All about Park Island Arbor Day 2022

With the exception of a couple of drought years and a few for COVID, the Friends of Park Island have added to the rehabilitation of Park Island every June since 1999 by hosting a Park Island Arbor Day. Here’s a quick Q&A on plans for this year’s Arbor Day.

Why June and not the national Arbor Day in September?

In the Cape, we reside in a Mediterranean climate area that experiences wet winters and extremely hot, dry and windy summers. To enable our new plants to get established, we need to make the most of a season of winter rain.

What area of Park Island are you focusing on this year?

The new dog off-leash park. In order to soften the visual effect of this area, which is fenced out of necessity, we wish to ‘landscape’ the west and northern fence line with appropriate plants. 

What plants have you chosen and how will they be paid for?  

We are extremely fortunate to welcome Kathy Sutton to our team. She is creating/managing the planting plan this year and, hopefully, into the future.

Arbor Day offers a unique opportunity to you, the community, to purchase, plant and watch your investment grow on our special island. For as little as R30, you can make a contribution. We will be there on the day to assist you plant your investment.

We are looking forward to welcoming you all.  Bring family, friends and don’t forget your dogs. Also, bring cash, gardening gloves and a trowel. We will have dug/prepared all the holes beforehand. See you there.

A word of thanks

Friends of Park Island would like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing MDGA ExCom members for their loyal support for our efforts during these difficult times. It has been greatly appreciated.

We should also like to thank all those who contribute financially to the Friends of Park Island /ZENR partnership. Without your generosity we could not do what we do.

Very important:a big thank you to Deep Blue for taking over the onerous but vital task of giving annual, daily access via the pedestrian gate to Park Island Nature Reserve as a community service.

Please note the new emergency telephone number displayed on the gate.

Meet the newest Friends of Park Island team member

Kathy Sutton is a long-time resident of Marina da Gama, having lived here since 1997. She works as a freelance editor. But in the early 2000s, she decided to follow her longtime passion for plants and obtained a National Diploma in Horticulture from the then Cape Technikon. Her main interest is in indigenous plants and she spent time working at Kirstenbosch and Dr Boomslang Nursery. Since she qualified, she has continued with her freelance editing work, but has always pursued her interest in plants and nature whenever possible.

What we plan to plant

The plants we have chosen are all staples of the Cape Flat Dune Strandveld, which is the natural vegetation type on Park Island. These hardy plants cover and stabilise the sandy coastal areas. They produce a colourful spring display and create habitat and shelter for many creatures, big and small, including insects and birds. It is an endangered vegetation type, with large tracts now lost to urbanisation and building.

Typical Cape Strandveld plants include tall, evergreen shrubs, interspersed with bulbs, grasses, succulents and annuals. At this stage we are concentrating on planting shrubs such as Chrysanthemoides monilifera (Bietou), Metalisia muricata (Blombos), Searsia (formerly Rhus) crenata (Dune Crowberry)and S. glauca (Blue Kuni-bush) and Eriocephalus africanus (Wild Rosemary) as well as the larger Tarchonanthus camphoratus (Cape Camphor tree) to create screening of the new fenced-in lead-free area for dogs near the entrance to the island. We will include a few smaller plants such as Salvia africana lutea (Beach Sage) and S. lanceolata (Rooisalie), Nylandtia spinosa (Tortoise berry), Agathosma glabrata (Sand Buchu), Otholobium bracteolatum (Skaapbostee), Pelargonium betulinum (Camphor-scented Pelargonium) and a few Podalyria sericea (Silver Sweet Pea Bush). We are also very pleased to have found a beautiful Sideroxylon inerme (Milkwood) which we hope will grow tall and strong to provide shade for the bench in the enclosed area.