It is a sultry night in Chicago as I write this and when I sit in hotel rooms alone I always feel disconnected from the farm. Writing this blog helps bring me home.
I am always irritated by typos but trying to get this blog posted in the middle of a busy trip, so please forgive them when they occur.
We’ve had some spectacular weather, which finally broke on Friday night with rain showers hammering down on the roof and we woke up to a misty Saturday as the farm sat in the clouds. It eased off a bit in the afternoon and Peter and I took the dogs for a walk; he wanted to show me where he has opened a road up through undisturbed fynbos
Peter and Maebh exploring the new road through an undiscovered and unknown terrace high on the mountain (508M)
In doing so we’ve discovered a series of terraces which must have been built generations ago by people scraping an existence out of this fragile land. What they grew here we cannot imagine. Now it is wild fynbos and disturbing amount of invasive plants including braken and brambles.
I captured quite a few new things and was only able to identify the creeping rambling pea, which satisfactorily grows by sources of water. We’ve always known this robust fynbos must have a permanent water source close to the surface and this proves it. My reference books are heavy to carry on these trips so the formal identification will follow when I’m home again.
A rambling pea-flower that grows close to rivers and sources of surface water
Meanwhile a series of plants I have not been able to identify and which confirm that I need some help and more reference book for when the going gets technical. With less travel coming up in the month of August, this will take priority, especially with spring about to burst upon us.
There are many succulents on the farm and I have not been recording them – this particular one is quite visible at the moment on the roads and paths.
A common succulent on one of the farm roads
Another plant looking for attention is this prickly thing which has round fruits… I shall keep investigating, there is probably a flowering season which would help me to identify it.
Full of prickles and with a round green fruit – this must have a flowering season that will help with identification
Finally this asparagus-like shrub is quite common here and glowing green with late winter spurting of growth. It doesn’t feature among the asparagus section of my books (which includes Agapanthus, who knew?) and doesn’t seem to be a bulb or corm (sp?) yet is very distinctive and common enough to suggest that it belongs here. I have established a collection of “more research required” and will report back in due course.
Fluffy and asparagus-like – this shrub’s new grow glows emerald green in the gloomy light
Not terribly satisfying for the purposes of record, but one of the nicest tours of the farm we’ve done. Peter and I rarely get out there together, and exploring new, previously inaccessible areas was very exciting. There were amazing bird sightings. This area is full of Cape Sugarbirds who are in full season at the moment and the males have tails so long they can barely fly – I really will try and capture one when I’m home again And earlier, on a run with the dogs, I saw an African Harrier Hawk (what used to be called a Gymnagee) being attacked by two Fork Tailed Drongas, only a fraction of his size but clearly very cross with him. I’ve seen this in the bush before but never at home on the farm – a very special moment that even the amazing iphone couldn’t quite capture in time.
One last fynbos flower was also on the new road and is remarkable in being both stunning and distinctive. I will identify it in a later blog and look out for it elsewhere on the farm. Happily we caught it in the perfect peak of bloom with soft yellow flowers all along the grey-green stems of this happy and healthy shrub. I would not be at all surprised to find it is a common garden plant – will check with the books.
A stunning shrub I haven’t seen before that could belong in any garden. I identified it before leaving and will revert with a name