If you happened to be driving on the Robinson Pass a few weeks ago you would have been in for a treat – hundreds of red George lilies (Cyrtanthuselatus) scattered over the slopes and showing up in stark contrast to the blackened scar of the huge fire that raged earlier this year. Although this lily is relatively common in these mountains it is not usually seen in such profusion and is often over shadowed by the fynbos on the slopes.
We all fear fire and its consequences for farmers, residents and wildlife, but our wonderful fynbos needs to burn periodically so that it can regenerate. There are many plants that only pop up and flower in the immediate aftermath of fire, one such plant is a relative of the George lily, Cyrtanthusdebilis. The bulbs of this petite, pink beauty had been under the ground on the Kouma Trail for years waiting for a fire to create the right circumstances for their brief but spectacular flowering.
The Watsonias are sending up leaves and will put on a beautiful show in a few months, so it’s worth taking a drive into the mountains to have tea at one of the establishments up the pass or a picnic, and a walk to see what else is flowering.