Cape Town says, “grow, don’t mow”!
Despite the rain and cold in the forecast for the weekend, it’s safe to say that spring has officially sprung in the Western Cape: South Africa’s famous spring flowers are in bloom at last! They’re more magnificent than ever, thanks to a very wet winter, and it has been such a treat to see our beloved Willowdale Farm explode in colour as our flowering plants and fynbos come to life. We hope you all get a chance to come see the magic.
August through November is an important time for our spring bloomers. It’s when they sprout, grow, and seed—which makes this period critical for the propagation of the thousands of distinct species that call our country home.
The Cape Floral Region, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site which covers over 1 million hectares in the Western Cape and some of the Eastern Cape, is globally renowned as having the highest concentration of plant species in the world (almost 10 000 species!), 70% of which only appear here in South Africa.
Unfortunately, that incredible biodiversity is at high risk, as human development, habitat loss, and climate change come crashing in. But thankfully, there’s something all Capetonians can do to lend a helping hand to our plant species this spring: by nominating our local fields and parks as designated sites for the City of Cape Town’s new “Grow, Don’t Mow” initiative.
As part of the Grow, Don’t Mow programme, 63 areas across Cape Town CBD and surrounds have been designated as no-mow zones from August through November, giving the local flora an opportunity to thrive and reproduce, without the risk of being cut down prematurely.
We love this programme because it echoes our own mission here at Honeybee Heroes: the Grow, Don’t Mow initiative creates a protected environment where rare, local plants can thrive undisturbed, allowing them to undergo their own natural processes—just like we’re doing for our rare, local Capensis bee. When we create safe spaces for our vulnerable species, and generally leave them alone to do their thing, it’s amazing how well they can care for themselves. Sometimes conservation just requires giving Mother Nature a bit of space, and trusting that she’ll know what to do with it.
Speaking of bees, the Grow, Don’t Mow initiative is a huge win for wild bees, who rely on spring’s tasty bloomers for nutrition. When there’s plentiful bee chow well distributed across the region, that makes for more healthy, happy bees. Someday, we’d love to see the whole of South Africa transition away from manicured lawns to luscious indigenous gardens, filled with fynbos, nourishing vegetables, flowering plants, and fruit trees—plants that feed your family and your local pollinators, bugs, and birds—but for now, this is a great start.
There’s currently an open call for citizens to apply for their nearby parks and fields to be exempt from mowing as part of Grow, Don’t Mow, and we encourage you to apply! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org explaining why your local space should be protected.
At the end of the day, eco-conscious living is the responsibility of the individual—and this is an easy way to give back to the flora and fauna that bring us all joy all year round. So nominate your space, go out and enjoy the blooms, and wave hello to all the happy bees along the way!