Monday, October 15, 2012

The Fynbos of the Garden Route

The Fynbos of the Garden Route

Guest Blog by Janet Middleton

Photo: Amy Phillips Taken at Fynbos Ridge
A narrow coastal greenbelt along the South Western Cape of South Africa is home to the smallest and most diverse of all the World’s Floral Kingdoms, the Cape Floral Kingdom. Locally known as fynbos or, roughly translated from Afrikaans, “fine bush”. 
This stretch of rich vegetation incorporates Cape Town, the Garden Route and Port Elizabeth and offers tourists and locals the opportunity to view over 8000 species, 5000 of which are endemic to this region - not to be found anywhere else on earth. That is more species than can be found in the entire United Kingdom.
The fynbos varies from location to location and is special not only for its diversity but also its floral exports and uses. Popular floral species include the iconic Protea and delicate Erica species which are highly prized and grown for export. The healthy, aromatic teas made from the Rooibos and Honeybush plants are in demand both locally and internationally.

Fire is an integral part of the life cycle of many fynbos plants, as seeds will only germinate in the heat of the fire. The Western Cape is a winter rainfall region and the summer months are generally dry with the possibility of natural fires occurring and renewing the fynbos region.
Cape Sugarbird
Cape Sugarbird on Yellow Pincushion at Fynbos Ridge
Photo: Amy Phillips
Fynbos Ridge lies perched amidst the fragrant fynbos of the Garden Route, just outside the coastal town of Plettenberg Bay. As their name suggests, they have made a dedicated effort to return the fynbos to its natural state with the essential removal of alien species, and rehabilitation of the indigenous vegetation. While the natural vegetation thrives, local birds, butterflies and small mammals once again make their home amongst the fynbos.
The Red Pincushion
One of our favourites The Red Pincushion - Leucospermum cordifolium
In bloom from late Spring, and a great cut flower

Currently, at Fynbos Ridge, the vibrant Pincushion Protea is in flower, this exotic flower is commonly orange or reddish-orange with a distinctive flower head looking like a pincushion filled with pins. So lovely! 

Double Collared Sunbird
Double Collared Sunbird on Overberg Pincushion (Leucospermum oleifolium)

No comments:

Post a Comment