Welgemoed Greening update May 2021

In May, residents from the WCID Home Nursery network attended a Fynbos Restoration Course held by Communitree. We are now “babysitting” our cuttings, which we hope to plant out in June. A special thanks to Gideon and Jessie de Villiers and Steve Minnaar who attended these classes with our CID director, Louise Ferreira.

WCID Green will also hold similar classes in Welgemoed for interested residents in August – September 2021, the details of which will be published in July.

We have also been able to secure the assistance of nearby farms with remnants of Swartland Shale Renosterveld to donate plant material and seeds for our restoration project. We will embark on site visits in September 2021 to collect seeds and cuttings for propagation ahead of the planting season in April 2022. We hope to involve residents and local schools in our 2022 planting drive and share the incredible knowledge we have gained with the assistance of very generous experts. Of course, in the long term, we plan to use the plant material in our own parks and road verges to propagate plants for sale to residents. Endemic planting not only provides food for pollinators, but also increases planting success. The plants evolved to survive and thrive in the conditions found naturally in our gardens.

From now until September 2021, we will focus on finalising landscaping designs and plant lists for all our parks and road verges. Please send any input and suggestions as to specific recreational or other facilities you would like to see in any particular park to louise@welgemoedcid.co.za. Once the plans are finalised and approved by the City of Cape Town’s Park Department, the plans and plant lists will be published on the CID’s website and shared on the media platforms.

We also invite any local landscapers to contact us if they would be willing to volunteer their services for one or more areas. WCID intends to erect signage at each park and green “corridor”, which will include acknowledgement of the donors of plant material, volunteer landscapers and other sponsors.

While it is heartening to see that the local community has become far more alive to the need for concrete action in the face of critical biodiversity loss and climate change, we urge residents to contact us if they have any specific projects in mind. In particular, we have noticed a recent spate of tree-planting in our parks without prior authorisation from the City. When we become aware of these cases, we assist residents to regularise, where possible, the situation. However, the City will generally require residents to remove unauthorised trees which may damage walls or obstruct underground service works. These unilateral projects also make it difficult for the CID to finalise the landscaping plans for our parks, as the trees may be planted in areas earmarked for recreational activities or our Renosterveld project.

Research shows that the planting of trees is not necessarily effective as a climate change mitigation strategy. A site-specific approach is needed. Restoring endemic vegetation improves soil health, which in turn increases the soil’s carbon sequestration potential. Indeed, improving soil health is one of the goals of our Renosterveld restoration project. On a more fundamental level, our public open spaces (POS) are City property. The planting of any trees in POS spaces and road verges without the prior approval of the City is prohibited by law.

As our gardens turn green with the winter rains, we will be hard at work to ensure a successful March 2022 planting drive.

Please send your contact details to louise@welgemoedcid.co.za if you would like to receive a personal notification on the various projects, provide input on the parks project or details and dates for the Communitree training.

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