SPRING – Dr Dawn Gould


At the end of the winter months of July beginning of August it becomes obvious that mother nature was slowly re-awakening.  Then with a quickening beat spring observers  began to see wild patches of small white Cotulas,  bright pink Romuleas, Sparaxis,  different colours of Oxalis brightening street verges, road reserves and any piece of open space and in private gardens.


Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula have their portion of flowering beauty. Eg along the walking trails of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden and the Green Point Urban Park. This despite the fires that have raged in recent times and the ongoing drought which has meant that growth has had to be aided by extra watering.


As one moved away from the mother city on either the N7 or the R27 the expectation of seeing   the usual fields of wild flowers coloured orange, yellow, white, purple, red sadly has not happened. This was the result of the drought that has hit the Western Cape Province so badly. Previously motor cars and tour buses carrying local and overseas visitors would have shed their camera excited occupants to enjoy the sight. Areas like Clanwilliam have had to cancel their annual flower show due to the lack of rain this winter.  The influx of visitors specially to see the flowers was a financial boost.


However a telephone call to the Darling tourism office indicated that Darling was able to go ahead with their flower show and that the Tienie Versveld Reserve just outside the town was worth a visit.  This Reserve is a special place.  One can stroll along the board walks with one’s dogs wearing leads.  Our two are well travelled so they trot along stopping to check out the scene as do their humans.  Another reason is that if one chooses a time when many visitors are not around, one then has a really good close up of the lovely plant scenery.


October particularly along the west Cape coast and interior, is often said to be the month in which Spring shows its true floral magnificence.  But this  year it was not to be.