Sunday, August 30, 2015


Lily and I drove out of Cape Town, taking the N7 north towards Malmesbury, unofficial capital of the wheat-producing Swartland region, and then we branched off onto the R45 to Hopefield (but not before driving through a suburban part of the big town where the streets were named for cow and sheep breeds).

On a whim, I had decided to visit the Hopefield Fynbos Show - an annual wildflower show that a friend had mentioned on Facebook. Hopefield is a small town surrounded by farmlands, and some remnants of fynbos (one of the biomes of the Cape Floristic Region - which is one of six floristic regions on the planet), and I had never been.

As it turned out, the carpark was the richest area for botanizing. Lachenalia pallida - images above and below - had crowded the verge of the N7 on our drive up (oddly, verges are one of the last bastions of indigenous plants; here they escape both the plough and possible glyphosate apllication in the cultivated fields just on the other side of fences).

Still working on this ID, below - I am rusty, and I need a new field guide.

Growing beside the sandy mounds of molehills. [Thanks to Rupert and Don - Tetragonia fruticosa.]

If the Koringberg boys had not arrived we might have missed the hall with the wildflower displays. Somehow we had both just ignored the dark door beside the the lunch hall.

I could have stayed a lot longer at the far end of the hall.

Dozens of individual flowers were labeled.

There was a lot to learn, and someone had gone to a lot of trouble.

Lily and I wolfed some pancakes - a country staple - from the friendly pancake ladies.

The pancakes were silky and sang with cinnamon, They reminded me of rainy nights in Bloemfontein.

And then we bought R20 tickets for a tractor ride to see "die blommetjies." Everyone along this coast refers to flowers in the diminutive. Not the flowers, but thelittleflowers. The sun had come out, and so we were told that thelittleflowers were now open, and we could go, so we did. When in Rome.

Our tour guide, holding the white plastic cash box above, top right, pointed out the NG church to us. Inside, the Koringberg boys were listening to an organ recital.

The tractor dragged us through some fallow ground on the edge of town, and not, as I had imagined, through a farmer's wildflower lands. The daises were out and we saw some Lachenalias, too. A few piles of trash lay amongst the petals. I saw a black cat washing its back leg. It stuck its tongue out at me as we drove by. In houses' doorways and from the schoolyard's recess where boys tackled each other in rugby play, adults and children waved at us as we drove by. We waved back.

Lily and I ate a boerekos lunch - lamb shin pie, waterblommetjie bredie and two starches: boiled white rice and sweet orange pumpkin - as is correct. And later we all drove to Koringberg, where an olive orchard and nettle patch lay in wait.

The fields were green all the way.


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  1. Lovely...another world for those of us in the newly-drought-stricken Pacific Northwest of the U.S. The wild fires raging in Oregon and Washington during the last month have taken the wildflowers. I wonder if any of them rely on fire to germinate, produce flowers and resprout, like the fynbos plants you taught us about last March. Are any of the wildflowers shown in this post in the area that was encompassed by those wildfires?

  2. Lovely, just lovely. How I enjoyed the Cape.

  3. Such beautiful flowers... and the pancakes look delicious!

  4. So green, I've never been there in winter/ spring, so pretty. The flower show looked very impressive, what an amazing array of babiana species, I've only seen the blue ones in cultivation. The lachenalia pallida are exquisite, and growing like meadow flowers in the grass.

  5. I saw a sea of arum lilies growing in a boggy hollow in Australia one year which gave me a thrill. so reminiscent of the Cape, and so rare to see in this arid climate.

  6. Isn't the flower you were looking to identify in the third picture the same as Lachenalia Pallida #1098 in the 7th photo?

  7. I nearly inked myself in laughter with the picture of the tractor ride...


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