Vondeling with Biodiversity and Wine and fire

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

In October 2013 we went to Vondeling near Wellington for the WESSA (once was WWF South Africa) Annual Regional Meeting. Vondeling was a proud supporter of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative and is now a Conservation Champion of WWF.

Watsonia on a granite outcrop
Watsonia on a granite outcrop

Wachendorfia
Wachendorfia

We had a brief walk along the edge of the vineyards. Diana trailing along last as I revelled in new to me flowers.

Dodonea seeds
Dodonea seeds

Since the 2011 fire they have collected over 900 species on the Paardeberg for their herbarium. Four species are endemic to the area: Babiana noctiflora (flowers at night), Erica hippuris, Oscularia paardebergenis (succulent in the Aizoaceae) and Serruria roxberghii (spiderhead protea). South Africa’s vineyards are in the Cape Floral Kingdom (which includes fynbos and Renosterveld). The CFK has over nine thousand species with many endemics. In 2004 only 4% of the Renosterveld survived.

Podalyria sweetpea bush
Podalyria sweetpea bush

Psoralea
Psoralea

Evidence of their success in maintaining sustainable habitat is a Cape leopard caught on their camera trap.

Babiana
Babiana

The Hantam is our only National Botanical Garden dedicated to conserving Renosterveld.

Vondeling vineyard with the biodiversity on the hill beyond
Vondeling vineyard
with the biodiversity on the hill beyond

The Vondeling wedding chapel has enchanting windows. A round one high up with a dove bearing an olive twig. Outside the chapel is a line of olive saplings. Along the length of the chapel the windows are painted in trailing vines.

Dove with olive, window at Vondeling chapel
Dove with olive, window at Vondeling chapel

Grapevines on the side windows at Vondeling chapel
Grapevines on the side windows at Vondeling chapel

I was encouraged to hear about young interns, and school teachers – working with the next generation, and the next – wildflowers and Cape leopards in our future.

Colin Bell, author of Africa’s Finest, told us - If we try to hug national parks all to ourselves, we lose it. If we reach out and share, like Botswana and Namibia, we can conserve nature for the future. His ‘responsible, sustainable tourism – what we have termed the Green Safari model. Viable, long-term partnerships are a winning scenario for wildlife, wildernesses and people.’ The ultimate green lodge.

Vondeling chapel near Wellington
Vondeling chapel near Wellington

Rocher Pan cottages with composting toilets protecting the seasonal pan and migrating birds, on our one day wish list - achieved in September last year!

Next on our wish list is to see the garden where Ernst Van Jaarsveld (retired from Kirstenbosch) is now based at Babylonstoren. There will be a Waterwise Gardening workshop in February 2018.

Today's post is a distraction from two huge fires. The first started at Sir Lowry's Pass and burnt along the slope between Gordon's Bay and Steenbras Dam. Five buildings lost. Animal Welfare evacuated. The second started at Red Hill. Burnt across the mountain to Scarborough down to the sea. Then turned to Cape Point Nature Reserve. Thanks to our firefighters both fires are under control, and being monitored.

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 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.

Comments

  1. The Green Safari Model seems to make good sense. That's similar to the model in many of our U.S. National Parks--welcoming tourists on a limited basis, so they appreciate and buy in to the importance and preservation of those habitats for future generations. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love seeing all of the beautiful flowers that are native to your area. Saddened by the fires. We have had some terrible ones in the US this year too. xo Laua

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so sorry to hear that you're experiencing wildfires too, Diana. I hope they're a safe distance away from you and, for those in their path, I hope they're quickly extinguished.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We only saw some smoke beyond the mountain ridge. Safely out today.

      Delete
  4. Impressive contrast to the grapes and the hillsides (chaparral to me!). That green safari tourism concept makes sense.

    ReplyDelete
  5. sorry to hear about the fires, very scary. Managing tourism and protecting the environment is a challenge, it's good to hear about the green safari model.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I remember your wonderful eco -holiday.The Waterwise Garden workshop will be useful/ I was interested to read the garden Babylonstoren garden used to supply food for the old Sailing Ships. I'm so glad that the fires have now been put out.


    ReplyDelete
  7. Very interesting post as always...Your beautiful wild flowers always surprise me ( with delight). I hope the fires are not doing too much damage to the land as well as the people.I look forward to seeing the Babylonstoren garden, and the water wise garden workshop if you join that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The workshop is beyond my budget.
      But I do look forward to a garden tour, and lunch from the garden!

      Delete
  8. Very interesting and informative post. I went and read about the Renosterveld, now I know a little more than I did before. Thank you!

    We have been getting a good stretch of cool, mild weather, with rain up north, so we are hoping our fire season is over for several months.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hoping for rain Monday / Tuesday . This is WAY too early for our fire season!

      Delete
  9. This was interesting, I enjoyed coming along and seeing the pretty flowers.
    Amalia
    xo

    ReplyDelete
  10. The words of Colin Bell make so much sense.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I remember reading about the composting toilets in one of your previous postings, Diana. I would love one in my garden.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would need a smallholding or a farm. Definitely seems a better option than a French drain or a septic tank if you are off-grid.

      When we built our Camps Bay house, we had electricity and water, but we used a chemical camping toilet, and our neighbour had a soakaway ... until we had enough houses for sewerage to be financially viable.

      Delete
  12. How awful! Fires and water shortage. Are there more nature fires now because of climate change?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a nasty combination of drought, and human carelessness, or even arson. Climate change gives us summer thunderstorms and a risk of lightning strikes.

      Delete
  13. Fires terrify me, though I know many plants depend on fires for their propagation. Ultimately, the fires contribute to biodiversity. But I am upset when fires are started by humans through carelessness... and sometimes deliberately!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With an added layer of horror when land owners don't bother to remove infestations of invasive aliens - which blaze up like fury!

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts