‘September bushes’ planted at Radloff Park

Casey Van Zyl

On Friday November 15, the Friends of Radloff Park hosted the Helderberg Eco-Rangers to plant shrubs in the parkland areas where the public enjoy walking their dogs, or taking time out from their busy schedule.

About 20 children, aged from six to 15, arrived at the park full of energy, and the session began with a quick discussion, along with a few planting and safety guidelines.

The September bush (Polygala myrtifolia) is a shrub with pretty mauve flowers. Flowers can be seen throughout the year, however, the main flowering season is in spring, hence the names Augustusbossie and September bush.

After the discussion, there was no wasting time as the children wanted to get straight into the planting activity. They had the task of planting 100 Polygala myrtifolia.

Some children dug their own holes while others were helped by Jackson Magwanyana, from the City of Cape Town, and Daniel Khulasande, who dug the holes for them, and the children then planted the shrubs they had chosen.

The children’s contagious energy quickly spread throughout the group and it was not long before all 100 shrubs were carefully placed in the moist ground.

Most children planted between three and five plants while one enthusiastic girl planted 13 shrubs, all on her own. Some of the parents rolled up their sleeves and took part as well. There were some eager children who were disappointed when the shrubs had run out. They were happy to carry on planting for the entire afternoon.

Subsequently, the children were given the freedom to explore and play in the beautiful parkland area. Despite the busy afternoon and end of week, the children still had much energy and couldn’t wait to run around, take turns to be pushed in the wheel barrow and generally just be kids.

One thing they learned is that it takes a lot of hard work, care and patience to plant, even the smallest plants, and plants are extremely important to all of us and the future.

The Helderberg Eco-Rangers is an environmental education and nature club with the objective to connect children (and their families) with nature, share the wonders of the natural world and to create a bond with nature. In doing so, it is hoped these children will become future stewards for nature and the environment.

Through connecting, spending time in nature and getting to know nature and the outdoors, a passion is created. Once this happens, there is a change in attitude where a respect for nature is born and where that child will care for and protect the natural world for the rest of their lives.

It all starts with something as simple as planting a shrub, placing hands in the soil, watching an earthworm with fascination, observing a bud opening to a flower.