Must love lilies this March

Written by: Life Green Group and BotSoc

The March lilies (Amaryllis belladonna) have come into flower in Cape Town so Life Green Group has decided to explore the world of South African ‘lilies’.
But there are no true lilies (Lilium) in South Africa!

 
The genus Lilium is part of the bulb family that occur in the Northern Hemisphere. In South Africa the Saint Joseph lily (Lilium candidum) has naturalised in the Dullstroom area as it is well-suited to the cold climate and can be seen growing along the roadside.
Botanist may argue that this is the major flaw with common names that do not comply with classification systems of Latin. Even the Afrikaans names of plants are more accurate.
The Life Landscapes horticulturist has hatched a guess that these gorgeous indigenous flowers were christened with the English name ‘lily’ because lilium genus is known for their exquisite flowers. Most of the South African ‘lilies’ are also water-loving, like real water lilies. True Liliums are known to be herbaceous bulbs that occur in woodlands and grasslands.

 
Here are 14 beautiful South African bulbs that are not true lilies but are still truly beautiful and are indigenous garden must-haves:

African lily (Agapanthus africanus)

The Agapanthus genus is endemic to the fynbos kingdom and has subsequently become a popular garden specimen across South Africa and the world. There are multiple varieties both natural and hybridised.

Arum lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica )

 

The flower of the arum is not actually a true flower biologically speaking it is an extension of the leaf called a spathe. The arum is popular wetland plant in South Africa and worthy garden subject and a must have in a moon garden. When it comes to “naturescaping” it is an important plant for the arum lily frog.

Bush lily (Clivia miniata)

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Bush Lily ©Ismail Ebrahim (iSpot)

The bush lily is endemic to the forest floors of South Africa, naturally occurring in colonies. Since the 19th century it has been a popular garden plant because of colour hybrids that occur- flowers can vary from: salmon, apricot, deep orange, red and yellow.

Candelabra lily (Brunsvigia josephinae)

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Brunsvigia josephinae ©sanbi

Despite what one might think, this is a bushveld specimen growing in the wilds of west coast in winter rainfall areas. Brunsvigia josephine is a deciduous plant which does grow in water. This lovely hot pink plant is an eye-catcher and flowers in autumn when the bushveld is brown and dry.

Fire lily (Cyrtanthus ventricosus)

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This scarlet number is a completely useless garden specimen as it is totally dependent on Cape fires – like a phoenix rising from the ashes, it is the first sign of life after a fynbos fire. Each flower lasts five days and the entire flowering period last about two weeks. The fire lily has a wildness that can’t be tamed; it’s rich in colour and rare in appearances.

Forest lily (Veltheimia bracteata)

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Veltheimia bracteata ©sanbi

This deciduous bulb is a fast growing flower that attracts sunbirds making it ideal for a sunbird garden. Flowers vary from pink to orange to green. It is also flowers from winter to spring adding colour to the winter. It grows well in shade or semi-shade.

Ground lily (Ammocharis coranica)

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Ammocharis coranica © J.H Vlok/A.L Shutte-Vlok

Unlike some of the other South African ‘lilies’ the ground lily likes to be treated as succulent in well-drained soil. It can also live to 50 years old and gets very sweetly scented, glossy pink flowers. A worthy and sturdy garden subject and makes for great addition to a cottage garden.

Winter impala lily (Adenium multiflorum)

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Adenium multiflorum ©Tony Rebelo

This bushveld shrub is in pink condition in winter – sprouting its folly pink flowers in May making it a popular tourist attraction of the Kruger Park and it is a highly protected species. It is a deciduous succulent shrub that is known  to be used as fish and arrow poison. As for the garden it does not survive in frost zones but rather prefers sandy soils.

Kudu lily (Pachypodium Saundersii)

This plant has a bonsai-effect and is in fact not related to the lilium genus but to the same family as the frangipani. It is a rupestrine species growing in dry areas among the rocks or in the rock crevices. Unlike the other South African ‘lilies’ it is not a bulb and hates water.

March lily (Amaryllis belladonna)

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Amaryllis belladonna ©Tony Rebelo
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Amaryllis belladonna

This beautiful lady, it is the inspiration behind this blog, and begins sprouting its gorgeous pink flowers in March hence the name March lily. There are only two bulbs that fall under the Amaryllis genus both occur in South Africa.

Orange River lily (Crinum bulbispermum)

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Crinum bulbispermum ©sanbi

Add a pizazz of colour to a wetland or shallow pond with this water-loving bulb. In the warmer months this stunning bulb can be up to a metre high with elegant arching leaves.

Paintbrush lily (Scadoxus puniceus)

 

What would an orange planting palette be without the burning orange flowers of the paintbrush lily? This is one of the most striking tropical plants as it produces a large paintbrush-like blossom in spring! It does well when it is planted in the ground or in containers.  It’s perfect for any tropical Durban garden.

Pineapple lily (Eucomis autumnalis)

 

This funky and fresh bulb has unusual flowers that can reach 10cm in diameter. The pineapple lily is a must have for any veld garden in SA, it’s very easy going gives some tropical vibes to a green palette garden. Although it has a toxic bulb, it is used for medicinal purposes in South Africa.

Scarlet River lily (Hesperantha coccinea)

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Hesperantha coccinea

This perennial loves water just as much as real water lilies do! The scarlet river lily gets stunning scarlet red flowers and grows well in full sun. It is very readily propagated and a must have for a garden with lots of natural water or a red palette garden. It grows well in the sun in soil that is compost rich and prefers to be grown close to a wet area or pond edge.

 

Well there you have it, Must love lilies this March

Have a lovely Month of March!

 

Valentines Day Special

By BotSoc

Colour of Love. . .

It’s the month of Love, and what better way to celebrate it by sharing some beautiful red indigenous flowers. A good idea for this month of love is building your own ID guide and seeing how many red plants you can identify. These are a few to have a lookout for . . . some of them are harder to find than others.

1. The Red Disa (Disa uniflora)

This magnificent flower is one of South Africa’s most well- known flowers. It is the Western Province Rugby Club’s emblem. It forms part of South Africa’s fynbos group and part of the Orchidaceae family. It can be found near riverbanks, or along waterfalls on Table Mountain as well as other Mountainous areas within the Western Cape.

2. The New Year Lily (Gladiolus cardinalis)

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Gladiolus cardinalis ©Tony Rebelo

It gets its name due to its bright red flower. It forms part of the Iridaceae family. It enjoys mostly sunny conditions. Similar to the Disa, the New Year lily, is most likely to be found in habitats where there are wet cliffs and waterfalls. This flower is definitely a beauty to look at.

3. Gladiolus insolens

This beautiful plant is named after the radiating light that its flowers give off. It is found in southern African within the winter-rainfall zone, specifically found in Piketberg in the Western Cape. This species is listed as vulnerable, therefore needs to be conserved in order for it to survive.

4. Channel-leaved haemanthus, paintbrush lily (Haemanthus canaliculatus)

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Channel-leaved haemanthus, Paintbrush lily ©Ismail Ebrahim

This red flower forms part of the Amaryllidaceae family. It flowers in late summer or early autumn, and can be seen after a fire has occurred. It can be found in Betty’s Bay and Hangklip, Western Cape. The genus, Haemanthus, is derived from Greek which translates to blood flower and the species name, canaliculatus, means channels. This genus and species name descibes this plant perfectly.

5. Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)

This daisy is a popular plant that is a favourite to grow in gardens throughout the world. It is also used to create the Gerbera hybrid  that are found in bouquets and many florists. It flowers in spring until early summer, as well as autumn. Gerbera jamesonii can be found in grassland in sandy, well-drained soils in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo Provinces.

6. Fire Erica/ Fire Heath (Erica cerinthoides)

 

This forms part of South Africa’s famous fynbos family: Ericaceae. This plant has tubular like red flowers. Erica cerinthoides flowers at any time of the year due to fires that vitalize it. This Erica is widely distributed compared to other heaths within southern Africa. It grows in different habitats, such as mountain tops as well as coastal plains. It can be found from the Cedarberg Moutains in the Western Cape, all the way to the Eastern Cape, up to Natal Drakensberg and into Mpumalanga, Lesotho and Swaziland and it also stretches up north to Soutpansberg in the Northern Cape.

So there you have it, some inspirational red flowers to keep a look out for.

Have a splendid Valentine’s day everyone!

 

Reference:

http://pza.sanbi.org/

Grewia-licious – the indigenous edible shrubs you should have in your garden:

by Life Green Group and BotSoc

These six Grewia species of South Africa are not only a must have for a bird garden; attracting hordes of fruit-eating birds, the fruits they produce are also edible for humans. In traditional cultures the fruit of certain Grewia species are used to brew alcohol and eaten as a sweet treat.

All of the Grewia species are incredibly resilient and easy-going and a must have for any South African garden.The Grewia species was named after English physician Nehemiah Grew and form part of the Malvaceae family.

Life Landscapes, the landscaping division of Life Green Group uses them as screen plants and they make for attractive shrubbery with their yellow or pink flowers.

Mauve flowering Grewia species

Cross-berry (Grewia occidentalis)

The cross-berry has an incredible wide range across South Africa. The cross-berry is the tallest Grewia reaching six metres and 10 metres in ideal conditions. It does need some shear work to stay neat and tree-like. It is a rewarding shrub that flowers pinky-mauve blossoms all year round.

The fruits are consumed ravenously by bulbuls, barbets, mousebirds and other fruit loving birds. Humans can use the fruit to ferment beer and when dried and added to milk it makes for an excellent milk sweetener. In Zulu culture the wood of the cross-berry is used to make Assegai spears.

Read more about indigenous purple flowering trees by clicking here.

Karoo crossberry (Grewia robusta)

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Grewia robusta

Like the cross-berry the karoo crossberry also has wonderful bright pink blossoms that flower from August to December. The Grewia robusta is frost resistance and adaptable to all soil types, it does prefer a desert-like setting. It is best to grow them in moist clay and loamy soils and partially shady areas.

It makes for a good screen plants and a super addition to a bird garden. Its plum-like fruits have an acid tinge to them and are pleasant to eat, both cooked and raw.

Yellow flowering Grewia species

Brandybush (Grewia flava)

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Grewia flava ©Bernard Dupont

The brandybush gets its name because its fruit can be distilled into a type of brandy or beer. This is the smallest of the South African Grewia species. It does not have an aggressive root system making it a good garden specimen. In the North West, Northern Cape and Limpopo wild animals rely on it for food. It has grey leaves that contrast its bright yellow flowers and spreads readily.

White raisin (Grewia bicolor)

The white raisin is a frost-hardy shrub that gets to nine metres. It can grow in most soils and is a water-wise choice. Its gets the second part of its Latin name from its bicolour leaves which are lighter on the bottom and darker on the top. The canary yellow flowers of the white raisin are smaller than the rest of the Grewia species and bloom from October to March.

Time to give the more tropical, less frost hardy, Grewias some yellow press:

Sandpaper raisin (Grewia flavescens)

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Grewia flavescens

The sandpaper raisin, like the brandybush, also has a sunny disposition with its sweetly perfumed, bumblebee yellow flowers.  It is tough and adaptable relies on wild animals for germination.  It can handle all types of soil and prefers a more temperate environment like the giant raisin. It is multi-stemmed and makes for a wonderful screen plant.

In Namibia the fruit is soaked in water to make a refreshing drink. It is also an essential bird garden plant for attracting frugivorous birds.  For more on how to attract fruit eating birds to the garden click here.

Giant raisin (Grewia hexamita) 

The giant raisin occurs on the Natal coast it has the largest flowers of the South African Grewia family and grows to about five metres high. This shrub is one of the most attractive Grewia species because of its large bright yellow flowers, rounded bushy crown and dark glossy leaves. Like all of the Grewia species the fruits can be fermented into moonshine. Birds and butterflies are attracted to its large scented flowers. It flowers ad-hoc all year round, especially in Summer. The giant raisin grows best and is more suited to a tropical environment with good rainfall like Natal. It is not easy to predict germination of seeds for this particular species, but once the seeds germinate, its growth is about 1 m high and produces fruits about 3 years later.

Go ahead and plant your own Grewia species.

Happy Gardening to all out readers!

 

Treasure chests & libraries of plants: learn about herbaria

Written by Catherine Clulow and Thaakira Samodien

Herbaria are treasure chests of knowledge and a priceless resource often not (or seldom) acknowledged or understood. Much scientific research ground work relies on herbarium collections. These collections enable and aid plant identifications and are the keys to open doors of understanding of studies of vegetation change and plant diversity, unpacking lineages, ecology, morphologies and so much more. Working in herbaria may not be everyone’s cup of tea but these vaults of specimen and collection gems are so valuable and important. The Botanical Society of SA (BotSoc) wish to highlight this to folk and acknowledge the great value herbaria offer.

What is a herbarium?

Did you know that plants and books have something in common? A Library! A library for plants is called a Herbarium. A herbarium is like a warehouse or library of information about plant biodiversity. Preserved plants are stored, catalogued and systematically arranged by professionals and amateurs from different walks of life. Herbaria are of immense practical use and of fundamental importance to science.

Preserved collections and information about these specimens, including description, where it is found, its uses, when they flower and more, facilitate current and future generations to identify plants and study biodiversity, to support conservation, ecology and sustainable development.

What is in a collection?

A large variety of plant specimens and information about them. For a list of herbaria around the world, with the scope and size of their collections see this link.

What is collected?

A specimen may be a whole plant or parts of a plant. Includes samples of leaves, stem, bark, ideally flowers and/or fruits. Exactly what is collected is dependent on the plant. Specimens may also include photographs and DNA samples. Many specimens are donated. Others exchanged and others targeted collections.

What are herbaria used for?

Common research that may use herbaria collections include:

  • Mapping current and past ecological and geographic distributions of plants to help with landcare and bioprospecting
  • Evolutionary history of plants
  • Existing and changing nature of plant communities and their habitats
  • Invasion biology and weed ecology
  • Molecular phylogenetics
  • Classification and naming of plants

BotSoc’s strategic partner (you can read about this partnership in another of our blogs, here), The South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) has 3 herbaria (PRE; NBG; NH) staffed by scientists and technicians who continuously maintain and expand the collections, to research on plant groups and provide a number of services to a wide range of national and international clients. These services and products include: plant identifications; specimen exchanges and loans; botanical information; regional floras; plant checklists; taxonomic revisions; E-flora.

A bit about four of South Africa’s herbaria.

1. The National Herbarium:

The Pretoria National Botanical Garden is the home of The National Herbarium (PRE): Founded in 1903 by Joseph Burtt Davy. The current collection stands at approximately 1.2 million specimens, mostly from southern Africa, but extends into the rest of Africa and surrounding islands, and includes small collections from outside of Africa. This is the second largest herbarium in the southern hemisphere. Email

2. The Compton Herbarium:

The Compton Herbarium (NBG) is situated in the Kirstenbosch Research Centre at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, Cape Town. Founded in 1937 by Prof. RH Compton. The Compton Herbarium is the second largest herbarium in southern Africa, leading the exploration of the diversity of the Greater Cape Floristic Region flora. It houses approximately 750 000 specimens covering mainly the winter rainfall region of southern Africa, as well as many valuable specimens in the South African Museum (SAM) collection. Email

3. The KwaZulu-Natal Herbarium:

The KwaZulu-Natal Herbarium (NH) is located adjacent to the Durban Botanical Gardens, in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. Founded in 1882 by John Medley Wood. This herbarium curates the KZN region’s rich plant diversity of over 7000 species. It houses about 140 000 specimens, mainly from KZN and the IUCN-recognised centres of plant diversity- namely the Maputaland, Pondoland and Drakensberg centres of plant diversity. Email

4. The Bolus Herbarium

Another famous herbarium is the Bolus Herbarium at the University of Cape Town. Established in 1865, the Bolus herbarium is the oldest functional herbarium in South Africa. With over 350 000 specimens, it’s the 3rd largest herbarium in SA and the 3rd largest university herbarium in the southern hemisphere. As part of an academic institution, its primary function is to aid teaching and research of the diversity of southern African flora, particularly of the Cape Floristic Region. The collection is recognised for its superb representation of Cape Flora and large number of type specimens housed.

The process . . . from the field to the herbarium

Simple steps:

Step 1: Visits to the field to collect specimens

Step 2: Back in the lab/herbarium, pressing and drying the specimens (keeping them in the fridge until ready to mount).

Step 3: Identifying and labelling of specimens

Step 4: Capturing all information into the electronic database

Step 5: Mounting specimens on herbarium sheets

Step 6: Filing specimens into the herbarium

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The Compton Herbarium, Kirstenbosch ©T. Samodien

Significance of herbaria in a nutshell

Chatting to some folk who have knowledge on and work in, or with information provided by, herbaria, here are a few reasons they shared as to why herbaria are so important:

  • The Herbarium holds historical records of plants which have been archived for many years
  • Herbaria information allows one to work out distribution and locality of species from past to present which is vital in conservation
  • Herbaria facilitate taxonomic reviews
  • They hold all the records of flora that has been collected in South Africa over the years which is important in assessing how the flora has changed from the past to the present and it also allows taxonomists to identify and name new species
  • A Herbarium also provides a home for many different types of studies (taxonomy, botany etc.)
  • Herbaria allow information to go onto the Red List Database which is accessible for anyone to view and which is highly important when it comes to threatened species
  • The specimen collections provide data about the species’ morphology while the label offers taxonomic and locality data

Herbaria are highly important when it comes to botanical studies and therefore the Botanical Society of South Africa supports the work and research that occurs within South Africa’s Herbaria.

For more information:

  • To read an overview about SANBI’s biosystematics and collections, click here.
  • The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet http://www.kew.org/herbcat [accessed on 01 December 2016].

Do you realise just how special our backyard really is? Facts about The Cape Floral Kingdom

Written by Catherine Clulow

All too often we take for granted what’s right under our noses and for that very reason today we share some facts to remind, inform and/or highlight just how special our backyard really is. The facts shared in today’s blog are taken from SANBI Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, a wonder to visit to enjoy our amazing biodiversity and natural heritage.

So you may ask what’s a floral kingdom? Floral kingdoms are the largest natural units that can be determined for flowering plants. Regions that share the same combination of plant families form part of the same floral kingdom. There are six floral kingdoms of the world (Holarctic; Neotropical; Pelaeotropical; Australian; Cape; and Antarctic).

So what’s so special about the Cape Floral Kingdom? Here are 6 ‘wow factors’ for you:

  • It is the smallest of all the floral kingdoms
  • It is the only floral kingdom to fall completely inside the borders of a single country
  • It occupies about 90 000 square kilometres- that’s only 0.04% of the surface area of the Earth
  • It contains nearly 9000 species of flowering plants- that’s about 3% of Earth’s species
  • Two out of three species in the Cape Floral Kingdom are endemic, meaning they occur nowhere else on Earth. This is the highest level of endemism in the world!
  • The Cape Floral Kingdom is a World Heritage Site

The Cape’s vegetation is termed Fynbos. Yes many of our readers know what this is, but we share a bit more about Fynbos for those who may not, and you may too learn a thing or two you didn’t know or may not remember.

What’s so fine about Fynbos?

  • Fynbos is the vegetation that is found growing naturally on the mountains and coastal plains of the south-western tip of South Africa, unique to the area.
  • The name comes from the Dutch ‘fijn’ and ‘bosch’ meaning fine bush, referring to the very small leaves and flowers of many of the species.
  • Fynbos makes up 80% of the Cape Floristic Region/ Cape Floral Kingdom
  • Fynbos is characterised by the presence of four main plant groups: restios, proteas, heaths and geophytes, as well as seven plant families that only occur in fynbos
  • It’s amazingly diverse, and exceptionally rich in species, and occupies a relatively tiny area of land
  • Over 7000 species occur in 41 000 km2, and 80% of them occur nowhere else on Earth.
  • The Cape Peninsula alone has 2 600 species- that’s more than the total number of species in the British Isles- crammed into an area smaller than London
  • To emphasise the diversity try these comparatives, let’s blow your mind with some numbers: Comparing species diversity with other heathland communities in Australia and California, and with the rest of South Africa:

Cape Floristic Region/Cape Floral Kingdom- 94 species per 100 km2

Australia- 14 species per 100 km2

California- 12 species per 100 km2

The rest of SA- 8 species per 100 km2

Marvel in the Cape Floristic splendour, how can you not? Appreciate and safe guard our amazing biodiversity. We live in a truly special place and need to remember that and remind each other from time to time.

King Protea (Catherine Browne, Botanical Society of SA)
©Catherine Clulow

The Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc) is an NGO focusing on biodiversity conservation and awareness and environmental education and for over 103 years has been working with passionate partners and persons to conserve the natural heritage and flora of southern Africa. BotSoc’s mission is “ To win the hearts, minds, and material support of individuals and organisations, wherever they may be, for the conservation, cultivation, study and wise use of the indigenous flora and vegetation of southern Africa, for the benefit and sharing by all”. Find out more about BotSoc here and consider joining the BotSoc family.

Go out and learn about, appreciate and enjoy our Floral Kingdom and be proud of it!

Greening the future: notes on a successful partnership between BotSoc & CPUT

Written by Joseph Kioko and Catherine Clulow

The Botanical Society of South Africa (BotSoc) and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) signed a memorandum of agreement in 2014. Headed into the third year of this three year contract, the success stories are encouraging and the partnership will be continued for another three year period. The purpose of this partnership was a pilot study for the BotSoc to support a tertiary educational institution and particularly nature conservation students, the ‘greenies’ of the future.

Students taking the National Diploma in Nature Conservation at CPUT undergo highly valuable hands-on training, thanks to funding from BotSoc. The training was facilitated by a highly knowledgeable team led by the City of Cape Town and held at the Zeekoevlei camp of Cape Town Environmental Education Trust (CTEET).

The one-week training camp is part of the curriculum of CPUT’s Nature Conservation Diploma, and is designed to integrate what the students have learnt in lectures and practicals with applied skills needed for work. By their nature, these skills can best be taught in situ, in a conservation setting and by professionals working in the conservation sector. Skills taught are many and varied, including: setting up and manning night observation points in a Nature Reserve, using dart guns for baboon management, operation of chain-saws and bush-cutters, the use of Sherman traps for small animal surveys, fixed-point photography for vegetation surveys, the use of field guides for the identification of flora and fauna, park maintenance, park management, alien clearing, GPS mapping, and the use of biodiversity databases, among other technical skills.

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Image supplied by CPUT

Students also learnt and practiced ‘soft skills’ such as teamwork, leadership and communication, by taking turns to act as supervisors or team members in specific tasks. This was combined with workshops on time management and reserve management, also given by expert practicing conservationists from the City of Cape Town.

Although this camp has been run by CPUT for a number of years, the camp in 2015 represented a new beginning and was different from all previous camps. For the first time, the students did not have to pay for the camp from their own pockets, the 2015 and 2016 camps were fully funded by BotSoc, including transport, food and training expenses. Therefore for the first time students who did not have the means could fully participate. Previously, those students who could not afford the camp were disadvantaged even further by missing the training. Some students could afford only the transport costs but had no funds for sufficient nourishment and water during the training camp. The feedback from students highlighted that the provision of food saved time that would have been lost when all students had to prepare their own meals, and so there was more time for conservation activities. The provision of meals also provided a good opportunity for students from all backgrounds to socialise, learn from each other, and sow the seeds for fruitful collaboration as professionals. Therefore the full sponsorship of the camp by BotSoc represents a key aspect of enabling the success of students who would otherwise have been marginalised, and is a tangible contribution towards the inclusion of young people from diverse backgrounds into the conservation profession.

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Image supplied by CPUT

Students have expressed their extreme appreciation of the training received, they were full of praise for the facilitators, and singled out experts and field rangers from the City of Cape Town as well as the CTEET staff and the quality of nourishment provided.

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Image supplied by CPUT

According to Prof. Kioko, the success of the field training camp is the result of a well-functioning collaboration with organisations such as the City of Cape Town, CTEET, and BotSoc, and he is very grateful to those organisations. He added that it is BotSoc that provided the ‘glue’ for the collaboration that delivered the successful 2015 and 2016 camps by providing the funding. The collaboration between BotSoc and CPUT is making a real difference for conservation.

Another activity supported through collaborations is that the first and second year students visit Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens annually. BotSoc facilitates entry and information guides to assist learning through another great partnership with SANBI. You can read more about the BotSoc- SANBI partnership here. This year, the students attended an outing to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden and the Compton Herbarium, where they were shown and taught about specimen preservation and research with Christopher Cupido at the Compton Herbarium. Following this they enjoyed using the gardens as their outdoor classroom for the day. Welcomed by BotSoc Executive Assistant, Catherine Clulow and told about the BotSoc/ SANBI partnership, students were then led by SANBI’s Julia September on an in depth tour of the gardens to highlight conservation in situ and ex situ. The group were treated to behind the scenes visits to areas of conservation management and research within the gardens and thoroughly enjoyed the day.

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CPUT nature conservation students visit Kirstenbosch 2016. © Catherine Clulow

BotSoc provides CPUT with resources used in broadening student’s knowledge and interest in biodiversity, and Veld & Flora magazines are used for discussion topics and passion sharing.

Students return the ‘favour’ so to speak, in promoting the Society during their WIL internships, when they give presentations about BotSoc to their host institutions, thereby spreading the word about the Society.

It is inspiring to see the determination and spirit of the next generation and we wish all who are influenced by this partnership, to be inspired and develop ever- growing passion to remain interested and working in the environmental sector, greening the future.

We thank the BotSoc members who so generously donate funds for this project, as you read, this is money well spent! What a great story to share, please do.

Until next time…

 

Go Green: make a choice, make a change

Written by Catherine Clulow

“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it”                 – Robert Swan-

In the ever changing world we live in and with the imminent risks our planet faces in light of climate change, we all need to do what we can to make a difference.

Here the Botanical Society of South Africa shares day to day ideas of what each of us can do to make a difference in going green, making the planet a better place, one day at a time. We don’t propose you must do each and every suggestion but you’ll see that many are easy and with a little reminder and thinking we can all contribute to greening our lifestyles.

32 Tips to get you thinking and being green in and around your home and garden

In the home:

  1. Switch off the water when you’re brushing your teeth
  2. Place a bucket in the sink and shower to collect water for watering your plants
  3. Set your washing machine to 30˚
  4. Drip-dry your clothes
  5. Put a brick in your cistern to save on water and use less water each flush
  6. Leave your geyser alone; concentrate your power savings elsewhere.
  7. Insulate your house properly
  8. Put on an extra layer of clothing before turning up the heat
  9. Shower rather than bath
  10. Clean and defrost your freezer regularly
  11. Use white vinegar, bicarb and water as a general cleaner
  12. Recycle & reuse
  13. Reuse your shopping bags- keep them in the boot of your car or handbag
  14. Go paperless but back up your data
  15. Understand what you’re doing with carbon offsets
  16. Walk more
  17. Carpool
  18. Once in a while have dinner in the dark, an unplugged evening

In the garden:

  1. Ensure you have permeable paving
  2. Start a compost heap and/or an earthworm farm
  3. Install drip irrigation instead of sprays
  4. Plant indigenous plants that are adapted to the natural water regime of your area
  5. Collect grey water for use on your garden
  6. Be bird-friendly but don’t overfeed your birds
  7. Minimise the amount of lawn in your garden
  8. Get to know your garden
  9. Grow your own veggies and herbs
  10. Embrace bees
  11. Install a water butt to catch roof water
  12. Companion plant
  13. Plant a tree on special occasions
  14. Expose your kids to nature and have dirty kids- and fewer allergies

So there you have a few ideas, there are so many ways in which we can live greener lives. Share your ideas with us in the comments below.

With the end of year around the corner, why not think of green gift ideas. Rather than bunches of cut flowers, how about a pot plant? How about planting a tree together as a family to remember the holidays and good times together? How about purchasing a BotSoc membership for your loved ones? Find out all about BotSoc membership here, your membership subscription contributes towards the operations of our NGO which strives to support biodiversity conservation and environmental awareness and education. Members enjoy great benefits for a full year. You can sign up and/or gift membership online here or visit the BotSoc Head Office or bookshops at Kirstenbosch.

May we together strive to live greener lives and each take a stand to safeguard our precious planet, we’ve only got one. Reuse, reduce, recycle! Go green: make a choice, make a change.