Tag Archives: Arderne Gardens

a walk in the park

Some more pics from my walk in Arderne Gardens on Wednesday.

Right under my nose on Main Road, Claremont; a few minutes away from my house.
Little path
Wildlife. Two Egyptian geese and evidence of a large warren of moles
Azaleas in bloom
Spotted by the guinea fowl family. They were hoping for some grub. Sorry, guys, next time.
A New Zealand oak. Catherine, I thought of you when I saw this tree.
Hmmmm interesting. Apart from the common name of this tree, which obviously hasn’t kept up to date with post-colonial rebranding, this might be a very useful and natural source of a poisonous substance should I ever need to get out my bow and arrow and use it against someone mean….
Part of a series of little ponds, usually filled with ducks and koi. The algae seems to have taken over for now.
Water almost completely stagnant.
I spotted a solitary duck on this part of the pond system, and no algae. Maybe it’s got something to do with the sunnier position.
Got the fright of my life and stopped me in my tracks with horror – I thought this was a gigantic spider balloon created by a colony of mutant golden orbs or giant wolf spiders. Turns out to have been part of an area of the park undergoing restoration, and the netting covers an ancient tree that collapsed into a pond. I’m terrified of all spiders and it took me a while to recover. A second coffee would have been helpful at this point.

Don’t let the lack of rain fool you. It was icy cold and I’d forgotten to wear gloves, so it was just too freezing for me to consider a bit of chameleon spotting (a necessarily slow-paced activity!)
Arderne Gardens is well-maintained by the municipality, and I chatted to about three permanent staff on my rounds. There are also now security guards at the entrances – they certainly weren’t there when I first moved to Cape Town, 35 years ago. I used to share digs in a large house on the other side of the park in those days and one of the ‘inmates’, Paul, liked to go jogging in the early evenings. He said his jogging turned into a very fast sprint if he ever decided to take his life in his hands and detour through the park!

a walk in the park

If life is like a box of chocolates, I feel like I left my box out in the road and a ten-ton truck drove right over it. I managed to make the effort on Wednesday to spend an hour wandering round Arderne Gardens in Claremont, on my own.  When Alex was little, we often used to go there to feed the ducks and roll around on the grass. She used to call it the Wedding Park, because on Saturday afternoons enormous parties of beautiful brides and grooms and their extended families would disembark from fleets of beribboned limousines for photo time.

This is the first tree you pass on entering the gardens from the main road. Many pixies live in and around it but they are shy, I didn’t see a single one. Or maybe Wednesdays are their shopping days and they were all down the road at Pick n Pay, stocking up on peanut butter and marie biscuits.

fairy tree

I am very ignorant about trees, and as I walked around I jotted down the names of some of them – water pear, blueberry ash, copper beech, Cedar of Lebanon, forest saffron, hoop pine, bunya-bunya, jacaranda, and – my personal favourite – the “Bushman’s poison tree”. I’d like to think I’ll be able to identify them in the future, but it’s unlikely (although you never know when you might need a bit of fresh poison so I’ve made a mental note of exactly where that one is growing).

The littlest pond has all dried up (please please let it rain soon…..) although the elephant ear plants were still managing to grow round the sides. Heart leaves – what’s not to love?

dry 1