Every year, the City of Cape Town’s Parks Department is faced with a difficult decision: neat, mowed parks and verges or a display of newly blossomed spring flowers.
“Cape Town is experiencing a wet winter, with intermittent periods of warm weather. This promotes the germination and rapid growth of many species of wild flower and grasses across Cape Town. Grasses, and weeds in particular, thrive under these conditions and parks and sidewalks can start to look untidy almost overnight. Simultaneously, the annual spring flowers have started to bloom in various public open spaces and open tracts of land. This is where the contention lies: should the areas be mowed to control growth and so that they are neat, or should the wild flowers and weeds be left undisturbed,” says the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services, Councillor Tandeka Gqada.
Many residents and visitors to areas where the flowers bloom contend that they should be left untouched and not mowed until the seeds have ripened and dropped. However, this results in the grass eventually dominating the flowers.
“In the past, City Parks curtailed the mowing of certain areas during the flowering period to allow flowers to bloom and shed their seeds – but this proved problematic in that there was also a proliferation of weeds and grasses. This year, City Parks will keep mowed areas tidy as a priority. Some wild flower areas may be identified and mowed at a later date, but they will be clearly sign-posted. There are still many open areas throughout the city, including identified biodiversity areas or natural sensitive areas where mowing does not take place and where spring flowers can be seen.
“City Parks will closely monitor the areas that are starting to look untidy. Staff and contractors will work additional hours to limit or reduce any mowing backlogs, but City Parks appeals to residents to please be patient. The City is committed to prompt and effective service delivery and, under the circumstances, all efforts will be made to keep our parks and sidewalks tidy and property maintained,” says Councillor Gqada.
Any concerns about uncut grass in parks and on sidewalks/verges can be directed to City Parks on 021 400 9538.