Date: 4 & 5 September 2009
Location: Assegaaibosch Nature Reserve, near Stellenbosch
Walkers: Rendall, Paddy, Helen & Ian, with Claudia, Dominic, Anthony, Michele and Dorothy
**** Route plotted here ****
My family and I went away to Assegaaibosch for my birthday weekend. We stayed at the Manor House, a Cape Dutch homestead built in 1790.
From here we went for a couple of walks in the nearby wild flower garden. It was an easy stroll, over the stream and up to the square km or so of gently sloping hillside that is the garden.
Fires swept through the area near the beginning of the year, causing the Nature Reserve to be closed for several months. The damage was still clearly visible - lots of burnt proteas, trees and other shrubbery - but now, after good winter rains, there was also a carpet of new growth.
The mountains across the valley were a spectacular.
But mostly we were looking down, not up, as we meandered around the criss-crossing paths of the garden... looking down at the flowers! And with not one but two lovely new reference books as birthday gifts I'm determined to start learning some new flower names.
These are both Spiloxene capensis. They come in yellow and white.
The distinctive shape and colour of this flower (salmon with a yellow centre) made it quite easy to identify as Moraea flaccida. There were fields of them!
This pretty little one looked similar, but the tepals are similarly shaped, making it likely to be Moraea miniata.
It is so unusual to see a black flower that this one caught by eye immediately. It is Pelargonium lobatum. I loved its unopened flower bud.
Lachenalia flowers are just the strangest things. They look so alien. My best guess is that these are Lachenalia orchioides, with their spotty leaves, and greenish-yellow flowers fading to a dull red as they mature.
I believe this lovely thing is Geissorhiza aspera.
Baeometra uniflora was easy to identify, with its distinctive colours. Its common name in beetle lily, and every single one we saw was covered in tiny beetles.
There was also a little bug on this Nemesia barbata. This is a species of flower that is seen most often after fire, according to my reference book.
This tiny and delicate little specimen is Trachyandra revoluta, and it also flowers most freely after fire.
I found this unusual looking flower is hard to identify. My best guess is Corycium orobanchoides, a type of orchid.
This is a Romulea, possibly Romulea rosea. It is so pretty!
Every now and then we remembered to look up at the dramatic mountain scenery and the skies above.
Of course, when we did this we nearly missed such treasures as this Wormbea marginata. Weird, huh?
In the higher section of the garden there were masses of Babiana in flower. I can't identify precisely which one - there are so many varieties that look similar- but maybe Babiana stricta? frangrans? angustifolia?
(aagh... they are so confusing!)
This Sebaea exacoides was an almost fluorescent shade of yellow.
These are Pelargoniums. Don't ask me which variety - my guides have pages and pages of Pelargoniums and I can't tell them apart (yet!)
And, lastly, here is one small wild flower that has me stumped. If you know what it is, please leave a comment below.
Edit: I believe this is Diascia Nemophiloides (thanks Mum!). I can't find an image of this particular species in either of my guide-books or on the net to make my own confirmation, but it certainly resembles the other Diascias.
During our stay at Assegaaibosch we also wandered around the Manor House's garden and the picnic area. The garden has two hundred year old oak trees, and impressive wisteria.
There were indigenous things like strelitzia, protea and chasmanthe, as well as exotics like camelias and snowdrops. All flowers are beautiful!
We were very excited to see this smiley fellow high up in an oak tree, just before dusk. He's a spotted eagle owl.
(Photos by Helen)