20 September 2010

Today - 20 September

Today I nearly stepped on an egg - a beautiful speckled egg, only a few feet from the main path. About thirty meters away were the parents: a pair of blacksmith plovers. They didn't look stressed and left me to go about my work, planting labels.

In total there will be 200 plant labels in the Biodiversity Garden. Considering we have over 330 plant species, we had to be selective and not all species are labelled. I admit I have mixed feeling about labels: on the one hand they highlight the enormous diversity we have, and on the other hand they clutter the landscape and detract from the beauty of the displays. And the very act of naming and putting things into boxes takes us from our hearts into our heads.

Lampranthus reptans,
I hear myself think, and move on. Instead of stopping to marvel at the luminous flowers and silver grey stems.

Here is a new one to me - Hermannia multiflora, planted in the renosterveld displays. Full of small orange flowers - those twisted corollas so typical of Hermannia.

I like the way the little grysbok is close to the Acacia karroo (Sweet Thorn) - as if it is about to nibble its leaves.

I notice there is a wide range of colour forms among the Babiana angustifolia we planted in the renosterveld. Species variation? - or are they hybrids, I wonder.

This display is entitled 'Can an ant change a landscape?' and tells the story of the invasive Argentine ant and its impact on local species. All the plants in this bed are myrmecochorous - i.e. have seeds which are dispersed by ants. Which gave me a fantastic excuse to plant showy pincushions, silver Podalyria sericea and aromatic buchus...

Leucospermum cordifolium

And above: recent progress on the Fibonacci spiral. Rob McKenzie is busy with the pebble detail. Next will be a band of much smaller diamond quartz pebbles - translucent and beautifully smooth.


  1. Lyn says:
    If your egg had belonged to a Crowned Plover, you would have been dive-bombed by a pair of screaming dervishes! Hope the Blacksmith chick hatches out - are you going to try and protect the egg, or let nature take its course...

    On labels: I like labels. I think people need to know what they are looking at. Labels don't distract me from looking long and hard at a plant, I am much more likely to move on, with some irritation, I may add, if there is NO label and I don't know the plant! Labels don't need to be "invasive", but they need to be just big enought to read and above all, they need to be CORRECT.

  2. I came via Marie's (Brooklyn) blog.
    Love what you're doing!

  3. I live in Cape Town and have been following your blog for a while (also via Marie). Can't wait for the garden to open, it looks so exciting.

  4. Dorothy: The opening of the Park is on the 6th Nov. Hope to meet you there one day!

    Moreidlethoughts: thanks - yes I did recognise your name from 66 Square feet.