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.

Clivia miniata at Walter Sisulu NBG in September
Clivia miniata
at Walter Sisulu NBG in September

Tambuki thorn. Shrub from Queenstown in the Eastern Cape. Erythrina acanthocarpa

Erythrina acanthocarpa in September
Erythrina acanthocarpa in September

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.

Walter Sisulu NBG waterfall
Walter Sisulu NBG waterfall

My Mackaya bella have died, needed a more forest microclimate.

Mackaya bella in September
Mackaya bella in September

Walter Sisulu for whom the garden is named.

Walter Sisulu
Walter Sisulu

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?

Gerbera jamesonii at Lowveld NBG in September
Gerbera jamesonii at Lowveld NBG in September

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.

Lowveld NBG flowers in September
Lowveld NBG flowers in September

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.

Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature and Lowveld NBG African Rain Forest
Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature and Lowveld NBG African Rain Forest

Here too a rich selection of Clivia miniata

Clivia miniata Lowveld NBG in September
Clivia miniata Lowveld NBG in September

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.

Leucospermum saxosum at Pretoria NBG in September
Leucospermum saxosum
at Pretoria NBG in September

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.

Haenertsburg grassland with cherry blossom in September
Haenertsburg grassland with cherry blossom in September


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Pictures by Diana Studer

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Comments

  1. Oh my gosh what an interesting exciting post,, this sounds like a memorable adventure for sure!

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  2. The waterfall pic is spectacular. I love the variety of Clivia you have - here a mid-tone orange is usually all you see (not that those aren't pretty too!). I was surprised to read that cold temperatures can impact your battery's range - that's a piece of information I've never heard in advertisements for electric cars here. My next car will be electric but range per charge is a pivotal issue.

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    Replies
    1. Our Kruger trip gave us huge temperature extremes. More efficient / range at higher temperatures. The car is happier in our temperate mediterranean climate at home!

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    2. PS by cold I mean flirting with frost!

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    3. Kris, My hybrid Prius gets lower gas mileage during the winter because it can't rely on the battery-powered electric motor as much and uses the gas engine more. But we would consider "flirting with frost" a warm winter day.

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  3. Once again, I just love seeing the many beautiful colors, shapes, and interesting names. I still have hope of returning for one more visit!

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  4. Thanks for taking us along, Diana. Such gorgeousness and I enjoyed your photos.
    Amalia
    xo

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  5. Looking at all these gorgeous flowers, it's easy to see why North American plant hunters go to South Africa to collect seed for new introductions in our nursery trade. I'm particularly enchanted by the Clivia miniata.

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  6. Gorgeous blooms, Diana. I love gerberas, they come in such pretty colors and also keep well as cut flowers. Enjoy the weekend!
    Amalia
    xo

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  7. Cheerful post for this cold grey Winters day. I do like the Gerbera, we get claims that a hardy form is available but I have my doubts as to the truth of this, no doubt I will be lured into trying it.

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    Replies
    1. Gerbera would certainly cope with light frost.

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  8. Clivia always seems such an exotic plant to me. Grown as an annual here. P.x

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