by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
We've rushed from Clanwilliam across the Pakhuis Pass on the road to Wuppertal, past the sign for Sevilla Rock Art Trail, when heading to the Biedouw Valley for spring flowers. Not in 2014!
This trail is recommended in spring or autumn if you want flowers AND cave paintings. Easy walking, with a little rock scrambling. Summer would be very hot, across the rock outcrop with little shade, and winter would be tricky if the river was high. Our day was perfect with a few wisps of cloud.
As I plan our False Bay garden I collect memories of chosen plants in their natural setting. At Sevilla we walked thru a Melianthus comosus forest, the flowers in burgundy and green. A single Melianthus in our False Bay garden is an echo of that forest. Tall botterboom with huge luminous green leaves Tylecodon paniculata. Mustard lime flowers on shrubby Euphorbia mauritanica. Lobostemon fruticosus with pink and blue changeant flowers is on my wish list. Crassula umbellata grows in shady crevices with FERNS.
|Garden inspiration at Sevilla|
near Clanwilliam in the Cederberg
First an early lunch at the Travellers Rest restaurant conveniently sited where the trail begins beside the Brandewyn River. Cheese toastie, with good bread and a generous side salad. Back for tea and freshly baked cake after our walk.
We began our walk with a flock of geese, chattering and grazing on the lush spring greens. A yellow banana slug crossed my path. Just a thin skin of water in rock pools. Gazing down at reflected clouds I lose all sense of scale. I could be looking out of an aeroplane window at great lakes and forests.
The trail is clearly marked with white footprints painted on the rock. When I started hooking on the bushes and we realised we were following eland and springbok tracks, we turned back and found the right path again. I'm grateful that we didn't meet the eland, 1.6 metres (5 foot) tall at the shoulder. Living among the rocks are dassies, watchful and wary.
|Follow the white footprints on Sevilla Rock Art Trail|
Springbok above, eland below
A dassie among the rocks
Along the trail are nine sites with rock art. 'The paintings may be thousands of years old' - and need to be treated with respect from a personal space distance. The rock art is our heritage from the San (Bushmen). A dinosaur. A zebra foal. Two hunters carrying home dinner.
A child's handprint. Two dancing women.
Ancient wild olive tree is centuries old.
Gladiolus orchidiflorus delicately lime green and purple. Didelta spinosa, perdebos bright green prickly leaves and yellow daisies. Lapeirousia jacquinii violet and cream petals. Dimorphotheca sinuata Namaqua daisy, buttery gold and a deep purple ringed heart. Ornithogallum suaveolens yellow petals with a green central stripe. Aizoon paniculatum with furry grey leaves. Daisies tiny and white. Ursinia cakelifolia yellow daisy with a black heart and filigree leaves. Silverleaf nightshade from the Americas, known as Satan's bush in Afrikaans, ornamental invasive in the Cederberg. Corymbium villosum clusters of white stars. Unexpected ferns tucked in the damp cool shady cracks. Homeria miniata in salmon (also found on the wild edges of Porterville). Pelargonium echinatum deep and deeper purple. Whiteheadia bifolia - what I thought was gone to seed, is the green flower spike!
The Cape to Namibia Route takes us from (Cape Town and) Porterville to Clanwilliam.
Clanwilliam's flower church (2010) for a landscaped display of named species.Further North to the Namaqua National Park (2008)
Pictures by Diana and Jurg Studer of Elephant's Eye
(in Porterville, near Cape Town in South Africa)
(If you mouse over brown text, it turns shriek pink. Those are my links.
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