Jasonbosch! A botanic garden gem in Pretoria, South Africa
|Jason Sampson among a few Cycads...|
|More cycads and complementary plantings|
|Phyla (possibly cuneifolia?)|
Andy de Wet of de Wet plant breeders, he calls it "Lilac Beauty".
|Staff hard at work|
|Jason and Zamia bud|
Strangeria indeed! Quoting Jason directly: "[this] is actually a South African genus (the only other one we have besides Encephalartos) called Stangeria eriopus. It is so fern like that it was included in the genus Lomaria until it coned at Kew Gardens a few years after its initial discovery and classification. Its not truly variegated (oh how I wish!), but its leaves develop these markings when they senesce." Very cool, don't you agree?
|Encephalartos woodii (in bondage)|
|Encephalartos natalensis x woodii|
The climate of Pretoria is said to be "cold" by South African standards. HA!--I'd rate it more subtropical than warm temperate when you see these out--probably year around!
A striking perennial, and Jason has come through with the name: Brillantaisia subulugurica.
I'm always amused when I hear about the "oldest" profession--which is arguably either hunting and gathering (unless that's just survival). One could persuasively argue that agriculture truly is the oldest profession because 1) unlike hunting and gathering, agriculture was something humans invented rather that did by instinct..(professions should be invented!) 2) until one had agriculture, there was no accumulation of capital and ultimately currency, which in turn allowed for other professions to come into being--like banking, marketing and prostitution--not listed necessarily in their logical sequence. It takes a South African University to set things right!
|Gingko and trim beds|
There were cycads coning everywhere--I didn't note the species--forgive me: I still had to share!
And lots of showy shrub plantings everywhere--mind you this was midsummer and it was still colorful everywhere. This one is a yet undetermined species of Brillantaisia as well.
This "cold" climate boasted a strangler fig: to quote Jason yet again--"that's a strangler fig. Ficus craterostoma planted in this Acacia galpinii by a (post) doctoral student many decades ago. Oddly enough it may be keeping its host tree alive in a way as that Acacia has wanted to split many times due to age and size but the fig holds it together. Its one of the most picturesque spots in the garden, and we always have people who come to pray here!"
A surreal vista--right out of the Mesozoic! One of the few places designed so you can walk up and look at Lotus close up and personal!
Another view of a lovely pond.
I was delighted to see the Mediterranean Centaurea gymnocarpa along a path: although their collections are understandably predominately South African, they're not pious purists. I'm not a purist either. And this is a great plant indeed.
Is this not an enchanted, prehistoric vision? What a great place.
A great garden needs a cat.
|Pelargonium in seed|
More vistas--the place is awesome!
A wonderful planting of ferns--look at the impeccable edging everywhere.
A groundcover I failed to note the name of: Acanthaceous I'm sure.
Another moster Eucomis. This one really does look like a pineapple.
One can never have too many Diascia in my opinion!
A large courtyard had been radically changed to make it more comfortable for students (places for them to sit), but care had been taken to preserve plants like the sizable Podocarpus in the distance--how rarely that happens at most institutions where babies are thrown out with bathwater all the time!
An intriguing mallow I had to include for Kristin Yanker-Hansen--who we horned in on by visiting Jason, and who's responsible for our getting to know him in the first place. She's a mallowphile.
Jason showing the flower on a very special Barleria...we can't talk about it.
Closeups of Marsilea and other watery gems: it's a lovely spot.
Not a bad thing to look out on from your class!
Xeric plantings also featured nearby--its a vast complex.
Many unusual perennials...
More views of the water gardens (used to filter and clean the water that emerges and then can be utilized elsewhere on the Grounds).
You must come by and see these gardens if you're in Pretoria way...
Young plants of Erythrina zeyheri, one of the local South Africans I'm most anxious to try. They wouldn't fit in my suitcase, alas!
Kristin Yanker-Hansen enjoying the garden....
Papyrus is hardy here. Harrumph!
More random shots of these amazing gardens...
My favorite shot of Jason that I took...
I believe this was a lobelia that struck my eye...
The view near the building we were just at at the main quadrangle--impeccably maintained...
Lots of lush plantings here--all unusual plants.
Salvia greggii--our Texas native. A classic here as well as in America.
Formal gardens are not my specialty--but sometimes, they're the best choice. Love these.
That is the Engineering Building where Jason's extraordinary water gardens are found.
A striking Hibiscus--not sure what cultivar.
It looks as though the Hibiscus were designed with Kristin in mind: isn't the picture with her much more interesting than the plain shot above? Of course, the color coordination of person and plant helps, as does both the Hibiscus' and Kristin's innate charisma (both off the charts)--but I am amazed at how powerful human-plant interactions come across in photos compared to just portraits of one or the other separately. What does it mean? Worth pondering...
More of the botanic gardens plantings--here featuring many agapanthus...
Kristin is studying a few that have been selected for possible introduction...
Comparative agapanthus study...
More views and vistas...
More views and vistas..
A spectacular wall garden featuring South African chasmophytes....in dozens of genera..
The trees interplanted with tree Aloes, that may one day replace them...
Closeup of teh wall--very young still, but full of success stories.
Yet another wall with another aspect.
Jason is introducing us to Phillip Rousseau, a young colleague who's just come aboard to spearhead the Cycad propagation and hybridization programs. This University has one of the largest and most extensive collections of cycads in the world. These are being decimated in the wild by unscrupulous collectors: I have no doubt that their efforts here will help stem the damage done to these magnificent plants in the wild "The Salvation from Depredation is Propagation"....The last sets of pictures show the vast extent of Cycad propagation here--they grow and sell thousands to help fund programs of their own, but also to help reduce pressure on wild cycads over time. I don't think you need my commentary to appreciate the scale, scope and success of what they've accomplished so far. Phillip has much to build from!
The special place where Cycad production begins...
A few insectivorous plants snuck in...
|Encephalartos sp. seed|
|Gas station nature reserve with Melinis sp.|
|Melinis nerviglume and M. repens mixed|