Showing posts from February, 2015

On the Dark Side: Royal Natal National Park

I'm a sucker for tree ferns. I'm boggled that they are found rather commonly on the east face of the Drakensberg to surprisingly high elevations where they experience snow regularly. Unfortunately, this is just about the most slow growing, challenging tree fern in cultivation. You won't be seeing it in Box Stores any time soon...This whole east face of the mountain range is much wetter, much milder and much more "developed" than the other sides of the Drakensberg. The northern half (from Underberg northward) in particular is almost all Nature reserve, with no end of fabulous resorts at the base where you can hike towards the heights. Just about my favorite place on Planet Earth: I wish I could spend November-March there every year, as a matter of fact, and explore a different "kloof" each day. The biodiversity is astonishing. Unlike 95% of South Africa, there are deep woodlands (mostly Podocarp) in the declivities full of shade-lovers. These are what t…

Sani Pass to Howick: the Little Berg

This may be my all time favorite sedge: quite common all over the foothills of the Drakensberg (the "Little Berg" it was one of the highlights of a thwarted attempt to get up Sani Pass (sigh). We did nevertheless see some good stuff before heading down to Howick (the last part of this Blog)...Be warned: Sani Pass is closed this season, and the road requires four wheel drive. Compare this sedge with the much bronzier one I photographed at Drakensberg Gardens and posted a few weeks ago: wait till you see the monster we found at Platberg (to be posted in a week or so)...

I've seen this before (there were miles of it at Drakensberg Gardens) but here it was still blooming. This heather is widespread in South Africa: it can be a brilliant scarlet and make a shrub several feet tall. This higher altitude form, however, could be cold hardy in much of the USA..

Hard to believe we share this genus--albeit the South African ones are wildly variable!

Sumac grow everywhere it seems: …