29 March 2017

Do we owe our existence to the Protea Atlas Project?

Almost twenty years ago, Esme Morris noticed a healthy Cape Flats Silkypuff (Diastella proteoides) shrub growing on the edge of Meadowridge Common. Recognizing it as a rare and threatened species*, she did a bit of research on the plant and alerted Tony Rebelo who was co-ordinating the impressive Protea Atlas Project that ran from 1991-2006 under the auspices of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI).
This is the entry that appeared on the Protea Atlas website:
"Mrs Esme Morris discovered some plants of Diastella proteoides while on a walk in the Meadowridge Common. Not only did she correctly identify the plant, but she also dug out an article from the Constantiaberg Bulletin of October 1988, written by Grahame Wilson of the Constantia Captrust. It appears that in 1988 some plants of the Flats Silkypuff were protected by a few strands of barbed wire on the common off Faraday Drive and Schoolside. Today only three plants survive on the common, one of which has had a load of tar dumped on it.
"It is not easy to preserve our flora, especially when the plants are sprawling mats with flowers no bigger than a fingernail. It is only through getting the local people interested that we can conserve the indigenous flora on our commons. Perhaps we need a 'Friends of the Meadowridge Common!'" 

Luyanda Mjuleni and Esmé Morris on the Common, January 2017
"Flowers no bigger than a fingernail". The Cape Flats Silkypuff  (Diastella proteoides) on Meadowridge Common.
* Diastella proteoides is redlisted as CRITICALLY ENDANGERED in the 2017 Redlist of South African Plants. Click here to go the entry in the Redlist.

23 February 2017

CAPE TOWN’S GROUNDWATER: IS IT AN OPTION FOR MUNICIPAL WATER SUPPLY?

 As of today, Thursday 23 February 2017, Cape Town has 127 days worth of water left in its dams.* We seriously need to plan ahead as water shortages are only going to get worse. One option is the use of groundwater from aquifers that lie under our city. Come and listen to one of South Africa's groundwater experts, Dr Chris Hartnady, of Umvoto Africa, who is delivering the keynote talk at the AGM of the Friends of Meadowridge Common on Monday 27 February at 7h30 pm in the Meadowridge Library, Howard Drive, Meadowridge. (Click here for directions.) Dr Chris Hartnady will be giving an illustrated talk on
CAPE TOWN’S GROUNDWATER: IS IT AN OPTION FOR MUNICIPAL WATER SUPPLY?
Chris was recently interviewed on Cape Talk by John Maythem, and appeared on Carte Blanche on the subject of Cape Town's water supply two weeks ago. Come and ask any questions you may have about water, well points and boreholes.
All welcome. No need to book. Refreshments will be served and secure parking provided.
For more information telephone the Chairman of the Friends of Meadowridge Common at 021 715 9206.   
 *Click here to go to the City of Cape Town's website for an update.
Photos courtesy of the City of Cape Town and Umvoto Africa.

06 February 2017

THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE FRIENDS OF MEADOWRIDGE COMMON

will be held in the Meadowridge Library
on Monday 27th February 2017 at 7.30 pm
After the brief business part of the evening, DR CHRIS HARTNADY from Umvoto Africa will be giving an illustrated talk on
"CAPE TOWN’S GROUNDWATER: IS IT AN OPTION FOR MUNICIPAL WATER SUPPLY?"
Chris was recently interviewed on Cape Talk by John Maythem, and last Sunday he appeared on Carte Blanche. Come and ask Chris any questions you may have about  well points and boreholes.
All welcome. Refreshments will be served and secure parking provided.
For more information telephone the Chairman at 021 715 9206.

13 January 2017

Summer flowers on Meadowridge Common

The Branching Aristea (Aristea dichotoma) flowers on the Common from December till February, although recent thefts of this tough little bulb have reduced the population to virtually nothing. The flowers only last one day - opening in the morning and fading in the afternoon - the drying petals twisting into a spiral which you can see clearly in the photograph above.
Its leaves are tough, narrow and point upwards to avoid direct sunlight. Although the stems of this aristea are characteristically branching, the specimens on the common don't branch all that much. The flowers are about 15-20 cm high.  
Information from Fiona Watson, Cape Bulbs by John Manning and iSpot.

10 November 2016

Discover Namibia's Kaokoveld


The Friends of Meadowridge Common invite you on a photographic safari to the Kaokoveld of Namibia with Michael Borgström, architect, artist and experienced traveller to Africa's wild places. Michael's illustrated talk will take place in the Meadowridge Library, Howard Drive, Meadowridge (click here for a map) at 7h30 pm on Wednesday 23 November 2016. Entrance is free. Refreshments will be served afterwards, and there will be secure parking.

02 September 2016

Champion of the Common

Fiona Watson, the Friends of Meadowridge Common's Botanical Officer, was recently interviewed by Karen Watkins in the Constantiaberg Bulletin about her passion for recording the dwindling wildflowers on Cape Town's shrinking open spaces.
Her detailed records for Meadowridge Common, which include several Red Data Species, have been compiled into a DVD which is available for purchase at R100 each. Contact her at 021 712 0696. All profits go towards the Friends of Meadowridge Common. The DVD will be on sale at the Friends annual Spring Wildflower Walk on Saturday 17 September.
To read the interview with Fiona Watson, click here.

17 August 2016

Spring Wildflower Walk

The Friends of Meadowridge Common annual Spring Wildflower Walk will be taking place on Saturday 17 September 2016. The walk is free, and open to anyone. Meet at the gravel road off Faraday Way near the soccer fields at 11h30. A list of flowers that may be in bloom can be seen here.
Moraea tripetala blooming on the Common.