During my first year volunteering in the Food Garden of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG) the pattern was for clear blue skies each Thursday. The Covid 19 interlude has upset the heavens so that the new pattern seems to be one of puffy clean whites floating or being wind-blown across patches of blue. Still gorgeous but varying. Last Thursday the look upstairs was no different.
As usual, I bussed to the city and then bussed back out again to alight at the bus stop beside the highway edging the sparkling Derwent River, and started walking the westward path towards the lower entrance to RTBG. To my left, the land sloped upward to encircle Tasmania’s Government House; a 19th century sandstone edifice. It was the vegetation covering on those slopes which made me gasp.
A sea of yellow flowers extended out of sight.
While not technically ‘wild flowers’, these were weeds growing wild and dangerously out of control. Perhaps too far gone, I suspect too many for control. The plant was the South African escapee, Capeweed (yes from Cape Town originally). In earlier blog posts, I had decried the humungus spread of this invasive plant around my suburb; you can read more here and here. Thankfully I have not found one growing in my garden (yet?); perhaps my insistent pull of growths at the cotyledon stage has been the reason for their ongoing invisibility here.
If your garden contains Capeweed, please dig it out (easy to do if the soil is moist) and do not add to the compost if in flower or seeding.
Regrettably this plant provides terrific ground cover (but it’s coverage prevents other plants growing), and it is pretty to look at but prolific. Don’t be seduced! They are not edible and toxic to many animals.
On I walked. Ahead, tapping around the Capeweed ‘undergrowth’ were a flock of healthy fat Galahs (I was asked later whether I was referring to people – but no, these are our pink and grey distinctive Australian native birds). Bar one, the flock flew away as I approached; must have found seeds to feast on – were they Capeweed seeds?
As I passed large pine trees, the attractive newly forming cones were in full colour.
Finally I was inside the gates of the RTBG and, with each step, I was losing the sound of the highway traffic. Peace descended. Ahead I could see the mountain (kunanyi/Mt Wellington) had gone on holiday, and was no longer looking down onto the Gardens.
As I walked into the Food Garden, it’s edging of hellebores and blue bells provided a striking welcome.