The Garden Plant
Hiking battles and our Neighbourhood Farm 1

Hiking battles and our Neighbourhood Farm

by Diana Studer

– gardening for biodiversity

in Cape Town, South Africa

Hiking among wildflowers

and in the mountains

around Cape Town

In March his group hiked up to Blokhuiskop (seen from our bay window) from where he could look down to our beach.

Looking down to our beach from Blokhuiskop
Looking down to our beach from Blokhuiskop

We hiked along Steenberg at Silvermine. Coming down the ‘steps’ we found a life and death battle. Too late for the Black Girdled Lizard’s tail-biting defence. A successful hunt for the Karoo Sand Snake. We took our photos and circuited carefully alongside the path.

Tail-biting defence of the Black Girdled Lizard
Tail-biting defence of the Black Girdled Lizard

Karoo Sand Snake
Karoo Sand Snake

Lobelia coronopifolia deep blue with white flashes. Gladiolus brevifolius is hooded, its lower tepals with various delicate markings.

Roella ciliata banded in blues.

Distant stream of cars on Ou Kaapse Weg. Saltera sarcocolla in electrifying pink. Gnidia juniperifolia (4 x 2 petals and calyx).

Steenberg Ridge Silvermine March flowers
Steenberg Ridge Silvermine
March flowers

He had a turn at trail blazing, stabbed by burnt ends of branches. Eina!

Silvermine battle scars from trail blazing
Silvermine battle scars from trail blazing

Hoof print of a small antelope. We walked slowly down to Smitswinkel Bay. Polygala myrtifolia with tassels and purple veins. Psoralea pinnata fountain bush grows with wet feet.

Erica ericoides with dark dangly bits. Tiny furry Erica parviflora. Spotted blister beetle on Osteospermum monilifera. Hibiscus aethiopicus low on the ground.

Phylica ericoides. Struthiola ciliata with an eight spiked central crown. Kniphofia uvaria. Wine dark sea edges to Cotyledon orbiculata leaves.

Smitswinkel Bay March flowers
Smitswinkel Bay
March flowers

He was on Klaasenskop and along Cecilia Ridge.


We walked along a sadly dry Silvermine River. Erica multumbellifera little cherries. Erica abietina. Erica ericoides dark dangly bits. Berzelia lanuginosa.

Camphorbush Tarchonanthus littoralis (the female I wanted in the garden with fluff for bird’s nests). Cunonia capensis (rooiels) flower and its butterspoon. Fresh dark Cape myrtle leaves Myrsine africana.

Tall ivory umbels Hermas villosa with large and decorative leaves. Yellow crab spider lurks on Helichrysum cymosum. Stoebe cinerea flower and the bush so striking once backlit by sunshine.

Tall Bulbine praemorsa. Vivid Indigofera filifolia. Muted Indigofera cytisoides spikes. Sky blue Pseudoselago serrata.

Silvermine River Walk March flowers
Silvermine River Walk
March flowers

We walk up to Slangkop from the Catholic church past a Eucalyptus avenue (water guzzling invasive aliens, but the beekeepers like them). Here we saw Brunsvigia orientalis (which had been disappointingly mown down or dug up from the firebreak at Smitswinkel)

Glowing red Leucadendron salignum leaves. Golden Serruria villosa. Extravagant Protea cynaroides. Olea capensis ironwood with tiny fruit.

Silver leaves and fluff –  kapokbossie – wild rosemary Eriocephalus racemosus. Salvia lanceolata with colour from the persistent red calyx. Blue Lobelia setacea.

Erica corifolia dark dots on bract tips. Creamy Erica mammosa. Yellow daisy Arctotis breviscapa. Dusky pink Tritoniopsis dodii.

Slangkop March flowers
March flowers

At our Neighbourhood Farm. Infrastructure paid for by the Department of Agriculture. Also at primary schools, with the largest and latest in Ocean View. For irrigation they use three well points. Water is filtered and treated with UV light. The white blob, about the size of my thumb, is a Rain Bird which monitors and cuts off irrigation as needed. Behind the tanks you can just see the roof of the hospital and the car park – from there they harvest stormwater to recharge the groundwater they use. Skills training, employment, sustainable food. Also BYO container for zero waste groceries – the nuts, seeds and dried fruit I put in our muesli.
Neighbourhood Farms False Bay Hospital
Neighbourhood Farms
False Bay Hospital

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Hiking battles and our Neighbourhood Farm 2

Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

Teal blue text is my links.

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Brent Richard Dixon

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