23 May 2012

Kirstenboch: The Lazy Way

Date: 13 May 2012

Location: Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

Walker: Helen

The Kirstenbosch archive is here.

I was fighting a cold but it was far too nice a day to stay indoors so I made my way to Kirstenbosch for a little sunshine and a wander around. I wasn't the only one - it was Mother's Day and the place was busy.

As usual I climbed the hill to get away from the crowds.

Spotted on the way up: pretty little diascia.

Much quieter higher up. Glorious green lawns.

I found a good spot and put down a rug. Read my book, gazed at the views. Behind me Nursery Buttress loomed.

Fragrant fynbos on the right.

And a glorious vista in front of me. Such pretty skies this time of year.


Kloof Corner Steps: Protea Time!

6 May 2012

Table Mountain

Walkers: Helen & Brenda

For other walks on this route see the Kloof Corner archive.

Up the steps to the cliff face, and then down again. Kloof Corner is a fantastic walk in autumn... it is seldom windy and often clear, bright and sunny. And on the slopes the proteas flower.

Waxy Protea repens which comes in pink...

... and creamy yellow.

And my particular favourite, Protea lepidocarpodendron, the black-bearded protea. I like to stroke the soft fuzziness.

Not sure what this one is, maybe a leucadendron of some sort? Love the bright red tips to the green-green leaves.

And this is a very pretty and delicate glad, but I'm not sure which one.


Kirstenbosch: Behind the Garden and Magnificent Golden Mimetes

Date: 29 April 2012

Location: Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

Walkers: Helen and Dorothy

The Kirstenbosch archive is here.

We went in to the garden at the nursery entrance and took the road to the right signposted Skeleton Gorge. This took us up into the forest.

The trees here are enormous.

And the rocks are covered with lichens and moss.

We emerged from the forest onto the main jeep track above the garden. Cloud was low on the mountain and it was cold and blustery.

We walked in a southerly direction. I always enjoy the silver trees here. They look especially pretty on a windy day when their leaves glint silver as they're ruffled by the wind.

We paused to look out to the southern suburbs and Cape flats...

... and then headed back down into the garden.

It is really very unusual for Kirstenbosch to be windy. In the restio bed all the reeds and stalks were being tossed about in the gusts.

Proteas are in flower now...

... sorts of different varieties.

But the main reason for my visit was to find the Golden Pagoda (Mimetes chrysanthus) in flower. And we were in luck!

The info board informed us this species was only discovered in 1987 (!) and is found in only two locations, Gamkaberg and Perdeberg. It is rare and vulnerable in its natural habitat, and we are extremely fortunate to be able to see it in Kirstenbosch. Isn't it amazing?

Also spotted on our meanderings around the garden: cycad cones...

... gingko leaves just starting to turn yellow...

... and a new sculpture near the tea-room.

We ended our walk with a look-see at the plant nursery.


Short Stroll along Tafelberg Road

Date: 22 April 2012

Location: Table Mountain

Walkers: Dorothy & Helen

Archive of all walks along Tafelberg Road here.

Dorothy and I went for a walk from the start of the Saddle path along Tafelberg Road direction Woodstock. It was lovely to be in the afternoon sunshine.

I haven't been doing much walking recently and it was good to see my mountain again.

Hi mountain, I've missed you.

We saw interesting orange berries...

... and fluffy stuff.

And turned around and walked back when the wind got icy.


18 May 2012


Date: 12 April 2012

Location: Babylonstoren, near Klapmuts in the Cape Winelands

Walkers: Jenny, Iain, Michele, Helen and Aafke

It was a quick drive from Cape Town to the Babylonstoren farm near Klapmuts (between Stellenbosch and Paarl). While we waited for the rest of our party to arrive we said hello to the friendly donkeys.

And then we started our stroll around the estate, past the manor house and werf first. This was of particular interest to Aafke as the property was owned by her family many years ago. Her grandfather grew up here. I love classic white-washed Cape Dutch architecture, and the grand old trees.

It was a cool cloudy morning, with the mist low on the hills.

We made our way into the garden proper. This is a formal kitchen garden, enormous in scale. So much to see and explore!

We were drawn to the water troughs near the main entrance.

And the rather clever Babylonstoren labyrinth.

Mass planting borders of Tulbaghia encouraged us to explore further.

The vegetable gardens.... wow!

Abundant produce.

We walked up and down the various avenues. It is all exquisitely laid out and so, so neat. The work that must go into maintaining a garden like this boggles the mind. I took hundreds of pics but unfortunately the misty conditions were not ideal for photographs.

A magnificent green house stands in one corner of the garden.

Simple perfection in all the detail and decoration.

Sea monster fountain...

... berry canes (my idea of heaven!) ...

... secluded mulberry garden...

... prickly pear maze.

I particularly liked the mixed beds along the southern edge.

Although the end of summer is not the best time for flowers we saw quite a bit of colour.

Once we'd worked up an appetite we went back to the Glasshouse for a light lunch. Delicious sandwiches.

Later on the mist lifted and the sun came out.

We even got to see the hill. Next time we'll climb up there.

Babylonstoren is truly an impressive garden and a super place to visit. I'd like to go again in the springtime and have a meal at the Babel restaurant.