The change of season is a special thing. Here in Cape Town, when the evenings become noticeably longer and the mornings just a little easier to wake up to, magic is happening all around.
All over the city, new life is emerging. Drive down Hospital Bend right now and you’ll be faced with the most spectacular display of bitou bushes to your left, the same space where roaming zebra are now making themselves visible through their spring-time grazing on the slopes of Devil’s Peak. New shoots are bursting through the cracks of our pavements; fennel, sorrel, daisies and countless other plants are creeping in.
This occasion is observed as Arbor Day, a yearly celebration of Mother Nature’s dance with Planet Earth. From 1945 – 2000, this annual observance traditionally happened at the beginning of every September in South Africa, but now an entire week – naturally known as Arbor Week – is allocated for outdoorsy-driven activities with a focus on giving back to the earth.
In essence, National Arbor Week (1-7 September) serves to promote awareness around the need to plant and maintain indigenous trees throughout South Africa. Planting a tree on Arbor Day is a practice undertaken around the world, as is the removal of alien tree species through ‘hacking’ and restoring a landscape’s natural ecology. The theme for Arbor Week 2017 is “Forests and Water” – retained from last years’ theme because South Africa has not escaped the effects of drought.
This year, South Africans are urged to protect our indigenous forests; help prevent veld and forest fires; plant a tree to green our country, mitigate against climate change; plant indigenous trees that save water; use water conserving methods when planting trees and integrate fruit trees into your food gardens.
In Cape Town, you can choose to celebrate this year with the Friends of the Rosebank and Mowbray Greenbelt by thinning the plants, weeding, and planting new vegetable seeds and seedlings on Saturday. View the event info here.
Alternatively, Soil For Life is hosting a family fun day on Saturday in Constantia, where inspiring garden demonstrations, talks and activities will be on offer.