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Today we concentrated on the Cycad patch in the arboretum. Most of them are burnt but, as they are resprouters there are already some small leaves emerging on some of them. There is further not much we can do apart from clrearing out the burnt branches,


Behind the arboretum it looks like the sign can do with a replacement.


Along the River walk the Hawortias are a” little singed”P1040140

It must have been a very intense fire along the River Walk, in places there is hardly a stick left.


Something is germinating though:P1040143

and we can see that the warts on the Leucadendron serve a good purpose.


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More of the same…

We will have our hands full for a good while to come to sort the arboretum out and still maintain the nursery and the hacking program. We can already see plenty of aliens and other unwanted plants coming up. There will be millions of keurbooms, Podalyrias, Chrysanthemoides in a few months time.

We took a drive along the fence and it was in a perverse way good to see that the neighbours blue gums had also suffered.



On the reserve’s side it looks pretty barren but if you look closely there are some little gems making the most of the space and light they now have.



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The cleaning up continues…

We are making a big effort to clear a lot of bunt branches, shrubs and trees in the arboretum to make place for some new trees. Cathy is busy clearing away some of the Erica remains.


while I busy myself with the chainsaw and Widdringtonias for Ellie to clean upP1040049

and Rob gets rid of the barbed wire


In the afternoon we even planted our first tree! A replacement Widdringtonia


before going to check up on the fire lilies and other green sprouts.


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A week later

We are a bit over the initial dismay about the fire and are making plans to turn it into an opportunity to make some changes to the arboretum. First priority is still to secure the water supply. It must have been quite a blaze with all the grass in the rondavel to burn the buried pipe. We had to dig it up and replace a section.P1040013Not much can be done to save the building. Rob cleaned it out and we removed the wire etc.

The bird hide is also badly damaged and was a bit of a hazard so we demolished it as carefully as we could so we can use the material at some future date to build a new one. Quite tricky as you can see:


Encouraging signs of regrowth are already there, some fire lilies and millions of Protea seeds ready to germinate.


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The big burn

We were forewarned as we were notified through social media that a section of the Reserve had burned on Friday but we were not prepared to see the devastation it had caused to all our hard work with the Arboretum, the pipe line, newly planted trees and various signage.

It may be a case of ‘I told you so’ but for the past year we have been pushing for the controlled burning which would have avoided this disaster and have tried to fight the lack of interest and will to do anything about it. The question now is how we can keep the motivation going in our small group because of one thing we can be sure, if we don’t fix and replant things the whole arboretum will be abandoned.


The entrance to the Arboretum with the Widdringtonias and Cupresses burnt to a crisp.

P1030973 P1030974

The sorry sight of the signs.


The hut with its thatched roof and piles of grass totally destroyed.


The bird hide which Neil took many hours to build partially destroyed.


The water supply burnt in at least three places.


At least this will recover by itself including the alien seed bank.


What the plants need now is water, a little more than I could provide.

Fortunately in spite of all this our monthly meeting was a success, unlike the previous one everybody got stuck in and the accomplishments were:

  • part of the Nymph Trail was mown and cleared.
  • the shade cloth was stitched to the side of the shade house
  • a lot of shelves were covered with plastic in the greenhouse
  • some of the leaks in the water pipe were fixed
  • part of the traffic circle was weeded
  • the door to the Fovs room was trimmed to fit