Sunday, 29 January 2017

Almost all Blue Sunday Flower Walk

We've moved away from the yellows, and much of what we saw today was in various shades of blue, starting with the Roella ciliata:

They seem to be taller than the ones we remember from two years ago, before the big fire in this area. 

We always see Lobelias, those with the bright blue large flowers we think is L. tomentosa:

Although most are past their best, there are still Agapanthus walshii in flower:

This one below had us excited, was it the elusive white one? No, but a very pale blue:

It was pleasing to check that this one had been logged, finding my present position exactly the same as one marked 'AW Lower Rocky Ridge'. 

The deep blue of the Purple Powder Puff Pseudoselago serrata, after an impressive season, is nearly over.

There were even still a few flowers on occasional Psoralea pinnata:

Pinks, oranges and reds seemed to be the other colour of the day. Although many of these Watsonia schlechteri have gone to seed, there are still many in bud, so we'll be seeing them for a while yet.

Before the fire, we pinpointed what we thought were Erica obliqua. We have searched that location carefully since without success. About 100 metres away we have found a strong population, perhaps 20 plants so far, of what we hope is the same:

Welcome back!

Also pleasing to see in that vicinity, another old favourite (the Ericas seem to have recovered the slowest!) Erica pulchella:

We specially went back to look at a Protea-type which we've been watching for weeks now. Only one tiny flower opened in the middle of December, and we found it today, actually loose from the plant, but held in place by branches of new growth. We left it there, to mature fully and disperse seeds. 

There are about eight plants in a small area. The closest we get to identifying it from the books is Leucospermum bolusii, but if it is, it's way out of its area, supposed to be the slopes above Gordon's Bay. The tips of the new growth are pinkish:

What can it be?

It's nice to see the Brachylaena neriifolia in flower again! The shrubs have a lot of growing to do to reach the size of some of those which were burnt!

It's always nice to go home past the Prickly Pear Opuntia in the garden of the ruins of the Railway Foreman's house:

:-) Andy

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Agapanthus walshii are Out!

In the last few months we have logged every Agapanthus walshii plant or population we have found, recording GPS co-ordinates and giving them a name. Occasionally in my Fire duties in this sector, which is bigger than the area we walk normally, I have found and recorded more.

The most astonishing population is in an area which was completely forested and near a road we have walked on hundreds of times. If the plants had come up, flowers or not, we would have seen them. With the forest cut down and a fire almost two years ago, the population is the strongest we know of, and incidentally, has come into flower earliest!

This is only a part of this population. The exciting thing is that through doing nothing to those plants we know about, besides plotting them, we know they will survive the next 'crop' of pines now planted in this area, over the coming 20 or more years!

Immediately noticeable is how few flowers are in each bud.

In this immediate area we found for the first time a group of tiny Proteas.

Some have a single flower at the tip.

On others, it looks as if we will be treated to a bunch!

The Purple Powder-puff Pseudoselago serrata which we've been watching develop for months now, are in full flower, and will probably go on flowering for some weeks to come. The purple splashes in the veld are difficult to miss!

The 'puff' up close, as usual, with a bug:

We were walking along the dividing road between 'compartments' of new forest we call 'Therianthus', wondering whether the dry conditions will hold them back, and sure enough, we found some!

This particularly bright, and late-flowering Daisy caused me to get up close!

And on the way I found some Mesembryanthemums also still in flower.

Flower and spent flower detail:

The flowers on the Sour Figs Carpobrotus edulis are over, leaving interesting-looking fruit/seed pods:

Some of the pink-centred Helichrysums have turned black already!

A healthy stand of Rush Iris  Bobartia filiformis:

The Star Grass Ficinia have lost their bright yellow colour, but they are still impressive!

In places, there a good crop of berries on the Teedia (or Oftia?) plants!

We are not sure what this is, a Metalasia, perhaps?

Flowers up close:

We seem to have lost the few specimens of the tall Erica obliqua where we plotted them before the fire. Several hundred metres away, we have found several plants, now about to flower, which we hope might be more.

Bud detail:

:-) Andy

Monday, 3 October 2016

Sea of Yellow Sunday Flower Walk

First, the Sundowners are almost Full Blossom! First to blossom, last to pick!

Yes, still a sea of yellow, mostly Daisies.

Up close!

But that wasn't the only yellow flower! A Pea with needle-like leaves which we haven't been able to track down:

The flower up close:

And the buds:

Last week I mentioned the Lobelias were out, these deep blue ones seem always to be in flower:

Then there's a lighter one:

... and the Lobelia jasionoides:

The Pelargoniums are still in full flower:

More pink from these little pea-types:

Teedias, but they're nearly over:

.... and a lovely Mesemb, just one flower at a time at the moment:

The whole plant, with red edges to the leaves:

Some white, from Helichrysums:

Pseudoselago spuria:

.... and Zantedeschia aethiopica!

A noisy coot on the dam next door, didn't like the dogs wallowing:

The most important part of the Walk was to log the positions, conditions and size of the various Agapanthus walshii plants we know about. In the week, forester Tommy Eckley passed on a mail from Karen Kirkman, MTO's Environmental Specialist. I tried to log the positions with my phone, but it wouldn't work, although I could see where we were on the map. We have anyway started describing where the plants are, in the old fashioned way, on paper! Once all (many of the) the plants are plotted, a plan of action will be formed, either to leave areas unplanted or more sparsely planted, with maybe some from the stronger populations moved, but gradually, into those areas.

On the way home, a Drosera:

.... and a Beetle Lily Baeometra:

:-) Andy