Plant Texture

Inspired by South African Indigenous Flora

I have been fortunate to listen to two presentations by Elsa Pooley: one hosted at Random Harvest Indigneous Nursery in 2015 and the other at the ILASA Conference held in September 2015 (See Previous Blog written on ILASA Conference). I also recently attended a course at The Cavern in the Drakensberg where I was able to view some examples of beautiful indigenous plants  and see examples of these plants growing in the wild.

Turrea floribunda flowering at Random Harvest Nursery

Turrea floribunda flowering at Random Harvest Nursery

To see more about the tree in the above image visit: http://www.randomharvest.co.za/South-African-Indigenous-Plants/Show-Plant/PlantId/112?Plant=Turraea%20floribunda  

Elsa Pooley is an advocate for using indigenous plants in public and civic spaces and strongly believes that any form of rehabilitation should exclusively make use of locally indigenous species. She has spent many years studying the indigenous flora of South Africa, particularly in Kwa-Zulu Natal and knows the great potential that South African plants have, but are unfortunately not commercially grown and therefore not well known by landscapers and home owners. Fortunately for us Random Harvest is one of only a handful of nurseries in the country growing indigenous plants, many of which have until now been unavailable.

An indigenous garden can have colour all year round and although this may not always be bright flowers it can come from foliage and the variety of colour and texture from different plants. Elsa mentions how South African plants are used throughout the world but we do not necessarily appreciate their true value as we prefer to make use of exotic plants in our designs. The temptation for landscapers is to use the same old plants they always use because they are easy and work well but there are so many other plants that we could be using.

Some plants I saw in the Drakensberg that I hope to use in the future in my landscape designs:

Pelargonium reniforme   (photographed at Engen Garage in Harrismith, all other images taken at The Cavern in the Drakensberg)

Pelargonium reniforme  (photographed at Engen Garage in Harrismith, all other images taken at The Cavern in the Drakensberg)

Helichrysum sutherlandii  - look at this wonderful grey foliage

Helichrysum sutherlandii - look at this wonderful grey foliage

Kniphofia northiae  - large Poker highly rated by Elsa, impressive flowers

Kniphofia northiae - large Poker highly rated by Elsa, impressive flowers

Hesperantha coccinea  - Pink Variety, normally Red Flowers

Hesperantha coccinea - Pink Variety, normally Red Flowers

Monopsis decipiens

Monopsis decipiens

Inulanthera calva

Inulanthera calva

Helichrysum hypoleucum  - likes a bit of shade

Helichrysum hypoleucum - likes a bit of shade

Merxmuellera macowanii  - beautiful ornamental grass ( Gomphostigma  on Right)

Merxmuellera macowanii - beautiful ornamental grass (Gomphostigma on Right)

Syncolostemon macratnhus  - tall purple pink flowering shrub

Syncolostemon macratnhus - tall purple pink flowering shrub

Helichrysum acutatum

Helichrysum acutatum

Metalasia densa

Metalasia densa

Gladiolus crassifolius

Gladiolus crassifolius

Wahlenbergia

Wahlenbergia

Lotononis pulchella

Lotononis pulchella

Thalictrum rhynchocarpum -  soft and delicate foliage for shady areas

Thalictrum rhynchocarpum - soft and delicate foliage for shady areas

Seriphium plumosum  (Bankrotbos) also known as  Stoebe plumosa

Seriphium plumosum (Bankrotbos) also known as Stoebe plumosa

Polygala virgata  (Purple Broom)

Polygala virgata (Purple Broom)

Clematis bracteata  (Travellers Joy) - beautifully scented dainty white flowers make this an ideal creeper 

Clematis bracteata (Travellers Joy) - beautifully scented dainty white flowers make this an ideal creeper 

I hope that you will also be inspired by these beautiful plants and experiment with indigenous plants in your garden!

Random Harvest Details: 

For directions please go to our website www.randomharvest.co.za : or call 082-553-0598

Hours of business 8:00 to 17:00 Monday to Sundays

I highly recommend subscribing to Random Harvest Newsletter on their website

Harold Porter Botanical Garden

Harold Porter Botanical Gardens is located within the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve and its flora constitutes the Cape Floral Kingdom – one of only six floristic regions in the world – comprising approximately 8800 species, of which 70% are endemic. Fynbos, a part of his floral kingdom, is characterized by shrubby plants such as proteas, ericas, buchus, legumes, bruias, daisies, bulbous plants and reedlike restios in place of grasses. (SANBI pamphlet purchased at Harold Porter Botanical Gardens) I was so excited to spend a morning exploring and photographing fynbos!

The gardens sit at the foot of the 900m high sandstone peaks of the Kogelberg Mountains

The gardens sit at the foot of the 900m high sandstone peaks of the Kogelberg Mountains

I drove over the scenic Franschoek Pass to Betty’s Bay to visit this small botanical gardens I had heard so much about. Since joining the Botanical Society I have been curious to see what this little garden looks like.

A beautiful dark pond with blue water lilies, reflecting the mountains behind it, welcomed me as I entered the garden. I quickly realised that I couldn’t take enough photos of the stunning fynbos plants on display here. Every colour and texture you can imagine! There were lots of Erica varieties in flower which the sunbirds were loving too.

Sprout visits Harold Porter Botanical Gardens
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Sprout visits Harold Porter Botanical Gardens
Sprout visits Harold Porter Botanical Gardens
Sprout visits Harold Porter Botanical Gardens
Sprout visits Harold Porter Botanical Gardens

So much texture. What a beautiful display of indigenous plants!

Sprout visits Harold Porter Botanical Gardens
We spotted a tortoise enjoying a stroll in the garden!

We spotted a tortoise enjoying a stroll in the garden!

Unfortunately the walk to Disa Waterfall was closed for renovations. There are also various other more strenuous hikes you can take into the mountains and I can imagine the views from up there must be wonderful.

I looked at their indigenous plant nursery but had to hold myself back from buying any plants.. trekking them all the way back to JHB isn't always a great idea. After a quick visit to Stony Point to view the breeding Penguin colony and a stop in at John the Potter, a beautiful ceramic studio, we headed back over the pass to Franschoek.

Penguins at Bettys Bay
Lots of Penguins!

Lots of Penguins!

Harold Porter Botanical Garden:

Garden Hours (According to Pamphlet purchased at Gardens)

Opening Time: 365 days a year from 08h00

Closing Times: No entry after 16h30 on weekdays and 17h00 on weekends and public holidays. Visitors already in the garden may stay until 18h00 in winter (April to October) and 19h00 in summer (November to March)

Special Late Closing Times: Entry until 19h00 during the simmer festive season (as advertised). The garden will close at 21h00.

Concerts: Opening and Closing times will be as advertised including on our website.

Contact Details: Clarence Drive (R44) Betty’s Bay. Tel 028 272 9311. Email Harold.Porter.NBG@sanbi.org.za. Website: www.sanbi.org.z

Sprout visits Harold Porter Botanical Gardens