The Recreation and Parks Department goes above and beyond each year, to ensure a series of rare flower species are allowed to come to full bloom.

As Spring sets in, Cape Town comes to life, with nature’s beautiful array of colourful spring flowers.

Most of these tiny wonders are flowers that emerge in patches, amidst fields of tall grass in community parks, road verges, greenbelts and biodiversity areas.

The City of Cape Town’s Recreation and Parks Department tries its utmost to accommodate the annual showing. 

‘Usually, from August to October, a unique variety of flower species reveal themselves. It is also at this time that the department has to step up its mowing campaign to deal with the grass growth that occurred during winter, except in Nature Protected Areas, or open spaces where a community collectively requests that mowing be postponed. Apart from the burst of colour that accompanies the arrival of the flowers, it also brings nature right to our doorstep,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien.

The ecological benefit of Nature Protected Areas is that they become habitats for flora and fauna which attract butterflies, birds and insects.

‘It’s wonderful to walk outside and see flowers. We want our communities to notice them and learn about how to protect them. Many of them are very rare, critically endangered species, and can only be seen in the Cape during a few short months of each year,’ added Councillor Badroodien. 

The Recreation and Parks Department defers mowing in some parks to ensure that these species are protected. Examples include:

LOCTIONSPECIES
Onse Jan Park: Somerset West Ixia Versicolor (or Flats Kolossie) is one of the many rare flowers growing at this park. It is found in only two other places in Cape Town. Many indigenous and critically endangered bulb species are found in the remnant Lourensford Alluvium Fynbos,  characteristic of this area. Mowing does not take place between August and December, and a fence has been erected to protect the biodiversity area.  
Bowlers Avenue and St John Road (Public Open Space): Durbanville Babiana stricta (Bobbejaantjie) is part of the indigenous bulbs and shrubs found in this public open space. Remnants of the critically endangered Swartland Shale Renosterveld are found at this site. There is also a small portion of the unique Cape Flats Sand Fynbos vegetation (less than 1% of which is currently conserved) with over 100 plant species recorded at this site. The flowers bloom mostly from August to October, and mowing does not take place during this period. 
High Street Greenbelt, Durbanville This greenbelt has the critically endangered Swartland Shale Renosterveld, which protects a variety of shrubs and bulbs that bloom only in spring. Leaving this greenbelt in its natural state makes a significant contribution to the City meeting national conservation targets. Mowing does not take place between August and October.   
Rondebosch Common, Rondebosch  The Rondebosch Common conservation area is rich with fauna and flora. Over 240 indigenous plant species have been recorded in this area, 22 of which are threatened species (including 90 species of geophyte). Pelargonium triste is a beautiful, scented flower found at the Rondebosch Common. Ixia monadelpha and Podalyria sericea are some of the plant species found in the remnant and critically endangered Cape Flats sand fynbos. The core biodiversity area is never moved. Only some recreational parts are mowed throughout the year.  
Jack Muller Park, Bellville  Jack Muller Park is a biodiversity agreement area, which has remnants of the critically endangered Cape Flats Sand Fynbos. There are five threatened species that have been recorded on site – the near threatened Aspalathus ternate, Lampranthus explanatus and Geissorhiza tenella; the vulnerable Podalyria sericea(silver sweet pea bush) and the endangered Babiana villosula. Mowing is not permitted in the conservation area. The only mowing that takes place is in the picnic areas. 

Residents who want the City to stop cutting grass in any area can submit a request to their local Recreation and Parks Department, provided there is evidence of support from neighbours in the community. Requests can also be sent via email to RP.Enquiries@capetown.gov.za

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