Mossel River Arboretum 23rd May 2018

This arboretum is along the Mossel River before it goes under the bridge at Lizette’s circle. It was planted by Ion Williams and Eric Jones in the sixties. Ian, the founder of Vogelgat and also instrumental in construction of paths in Fernkloof and Eric Jones were both members of the Botanical Society. Many of the trees planted are not indigenous but in those days trees were planted for their beauty- the consequences of planting exotic species was not fully understood. A number of the trees remain and are majestic and beautiful in their own right. Examples of these were Penny gum (Eucalyptus cinerea– grey) also known as Florists’ gum as the grey leaves work perfectly in flower arrangements.  Another, a large cork oak or Quercus suber with its beautiful thick and knobbly dark grey bark. An adult tree can be stripped of its bark and regenerate same. We also saw big flowering gums or Eucalyptus ficifolia with the gumnuts which reminded me of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, created by Mary Gibbs, exotic eugenias and an old cypress. We walked to the background orchestra of the clicking stream frog and busy chirping sunbirds.

We met in the Fernkloof Gardens but in view of the ferocious wind instead of ambling down the Mossel River we went by car to the corner of Arc and Riverside Roads where we accessed the path down to the arboretum. I recalled many runs along that path from Reservoir Road into Riverside Road and then running along Contour till we joined up with Fernkloof drive which was, and still is a dirt road. We would run along looking up at the golden aulax covering the mountain which nestled under an azure blue sky. At that time in the eighties we ran under the flowering gums of the arboretum, heard the buzz of bees and then crossed on a rickety bridge over the fast flowing river. People used to take their children to play on the sand and sail homemade boats down the river. There was an old swing and also slats up the gum trees to enable tree climbing. Little did I know that the route took me passed what would one day be my new home? However, the magic of the place filled me with joy and that has not changed.

by Kathie Buley

About roncorylus

He who wants the kernel must crack the nut
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2 Responses to Mossel River Arboretum 23rd May 2018

  1. Margaret deVilliers says:

    I recall many of us “Botsoccers” working VERY hard most weekends preparing, chopping, clearing and planting trees from different parts of the world in our new Arboretum . The “bush” along the Mossel River was NEVER allowed to get out of control and develop into the mess that it now is. …but I suppose that we were all young and energetic in those days. At that time we were also planning and building the first paths in Fernkloof ( with the help of 4 men paid for by the Hermanus Municipality) and then much much later the Cliff Path. There were no facilities Fernkloof—-just the start of the “formal” Fernkloof garden. The Arboretum was one of our very first projects ;; it’s aim was to grow as many different trees from across the world as possible…What a sadness that life has changed and these type of activities are now only a distant memory! The advent of TV came later— there was no sport to watch ! It would be wonderful to see the river cleaned all the way to the sea. Just a pipe dream I suppose!

  2. Fiona Darroch says:

    It is magical. It is in Africa but could be on our property in the Hunter Valley in NSW Australia.

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