty as your November flowers, which are as pretty as the flowers of every other month in your stunning part of the world!

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    1. It sounds such a little thing, but we were not an eating out sort of family - and that was real treat!

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  4. I love the summer flowers, especially the blazing orange and salmon ones, but who could choose between all those beauties. Thank you for the link to Thomas Bain... in 2012 Paul and I did a day drive around Paarl, and then went through the Little Karoo, (breathtaking landscape...) and we were very impressed with the passes, tunnels and (bridges?) that he had was responsible for, what an legacy he has left to the country. Good to read a bit more about him and his work.

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    1. I have often stopped to admire the drystone walls along his roads. Finely crafted work which still stands strong.

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  5. Happy New Year Diana! That's a lot of beautiful wildflowers. How i wish i can reach your part of the world. If you garden for biodiversity, i garden for butterflies, hehehe.

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    1. When we came home today, a citrus swallowtail was resting with spread wings ... photo coming in my January garden post.

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  6. I am happy with where I live and there are U3As offering good things, but when I read this post I dream of moving to Capetown and joining the local U3A to go on those walks and see the countryside and the flowers. Except the old cannon. That jarred - a memory of war and conflict in such a lovely place. Maybe I should put CT on the top of my bucket list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Be at peace. This is a signal cannon. Cape Town was founded to supply fruit and veg for passing ships. This would tell farmers - there's a ship in the harbour - bring food. There would be passengers and post to collect.

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  7. I like the photo of the canon on the hill, very dramatic, it could belong in an old war movie.
    Amalia
    xo

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    Replies
    1. This cannon is peaceful - fired to tell farmers there is a ship in the harbour waiting for supplies.

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  8. Replies
    1. Some of his pictures make me grateful they are 'only pictures'

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  9. My mother grew Agapanthus in England. I wish I could grow it in my Pennsylvania garden.

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    1. They are not so happy in our gardens - there are caterpillars, but I share and enjoy the few flowers.

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  10. As always, I am impressed with the beauty and diversity of plant life you find on your hikes. I am glad you included the photo for scale of the pincushion. That is huge! And not only lovely plants, but a shipwreck!

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    Replies
    1. I am used to large bushes - being a third of that height!

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  11. Sad stories between beautiful blooms ...

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