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The good news for people fed up with cold and rain is that this is the sort of weather that the spring flowers up the West Coast need if they’re going to put on a great show.
And while you’re snuggling up to keep warm, give a thought to the stalwart volunteers of the Clanwilliam Wildflower Society who head out into the Cederberg mountains and surrounding regions now, in the rainy season, collecting examples of the myriad different wildflowers that occur in the area.
The society celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Clanwilliam Wildflower Show this year and more than 360 species of wildflower will go on show.
Sue Bergh, chair of the society, says that without the volunteers the show would not be possible.
“These flowers are arranged in a living landscape that we set up inside the town’s historic Dutch Reformed Church, which has become known as the Flower Church over the years.”
Apart from the show’s presentation of natural beauty, it also makes it possible for people to see plants that can be hard to find.
“Without travelling vast distances and walking to some very remote areas, it would be almost impossible to see all of these flowers in their wild, natural environments.
“The aim of the show is to make sure flower lovers get to see almost every single species of wildflower in one room, arranged in a living landscape that mimics the terrain where the flower would be found naturally. If you can’t get out into the veld to see the flowers, then this is the next best thing.”
To mark the 40th anniversary, the society’s volunteers have set their bar much higher than before.
“The theme of this year’s landscape is biodiversity. Our volunteers have been asked to make sure our display showcases a thorough cross-section of all the local succulents and fynbos.
“Considering the Cape Floral Kingdom has one of the highest biodiversity densities in the world, the volunteers have got quite a challenge on their hands.”
Apart from the flower show, there will also be a flower festival with stalls of local produce, arts and craft that represent the sights, sounds and tastes of the Cederberg.
The festival also looks at the protection of the flowers and their natural environments by focusing on recycling with a twist.
“This year we’ve introduced the concept of trashion (trash fashion) to our local schoolchildren and our business community,”says Bergh.
“The show will be complemented by a display of flowers created by out of rubbish by school children and local businesses. These ‘flowers’ will line the streets and decorate every business in town. There will also be trashion items on sale at the Slow Living Eco Flea Market.”
Other festival attractions include horseback trails to flower spots, donkey cart rides through the heart of the Cederberg floral belt, flower-spotting from an open-top game viewing vehicle and 4X4 trails through some of the richest naturally occurring flower carpets. - Weekend Argus
The Clanwilliam Wildflower Show takes place from August 23 to August 29. Tickets – R5 for pupils, R25 for pensioners and R30 for adults – are available at the door. See www.clanwilliamwildflowerfestival.co.za