Thursday, January 29, 2015

Tiffendell PART ONE...(some tighty whities...)

Kniphofia triangularis
We'll quickly be getting to the "tighty whiteys"--a surprising number of South African alpines do tend to be white in color. But there are many with bright colors: there were only a few of this species on the hill but brilliantly colored. I'm always astonished at how different this species is from one area to the next. We shall see this again at the opposite end of the Drakensberg in a very different hue...

Helichrysum cf. albobrunneum
I was surprised at how unimpressed most of my companions were with white helichrysums: I have always been charmed by almost anything in the genus (which is a good thing in the Drakensberg). These resembled what I've grown under this name, although I believe mine was multi-headed...

Cyrtanthus flanaganii in seed
Since this was not in bloom, I couldn't be too sure...it was scattered here and there in the high meadow...
A Senecio sp.
I posted this because we have a bevy of very similar senecios throughout the Rockies. Come to think of it, there are similar ones in Asia and also South America.

Alepidea thodei
The Sophia Loren of the genus--this would be an outstanding garden plant. I was surprised to see it in several spots this trip...

Gladiolus sp.
I haven't had a chance to find out the name for this rather nondescript gladiolus: the only one on the hill...
Kniphofia caulescens
This keys out to Kniphofia caulescens which looks rather different to my eyes than the dense colonies in the wet meadows: I suspect there are two ecotypes in play...
Another Senecio sp.
Another senecio--this one a dead ringer for Colorado's Senecio werneriifolius  in our alpine. I suspect the resemblance is superficial...

Cotula 'Tiffendell'
Very similar to what High Country Gardens has offered from the same locality...

Lesotho/East Cape border fence
A rather dramatic demonstration of the contrast in vegetation between the countries.

Hypicium armerioides (Tiffendell form)
Possibly the plant that provided the fabulous form from High Country Gardens...
Helichrysum marginatum
And now lots of tighty whities...and my conversation must end: the taxi has arrived to take me to Johannesburg's Tambo airport--to be continued. Meanwhile: enjoy!
Helichrysum marginatum
Helichrysum sessiloides

Helichrysum sessiloides and Craterocapsa cf tarsodes

Hirpicium armerioides and Helichrysum cf.

Helichrysum sessiloides

Top of the Tiff

Friday, January 23, 2015

In the heart of Lesotho (Semonkong and Malealea)


Aloe polyphylla
Aloes will be a leitmotif of this posting--since our two locations in central Lesotho were in the heart of the range of Aloe polyphylla--which, alas, due to many circumstances (one being a high river level) we were thwarted from seeing in nature. It was abundant in gardens there, however! Above, one of many at the lodge at Semonkong.


My good buddy, Bill Adams, is here seen mimicking the pose of the Aloe rather dashingly, don't you agree?

Jamesbrittenia sp.
A wonderful little Sutera growing wild nearby...
Phygelius capensis across from the lodge
Of course, Phygelius grows everywhere in the Drakensberg--but not often so picturesquely as it did across from the Lodge.
Cotyledon foliage but look above!

Aloe aristata
Taken with a telephoto from forty or so feet below! Most A. aristata were in plump green seed, but this one had a late flower still!

Mystery Delosperma sp. "Semonkong"
Growing much like D. cooperi does at Oxbow, this rather delicate, twiggy delosperma was tucked here and there all over the cliff. I don't have a clue what it is--except that it looks more like floribundum than any of the usual Drakensberg species.

Delosperma sp. "Semonkong"
Closer view...

Another close view of Delosperma sp. "Semonkong"

To continue the Aloe theme--Cotyledon has apparently been sunk in the former genus...HORRORS!
I don't buy it: I still call this Cotyledon orbiculata...

MORE of the mystery Delosperma...growing among the lichens. I rather liked this effect.

And more "Aloe" (gag) orbiculata...

Dianthus sp. with Psammotropha mucronata at the base...
I am always shocked to see dianthus in South Africa--and they are legion and abundant. Yesterday, the field full of Lithops near Heidelberg was full of dianthus in seed.

A Euryops in full glory at Semonkong

Selaginella grows everywhere in the Drakensberg and beyond here: many species.

Strange to see Delosperma and Cotyledon growing in open soil among weeds.

Phygelius capensis
Blogspot decided to separatre the closeups from the overall shot way back in this sequence: sorry! You'll have to toggle to see them together!

Another closeup of same

And an overall shot after all...

More of the mystery Delosperma sp. Semonkong
There are quite a few of us devotees of this genus (which is indirectly responsible for propelling me hither seven times). Bear with me if you're not smitten--these are for them!

Delosperma sp. Semonkong closeup

A Moraea in the huttonii complex in seed.

Part of the group at Semonkong--we live in style!

Breathtaking specimens of Crinum bulbispermum (albino) at the Lodge...

The local delo planted at the Lodge!


Crinum bulbispermum (albino)

Crinum bulbispermum (albino)

Two of the singers listening to their colleagues at Malealea Lodge--to the south of Semonkong.

the Boy's band..they were good.

The singers: I bought their C.D.--incredible harmonies.

Anchusa capensis--in Plant Select!--here in the wild.

Composites everywhere--here, a Senecio I believe...(equivalent to our summer daisy season)

Not so helpful directional sign.

Agave americana, pretending it's an Aloe...

Another view--the green green countryside belies the devastating overgrazing due to "open range" traditions.

Sutherlandia (or is it Lessertia?) montana: one of my faves. In not quite seed.

Aloe saponaria I believe...wild.

The countryside near Malealea: Africa grabs your soul. Believe me.

A charming Hermannia sp.  ign.

Polygalas are everywhere in all shapes and sizes...

An amazing orange flowered Phygelius capensis--not far from Semonkong (out of sequence--sorry)

Senecio speciosus by the thousand on the long and spectacular pass to Semonkong

Delosperma cf. lavisiae in the grass...

A tiny Limosella in a bog.

Ranunculus are much rarer here than in the northern Hemisphere.

Miles of Dierama robustum along the pass...

A fine specimen of Dierama robustum...

Senecio speciosus

Senecio speciosus

I shall end with a series of shots of a Kniphofia caulescens meadow: the essence of the Drakensberg!



I have left little fragments of my heart all over this magnificent region. Africa! I love you.