Fynbos in lockdown
A special blog for a strange time.
We are blessed to be on the farm in Covid 19 lockdown, with space to run and now that the first rains have come the flower season has begun and the beauty of the winter flower cycle starts to emerge.
I stopped blogging about these runs with my dogs in the mountains above Paarl about a year ago, feeling there just wasn’t a lot left to say after many years of blogging the same run and the stunning flowers. Nevertheless, there was one great unanswered question. Almost all of the proteas we’d loved for all the years we’d been here were burnt to a cinder. The slopes lay bare and black and all my precious friends were gone.
Fynbos needs fire to propagate and the seeds lay everywhere on the ground. With howling summer winds blowing them all over the place we weren’t sure how they would germinate. They did, and the following winter tiny little seedlings emerged. I remember posting a picture of one that was smaller than Mavericks paw. How long I wondered, would it be before these seedlings flowered and restored the mountain to its glory?
I have the answer now. Three years from birth to flowering. All over the farm those little seedlings are shrubs now and they have started to flower. Mostly one flower to a shrub, but from little acorns are great oaks made. Some are Protea repens, gleaming white in the misty light of Sunday morning.
Some are Protea neriifolia, also growing profusely. This comes in both pink and white with the white much rarer. I haven’t seen any white ones yet but I hope we will.
Other old friends have arrived – the land is full of early flowers. Such as the delicate white fluff balls of Brunia noduliflora.
The Leucadendron tincture has flourished after the fire and is thriving in its favourite spots, notably right at the top of the farm.
Leucadendron salignum is another that recovered swiftly, almost immediately, from the flames and the new growth shines, as ever on a misty morning, effulgent in the grey light.
Small things are often the most beautiful and pretty, low growing Phylica ericoides has taken over a road at the top of the farm. What a joy to see the hounds trotting down through lanes of flowers. This road had evidence of a porcupine this morning, a quill and lots of scratched and snuffled areas where he dug up delicate bulbs. There are plenty more, so he’s welcome and such a joy to know we share the mountain with this peaceful nocturnal creature.