The flower season in Velddrif starts at the end of winter, before 1 September, the official advent of spring.
Here you don’t just drive through and say you have seen the Sandveld in flower, one needs to stop, get out of your vehicle, walk in the field and even kneel down! How else will you know that a Babiana (Bobbejaantjie) smells like baby talcum and the Hesperantha (aandblom) smells heavenly?
On the West Coast there are not only annual flowers but also perennial shrubs, as well as reeds such as the “sonkwasriet”. The Muraltia spinisa ‘skilpadbessie” and the Muraltia scoparia “duinebessie” make a spectacular colour show once a year that paints the fields purple, in August, just before the “vygiebosse” bloom with intense purple flowers.
Plants with bulbs and tubers have the ability to store water underground. For example the Lachenalia “viooltjiefamilie” in red, yellow and the Cape cowslip. Another bulbus plant family is the Chasmanthe such as Chasmanthe floribunda ‘pypies’ and Gladiolus orchidiflorus “groenkalkoentjie”.
Bulbs and shrubs flower at the same time as annuals on the vacant erfs in Velddrif and Port Owen.
It is worth your while to amble past these erfs to see a carpet of white and orange daisies along with the “weeskindertjies” on the pavements. In the town you will find shrubs like the Honey flower “kruidjie-roer-my-nie” with its blood red flowers, salvia with brown flowers and the snowy white flower of the wild rosemary. On the mud flats/dams at the farm Kersefontein (drive from Bergrivierstasie) you will find waterphlox “rysblommetjies”.
On the R399 leaving Velddrif towards Aurora you see Doll’s Rose (poprosie), Silene “wilde tabakbos”, Slugwort “slakblomme” and Conicosia pugioniformis “geel varkslaai”.
Dwarskersbos is named after the “kersbos”, which is prolific in the area. On the dunes you see the bright red Babiana rengens (rotstert)’ and the Limonium peregrinum (strandroos) with its pink flowers, which does well in the salty sea air. Carry on down the road to Rocher Pan Nature Reserve and find the krimpsiekbos with yellow, bell shaped flowers which bloom in December.
Another aromatic Sandveld flower is the Gethylis afra “kukumakranka”, of which the fruit was used to cure stomach ailments. The Lessertia fructescens (kankerbos) with its pale green leaves and big pea-shaped coral-red flowers was used as a cure for cancer, but the sap of the eEuphorbia Mauritanica (Beesmelkbos) is harmful to humans if in contact with your eyes.
Out-side of the flower season in March, the March lily makes its dainty appearance, popping out of the ground with no leaves to be seen, once the flowers have died back the big green leave make their appearance.
If you are prepared to walk and take a closer look you will always find something in flower in Velddrif!