indeed a bad hair day up there!  We decided to go to Signal Hill instead which provided gorgeous views of Cape Town and the Atlantic.  We would try Table Mountain the next day. 










We started day three with famed Kirstenbosch Gardens.  I was able to photograph many ericas in bloom and purchase plants at the Garden Centre to take home.  They put me in touch with the Agriculture Department to obtain a phytosanitary certificate.  Unfortunately, all my plants were seized in Chicago customs as the Cape Town office was closed when I arrived.  They neglected to notice in e-mails my stated arrival time.

We then went on to Table Mountain.  There was no wind that day.  We took the gondolas up the mountain.  I was not prepared for the unique landscape I encountered.  It was covered in crazy boulders and plants many of which were ericas.  The plants were formed by the wind.  They were low and prostrate in the more exposed sites.  We are trying to identify the one below.  The ones on Table Mountain were creeping along the ground in places.  The views from the mountain top were spectacular if not frightening for me with my fear of heights.  Everywhere you looked, you saw the ocean below stretching to the far distant horizon. 










Our next stop was Milnerton Beach to watch the surfers catch some waves after work.  We had dinner at an outdoor café near our hotel watching the sun set on our last evening in Cape Town.

I cannot recall viewing a sunset as spectacular as this one.  It was hard to believe it was winter here.  South Africa has the second most mild climate in the world behind Hawaii. 

The next morning we headed for Hermanus.  We saw some wonders along the way.  We stopped at Stony Beach in Betty’s Bay to view another penguin colony.  Then we stopped at Harold Porter Botanical Garden.  It was an enchanting place.  The water was the color of rubies.  We hiked into the hills and found carnivorous plants of all things.  I counted three different kinds growing on the hillsides.  The gardens had ericas on display and we found them along the hillsides as well.  This was a special place.











We pulled into Hermanus a few hours before nightfall.  This town boasts the best land based whale watching in the world.  They were right!  We checked into the old Windsor Hotel on the bluff overlooking the bay and promptly started watching a mother and her calf through the binoculars.  They had arrived that very day.  We were so lucky.

The next morning we were off to Fernkloof Reserve.  This was recommended by Martin Grantham who was our speaker a year ago at the Fort Bragg conference.  I asked him what to visit if I only had one day on the Garden Route.  Technically, Hermanus is before the Garden Route, but close enough for my purposes. 

I was greeted by Geraldine Gardiner.   She is the heart and soul of Fernkloof Reserve.  She is retired and devotes much of her spare time to preserving the unique ecosystem found in Fernkloof.  The ericas in their gardens were the best looking of the trip and well labeled. 

Cascade Heather Society

THE LAND OF ERICAs (continued)

Page 2

Erica ‘Gengold’ is a cross of E. nana x E. patersonii at Kirstenbosch

Erica growing prostrate in the rocks atop Table Mountain

The sun sets on Cape Town


Karla and Geraldine

CHS Members Karla Lortz & Elizabeth Berndt—BFF—

hiking in Harold Porter Reserve