Spring is rolling in here on the Cape Peninsula after late winter rain, the wild flowers are abloom in swathes of rich tones. It makes the heart sing; the senses washed wild by the earthy scent of rain – petrichor, a counterpoint to all that sensuous colour.
The osteospermums were the first to make an appearance with the felicias and senecias opening close behind and now the vibrant vygies are splashing out in a voluptuous spread.
We celebrate the floral abundance here in the heart of one of Nature’s jewels: the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of the six floral kingdoms in the world. It may be the smallest, but it has an astonishing variety of over 8578 plant species and spring is a showcase season. Though there is always some delight to be discovered as different species flower throughout the year.
While writing this post I watch as a tiny fledgling – a Southern Double-collared sunbird flies hesitantly round the backyard as the parents hover, coaxing and calling. The nest was built high up in the Cape honeysuckle which grows up a trellis with long trailing tendrils. The sunbirds and the Cape Sugarbird serve as useful pollinators along with a fascinating array of insects.
To finish off, perhaps some inspiration from Sinding?
The showy Leucadendron laureolum puts on a worthy show across the mountain slopes.
The yellow flower heads show up against the green folliage.
Protea lepidocarpodendron – the handsome Black-bearded protea.
Berzelia lanuginosa – Kolkol, vleiknoppiesbos.
Oedera uniflora – prolific flowerers – their flowers stand up to the fierce winds.
Protea coronata – Green sugarbush protea
Mimetes fimbriifolius, Tree pagoda
Leucadendron laureolum in full bloom.
Glorious yellow, Leucadendron laureolum.
Prolific flowering in July.
In the early 20th C hunters had all but wiped out this species of antelope. Only seventeen survived. Thankfully conservation-minded farmers established a reserve in 1931 and fortunately their numbers increased and today they flourish.
Swathes of yellow catch the eye as the mountain slopes in the southern part of the Cape Peninsula are in full bloom with the showy Leucadendrons (the cone families of the Protea species). Winter is a dynamic time for a number of the protea species – Blackbeards and Green sugarbush proteas also flower showing off stylish flower heads.
It was a stroke of luck to discover this plant in flower when by chance I’d wandered off a coastal hiking track (Hoek van Bobbejaan at the Cape of Good Hope Reserve), to shelter from the wind. The tough spider lily (Ferraria crispa), a cormous perennial belongs to that fabulous plant family, the iridaceae. The flowers only last for one day and there it was, a single bloom growing discreetly under a granite outcrop. One of it’s common names – “Inkpotjie” or Little inkpot fits it’s speckled description rather aptly.