Conserving a remnant of Cape Flats sand fynbos

From left, Dr Clive McDowell, of Constantia; Friends chairman Tim Jobson, of Rondebosch; and volunteer Philippa Clemo, of Constantia.

More than 20 volunteers planted several hundred seedlings at Rondebosch Common, on Saturday, dedicating their 67 minutes for Nelson Mandela Day to the conservation of one of the last remaining remnants of Cape Flats sand fynbos in the southern suburbs.

The planting by the volunteers from the Friends of Rondebosch Common was in support of the Rondebosch Common Restoration Project.

Restoration ecologist Dr Stuart Hall said the seeds had been collected from seasonal wetland areas, including Epping, Kenilworth Racecourse and the Royal Cape Golf Club.

Friends chairman Tim Jobson said the seedlings had been specially cultivated in Rondebosch Common soil for the project. The volunteers planted 650 plants of 15 species. Ten of these are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List or threatened.

Of significance, said Mr Jobson, were over 250 strawberry spiderhead (Serruria aemula) plants that were grown from cuttings of plants at a degraded site in Epping where Serruria aemula was now extinct.

Mr Robson said all funds received for the Friends were used for maintenance, restoration and protection of the common.

The Friends also employs a gardener who does general weeding, cleaning and occasional planting on the 40ha common, which was proclaimed a national monument in 1961.

The group has spring walks on Sundays, from 11.30am to about 1pm, with the first on July 30, meeting at the main car park in Sawkins Road. Watch the Facebook group for updates. Membership is R100 and R50 for students and pensioners. For more information about the group, email FriendsofRondeboschCommon@gmail.com or call Jane Turner at 083 275 9927 or Tim Jobson at 083 679 2688.

Dr Stuart Hall, Dr Clive McDowell and City councillor Alex Lansdowne planting indigenous plants at Rondebosch Common.
Digging in, Colin Engel and Jane Turner, both volunteers from surrounding Rondebosch.
Lucille Krige, of Claremont, with Dr Stuart Hall, of Meadowridge.
About 20 volunteers and a dog attended the planting at Rondebosch Common.