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South Africa - Western Cape (2)


By AndrewR


On the third day of my holiday in South Africa, we headed south to the Cape of Good Hope. This is an area I have visited before where I was taken with salvia africana-lutea. The flowers of this shrub open yellow but immediately turn brown. I am trying to grow this in Bracknell, but have only managed one flower in five years!

A succulent, cotyledon orbiculare. This plant turns the edges of its leaves towards the sun and puts a red pigment in them to protect itself from sunburn.

A tiny sundew in flower, drossera capensis.

We then drove to Simon’s Town to see a colony of Jackass Penguins at Boulders Beach. A long boardwalk has been built over the beach so you can see them without disturbing them.

Although one decided to have a closer look.

Day four and we left Cape Town to travel north. Plants are everywhere, this is albuca canadensis growing in grass beside the road at our mid morning coffee stop.

Later in the day, we arrived at Ramskop Nature Reserve, about 25 miles inland from the sea. Here grow around 350 different species of wild flower, local to the region.

These include watsonias

And lachenalias

We then made our way to our overnight accommodation with an impromptu stop to look at ixia scillaris

A little further along the road, we stopped where there had been a fire a few months earlier, burning off all the plant life. This had allowed some bulbs to make an appearance before the competition overwhelmed the area. This is gladiolus alatus.

And moraea gawleri, related to irises.

On day 5 we were due to head into some nearby mountains, but it rained heavily all morning. We tried to botanise in the afternoon, but every time we gt out the bus, the rain started again, and we gave up after an hour. Among the plants we saw was pelargonium scabrum.

And sometimes the threat to native plants comes from plants introduced into gardens that have escaped, as illustrated by this field of lupins.

To be continued ….

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Fascinating - what a marvellous landscape. Did you know the names of all those plants yourself? I loved the idea of the little succulent painting itself with its version of sun tan lotion.

25 Jan, 2017


Very informative, you are so knowledgable - I would never remember all the names!

25 Jan, 2017


I am so envious. I do like the Gladiolus. I have one Watsonia growing in my garden. I do hope it survives these frosts, it was ok last winter but it was mild then. May I ask was it an organised tour, with the emphasis on flora?

25 Jan, 2017


Stera - we had a local guide, an RHS botanist, and the Head Gardener from the Plant Explorer's Garden at Pitlochry, all leading the tour. Between them, and our book on plants, we usually managed to name everything.

GF - the trick is to travel with a notebook and write everything down.

Sue - yes, it was an RHS Holiday organised by Brightwater Holidays.

25 Jan, 2017


Sounds like you are having a wonderful trip , Andrew .
Look forward to the next instalment . The lupins don't look quite right , do they ?

25 Jan, 2017


Thank you for sharing this wonderful experience Andrew.

25 Jan, 2017


another brill blog. I fancy the rhs holidays so would you recommend them?

the lupins really highlight why we shouldn't allow plnats to 'escape'. but it also rasies the issue of how we GoYers often send plants to other members in other countries. phytosanitation is really important.

love the gladiolus in particular.

25 Jan, 2017


Sbg - I have travelled with Brightwater Holidays on several occasions (which must be a recommendation in itself). The only comment on this holiday was that the RHS botanist regarded it as his holiday as well, often wandering off on his own. He also seemed very surprised when I asked if there would be a plant list at the end of the trip. As this is the first RHS Holiday I have done with Brightwater, I can't really comment on the RHS Holidays, but go with Brightwater and you should have a good trip.

25 Jan, 2017


Truly fascinating Andrew and interesting to hear about the company you went with.
It sounds as if the whole trip suited you perfectly, a wonderful experience for you and for us!

25 Jan, 2017


Fab it was amazing to be there for real!

25 Jan, 2017


I am enjoying these blogs Andrew, interesting and Informative, looking forward to the next instalment.....

25 Jan, 2017


A wonderful experience Andrew ,fascinating to see the plants surviving and flowering after a fire ,thank you for sharing with us .....

30 Jan, 2017

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