Time to re-think the cutting of wild flowers

Indigenous flowers along the R44.

Annelee Steyn, Somerset West

Thank you Wiidmar Jordaan for raising the issue of the mowing of our natural parks and areas.

Much as I and most of us urban ignoramus enjoy beautiful mowed parks and verges, we are doing our children and grandchildren a huge disfavour by destroying natural habitat that support thousands of small species that we are not even aware of.

I take visitors to Namaqualand every year, and here we marvel at the flowers, pollinators, insects, birds and small animals that are supported by that habitat.

But as soon as we get home we pull out the mowers, the insecticides, the ant poison, the weed killer and the snail pellets and kill everything in sight.

We are so ignorant that we are unable to stop to look at the small birds picking seeds off that tall grass, and the bees and butterflies that bravely battle on trying to pollinate plants.

We are destroying our habitat and sadly are not even aware that we are doing it…

I walked along the R44 just before the mowing started, and saw right there on the verge many jaw-dropping indigenous flowers – Spiloxene, Gladiolus and Ixia.

Next to my house was a field of wild flowers – oxalis, chinkerinchee, yellow daisies, Monks Cowl orchid. I suspect that these will soon disappear.

Of course we appreciate what our municipality are doing, and we thank them for their effort, but the time has come for a complete re-think of the mowing-issue.

In the UK and Europe, most wild spaces are left to be just that – no mowing, no interference with Nature.

We need a massive educational programme to remind ourselves of the importance of habitat – as our forefathers destroyed species in ignorance, we owe it to the generations of the future to show that we know better and that we care.

Between that turn-off and the parking area of the Steynsrust bridge on the left verge, I saw many of the flowers of which I have attached the photographs, taken in mid-September

These are of a lovely little Gladiolus (not sure which) as well as some Spiloxene Capensis and wild Freesia.

The latter is growing en masse along the

N2 in all directions. There are always many different Oxalis as well which I did not take a picture of.

I wish I had walked further to see what else was there .

Also pictured is something interesting which is just starting to come out (looks like an asparagus and makes a lovely pink flower).

I have not seen a single sign specimen of the Monkshood Orchid, of which we normally see at least 20 to 30 every year in Berghoewe Park.

Bolander sent Ms Steyn’s letter and Mr Jordaan’s letter to the City of Cape Town, but at the time of going to print, had not yet received an answer regarding the issue of the cutting of wild flowers. As soon as we receive a reply, it will be published in the following edition.

Carolyn Frost – Ed