Top 5 moments of this incredible Overberg spring

Top 5 moments of this incredible Overberg spring

By Grant Forbes

What an experience, to see so much of the Overberg during spring. As Overberg residents, we simply don’t realise just how amazing the diversity of our area is. Over the past few months, I’ve joined Odette Curtis-Scott and Petra Broddle, to see Renosterveld species on display all the way from Botriver to Heidelberg. And it’s been magnificent.

Above: Gladiolus vandermerwei

Here are my top 5 moments of this incredible spring.

1. The amazing diversity, especially after the drought of the past five years.

It’s the first time I’ve surveyed SO MUCH natural veld during spring – and it’s truly been a bumper spring. We’ve seen species flower that haven’t flowered for years – and we’ve seen a show more prolific than we ever could’ve imagined.

Above: Babiana montana

2. The way farmers opened their doors to us and want to learn more.

Farmers have sacrificed valuable harvesting time to walk through their Renosterveld with us. We could see just how passionate many of these farmers are about their Renosterveld. And we could provide feedback to them, to illustrate the importance of each site we surveyed.

Above: Farmer’s Day at Klipfontein Farm.

3. The wonderful changes we’ve seen on the easement sites.

Farmers were blown away with what we found on their properties – from the usual Renosterveld suspects, to the incredibly special species. We have gained even more information on our easement sites, building on our species lists and distribution ranges. And we even found Renosterveld species at many of these sites that we didn’t know occur here. We’ve come to understand more of these systems even better than before, and working with the landowners, can now implement more targeted management interventions.

Above: Bartholina burmanniana

4. Seeing THIS ‘wow’ species was a bucket-list moment for me.

I’ve always wanted to see the Spider Orchid (Bartholina burmanniana). And this spring, I had my first sighting of one. It was also fantastic to see the Spider Lily species – Wurmbea, such as the Wurmbea marginata.

Above: Wurmbea punctata

5. Why our Haarwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve has me on the edge of my seat.

Wurmbea punctata (also a Spider Lily) proved to be a wonderful sight at Haarwegskloof. But the flowering Gibbaeums (Bababoutjies) really stole the show. They are extremely range-restricted, and can only be found on quartz patches. In fact, the pink mat of flowering Gibbaeums completely hid the rest of these plants – such was the show they put on for us. We are now also waiting to see how some of those areas that were burnt in previous years will continue to recover. While they are already showing signs of recovery, it’ll be exciting to watch how the diversity develops over the next year, to see what re-emerges (and maybe even comes up for the first time).