Clivia and Gerbera at home
by Diana Studer
- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa
Walter Sisulu and Lowveld National Botanical Gardens last September
We bookended our September trip to Kruger with plants and three National Botanical Gardens for me. Next time I know to allow a full day at Walter Sisulu NBG at Roodepoort in Johannesburg (we enjoyed our shady lunch in the heart of the garden). Would like to have hiked the wider circuit beyond the irrigated green, but it was HOT! September was chosen to see animals at Kruger National Park, but the plants were gasping for summer rain in their drought.
This is where Clivia miniata comes from. Dappled shade in forests from subtropical Kwazulu-Natal to high altitude Swaziland. Well drained, rich soil.
Tambuki thorn. Shrub from Queenstown in the Eastern Cape. Erythrina acanthocarpa
This garden is famous for the pair of Verreaux’s Eagles which nest near the waterfall. In the heart of a large city, the old and new partners and the chicks are closely monitored on social media. The garden is irrigated with limited available water from that stream.
My Mackaya bella have died, needed a more forest microclimate.
Walter Sisulu for whom the garden is named.
Barberton daisies Gerbera jamesonii are from Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Limpopo grassland. Interwoven with bark - lime green eye is fever tree Vachellia xanthophloea. 'Fever' trees were blamed for malaria, as they grow in swamps, with mosquitoes. Horizontal rings for Pappea capensis (in my garden too). Commiphora harveyi flaking copperstem. The fourth with its cork squares is?
Lowveld NBG (as opposed to the Highveld of Jo'burg) is in Mbombela / Nelspruit. Striped buds of Crinum lilies. Vervet monkey. Terracotta Bauhinia galpinii - Pride of De Kaap (NOT Cape Town, but a valley south of Nelspruit). Sabie star, Impala lily, Adenium multiflorum looks like a scaled down baobab. Euphorbia ingens and Euphorbia tirucalli. African dog rose Xylotheca kraussiana. Frightening preying mantis eats unattended small children. Hypericum revolutum favours stream banks and forest margins.
Streams of flowing water carving thru the rocks. (I would also have liked more time to explore the rocky mountain scenery up north, next time - but the bitter cold in Haenertsburg reduced the effective range of our battery that day). On the ridge, spirit of place architecture for Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature. Staghorn fern along the aerial walkway in the African Rain Forest. Raised high after the first attempt was trashed by resident hippos.
Here too a rich selection of Clivia miniata
I was disappointed by the Pretoria National Botanical Garden. Very hot and dry and seething with people in festive traditional clothes to celebrate Heritage Week. Ndebele painting on the wall. A non-fynbos pincushion Leucospermum saxosum.
Wild jasmine? Lush in the deep valley. Buddleja salviifolia arching over the path above the valley. Haenertsburg is famous for its (planted) cherry blossom - which explains the wedding guests at our hotel. A random daisy. Vivid russet mushroom ears.
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