Adventure Trails In Kirstenbosch, by Daphne Mackie
Daphne Mackie's grandfather, Jim Shone, an old-time Rhodesian pioneer farmer and prospector, often included his grandchildren on daylong expeditions into the pristine wilderness and it was his stories and bush lore that first brought nature magically alive for the author of Adventure Trails In Kirstenbosch.
The baobab in the Conservatory is your first living landmark
The upside-down tree: Baobab
Baobabs are very special trees. In South Africa these giant succulents are found in the north, where it is swelteringly hot even in spring. During October, before the rains come, these elephantine trees develop large round buds on drooping stalks. The buds grow heavier and heavier until, finally, great black clouds roll across the sky, thunder booms and the rich smell of rain fills the air. At sunset after the first rains, the buds open to reveal sweetly scented flowers with bright white petals. Soon bats arrive to feed on the big blooms, and, as they feed, they pollinate the flowers. After just one night the blossoms start falling to the ground. The trees continue blossoming until December, but this first flowering is the most spectacular, and there is nothing to compare with the sight of a giant baobab standing on a carpet of white. People have found many different uses for baobabs. Their fruits, seeds, leaves, bark, flowers and pollen are all useful, and from them we get food and drink, oil, rope, cloth, malaria medicine, raising agents for use in baking, tannin for curing leather, glue and even a kind of paper. Look out for one of the young welwitschias sprouting in the 'Welwitschias room' upstairs in the Conservatory. This is your second living landmark.
The underground tree: Welwitschia
Welwitschias are bizarre and fascinating trees found in the Namib desert, fairly close to the sea. They have evolved so that much of the trunk is underground, protected from sandstorms and the desert heat. Tests show that some of these plants may be as much as 2 000 years old! The welwitschia has a hollow, curling stem base and produces two leathery, strap-like leaves when it is a seedling. These leaves continue to grow throughout the plant's life, and with time they become tattered ribbons. In fact, they become so long and tangled that the welwitschia is sometimes called the 'desert octopus'. The leaves are covered in tiny pores that can absorb droplets of fog drifting inland from the sea. Welwitschias are conifers, the female plants bear bluish-green cones from midsummer to autumn. This plant is threatened with extinction and is protected by law. Let's not linger here too long, though: exciting adventures await us in the garden. Now well make our way to the Otter Pond, which is where each of the adventure trails starts and ends. Along the way well pass the annuals and the Turtle Pond. [...]
This is an excerpt from Adventure Trails In Kirstenbosch, by Daphne Mackie.
Title: Adventure Trails In Kirstenbosch
Authors: Daphne Mackie
Publisher: Random House Struik
Cape Town, South Africa 2012
ISBN 9781431701193 / ISBN 978-1-4317-0119-3
Softcover, 17 x 23 cm, 96 pages, 300 photographs and illustrations
Mackie, Daphne im Namibiana-Buchangebot
Adventure Trails In Kirstenbosch is a must-have companion for any young adventurer setting off into Cape Town’s much-loved garden.
Decorated with African wild flowers, the Kirstenbosch Journal is designed as a gardening journal.