Hermanus Botanical Society Mandela Day 67-minute challenge 18 July 2019 Camphill Farm, Hemel & Aarde Valley

Staunch and intrepid Hermanus Botanical Society members braved wind and the odd rain shower to do their bit for the Mandela day challenge yesterday.

We were warmly welcomed by Debi, Rowena and Michelle and taken to the clearing spot close to where we parked above the farm. Here a beautiful little river source was choked with small Port Jackson wattle coming up after the devastation fire in January 2019.

We all got stuck in with poppers, spades, forks and weeding tools and soon PJ wattle was lying flat. We were joined by cheerful Camphill farm inmates and their CEO Sam who was most appreciative of our efforts. The vibe around the group of hackers was infectiously buoyant as we declared how good it felt to get our hands dirty in the soil and to be doing a good dead at the same time.

On our departure, as the Camphill folk went off to lunch, we were all give precious handmade gifts made by the inmates, lavender sachets, pots of honey and herbal goodies.

We will go again to Camphill. We will combine a Wednesday Botanical outing soon with the opportunity to walk up the Onus mountain and botanise in their area burnt in January this year and pull baby alien invaders too.

Submitted by Di Marais

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The Natural Rhythms of Life

During a recent Friday talk, we had the pleasure of hearing Fiona Sym sharing her insights into living our lives to an ancient rhythm.

“One of the reasons I like to share my knowledge of natural rhythms is because I notice how often people get their timing wrong.  If they only knew how much easier life could be if they were to follow the natural cycles.  We are all familiar with how the daily or circadian cycle influences us, and how the yearly or circ-annual cycle influences us.  But sadly, few are familiar with the Moon cycle or Circa-lunar cycle.  And we are all influenced by the Moon, whether we are aware of it or not.

The Moon takes 29.5 days to complete a cycle, that’s approximately two weeks from new to full, and two weeks from full to new.  These are called waxing (growing) and waning (decreasing) Moons.  In short, up-welling energy encourages above ground growth in plants planted during the waxing phase, and all below-the-ground plants, like bulbs and potatoes, flourish if planted during the waning phase.  Avoid planting anything on the Full Moon or on the New Moon as the energies are too high and disturbing.

The same rules apply for everyday life.  If you want something to grow, like a new business or venture, begin it during a growing or waxing Moon.  If you want something to decrease or leave your life, like weeds or ending a contract, begin that during the decreasing or waning Moon.  These simple guides may seem like magic, but it is no different from the magic of leaves falling in the autumn, or new buds showing in the spring.  They are just the natural rhythms of life.  Try tuning in!”

Fiona creates her own Moon Calendars which give guidance on planting rhythms. She can be contacted on symfiona@gmail.com

Submitted by Deirdre

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Forthcoming Talks

For an update of what is happening in the BotSoc please see the attached  3 June 19 Rhythms of Life Fiona Sym

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The rewards of ‘fire monitoring’

Since the fire on 11th January a group of fire monitors has been observing the regrowth on the burnt slopes. Often blackened with ash they hang over path edges or clamber up rocks in order to photograph and record their findings.

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From fire lilies in January, to fields of yellow moraeas in March, to the bright red fire ericas in April, it is an exciting and rewarding pursuit!

Of particular interest has been the flowering and seeding of the very small Aspidoglossum heterophyllum, a member of the milkweed family. The plants grow up to 12cm tall and have a milky latex. The flowers are white and for their small size produce very large long inflated seedpods – the fluffy seeds will be collected and sent to Kew Gardens for inclusion in their Millenium Seed Bank.

The slender wiry plants of Eriospermum dielsianum, common name Cottonseed, (the seeds look like small balls of cotton wool), have been spotted on the lower slopes, a bulbous plant with a raceme of star-like flowers with red linings under the petals. Their seeds have also been collected for Kew.

Always of interest are new leaves which make their appearance in a numerous array of shapes and sizes. Much discussion ensues as to what they will become!

 For more updates on the burn keep following the ‘burn page’ on the website www.fernkloof.org.za and click on Read More on the home page.

Sandy Jenkin

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Braai in the Fernkloof Gardens

Every February, the HBS Committee hosts a braai for members in the Fernkloof gardens.  Chops, Wors and Sosaties are expertly grilled by Hoogie van Hoogstraten and his fellow braai-masters.  Another team creates a selection of tasty and creative salads plus the other braai essentials.

Over 90 members and friends arrived to enjoy the balmy evening together.  Gay bunting hung from the trees and picnic tables covered in bright cloths added to the atmosphere.  Out came the bottles of wine and juice and the bowls of nibbles while the meat cooked to perfection.

The Committee were delighted with the support given to this event by both long-standing and new members.  It was good to see the welcome given to those who are new to Fernkloof.  Those who were there all agreed that the meal was both generous and delicious, the venue perfect and that they are looking forward to enjoying a similar happy evening with the Hermanus Botanical Society the following February.

Submitted by Deirdre

 

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A Walk to the Vogelgat Waterfall

This gallery contains 22 photos.

Originally posted on roncorylus:
There were 11 enthusiastic Hurriers in Vogelgat with perfect hiking conditions to look for the Disa uniflora and to reach the waterfall for a swim. The first Disa was found relatively early during the hike and…

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Fynbos Fires and their Consequences for Birds

Hermanus Bird Club

Positive benefits of fynbos fires are short-term food opportunities for some species

Raptors are often attracted to fire and its charred results, moving in from adjacent habitats. This is particularly evident where predatory birds may flush out injured birds and animals or find other carrion. Jackal Buzzards, Steppe Buzzards and Spotted Eagle Owls are known to visit burnt areas immediately after smoke dissipates. After a relatively short time they move on.

Other species which may take advantage of the aftermath of fynbos fires

The Fork Tailed Drongo, Fiscal Flycatcher, Fiscal Shrike and Cape Grassbird are known to take up the debris of insects, arthropods and the seeds of various plants such as P. falcifolia and L. eucalyptifolium which are exposed about 2 weeks post fire.

Genetic Diversity 

Nectivores such as the Cape Sugarbird, Orange Breasted Sunbird and Cape Bulbul will immediately move away to neighbouring areas, however, this may be…

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