Friday, 18 November 2011

Beautiful Buffelskloof!

Some of our members recently had a working visit to Buffelskloof Nature Reserve.

Angie Hill wrote in to the blog: "This is just to whet people's appetites for the article that will appear in the BAASA National Newsletter that is coming soon. We had a fantastic trip, saw heaven on earth and everyone was very inspired to paint as much as possible."

Click on images to enlarge.
Fantastic flora

Buffelskloof people and places

Photos by Laura Batchelor and Angie Hill.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Meeting Report: Klipriviersberg Amble - 5 November 2011

Erythrina zeyheri
What a stunning day we had on our visit to the Jewel of the South. The weather was everything we could have wished for: beautiful, clear blue skies and a cool breeze to take the edge off the heat. While we waited for everyone to arrive we lazily watched a mongoose scampering along towards the riverbank. Then we set off and, as we ambled along, we were stopped in our tracks every few metres - in true botanical fashion – by the abundance of flowers crying out to be looked at.
The Highveld Grassland spring flowers are at their best after the winter burn and before the summer rains set in, and, contrary to popular belief, it is fire that provides these grasslands with their rich floral diversity. Without fire to rid the vegetation of moribund grass, many of the bulbous plants cannot survive. Furthermore flowering has to happen rapidly in order for the flowers to be found by those pollinators that use visual cues to locate them and before the grass grows tall and hides them. Although we were too late for many of the spring flowers like Boophane and Scadoxus, these were beginning to set seed and provided us with another aspect of their life cycle.
Shortly into the Reserve there was an area that had burned towards the end of winter and Judd flitted from flower to flower exclaiming excitedly at what he had found. The hillside was like a cultivated garden, with dense stands of Ajuga ophrydis, Becium obovata, Indigofera spp, Rhyncosium, Gnidia and several species of Hibiscus and Ipomoea to mention but a few. In order to get close enough to photograph some of these required some people getting down real low and dirty!
We then crossed the river, stopping to watch some white-fronted bee-eaters on the way, and went in search of the Scadoxus that Lea had seen flowering there the weekend before. But alas, when we found them, they were already passed their best. Judd spotted a rocky slope that looked promising, so we took that direction to see what we could find. We were rewarded for our efforts when Moira spotted a Eulophia clavicornis var clavicornis. A short while later Moira again summonsed us to an area where there were numerous Erythrina zeyheri in their flowering prime. Now that was a perfect spot for a little bit of ‘in the field’ artistry, but sadly ours, for this time, was confined to photography. It was a wonderful culmination to our morning’s excursion and we headed back to the plaintiff call of the Diderik’s cuckoo.
After tea and eats in the cool shade of some trees, a satisfied group said “Goodbye” to a very pleasant morning spent in this bit of wilderness in the midst of our bustling city. Thank you to Judd Kirkel for his enthusiasm in sharing his knowledge with us and to those members who took the time to join us. It was truly balm for the soul!
Klipriviersberg floral collage

Getting down and dirty!

Photos and report by Angie Hill

Glimpses of the 2011 Johannesburg Botanical Art Exhibition

Click on images to enlarge!

Promoting the exhibition:
Morningside Shopping Centre website

Poster behind perspex - poster design by Kim Johnston
Morningside Shopping Centre Facebook page

Billboard outside shopping centre