28 October 2019

Restoring Meadowridge Common

The Friends of Meadowridge Common will be hosting a talk on Monday 11 November 2019 in the Meadowridge Library Hall, Howard Drive at 19h30.
Dr Charmaine Oxtoby, City of Cape Town's Biophysical Specialist, will be talking on Restoring the north-western corner of Meadowridge Common Conservation Area using an ecological burn. This conservation management project, planned for early 2020, is a collaboration between the Friends of Meadowridge Common, SANBI and the City of Cape Town Recreation & Parks Dept and Biodiversity Management Branch.
Secure parking is available at the library.
Refreshments will be served.
All welcome.
For more information, please contact the Chairman of the Friends, Roger Graham, on 021 715 9206.

15 May 2019

Cape Town wins the iNaturalist City Nature Challenge 2019!

Friends of Meadowridge Common Committee member, Charmaine Oxtoby (second from left) was  part of the City of Cape Town Biodiversity team that organized the Cape Town 2019 City Nature Challenge. Well done to the team and to all participants. 

01 April 2019

iNaturalist City Nature Challenge 2019

This year the City of Cape Town will be participating in the City Nature Challenge from 26-29 April 2019. To win across the board we just need 50,000 observations, 3,500 species and 2,000 observers! The 3 500 species should be the easiest. We are the Mother City, the Biodiversity Capital of the World. With 3700 indigenous plant species this should be a cake. But it is autumn – no annuals, few bulbs, nothing flowering: well we don’t want to embarrass everyone else. But it does mean we are going to have to hunt down our species, and the pics are going to have to be good to make an ID. So please start drawing up your target list and planning your four day’s activities. Don’t forget aliens, and insects, and fungi and our marine life! They all count: just no selfies, dogs or cats! And don’t worry about duplication. The game is to take them again if you see them after 500 m. This is about data for monitoring: where do our species occur?

02 March 2019

Guilt-free gardening

Cherise Viljoen’s suggestions on how to garden in the drought and how to recognize a plant that is designed by nature to survive our long hot summer climate (wind, lack of water, harsh sun)

Choose slower growing, more long lived, hardier evergreens and try avoid soft, thirsty annuals & perennials

Select those plants naturally geared to survive drought:
 - silver, grey foliage: reflects the heat
 - upright, narrow, small leaves or no leaves at all: all if which reduces contact with the hot sun and so stay cooler- reducing their water-loss though evaporation
 - hairy, waxy, firm-structured, aromatic: all designed to also reduce water-loss from the plant
 - succulent: have their own reservoirs of water supply
 - have more underground plant parts and storage organs- like bulbs: Hide from the sun and wind and so reduce water-loss
 - deciduous in summer: grow when the weather is cooler and wetter, sleep when conditions are unfavourable

03 February 2019

Talk on Drought Gardening

Cherise Viljoen, Senior Horticulturist at Kirstenbosch and Manager of the Kirstenbosch Wholesale Nursery, will be giving a talk on Drought Gardening at the AGM of the Friends of Meadowridge Common. Well-known for her gardening advice show on Cape Talk radio, a talk by Cherise is not to be missed! Join the Friends to find out how to make a fabulous waterwise garden.

The AGM is on Monday 25 February at 19h30 in the Meadowridge Library, Howard Drive, Meadowridge. Everyone is welcome – and Cherise is willing to answer drought-related gardening queries. There is secure parking, and tea and cake is served afterwards. For more information, please contact Roger Graham, Chairperson of the Friends on 021 715 9206, or visit their webpage at http://meadowridgecommon.blogspot.com/.

10 October 2018

Request for volunteers in an Urban Pollinator Research Project.

PhD candidate, Peta Blom, is recruiting volunteers to make observations of beetles in gardens in Meadowridge. She is gathering data on all flower-visiting beetles, but she is particularly interested in monkey beetles, which are an important family of pollinators with rich diversity in the Cape Floristic Region. Recently she trapped some really interesting monkey beetles in Molinera Way, Meadowridge (you might have seen her blue, yellow and white dishes hiding in the grass when you took your dog out). Peta wants to know which beetles are using gardens (why) and how far they are travelling from where I trapped them. The data you collect will be used in her Ph.D. and she hopes to be able to provide insight into landscaping and urban design for diversity.
"The United Nations have declared Cape Town as the most biodiverse city in the world. Normally this is described in terms of the amazing flora in our region, but it is also diverse in other creatures including, mammals and insects. The Western Cape has the highest diversity of monkey beetles in the world and many of our most prized flower species (in particular the Iridaceae) have co-evolved alongside the rich monkey beetle diversity and rely on them for seed production. This project seeks to understand to what extent private gardens are  providing habitat and foraging ground for monkey beetles – particularly those gardens around fragments of natural vegetation as can be found on Meadowridge Common. The beetles are in the adult stage of their lifecycle in spring and climb into flowers to find and compete for a mate. The project will conduct observations over two spring seasons in 2018 and 2019, with the pilot starting in October 2018. I am calling for volunteers in Meadowridge to participate in making weekly observations of the flowers in their gardens over a period of 6-8 weeks during spring. Each observation should take about 15 min and will include documenting the beetles in flowers in a 16 m2 area in the garden along with variables such as the weather conditions of the day and garden orientation. This study is the first truly urban study of monkey beetle populations to be conducted anywhere in the world."
To sign up, or just to find out more, please write to Peta Brom at brompeta@gmail.com. 

Peta Blom, B. Phil (Sustainable Development Planning and Management), (Stel) cum laude; M.Phil EGS (UCT), PhD Candidate (UCT)

25 September 2018

Save the date ...

For the love of Wild Bees is the subject of our next talk on Monday 29 October 2018 at 7h30 pm  in the Meadowridge Library, Howard Drive, Meadowridge (click here for Google map directions). Our speaker is Jenny Cullinan of the Wild Bee Research Group (see their web page here, as well as their Facebook Page). Jenny will speak about the important role bees play as a keystone species in the fynbos region and why we need to protect all of our wild bees. She will show the amazing world of bees and, of course, their beautiful fit with flowers. Jenny has just returned from a conference in the The Netherlands and as this will be her first talk since returning, we will hear all about what is happening in this field oversees.
For more information, please contact Roger Graham, Chairman of the Friends, at 021 715 9206 or email us at Meadowridgefriend@gmail.com.
Entry is free, everyone is welcome, and safe parking is provided. Tea, coffee and cakes will be provided.